Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

The Application Process

Campus Resources

What is the program cost?

Program costs can be found on the Tuition & Fees webpage.

Do you offer financial aid?

Individual applications for financial aid are not accepted. To learn about outside opportunities for financial assistance, we advise students to speak with their school's guidance counselor for information on how to search for financial aid and scholarship opportunities from outside sources and organizations.

Will participating in this program help me get into Columbia College?

Like any extracurricular activity, participation in this program can help you to present yourself as an interesting candidate. Additionally, the instructor-written evaluations that you receive upon completion of the program can potentially be used as college recommendations.

Where are classes held?

Classes are held on Columbia University’s tranquil, 36-acre main campus in Morningside Heights on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Is there a dress code?

There is no dress code for the Summer Program for High School Students. We recommend that students wear cool, comfortable clothing.

How much do books and course materials cost?

The cost of books and materials varies from class to class. Students should budget approximately $50 for course materials.

How much homework do teachers assign?

The amount of homework varies from one class to another. In most cases, students should expect no more than two hours of homework per night.

Do I need to add money to my student Flex/Dining Dollars account?

No. Students should not add money to Flex or Dining accounts. All students receive a meal plan for the duration of the program. Please note that money added to Flex and Dining accounts cannot be refunded.

What are you looking for in an applicant?

The admissions committee looks for talented, highly-motivated students who are interested in attending the program because they have a passion for learning and wish to enrich their knowledge of the particular field for which they are applying.

Though there are no set minimum requirements (such as a particular GPA), the application materials should establish that the student has the necessary academic background and level of ability, motivation, and maturity necessary for the curricular option for which he or she is applying. Students must present evidence of the completion of any particular prerequisites identified in the individual program descriptions.

May I still be in the program if I am already a senior in high school?

Yes, you still qualify for participation in the program.

For recommendation letter #1, may I submit a letter from a teacher who knows me well instead of from my principal, headmaster, or guidance counselor?

No. No substitutions are accepted for letter #1. Most principals, headmasters, and guidance counselors check with the student’s teachers before writing recommendations. The perspective of an administrator is valuable in making admissions decisions.

What if my PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores are low?

We do not ask for these scores as part of the application. If they are available, we will consider them, particularly in the case of students applying to study science or math.

I took the program last year. Must I reapply?

You should submit a new application form, the Behavioral Standards Consent Form, a letter from an instructor, and an up-to-date high school transcript. You need not submit a personal essay, the application fee, or a recommendation from a guidance counselor or principal. Creative writing applicants should follow the directions for submitting required writing samples. When applying online you should follow the application instructions for past participants.

May I apply to Session I, Session II, and Session III?

Yes, you may apply to take courses in multiple sessions. Make certain that you indicate clearly your interest in multiple sessions on your application form.

May I take more than one curricular option?

You may take only one curricular option per session.

When will I be notified of an admissions decision?

It normally takes three to five weeks to receive a decision after all application materials have been received.

Should I expect additional mailings after receiving my admissions letter?

You will receive instructional emails after submitting your enrollment form and committing to attend the program, but no mailings will be sent via postal mail.

Do students have access to campus facilities?

Students in the Summer Program have access to Columbia University’s classrooms, laboratories, on-campus cafés, libraries, computer labs, and student activities center. Students do not have library borrowing privileges.

Will I have access to a computer? Should I bring a laptop? Is the campus wireless?

Students have access to computer clusters and laboratories throughout the campus. These facilities range from informational kiosks to high-end workstations to walk-in consulting centers.

Most of the campus is wireless.

Are there accommodations for students with disabilities?

The University provides a full range of services and accommodations to assist students with disabilities. Upon acceptance into the program, students seeking assistance should contact the Disability Services Office. Only students who identify their disabilities well in advance can be assured of accommodation upon their arrival on campus.

Residential students requiring special accommodations should also e-mail the Office of Admissions at

Is there an ATM on campus?

There are Citibank ATMs on campus in Lerner Student Center and Uris Hall. They accept all major ATM cards. ATMs for most other major American banks can be found along Broadway, within a few blocks of the campus.

Are there practice rooms for musicians and dancers?

There are a number of pianos on campus that can be used by students on an informal basis. Private practice rooms are not available to students in the Summer Program.

If I am under 16, may I live in the dormitories?

Students who are 16 years old by the start of the program qualify automatically for residential status.

Students who will be 15 years old by the start of the program may reside in the dormitories only with special permission. The student's parents or guardians should submit a note to attesting to his or her exceptional maturity. Younger students are housed with the other students in the program and are assumed to be at the maturity level of 16- and 17-year-olds.

The residential option is not available for students who are not yet 15 by the beginning of the program.