Please find below a collection of commonly asked questions from new students. We are happy to help you!


Where can I find my UNI?

You will receive an email including your UNI. A UNI consists of your initials and an arbitrary string of numbers. If it has been over 10 business days since you accepted your offer of admission, please contact [email protected].

I submitted my photo ID image online but haven't received any reply from the student ID service. Should I send an additional email?

There is no need for follow-up. The ID center has your photo and it will be printed and distributed at your Department Orientation.

I was recently admitted, but I don’t have my student account information. What should I do?

We ask for your patience. You will receive your UNI and PID along with the next steps from us via email.

When will I be able to activate my UNI?

You should be able to activate your UNI immediately upon receipt. Have you reviewed the new student checklist here? If you haven't received emails from SEAS GSA, you will soon.

I missed the deadline for uploading the photo ID image for my Columbia ID. I uploaded the image today and it is in pending status. What are the further steps to be taken after the deadline for it to be considered for the Columbia ID?

Your ID will be available at your Department Orientation.

Will you be sending important information to my personal email address or to my Columbia email address?

Correspondence from Columbia Engineering will go to your personal email until early August. Then, we'll begin sending emails to your email.

Apart from the acknowledgment I received after accepting my offer of admission, I have not received any further correspondence from Columbia University.

We send correspondence to students beginning Mid-March. If it is after Mid-March and more than 7 days since you have accepted your offer, please email [email protected]

I was admitted last week and I already accepted the offer. I am trying to activate my UNI and I keep getting a message saying "UNI not found."

If it has been over 10 business days since you accept your offer of admission, kindly contact Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) by using: "Send a Report to Us".

I cannot log in to the Columbia VPN with my credentials even though I was able to successfully log in to other Columbia sites.

Please refer your question to Columbia University Information Technology by calling them 212-854-1919 or emailing them at [email protected].

I worked at Columbia in the past and received an ID. I have an "active" card and can't submit a new photo. What should I do to receive a new card?

Please refer to the Student ID center.

I just completed my engineering degree at Columbia.  Do I need to update my registration sticker?

You do not need to apply for a new ID. Please simply request a new sticker for Fall 2019 in the student ID center in 204 Kent Hall.


Where is the sign-up code needed to set up a Columbia Residential account?

Sign-up codes are no longer needed for Columbia Residential. You will be able to set up an account using your PID and UNI from your Welcome Email.

Is there a housing group on Facebook?

Yes! Make sure your name on Facebook matches your application. If it does not, please email [email protected] .

I requested entry into to the Facebook housing group, but I still have not been accepted.

We get many requests every day for the housing group. If your name on Facebook matches the name on your application, please be patient and do not message any of the administrators in the group, as this will only delay the process. If your name on Facebook does not match the name under which you were accepted, please email [email protected].

I received housing. When can I move into to my assigned unit?

Please contact the Columbia Residential office. Your move-in date will be arranged depending on your needs and availability. Please follow up with [email protected].

I have not been allocated Columbia Residential housing and have made arrangements for other accommodations. In order to submit rent payment from my bank, I need to provide documentation that I am enrolled at Columbia University.

Please print your official admission letter from the admissions application system. Your admission letter is official documentation of your acceptance into Columbia Engineering.

I am currently looking for alternative off-campus housing. How long should my lease be for?

For off-campus housing, most leases are for one year. Some students are able to get 18-month leases, but that is not always possible. If you have to sign a two-year lease, please discuss leasing options with your landlord in an event that you cannot complete the entire length of the lease.

Is there storage available at Columbia for students?

No, there is no storage for students on campus. If you are not familiar with this company, it may be helpful, as they have a site close to the main campus:

When will I get my housing instructions including my PID number?

Our Welcome Emails go out in Mid-March. Students who accept their offer should receive an email within 7-10 business days.

How likely am I to receive Columbia housing? What if I submit my application late?

Columbia Residential housing is extremely limited and not guaranteed; doctoral students are given priority.

Because units are very scarce, we strongly encourage student to seek alternative housing options as you wait for your decisions.

I have not received notification regarding the result of my housing application. When will I be notified of the result?

Columbia Residential allocation notifications will be sent starting mid summer.

