Columbia College Chicago


Located in Chicago Illinois, Columbia College Chicago was established in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory. The founders wanted to establish a school that stood for high ideals, practiced teaching by truly educational methods and focused on the building of sterling character. The college is now the largest private arts college in the country and takes a practical approach to education that includes hands-on study and a philosophy deeply rooted in the liberal arts and sciences curriculum.

Though the school has no varsity sports teams, it does provide numerous intramural sports and student organizations that students may participate in. Located in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, there are numerous wonderful restaurants, clubs and cultural activities to provide entertainment for all students.


Information Summary

Ranks 86th in Illinois and 2441st overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 57.6
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $45,644
Admission Success rate N/A
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 23 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 68% / 36%
Enrollment Total (all students) 6,825


Academic programs of study include bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and professional certificates in three professional schools. The core curriculum of the college is liberal arts-based, but students may choose majors from the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Fine and Performing Arts, or the School of Media Arts.

Students choosing to study in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences may choose from such areas of study as education, English, science, math or humanities, history and social sciences. The professors in this School have earned some of the highest honors in their fields and will provide an excellent education to students wishing to become teachers, leaders and great thinkers. There are six undergraduate degrees offered in these departments including Early Education, Cultural Studies and Creative Writing. There are three graduate degrees offered by the School including Creative Writing – Fiction, Creative Writing – Non Fiction and the MAT program, which is two areas of instruction including Art Education (K-12) and Elementary Education (K-9).

The School of Fine and Performing Arts is led by professionals from the fields of theater, photography, graphic and interior design and numerous other arts areas and will teach students how to turn a creative vision and technical expertise that they gain during college into successful careers after graduation. This is the largest of the schools and offers numerous bachelor’s and master’s degrees throughout such fields as dance, theater, music, creative writing, art and fashion.

Finally, the School of Media Arts focuses on providing an innovative, creative education to those who seek to become professionals in such fields as journalism, radio, television and film. There are both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees available and students will study in the new thirty-five thousand-square foot Media Production Center that offers state-of-the-art equipment with which students may gain practical, hands-on technical experience. The building is the first new building to be added to the campus since it was originally built over one hundred twenty years ago.

Most Popular Fields of Study


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Undergraduate Admissions

Students wishing to apply may submit either the in-house online application or the Common Application. One of the advantages to completing the in-house application is that it also includes the housing application section. Those who complete the Common Application will need to complete the housing application separately. All applicants are required to complete an essay which the application allows to be uploaded as either a Word or text document. The school provides two questions from which the applicant may choose. Students will be offered the opportunity to pay the application fee at the end of the application or may submit the fee via check or money order directly to the school.

The admissions department requires two letters of recommendation from teachers, guidance counselors, advisors or other professionals who know the student and can speak to their strengths and likelihood to succeed in college. The online applications provide the opportunity for the applicant to send an e-mail directly to the people who have been chosen to complete the recommendations. They can then submit the recommendation online. Students may also download the form and request the recommender to complete it in hard copy.

Official high school transcripts, along with transcripts from any other college if applicable are also required and should be sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Students who have taken the GED will need to have an official copy of the test results with scores included sent to the college. Certificates of GED completion alone will not satisfy the application requirements.

ACT or SAT scores will also need to be submitted to the school if the scores are not listed on the high school transcripts. All students are strongly advised to take at least one of these tests while they are still in high school as the test are valuable tools in both the admissions process and for advising students. In many cases, ACT scores can be used to replace Columbia’s placement tests.

Finally, all students are required to submit immunization records that reflect that all immunization shots were received and are current. This rule applies only to students who are registering for six or more credit hours. Students born before January 1, 1957 are exempted as well. Applications will be reviewed with immunization records on file but the student must submit them prior to orientation and registration.

There are a few additional documents required for transfer students and international students, so these applicants should contact the college to determine what else they may need to submit.

Graduate Admissions

There are several different programs offered at the graduate level and each program has separate application requirements. Students can expect to be required to submit the minimum of the application, confirmation fee, immunization records and transcripts. For exact requirements, applicants should contact the program to which they would like to apply.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid is available to students in the form of scholarships, grants, federally-subsidized loans and work-study programs. Students wishing to receive aid will need to complete the Free Application for Financial Aid that is available online beginning in January of every year. Financial information for the student and family will be required so applicants should have this available while completing the application.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 2217th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Illinois.


Though Columbia College Chicago does not offer varsity sports, it firmly believes that health and fitness are essential to developing a balanced student community. Because of this belief, the college offers numerous intramural sports including baskeball, swimmming, rugby, soccer and volleyball. There are also numerous student organizations in which students may choose to participate.

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