National Transfer Student Week

Forty-three percent of students enrolled at the Columbia University School of General Studies transferred after attending community college. In honor of National Transfer Student Week, we are highlighting many of our students and alumni who transferred to GS, as well as offering insight into the unique role that community colleges play in making higher education possible for nontraditional students. 

Quote from GS Vice Dean Curtis Rodgers: "We are proud of the fact that more than half of our enrolled students are transfer students, and recognize the significant value our nation’s community colleges contribute to society, in many ways leading the way in providing access and opportunity for adult and otherwise nontraditional students to return to, or pursue for the first time, higher education—a mission shared by GS since its founding."

Friday Forum: Transfer Students at GS

Prospective students are invited to join us for the opportunity to engage with current students at the School of General Studies who have previously attended other colleges. You will hear firsthand about their transition to Columbia University, including challenges and triumphs. You will also have an opportunity to present any questions you may have to our student panel. 

Fri., October 20, 2023, 4 - 5 PM ET


Current students speaking at on-campus panel

The GS Transfer Student Community, By the Numbers

36% First Generation Students23% U.S. or Foreign Service Veterans69% Institutional Aid Recipients36% Pell Grant Recipients

Community Colleges in New York

GS has forged a strong relationship with New York City and Tri-State community colleges, attracting hundreds of high-achieving students seeking a rigorous, Ivy League education. 27% of transfer students at GS come from New York City, and 45% come from the Tri-State area.


Each year, GS offers 10-15 new student scholarships in the amount of $25,000-$35,000 per academic year to students who have attended a City University of New York (CUNY) community college. CUNY Scholar Sacha Telfer '22GS reflects on her community college experience at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and what it was like transferring to Columbia.


Columbia GS student Sacha Telfer
Paola Cruz

The CUNY Accelerated Study in Associate Program (ASAP) is an academic program that helps students stay on track for graduation by providing a range of financial, academic, and personal support. Before enrolling at GS, Paola Cruz '22GS attended LaGuardia Community College and participated in ASAP. "Through ASAP, I learned that some of the graduates of the program ended up going to elite schools like Cornell, Columbia, and Stanford. I began to think that maybe I could also do it."

"Community college students who successfully transfer to Ivy League institutions have high GPAs, have held multiple student leadership experiences, are in Honors cohorts, have engaged in undergraduate research and have a strong desire to achieve despite challenging life circumstances such as poverty, historical underrepresentation, and sparse support for education....Like community colleges, the Columbia University School of General Studies has a broader approach to recruitment than many other..."

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) recognizes the academic achievement of college students and provides opportunities for its members to grow as scholars and leaders. Established in 1918, PTK has a presence on almost 1,300 community college campuses in 11 nations. More than 3.8 million students have been inducted since 1918, with approximately 250,000 active members in the nation’s community colleges, making Phi Theta Kappa a true catalyst among members and colleges.


Scholarships are available each academic year to PTK members,  based on the student’s academic merit and financial need. Last year, PTK scholars received nearly $1.5 million in aid from GS.

PTK Logo

Lori Paulson '21GS transferred to GS from North Seattle College in Fall 2018 after working in retail management and operations for nearly 12 years. Before graduating in Spring 2021, Lori studied psychology and served the GS community as a Peer Advisor and assistant for the Communications Office.

Enrollment data as of October 1, 2023

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