The Commuter Experience

A Rich Academic and Social Experience

“I’ve made friends from all over the world and have learned materials that have broadened my view on the world and diversity. ”
– Jun T. | Bellevue, Washington

40% of program participants attend the program as day students. Along with students in the residential program, they take part in intensive classes every morning and afternoon and are able to participate in daily recreational, co-curricular, and community outreach programs during the midday break and in the early evening.


Students choose one curricular option per session. Each curricular option comprises a variety of related components that provide an in-depth and interactive examination of a particular subject. Courses typically meet for approximately two hours each morning and two hours every afternoon, Monday through Friday. Some courses meet for more than four hours per day; see individual course pages.

Upon successful completion of the program, students receive a Columbia University Statement of Completion and evaluations written by their teachers; see program policies for further details.

Courses are taught by members of the Columbia University community, scholars devoted to the highest standards of research and teaching. Combining their efforts with those of trained and experienced course assistants, the teachers create a rich academic experience drawing on the wealth of educational resources at Columbia University and in New York City. Teacher biographical information is available at the bottom of each course description page.

General information about program academics can be found on our FAQ page.

Activities & Campus Resources

Recreational and co-curricular activities are offered daily during the midday break. These include college preparedness programs, special lectures given by program instructors, community outreach and awareness projects, and special interest clubs. Commuting students are also welcome to participate in evening and weekend community outreach activities, special interest clubs and seminars, cultural activities, and a talent show.

Campus resources include a student activities center, a physical fitness center, 25 libraries that hold over 9 million volumes, computer clusters and labs throughout the campus, on-campus cafés and lounges, and a student services office.


Students entering grades 9 through 12 and freshman year of college are eligible to attend as day students.

All admitted commuter students must provide documentation as part of the enrollment process that they will live at a residence that includes direct adult supervision in the form of family members or family friends who will live in the same residence. Students must attest that they will not take unsupervised housing in the form of hotel rooms, Airbnb rentals, hostels or other such accommodation.