I applied for housing in the I-HOUSE using the Columbia Residential application system and I received a confirmation that my application was successful. However, yesterday when I checked my status, the system showed that my personal file was not in the system.

Regarding your application to I-House, our office does not manage the system. Please contact I-House with questions about the application you submitted to them independently. Their contact information is available here.

Columbia Residential has put me on the waitlist . I was looking at other housing options near the university but they are either out of my budget or without proper utilities. Since I am coming to the U.S. for the first time and I do not have any relatives or friends living there, I do not want to risk looking for housing after reaching New York.

We understand that searching for housing in NY is challenging. We strongly encourage students to begin their housing search when they arrive in NYC. Signing leases and wiring money while abroad is not recommended. Apartments should be viewed in person and leases should be read carefully and signed before rent payments are made. Rent payments and deposits are typically submitted via check, not through a wire transfer. For more information about NYC tenant rights and responsibilities, please visit this page and read it thoroughly, especially page 28.

I have an Columbia Residential account from my housing application from my previous year.  Can I use the same account for my application this year? Also, would I still be on the waitlist from my previous application?

Last year's housing code is no longer valid. New incoming students only receive this year's application once they have submitted a deposit to enroll. I hope you will decide to join Columbia. If you've already submitted the deposit, you should be receiving the new housing application code and additional information from SEAS GSA soon.

I tried registering for housing with the new sign up code, but the system shows an error saying that there is already an account with the CUID. I just logged-in with my previous account and submitted an application. Is this okay?

Since you applied with last year's code, your application is incorrectly filed in the housing system. Please contact Columbia Residential.

Brokers ask for a guarantor when we rent an apartment. Otherwise, we need to pay the rent up front. Can Columbia provide any letter to help with this?

Unfortunately, Columbia is unable to serve as a co-signer or guarantor for the purpose of renting an apartment.

Would you suggest giving a deposit to the landlord to secure an apartment?

We only encourage students to place a deposit once they have visited the apartment and discussed the lease or sublet agreement with the landlord or primary tenant respectively.

How reliable are the housing options on the OCHA website?

OCHA is maintained by full-time Columbia University staff. You can be fairly certain the listings are reliable.



Where can I find registration/academic advising information?

Please contact your respective Department Administrator. Department contacts are available here.

I am preparing for my F-1 visa interview. I noticed that the embassy requires the applicant's advisor information . Whose information should I list?

You may list the Department Administrator from your Department. Her/his information is available here.

When do classes start?

Please refer to the new student checklist or Columbia academic calendar.

Is the registration period in July only for continuing students?

Registration typically begins in July for IEOR and CS, while other department registrations begin in August. Please refer to your respective department contact.
You will know when to register when your appointment appears in SSOL. You will receive an email notification from your department about registration procedures as well.

I have submitted the immunization documents and the hold was removed by CU Health today. Does this mean I'm eligible for registering for classes?

Once documentation of your first MMR vaccine does is received, the Columbia Health Office will lift the hold on your registration for 28 days (the required wait period between doses).

Will my credits transfer?

For MS students, only credits taken at Columbia and that were not used towards the conferral of another degree are eligible for transfer. PhD students may transfer up to 30 credits pending the successful completion of an MS degree at another institution (or at Columbia).

I can’t see my appointment dates on SSOL. Do I need to contact CUIT to resolve this problem?

Please contact your respective Department Administrator. Department contacts are available here.

International Student Requirements

I’m having problems with my visa. Who should I contact?

For questions related to the visa application process, your I-20, or Optional Practical Training, contact [email protected].

How can I get an I-20?

You can get an I-20 following the steps here.

How do I transfer an I-20 from another school?

You can transfer your I-20 following the steps here.

Is there information available about working in the US?

Information about working in the U.S. can be found here.

Can you provide information on Columbia ISSO including location and hours?

ISSO information, location and hours can be found here.

What do I do if I forgot my I-20/DS-2019? What do I do if my travel signature is 1+ year old?

(a) Print your semester registration as proof of enrollment

(b) ask an inspector for an I-515 for 30-day admission:

(c) Do NOT enter the U.S. in visitor status!


Is there a way to confirm if my official transcript has reached Columbia?

