List College Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions FAQ

Q. Can I submit the Common Application?
A. Yes. Students applying to List College's Joint Program with Columbia University and Double Degree Program with Barnard College must submit the Common Application and the List College Supplement.

Q. What is the difference between applying to the Joint Program and the Double Degree Program?
The Double Degree Program with Barnard College is for women only. Applicants must submit the Barnard College application to Barnard and the List College application to List College. Each admissions committee meets separately to review the applications, and then come together to make a joint decision. A student cannot be accepted into only one school.

The Joint Program with Columbia University is open to both men and women. Students applying to this program only need to submit the List College application to List College. List College shares and distributes application materials to Columbia. Together, a joint admissions committee reaches a decision. A student cannot be accepted into only one school. Women are encouraged to apply to both the Joint Degree and Double Degree programs. However, if you apply Early Decision, you must chose to apply to either the Joint Program or the Double Degree Program.

NOTE: Students who apply to the Joint Program may not also apply to Columbia College or SEAS (The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science). Students who have applied to Columbia College or SEAS within the past three years are not eligible to apply to the Joint Program with the School of General Studies. 

Q. Will I have a harder time being admitted if I didn't go to a Jewish day school?
No. We admit students from all educational and Jewish backgrounds. Although many of our applicants attended day school through sixth or eighth grade, the majority come from public or secular private high schools.

Q. Do I have to be fluent in Hebrew to be admitted?
No. Although achieving a certain level of Hebrew is a graduation requirement at List College, students enter at all levels. Some previous Hebrew background is beneficial in meeting this requirement, however, no student will be denied admission because of his or her Hebrew skills. Taking Hebrew at List College satisfies the foreign language requirement at both Columbia and Barnard.

Q. What kind of grades and test scores do I need to be admitted?
There is no minimum GPA or test score. We consider the entire application, not focusing entirely on the numbers. Students who are accepted typically have As and Bs on their high school transcripts and have taken a rigorous course load for four years. Students tend to score in the mid-to-high 600s on each of the three sections of the SAT. The average ACT score is between 29 and 31.

Q. Should I take the SAT or the ACT?
We accept either the SAT or the ACT with writing. In addition, students who apply to the Double Degree Program must take two SAT subject tests and have the scores sent directly to Barnard.

Q. What should I write in my personal statement?
Concentrate on telling us who you are in your essay. The best essays are not autobiographies, but those in which the writer reflects thoughtfully on a subject of personal interest or significance. The essay is your opportunity to share with us information that we cannot learn from your résumé or transcript. It is the best way to distinguish you from other applicants. Therefore, you should probably not write about subjects like Poland/Israel pilgrimages or summer trips to Israel, since many other students may write on the same topic. You want your essay to stand out from the rest. Whatever topic you choose, make sure you proofread and spell-check your essay.

Q. Does List College require an interview?
. Interviews are not required, but they are strongly recommended. Just like the essay, the interview gives you the opportunity to help us learn more about you.

Q. When can I come visit?
Students should visit us during a time that is most convenient for them. However, we strongly encourage prospective students to visit during the week so they can get a feel for life on campus. Tours can be scheduled Sunday through Friday, and interviews are held Monday through Thursday. To arrange a visit, students should contact the List College Admissions Office at (212) 678-8832 or In addition to an interview, students can tour all three campuses and sit in on a class.

Q. When is my application due?
Applications must be received in their entirety by the following deadlines:

Fall Early Decision for the Double Degree Program: November 1
Fall Early Decision for the Joint Program: November 15
Winter Early Decision (Joint Program only): January 15
Regular Decision for the Double Degree Program: January 1
Regular Decision for the Joint Program or List College only: February 15
Transfer for the Double Degree Program (Fall admission only): March 15

Transfer for the Joint Program (Fall admission only): April 1

Q. When will I find out if I've been admitted?
Fall Early Decision applicants will be notified by December 15, and Joint Program winter Early Decision applicants will hear by February 15. Notification for Regular Decision is sent to Joint Program applicants by April 1. Double Degree applicants will hear by April 1. Transfer applicants will be notified by May 15.

