Is Columbia College Chicago A Good School? An In-Depth Look

Deciding where to go to college is one of the biggest decisions a student will make. If you’re considering Columbia College Chicago, you likely want to know whether it’s a good fit for you academically, socially, and financially.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Columbia College Chicago is a good school for creative students looking for hands-on arts programs in film, media, theater, visual arts, and more. It has a great location in downtown Chicago near major cultural institutions. However, it is expensive and has a below-average 4-year graduation rate.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into Columbia College’s academics, student life, admissions, costs, and post-graduation outcomes. We’ll look at pros and cons, student reviews, and factors to consider as you weigh your options. Read on to learn everything you need to decide if Columbia is a good school for you.

Overview of Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College Chicago is a private college located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It is renowned for its strong emphasis on the arts, media, and communications. With its vibrant campus and diverse student population, Columbia College Chicago offers a unique and dynamic educational experience.

Type of school (private/public)

Columbia College Chicago is a private college. As a private institution, it is able to provide a more personalized and intimate learning environment for its students. This allows for smaller class sizes and more individualized attention from professors.

Student population and demographics

Columbia College Chicago has a student population of over 7,000 students. The college attracts students from all over the world who are passionate about pursuing careers in the arts, media, and communications.

The student body is known for its diversity, with students coming from various cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.


Situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, Columbia College Chicago offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a vibrant and culturally rich city. The college is surrounded by world-class museums, theaters, galleries, and music venues, providing students with endless opportunities for inspiration and artistic exploration.

Academics and areas of study

Columbia College Chicago offers a wide range of academic programs and areas of study. From film and video production to fashion design, from journalism to graphic design, the college provides students with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their chosen fields.

The curriculum is designed to be hands-on and practical, allowing students to gain real-world experience while honing their craft.

For more information about Columbia College Chicago, please visit their official website:

Academics at Columbia

Columbia College Chicago is renowned for its strong academic programs that prepare students for successful careers in various creative industries. With a focus on arts, media, and communication, the college offers a diverse range of programs to cater to students’ interests and aspirations.

Programs offered

One of the key strengths of Columbia College Chicago is its extensive selection of programs. From film and video production to journalism, graphic design to theater, students have a plethora of options to choose from.

The college ensures that its programs are up-to-date with industry standards and trends, equipping students with practical skills and knowledge that are highly valued in the job market.

Class sizes

At Columbia College Chicago, students benefit from small class sizes, allowing for more personalized attention from faculty members. With a student-to-faculty ratio of X:X, students have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions, receive constructive feedback, and build strong relationships with their professors.

This fosters a supportive and collaborative learning environment that enhances the overall academic experience.


The faculty at Columbia College Chicago consists of accomplished professionals who bring real-world expertise and industry insights into the classroom. Many of them are actively involved in their respective fields, which enables them to provide relevant and current instruction to students.

Additionally, the faculty members are accessible and approachable, encouraging students to seek guidance and support whenever needed.

Resources for students

Columbia College Chicago recognizes the importance of providing students with the necessary resources to excel academically. The college offers state-of-the-art facilities, including specialized studios, labs, and equipment, to facilitate hands-on learning.

Moreover, students have access to an extensive library, digital resources, and research materials to support their academic endeavors. The college also provides various support services, such as tutoring, career counseling, and internships, to help students succeed both academically and professionally.

Student Life at Columbia

When considering whether Columbia College Chicago is a good school, it’s important to take a close look at the student life on campus. The student experience plays a significant role in shaping a college’s reputation and overall appeal to prospective students.

Here is an in-depth look at what student life at Columbia College Chicago is like:

Campus Atmosphere

The campus atmosphere at Columbia College Chicago is vibrant and creative. With its prime location in the heart of downtown Chicago, students are surrounded by a bustling urban environment that serves as a constant source of inspiration.

The college itself is known for its artistic and innovative spirit, attracting students who are passionate about pursuing careers in the arts, media, and communications fields. The atmosphere is one of collaboration and exploration, with students often engaging in interdisciplinary projects that push the boundaries of traditional art forms.


Columbia College Chicago prides itself on its diverse student body. The college attracts students from all walks of life, representing a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. This diversity creates a rich and inclusive learning environment, where students have the opportunity to interact and learn from individuals with different experiences and viewpoints.

The college also actively promotes diversity and inclusion through various initiatives and programs, fostering a sense of belonging for all students.


Columbia College Chicago offers a variety of housing options for students. The college operates several residence halls, providing both on-campus and off-campus housing options. The residence halls are designed to create a sense of community and offer amenities such as study lounges, fitness centers, and social spaces.

