Founded in 1936, Columbia College first offered high school completion programs to hundreds of students. In 1965 the College added university transfer courses to its offerings, and in the 1970s introduced an English as a Second Language Program to meet the needs of the increasing number of international students.
In 1985 Columbia College moved from downtown Vancouver to Burnaby, to a location near Metrotown Centre. Over the next twelve years the College's programs expanded significantly; in particular, the College broadened its offerings in the areas of business and engineering. During this period Columbia College established its reputation as Canada's premier university-preparatory school for international students.
In 1997 the College returned to a downtown Vancouver location, to share a new facility with the British Columbia Institute of Technology. In this building the College is able to provide new, expanded science laboratories, state-of-the-art classrooms, improved and expanded library facilities and a refurbished Testing and Tutorial Centre, as well as student lounges and study areas.
In 2011, Columbia College celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding. The College is a non-profit society, with about 1,000 students from around the world, and in May 2013 will move to its own brand new campus on Terminal Street, in Vancouver, near Science World. Many thousands of Canadian and international students have completed their qualifications at Columbia College and proceeded to university. The College will continue to provide excellent preparation for university entrance in the years to come.