Welcome to Columbia
First day of orientation, August 2015


Your First Three Steps

Admitted Students Checklist

Step One

Go over the Admitted Students Checklist to keep up with important actions that need to be completed before starting classes.


  1. For information on costs and financial aid, please go to this page.
  2. See also: Admitted Students FAQ page.

Step Two

Mark your calendar for Orientation Week*. That’s when you’ll receive your class schedule and learn about registration, your field placement, and various student resources, among many other topics.

January 9–13, 2017

August 28–September 1, 2017

  • Orientation Schedule Full-time Students (TBA)
  • Orientation Schedule Extended & Reduced Residency Students (TBA)
*Orientation Week is mandatory for full-time on-campus students. Please note the following exceptions:
  • Extended and Reduced Residency students are required to attend only the first day of Orientation Week.
  • Online Campus students are required to participate in a separate online orientation; in addition, they have the option of attending the on-campus orientation.

Step Three

Mark your calendar with the dates for Preparation for the Profession (P4P), a mandatory orientation for incoming full-time students conveying important information about what to expect from your first field placement.


For students starting field placements in Spring 2017 (Monday, January 23), P4P sessions will be held:

  • Thursday, January 12 (Part of Orientation Week)
  • Tuesday, January 17 (Community Day Walk)
  • Friday, January 20


For students starting field placements in Fall 2017, P4P sessions will be held:

  • Friday, September 1 (Part of Orientation Week)
  • Tuesday, September 5 (Community Day Walk)
  • Friday, September 8

Welcome to New York City

Columbia University’s School of Social Work is located in Morningside Heights, Upper Manhattan. Even if you’ve never been to our neighborhood before, you’ll soon feel right at home—especially once you discover Apple Tree Supermarket, along with restaurants and cafes that cater to students.

The rest of New York is, of course, within a subway or bus ride. Interested in seeing museums, Broadway plays, current movies? As a Columbia graduate student you are eligible for discount tickets, which can be purchased at Lerner Hall, on the Morningside Campus.

NYC Housing/Accommodation

Are you looking for housing in New York City? We recommend joining the Admitted CSSW Students Facebook Group. And now for the lowdown on the help Columbia can offer:

Does the School offer any student housing?

The School receives a small allocation each year from the University Housing Office, and preference is given to students who are relocating to New York, with priority placed on those who are traveling the greatest distance (e.g., abroad, the West Coast, the Midwest). Although accommodations for graduate students are limited, we encourage all of our students to apply to University Apartment Housing (UAH). Even if you do not receive housing right away, UAH does maintain a waitlist and it is possible you will be offered an assignment later in the year. Types of University housing include apartment shares, dormitory-style rooms, studio/efficiency units, and one- and two-bedroom units (prioritized for couples and families). For more details about housing types, availability and costs, go to the Types of Accommodation page on the UAH site.


Can you give me some tips on finding housing off campus at an affordable cost?

Columbia University’s Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) manages a database known as the Housing Registry, which includes available rooms and apartments in non-Columbia-owned buildings and sublets of units in Columbia-managed housing—go to registration page.  Prospective roommates can also post and search profiles on this site.  In addition, OCHA offers one-on-one counseling for your housing search, and is supported in these efforts by cooperative relationships with two New York City real estate/relocation agencies. For further online resources, visit OCHA’s webpage “Newspapers and Other Online Resources.”

Do you need to find accommodation for Orientation and/or the Capstone week-long workshop? Peruse the list of short-term temporary housing options compiled by Columbia’s Office of Work/Life.

Make the Most of Your Time at CSSW

Video + Quotes from former students 

Tips for success from our recent graduates:

  • “Come in with an open mind.”
  • “If you want to do something outside of the box, go for it!”
  • “Career Development I found enormously helpful.”
  • “Manage your time effectively.”
  • “I appreciate the self-care awareness that the School has.”
  • “There’s so much going on on this campus.”
  • “Outside of the classroom learning is just as important as that in-class learning.”
  • “It’s all out there; this is New York City.”
  • “The two years go by really fast.”

Help for International Students

international students

If you are arriving from overseas, here are some special resources:

  1. The International Students Program at CSSW (Information and FAQ)
  2. Coming to Columbia: Essential Information for Students–ISSO booklet (PDF: 12 pages).
  3. Navigating NYC (PDF: 26 pages)