Admission Inquiries

Columbia College welcomes applications from all individuals who can benefit from a program at the College. We encourage prospective students to visit our campus to meet our staff and students. We are committed to helping individuals make informed decisions about their education.

Alberta Student Number

Applicants must have an Alberta Student Number (ASN). This number can be found or created at If you need help in getting or creating your Alberta Student Number, as Admission Advisor will be glad to help you.

All documents submitted in support of an application for admission become the property of Columbia College and will not be returned to the student.

Accessibility Services

For more information on Columbia’s Accessibility Services, please click here.

Wait Lists

When a Columbia program is oversubscribed (receives more applications than spaces available), only a portion of the applicants can be accommodated. Prospective students may be placed on a waiting list. The wait list is determined by the date the student meets all entry requirements. Early application is advised. Short notice of full acceptance into a program may be necessary when a seat opens up.

Offer of Admission

The offer of admission indicates the start date and the conditions of the offer, if any. The College will assist applicants in completing their financial assistance documents if required.

Qualified applicants who are not accepted for the current start date may have their current application information carried forward to the next session start date. If an applicant chooses to change their start date after the admission process has been completed the student may do this once without an administrative fee of $25. Applicants not admitted to the program of their choice may be advised to upgrade their educational background or attend to other personal areas requiring attention. Once these areas have received satisfactory attention, a student may be considered for admission.

Provisional Admission

All students are considered to be on temporary or provisional admission until they have met all admission requirements. Once a student has submitted the required documentation and met all requirements (including funding, approval/payment), complete admission status is then granted.

The College reserves the right to withdraw admission at any time for academic and non-academic reasons.

For all Professional Programs the College reserves the right to cancel a program start should circumstances warrant it. Students will be notified 5 weeks prior to start of the program.

Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisite courses, if any, for each program are outlined on the course description page for each program.

Applicants who do not have the specific English or math prerequisites choice may be offered these courses through College Prep. See Columbia’s Bridging Programs – College Prep. Students could also seek Academic Upgrading courses at other educational institutions.

Credit for Prior Learning

Applicants with certificates, diplomas or degrees may be admitted to Columbia College to pursue a program. Some courses taken previously may be used to satisfy specific course requirements for a certificate or diploma at Columbia. This opportunity is only available in cases where the program at Columbia charges tuition on a course by course basis. In most cases the student will have to provide a detailed outline of the course he/she has previously taken, transcripts of completion and grades, and may also be required to take a challenge exam to demonstrate he/she still possesses the required knowledge and/or skill(s). An applicant may also choose to prepare a portfolio as a PLAR option. Please contact the PLAR Advisor for more information on Prior Learning Assessments and the costs associated.

Read more in the PLAR Guidelines 2016 document.

Transfer Students

Columbia may grant applicants transfer credit for courses completed at other recognized post-secondary institutions, provided their courses are assessed by Columbia as comparable to courses in their chosen program.

Applicants required to withdraw from other post-secondary institutions may not be eligible for admission to a professional program at Columbia College until 12 months after the date they were required to withdraw.

In order to help determine appropriate transfer credit, students will be requested to submit detailed course outlines for coursework completed at other post-secondary institutions.

Course outlines must include the following information for each course for which transfer credit is requested:

  • detailed list of topics covered;
  • list of textbooks used;
  • grading practices used for the course;
  • number of weeks of attendance (excluding examination period);
  • and number of lecture, tutorial and laboratory hours.

These outlines can normally be obtained from the department offering the course.

Students requesting transfer credit for courses completed at other institutions must submit a Transfer Credit Request Form to the Registrar’s office along with the specific course outline information for each course. The form is available from the Administration Office, Bldg. 802. The required fee must be paid before the Transfer of Credit process begins.

Transfer credit must be assessed and approved during the admission process and prior to the start of the program.

Applicants must meet regular program prerequisites. The College will evaluate the transcript and course outlines and determine credits to be granted. Please refer to the Tuition and Fees page. No adjustments will be made until all assessments of transfer documents have been completed. Applicants will be responsible for full tuition cost unless transfer credits have been approved by the College before beginning the program. Transfer of credits will not be considered once the student has begun a program. Please allow 2-3 weeks to complete this process.