General FAQ

Q. What exactly are the dual-degree programs?
List College, the undergraduate school of The Jewish Theological Seminary, truly offers students the best of both worlds. Students who enroll in one of our dual-degree programs receive two degrees: a BA in an area of Jewish Studies from JTS and a BA or BS in the liberal arts or science major of their choice from either Columbia University or Barnard College. Our students enjoy the benefits of a warm Jewish community at JTS and the excitement of the urban campuses of Columbia and Barnard.

Q. How many students are enrolled at List College?
Approximately 200 students are enrolled at List College. Each incoming class has anywhere from 40 to 50 students. Three-fourths of these students are enrolled in the Joint Program with Columbia, since it is open to both men and women. Students in the Double Degree Program with Barnard make up about one-fourth of each class.

Q. What's the difference between Columbia College and the Columbia School of General Studies?
Columbia University has four undergraduate schools: Columbia College, Barnard College, the School of General Studies (GS), and The Fu School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Columbia College does not allow students to pursue two degrees simultaneously, nor does it allow students to enroll if they've had a break in their education between high school and college. The School of General Studies is designed to meet the needs of students who are not following a traditional college path. For our students, this means enrollment in a dual-degree program and/or not enrolling immediately after high school. GS serves as an administrative portal that provides advising, academic support, its own student council, and a warm, supportive enclave in the larger Columbia University community for students embarking on an undergraduate career on the proverbial "road less traveled." Otherwise, GS students, and therefore Joint Program students, are fully integrated into Columbia University undergraduate courses along with their fellow students from Columbia College, SEAS, and Barnard.

There are several advantages to the List College / GS relationship:

1. While GS students may opt into many of the Columbia College core courses, the GS core may be mostly fulfilled by completing distribution requirements. This gives Joint Program students, who are balancing two schools' schedules, more flexibility in how they satisfy their Columbia core requirements.

2. In addition to an advisor at List College, each student is assigned an advisor at GS who is uniquely experienced in assisting students who are balancing the requirements of two degrees.

3. In the application process, prospective Joint Program students are evaluated in a separate pool of only Joint Program candidates.

4. Because all of the schools within Columbia University have cross-registration agreements, students in the Joint Program may also take classes at Barnard College to fulfill many core and major requirements.

Q. Will I need to take twice the number of credits in order to earn two degrees? How does the dual-degree program work?
Surprisingly, you will not take twice as many credits. While a typical undergraduate degree is 124 credits, students in our dual-degree programs complete an average of 154 credits; this works out to about 1/3 more credits than a single BA. Practically, this means that, while many college students take four to five classes in a semester, List College students take five to six classes each term.

Q. That sounds like a lot of work. Will I be able to graduate in four years?
Eighty-five percent of List College students finish in four years (the same percentage of students in all US colleges complete their undergraduate work in four years). If a student chooses a particularly challenging major or is a beginner in Hebrew, it may take slightly longer. However, students who are determined to complete both degrees in four years do so by attending summer school for one or two summers and/or taking heavier course loads during the traditional academic year.

Q. I think I want to study abroad during college. Will I have time for that?
Absolutely! Many students study abroad for a semester, usually during their junior year. We are happy to help students plan an academic schedule that allows them to study abroad and graduate on time. We also work with students to choose courses that will maximize the number of transfer credits they receive. List College students have studied in many countries, including Israel, Egypt, England, Brazil, France, Italy, Ireland, Jamaica, and Australia. To guarantee a successful semester abroad, students should begin planning as early as possible.

Q. Can I defer my acceptance to study in Israel?
 Admitted students who wish to defer enrollment must obtain permission by writing to Sarah Steinmann, assistant director of Admissions, explaining the reasons for the deferral request. Such a request is normally granted for purposes of work, travel, or pursuit of a special interest. Students are not allowed to matriculate at another institution during that year and should relinquish their space on any wait lists for other institutions. Written deferral requests must be received by February 1 for students admitted Early Decision I, March 15 for students admitted Early Decision II, and May 1 for students admitted Regular Decision. Deferral requests do not factor into evaluations or committee decisions. Students can only defer for one or two years. Transfer students are not permitted to defer their enrollment.