Please log in to your Status Portal to confirm the status of your official transcript(s). Any missing official transcripts will be noted with a red X on the checklist. If every item on the checklist is complete, nothing further is needed. Please continue to monitor your Enrollment Checklist as needed. If you have questions about other checklist items, email us at: [email protected].

Can I defer my admission to a future term?

There is no option to defer admission offers. However, candidates who have applied and were admitted to a Columbia Engineering graduate program, but did not attend, may reactivate their applications for one of the two terms following their original application. Candidates who do not request reactivation within the year are required to submit a new application.  Please be aware that candidates who reactivate their applications are essentially reapplying for admission. Applicants who were not previously admitted cannot use the reactivation application process to apply again.    

Who should I inform that I will not be attending Columbia?

If you have already accepted your offer of admission, please email [email protected] to inform us of your change of plans. Please remember, the tuition deposit is nonrefundable. 

I have changed my legal given name on my ID & passport. Who should I contact to update this information? What are the documents I need to provide to update this information?

If you have already accepted your offer of admission, please contact the Registrar's Office to request a Name Change

Orientation/ Welcome Day

Who should I contact about my department orientation?

Please contact your respective Department Administrator.

Can we have more details regarding the day's program for orientation?

Your Department Orientation/Program Kick-off is mandatory. Please contact your respective Department Administrator for more information.

Is Grad SEAS Welcome Day mandatory?

While Grad SEAS Welcome Day activities are not mandatory, we strongly encourage incoming graduate students to attend to meet fellow classmates, administrators, and faculty. These activities are intended to help familiarize new students with University resources and build community before everyone gets busy with academics. That said, we understand there are unavoidable circumstances which may delay your arrival in New York. You will be responsible for learning the material that is covered, which will also be shared via email. 

Is there a deadline by which the checklist items must be completed?

The deadline to submit your final transcripts and test scores is October 15th. Please contact your Department for any registration-related advising dates/requirements. 

Does Columbia provide airport pickup service for students?

The University does not provide airport pickup for students. If you are not familiar with New York City public transportation, we recommend you take a taxi from the airport to your residence or temporary accommodation.
Please review the information for international students available here before traveling to the U.S. Our office will also be providing additional resources and information as the Fall semester approaches.

I see there are activities in the orientation schedule. How do I get tickets for these events?

Incoming students will receive email invitations to access discounted prices to all ticketed events, but capacity is limited, and tickets to most events sell out quickly. Be mindful of your academic responsibilities when purchasing tickets, as refunds will not be issued.

Do students get discounted tickets for the orientation activities?

All GSA and EGSC sponsored events are designed to offer the best value possible to our graduate population. We typically aim for a 50% discount on group pricing, if possible. Please note events such as the US Open are in high demand and typically sell out very quickly.

Are Welcome Day/Week activities only open to Grad SEAS students, or can Columbia students in other programs attend/purchase tickets for events as well? Can we purchase more than 1 ticket?

Welcome Day events are first opened exclusively to new students, and if tickets are left within two days of the event, they are opened to current Grad SEAS students. A few events during the year are co-sponsored with other schools, and some are open to alumni and guests. This will be explicit in the invitation language.


What is the deadline for submitting vaccination records?

MMR and Meningitis Vaccination Documents must be received at least 30 days prior to course registration. Details about submitting your immunization documents is available on the new student checklist.

Do certificate program students need to submit MMR & Meningitis Vaccination Documents?


I recently completed an engineering degree at Columbia. Do I need to get the vaccination and submit documentation again for the new program I am enrolling in at Columbia?

You do not need to re-submit your immunization documents.

Am I required to have a medical examination?

You only need a medical exam if you do not have the required vaccinations referred to on the checklist.

Will I still have a hold on my account if I've had my first MMR vaccine dose but am waiting to receive a second?

Once documentation of your first MMR vaccine does is received, the Columbia Health Office will lift the hold on your registration for 28 days (the required wait period between doses). For more information, please see here.

I have just sent an MMR immunization certification. Will I get a notification once it is received and accepted by the immunization office?

If you have sent copies of your immunization records, to confirm that they have been received, please contact Columbia Health at (212) 854-7210 or [email protected].

Have more questions?

Please contact [email protected]. Please note that due to the volume of inquiries we receive, it may take 5-7 business days to receive a response.