Admitted Students FAQ

Welcome to New York City and to the School of Social Work at Columbia University! We are so glad you’ve decided to embark on this journey with us. To help get you started, we have prepared a New Student Checklist. In addition, we offer answers to these Frequently Asked Questions.

When is Orientation and what does it cover?

Orientation is mandatory for all new students. During orientation, you’ll receive your class schedule and learn about registration, your practicum placement, and various student resources, among many other topics. Extended and Reduced Residency students are required to attend the first day of Fall Orientation on Monday, August 28, 2017. Online students are required to participate in a separate online orientation; in addition, they have the option of attending the August 28–September 1 campus orientation. During Orientation, incoming students receive their class schedules and learn about registration, their practicum placements, and various student resources, among other topics.

Preparation for the Profession Orientation:

Mark your calendar with the dates for Preparation for the Profession (P4P), a mandatory orientation for incoming full-time students who are starting their practicum placement internships in Fall 2017.

Preparation for the Profession sessions will be held on the following dates:

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

When do classes begin?

FALL 2017 classes begin Tuesday, September 5. For more information please see the Academic Calendar.

When will I be notified of my practicum placement?

You will receive your field placement assignment during Orientation week. (You will be notified before Orientation only if your placement requires special tests—e.g., fingerprinting or medical clearance.)

What days will I be in practicum?

Students entering their first year of field placement are in the field three days a week: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.

What if I have questions about registration, practicum, advising or financial aid?

Please go to the FAQ pages for your particular program:

What if I have questions about housing, health insurance or related matters?

Please go to the General Students Questions page, which provides guidance on housing, health insurance and other common student issues.

I am an international student. When will I receive my I-20 student visa form? Do I need to send additional documentation?

As an international student, you must apply to Columbia University’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) for an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for student status. The I-20 is required to apply for a student entry visa at a U.S. consulate, to present at a port of entry upon arrival, and to transfer your SEVIS record if you are currently in the United States on an F-1 status. NOTE: SEVIS transfer students must have the current school’s international office transfer your SEVIS record to Columbia before you apply for an I-20 from Columbia.

Application Process: I-20 Certificate of Eligibility

  1. As soon as possible, submit your online application for an I-20 to the ISSO by following the steps at: NOTE: All supporting documents must be submitted by email using the address provided on this site.
  2. The ISSO will review your documentation and send the I-20 that is required to apply for an F-1 student entry visa at the U.S. Consulate in your home country or, for students who already have F-1 status, to complete the SEVIS transfer process. NOTE: ISSO usually sends out the I-20 forms four (4) weeks after it has received all required documentation and your application is complete.