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Four students walking past the Columbia subway stop

Commuting to Campus

Students enrolled in either our 1-week or 3-week program who are entering grades 9–12 and freshman year of college are eligible to commute to campus. About 40% of our program participants commute, where they still enjoy many campus resources. Students are encouraged to use their midday breaks to enjoy campus activities, commuter lounges, workshops, events and a time to relax. 

Three students working on a project outside on campus.


Students choose one curricular option per session. Courses typically meet for about four hours each day: 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.

Student Life Activities

Every midday break and early evening, students can attend special lectures given by program instructors, workshops on preparing for college, opportunities to explore career fields, and activities designed to build leadership skills.


A wide variety of food is served cafeteria-style and includes vegetarian and vegan options. Kosher and halal meal options are also available. Commuter students are welcome to purchase meals at campus dining halls, though they are not eligible to purchase meal plans.

Safety and Supervision

We are committed to providing a learning environment that is at once unforgettably engaging and undoubtedly safe for all students, balancing the rights of the individual with the safety of all. Our Department of Public Safety provides many services, such as Columbia University EMS, 24-hour guard booths, safety escort programs, and more. We have carefully designed our community guidelines to help share awareness of potentially unsafe situations, how to remain safe, and resources available. To make certain that all of our students are familiar with these guidelines, we require students and their parent(s) or guardian(s) to review all university and program policies and sign the community agreement prior to attending any pre-college program. 


Students in our 3-week and 1-week programs are eligible to commute to campus. Students entering grades 9 through 12 and freshman year of college are eligible to attend as commuter 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.

Explore Our Pre-College Programs

The best way to prepare for college is the way that works best for you. That’s why we offer multiple programs: learn in person or online, during the school year or summertime.

Find Your Program