Transfer and Visiting Students FAQ
Is housing available to transfer students?
Do transfer and visiting students fill out a separate application for admission?
Yes. Prospective transfer and visiting students must apply online, using the Transfer and Visiting Student Application. Please note that some application requirements for transfer and visiting students are significantly different from those of regular J.D. applicants. Please visit the Transfer Students or Visiting Students sections of our website for more information regarding our application forms.
What are the admissions deadlines for transfer and visiting students?
Transfer students begin their studies at Columbia Law School in the fall term; the deadline for applying is July 15. Current law students who wish to take upperclass courses at Columbia, but do not plan to matriculate for the Columbia Law School degree, should apply for visiting status. As with our first-year candidates, the Admissions Committee will review transfer and visiting applications on a rolling basis in the order in that they are completed.
How many credits are required to apply as a transfer student?
Applicants are eligible to apply for transfer admission once you have accrued a minimum of 28, and a maximum of 32, credits from law schools that are either members of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) or approved by the American Bar Association's section on Legal Education. In some cases, we are able to consider applicants with fewer than 28 and more than 32 credits; applicants to whom this applies must include a written explanation in their application for admission.
Please note that after you have transferred, a review with the Director of Academic Counseling will determine how many of the credits that you earned at your prior school will be eligible toward your Columbia Law School J.D. and whether you have completed Columbia Law School’s core first-year curriculum. Work completed at another law school is generally accepted at the credit value assigned by the original institution, up to a maximum of 32 law credits. Generally, no credit toward the Columbia J.D. is granted for summer school courses or for non-law courses. No credit will be accepted in transfer for courses in which the student has received a grade lower than a C, or, generally, for courses graded on a Pass/Fail system.
At least 83 academic points must be earned in order to complete the Columbia Law School J.D. For students who spent their first year of law school at another U.S. law school, at least 51 of these points must be taken at Columbia Law School, since a maximum of 32 credits may be accepted in transfer. Transfer students must complete four terms of full-time residency at Columbia Law School as a matriculant in the J.D. program.
I will not have completed 28 law credits by July 15, but will exceed the minimum credit requirement by the end of the summer. Can my transfer application be considered provisionally while the remaining credits are fulfilled?
Transfer applicants must have completed a minimum of 28 law credits by the time they apply. In the majority of cases, we are unable to accept law credits from summer classes. If an applicant has completed fewer than 28 credits at the time of application submission, then he or she must provide a written explanation.
Is a dean’s appraisal/certification form from my current law school required?
Yes. A dean’s appraisal/certification form (or a letter on institutional letterhead) is required from a dean or other administrator who has access to your academic records recommending you for transfer admission and discussing your standing at the law school.
In addition, transfer applicants must submit dean's appraisal/certification forms, or equivalent certifications, from every other educational institution at which you have been matriculated toward a degree (regardless of whether a degree was conferred) throughout your educational career.
I applied to Columbia as a first-year applicant to the J.D. program. Is there anything from my previous application that I can still use?
Our office retains application materials for one year and, as a result, some of those materials may be used in transfer admission. However, it is the responsibility of transfer applicants to instruct the Admissions Committee as to which components of their previously submitted application they would like us to consider.
Is there a student organization for transfer and visiting law students at Columbia?
Yes. The Transfer and Visiting Student Organization (TVSO) is open to all students and is primarily designed to ease the transition of transfer and visiting students into the Columbia Law School community. TVSO aims to achieve its goals by establishing a support network through which these students may gain insight and information about the Law School from experienced students and faculty while providing opportunities for transfer and visiting students to gather and discuss important issues particular to their status.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the organization at [email protected]
Can transfer students participate in the Early Interview Program (EIP) to explore summer associate opportunities for their 2L summer?
Yes. Transfer students are eligible to take part in the Office of Career Services’ Early Interview Program (EIP) for 2L summer associate positions, which occurs on August 1, 2, 3, and 4. In order to participate fully in this program, transfer students must be admitted to the Law School at least one week prior to the start of the program. Admitted transfer applicants must also submit their deposit to the Office of Admissions prior to their participation in EIP. Once these conditions are met, newly admitted transfer students will be able to participate in the program along with the rest of the rising 2L class.
Is housing available to transfer students?
Our housing office makes every effort to accommodate transfer students; however, on-campus housing for transfer students cannot be guaranteed.
Are transfer students eligible to apply to the Law School’s student journals?
Yes. Transfer students are eligible to apply to participate in all student law journals at Columbia Law School. Each journal has its own application criteria. With the exception of Columbia Law Review, transfer students are informed of application procedures for journal participation upon admission to Columbia Law School as a transfer student.
2018 Columbia Law Review Transfer Application Process
Transfer students with an interest in the Columbia Law Review may apply in one of two ways: through an annual week-long transfer application period in July (details below), or the Publishable Notes Program during the academic year.
Columbia Law Review Transfer Application
The transfer application for the Columbia Law Review consists of two primary elements—the writing component and the personal statement—about which more information may be found on the Columbia Law Review page.
The application period will be held for approximately one week in July 2018, with offers made to accepted transfer students no later than one week following the application period. Successful applicants who accept an offer must attend the journal's Staffer Orientation. Transfer applicants should participate in the journal application process even prior to the submission of an application for Columbia Law School admission and prior to receiving any admissions decision.
Check the Columbia Law Review page for information about how to apply. Any questions about the transfer application process should be directed to Megan Ji at [email protected].
For more information regarding other journals, please see the Journal website.