A student may have some or all of his/her previous courses transferred to Columbia College. However, Columbia College requires the student to complete at least half of his/her courses in the program of his/her choice at Columbia College in order to receive a certificate or diploma.

Students should be aware that transfers of credit may affect whether you are considered as a full-time student for government grant and student loan purposes. A full-time student would be enrolled for 60 per cent of the courses in a semester. A student with a disability would be considered full-time if enrolled for 40 per cent of the semester.

For further information, please contact the Registrar’s Office at or the Main office in building 802.

Classification of Students

Registered Student

A registered student is an individual who has:

  • been granted admission to a Columbia College pre-career or professional program;
  • been registered according to the procedures applicable to the program;
  • paid all required registration fees for the applicable period.

Registered student status shall also be accorded to Sponsored Students, Visiting Students, and Auditing Students in Professional programs in which they have satisfied the individual program registration requirements.

The status of the registered student is subject to the student maintaining an appropriate grade point average and adhering to applicable academic, College, and department policies. This status terminates with the student’s withdrawal from the program for any reason or at the end of the later of:
– the last day of instruction or examination;
– the end of the last day of any supervised co-operative education, work experience or practicum.

Registered students fall into the following two categories:

a. Full-time students – i.e., An individual who applies for, is selected, and is registered to take all courses listed in their specific programs as per the full-time course delivery schedule. A student with a permanent disability taking a minimum of 40 per cent of a full course load is considered a full-time student.
b. Part-time students – i.e., An individual who may be allowed to enroll in one or more courses on a course-by-course basis. If the student intends to take their program on a part-time basis (one or more courses at a time), the student is required to go through the same formal selection process as a full-time student. If a student wishes to take only one course or other selected courses, the student may not be required to go through an entire formal selection process. For example, a student may wish to only take an accounting course and not all of the courses leading to a certificate or diploma. The student must follow the Individual Course Registration process established for a course-by-course student. Registration and full payment for the course must be received 10 business days or earlier before the course start date.
A Visiting Student is a registered student in another institution and has received permission in advance to take specific courses at Columbia College. A visiting student will only be registered once all regular students have been accommodated.

An Audit Studentis a registered student who is taking one or more course(s) under the following conditions:

  • will not write any examinations or be evaluated;
  • will not receive credit for the courses taken.

An audit student will only be registered once all regular students have been accommodated.

Readmitted Students

Individuals who discontinued their education for any reason and wish to re-apply for admission to Columbia College must complete a new application and provide any relevant documents as per Columbia College’s readmission policy. Approval to proceed in the process of readmission to Columbia will be determined by the Readmission Committee established by the Office of the Registrar. The Readmission Policy is available on the Columbia College website at, may be requested from the Main Office, Bldg. 802 or from an admission advisor.

Medical and Other Requirements

All students must meet the medical and/or other specific requirements outlined in their specific educational program section.

Application, Selection, Admission, & Registration Procedures Introduction

Columbia College has programs starting throughout the year, and admission to programs is determined on an ongoing basis. Applicants wishing to attend a program on a specific start date must submit their application forms and supporting documents as far in advance as possible. The start dates for each program are listed in each specific program description.

In order to begin taking courses in a program at Columbia an individual will first fill out an application. Once the application is received by the College the student will be taken through a series of steps referred to as the selection process. Those applicants who are considered most suitable candidates will be admitted. Once the successful applicant is admitted he/she will proceed through registration procedures. Each of these four areas is outlined in more detail below.

1. Application

A student’s application must be submitted on the proper application form available from the Main Office in Building 802, Student Admission Advisor, or our website. Every blank space in the application form must be completed in full or marked N.A. (not applicable) if no appropriate answer can be given. Applicants are currently required to pay an application fee covering the administrative costs related to the admission process when applying to a program at Columbia College.

2. Selection Process

Columbia’s goal is to select the most suitable candidates for each program. Columbia’s Student Services Admission Advisors will begin the selection process once they receive a completed Admission Application.