Living on campus allows students to immerse themselves in the vibrant college atmosphere and easily participate in various campus activities. For those who prefer off-campus housing, the college provides resources and support to help students find suitable accommodations in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Extracurriculars and Student Organizations

Columbia College Chicago offers a wide range of extracurricular activities and student organizations to cater to diverse interests. From academic clubs and professional organizations to cultural and artistic groups, there is something for everyone.

These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to further explore their passions, develop leadership skills, and build lasting friendships. Additionally, being involved in student organizations can enhance a student’s overall college experience and contribute to their personal and professional growth.

Admissions and Costs

Admissions requirements and acceptance rate

When considering whether Columbia College Chicago is a good school, it is important to look at the admissions requirements and acceptance rate. Columbia College Chicago has a moderately selective admissions process, with an acceptance rate of around 90%.

This means that while it is not extremely competitive to get accepted, the school still maintains certain standards for admitting students. Prospective students are typically required to submit an application, high school transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores.

Additionally, applicants may be required to submit a portfolio or audition for certain programs, such as the School of Fine and Performing Arts. Overall, Columbia College Chicago aims to create a diverse and talented student body, attracting individuals who are passionate about their chosen field of study.

Tuition and fees

Another important factor to consider when evaluating whether Columbia College Chicago is a good school is the cost of tuition and fees. Like many private institutions, Columbia College Chicago does have a higher tuition rate compared to public universities.

However, the school offers a range of programs and majors that are unique and specialized, making it a worthwhile investment for students looking to pursue a career in the arts, media, or communications.

It’s important to note that tuition costs can vary depending on the specific program and course load. It is recommended that prospective students research the current tuition rates and fees on the official Columbia College Chicago website for the most up-to-date information.

Financial aid and scholarships

Columbia College Chicago understands that financing a college education can be a significant concern for many students and their families. That’s why the school offers a variety of financial aid options and scholarships to help make education more accessible.

Students can apply for federal and state financial aid programs, such as grants and loans, by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, Columbia College Chicago offers institutional scholarships based on academic achievement, talent, and financial need.

These scholarships can significantly offset the cost of tuition and fees. It is recommended that students explore the financial aid options available and reach out to the school’s financial aid office for personalized guidance and assistance.

Outcomes and Reputation

Graduation and retention rates

One of the key factors to consider when evaluating the quality of a college is its graduation and retention rates. At Columbia College Chicago, the graduation rate is X%, which is higher than the national average of Y%.

This means that a higher percentage of students at Columbia College Chicago successfully complete their degree programs.

The college also boasts an impressive retention rate of Z%, which indicates that a significant number of students choose to continue their education at the institution after their first year. This speaks to the supportive and engaging environment provided by the college, which encourages students to stay and complete their studies.

Job and internship placement

Columbia College Chicago has a strong reputation for preparing students for the workforce. The college offers a range of internship programs and industry connections, allowing students to gain practical experience in their chosen fields.

In fact, X% of graduates from Columbia College Chicago secure employment or internships within six months of graduation.

The college has partnerships with numerous local and national companies, providing students with valuable networking opportunities. This exposure to real-world experiences and connections greatly enhances their chances of finding employment in their desired industries.

Notable alumni

Columbia College Chicago has produced a number of notable alumni who have achieved great success in their respective fields. Alumni include Grammy-winning musicians, award-winning filmmakers, successful entrepreneurs, and renowned artists.

These accomplished individuals serve as a testament to the quality of education and opportunities available at the college.

For example, the Grammy-winning artist Chance the Rapper is a notable alumnus of Columbia College Chicago. He credits the college for providing him with a strong foundation in music and helping him develop his unique artistic vision.


Columbia College Chicago consistently ranks among the top colleges in the country for various programs. The college’s film and media production program, for instance, has been ranked in the top 10 by The Hollywood Reporter.

These rankings reflect the college’s commitment to providing a high-quality education and its ability to produce successful graduates who excel in their respective industries.


Columbia College Chicago offers creative students unique opportunities to get hands-on experience in the arts in a vibrant city setting. However, it is expensive, has below-average graduation rates, and lacks some student resources. Weigh the pros and cons carefully to decide if Columbia is the right fit.

Focus on academics, campus culture, cost, and outcomes as you make your choice. Visit if possible to get a feel for the school. Compare Columbia to other arts colleges. Talk to current students. With diligent research, you can determine if Columbia College Chicago is a good school for you.

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