Q: I've taken Jewish studies classes at another college. Can I get List College credit for this work?
You may apply to receive credit for college-level work done after your junior year of high school on the campus of an accredited college or university. This work must not have been counted toward high school graduation requirements.

Q. Can I receive credit from AP tests?
Yes. Credit from qualifying Advanced Placement (AP) scores can count toward your List College elective requirements. List adheres to Columbia's and Barnard's standards to determine how much AP credit to award and which AP subjects and scores are eligible for credit. You should arrange to have your AP scores sent to Columbia (Joint Program students) or Barnard (Double Degree students) for processing. A chart of AP tests, scores, and credit available can be found at Columbia University's School of General Studies.

Q. I've been in Jewish day school for 12 years. What can these programs offer me?
One thing that sets List College apart from other institutions is that we offer courses that are appropriately challenging for students with a wide range of backgrounds. For students coming from a Jewish day school or yeshiva, we have advanced courses in Bible, Talmud, Hebrew language, Hebrew literature, and Liturgy. Students with many years of previous formal Jewish education relish the opportunity to delve more deeply into these subjects. Meanwhile, students who come from public, private, or secular schools may begin with introductory courses that will prepare them to move on to more advanced courses in their areas of concentration. Students are placed into the appropriate levels of classes through a combination of placement testing and one-on-one advising.

Q. I've never studied Hebrew formally. Will I be able to succeed at List?
Yes! The List College Hebrew requirement specifies how much Hebrew you need to know in order to graduate; there is no Hebrew requirement for entrance to the college. The JTS Hebrew program will give you the confidence to read and analyze texts from biblical times through the present day.

Q. Where will I live?
Students in the Joint Program are guaranteed housing at JTS for four years. Double Degree students are also guaranteed JTS housing for four years, and they have the additional option of living in Barnard College housing. First- and second-year students live a few short blocks from Columbia and JTS. These students enjoy suite-style living, sharing a bedroom with one or two other students and a common room and full kitchen with six to eight others. Upper-class students live in apartment-style housing, also in close proximity to Columbia and JTS.

Q. What is Jewish life like on campus?
Students come to JTS with varying levels of Jewish involvement and affiliation. Students choose to join the JTS community for a wide variety of reasons, some educational and some related to lifestyle. Some students are looking for a Jewish community. Some are searching for an environment that supports their current Jewish observance or seeking the chance to explore a different level of observance. Some are seeking a formal Jewish education. Many are looking for some combination of all of these factors. Students in the Joint and Double Degree programs have access to a wide variety of opportunities to explore and enhance their Jewish identity through Jewish activities at JTS, Columbia, and Barnard, and in greater New York City. There are kosher dining options on all three campuses, and students participate in Jewish a cappella, tikkun olam projects, Shabbat dinners, and sukkah and holiday festivities. We encourage students to involve themselves in whatever ways they feel most comfortable. The pluralistic environment at JTS allows students to explore and develop their Jewish involvement at their own pace. Many List College students are active members of Hillel.

Q. What are some of the extracurricular opportunities for List College students?
Our students manage to have time for myriad extracurricular activities spanning all three campuses. List College students participate and take leadership roles in activities as diverse as sports, Greek life, student government, campus journalism, marching band, dance, and community service groups. Additionally, many of our students have internships with top marketing firms, political organizations, broadcasting companies, investment banks, and social service agencies.

There are many resources available on all three campuses to help students manage their time, including tutors and advisors. Also, all first-year students take LIST 101. This one-credit course is specifically designed to help students make the transition to college life. The course teaches new students how to stay focused and healthy while enjoying the freedom of being on their own, and also helps provide an extended orientation to our unique dual-degree programs.

Q. What are the benefits of a List College degree?
Earning two bachelor's degrees from two top universities has its benefits. Graduate schools and employers are impressed by our students' well-rounded knowledge, passion, and values. Our alumni successfully pursue career paths in a wide variety of fields that span industries and continents, including law, medicine, finance, art, education, the rabbinate, social services, politics, and other non- and for-profit businesses.

Q. How will List College help prepare me for a career after graduation?
List College offers students and alumni a vast array of career-related services. For a list of career-service programs, visit Services for Current Students. List College works in conjunction with career services at Columbia University and Barnard College.