The selection process normally includes the following steps:

  • Establish a student file and thoroughly review all documents including the application form to ensure they are complete, accurate and meet the specific program requirements. All documents submitted in support of an application for admission become the property of Columbia College and will not be returned to the student.
  • Advise the applicant of all documents required and steps involved in the selection process and observe his/her efficiency and effectiveness in responding to requests/requirements;
  • Assess the applicant’s suitability to the field of employment, attitude, motivation level, and work ethic;
  • Assess the applicant’s academic knowledge, skills and abilities (Columbia College Academic Assessment);
  • Assess the applicant’s maturity, level of interest, energy level, commitment to his/her future occupation, willingness to work hard and learn, and become an effective team member.
3. Admission Status

The most suitable applicants will be notified of their admission status as soon as possible. The normal processing time for admission is one to three weeks after all required documents/information have been received by the College and all steps in the selection process have been completed.

Columbia College reserves the right to refuse admission to any individual.

Once a student has been admitted, if required, it may take an additional eight weeks from the time a funding application is sent in to secure grant funding from the government and approximately four weeks for funding from Student Aid Alberta. Students with documented permanent disabilities applying for disability-related funding will need approximately three to six months to complete the process, provided that the student has acceptable documentation to support the disability. An Accessibility Services Advisor will guide the student through the funding application process. To learn more about Columbia’s Accessibility Services, please click here.

Applicants will be advised of their admission status as follows:

Provisional Acceptance
Applicants who are provisionally accepted are individuals who must still meet certain admission requirements. This status does not guarantee a seat in a program or course until all admission conditions are met, the Contract of Tuition is signed and required registration fees paid (Professional Programs).

The most suitable applicants who meet all academic and other program requirements may be deemed accepted. Seats will be reserved for these individuals once their contracts are signed, required fees paid, and tuition funding approved.

Waiting List
When the number of accepted applicants has reached the maximum number that can be accommodated, the remaining most suitable applicants, who have met all acceptance requirements, will be placed on a waiting list. When space becomes available they will then be considered for acceptance status. Waiting list applicants who are not accepted for the current session are not required to re-submit new application forms to be considered for acceptance in the subsequent intake unless they ask to be withdrawn from future enrollment.

Declined Applicants
Applicants who are not admitted.

Cancelled Applicants
Applicants who advise that they do not wish to enroll in the selected program or course.

4. Registration Procedures

A Professional Program applicant who has been admitted to a program/course will be considered a registered student once he/she has paid the applicable registration fees and has signed a Contract of Tuition form. The student will have also received information on policies applicable to students and signed a document which provides information concerning graduation rates for his/her program of choice. This means that he/she will be expected to begin attending classes on the date stated on his/her program contract. Seats will be reserved for all students who have signed tuition contracts and paid the registration fees unless a student has been specifically advised that he/she is being placed on a waiting list. Some registered students may be advised, at the time they are arranging their finances and signing their tuition contracts, that they will be put on a waiting list. Please note that tuitions may change in August of each year and students enrolled to take programs on or after that date are subject to those new fees.

Candidates who submit applications earlier and are formally admitted sooner will be able to move on to the registration process faster. Those who have completed the registration process earlier will have a greater chance of being assured a seat in a program.

When several students complete the registration process in the same period of time Columbia will move to prioritizing registration on the following basis:

  • first priority – students active in the College at the end of the previous semester, pursuing a full program of study continuing from one semester or year of study to the next or moving from one program to another;
  • second priority – students newly admitted or readmitted to the College on a full-time basis, and have paid the applicable registration fee;
  • third priority – students active in the College at the end of the previous semester but who are not pursuing a full-time program of study;
  • fourth priority – students newly admitted or readmitted to the College but who are not pursuing a full-time program of study;
  • fifth priority – visiting students admitted to the College with a letter of authority from their home institutions;
  • sixth priority – seniors*, audit students, and other students not officially admitted to the College.

* Please note: Some seniors may qualify for the senior citizen fee reduction. Please contact an advisor for more information.