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Student Life

Our pre-college programs are designed to be an enriching experience. We’ve developed an intentional set of co-curricular activities to supplement the academic side of our programs beyond the classroom, so students get even more opportunities to learn and make new connections.

College Preparation

Students will learn to deftly navigate the college application process, write compelling and impressive essays, and develop skills and strategies to help them succeed in college. Students are invited to attend college preparation events in the form of seminars, workshops, and lectures to prepare for the academic rigors of university life. Our dedicated instructors and staff will help students find the right college fit for their personality and learn what steps to take to achieve it all.

Health and Wellness

Self-care is an essential skill when it comes to success, yet it is too often undervalued and overlooked. With fitness classes, weekly wellness activities, and access to the campus fitness center, students can learn these important skills, their impact, and meet new friends. If any student experiences personal challenges during their time in the program, our Student Wellness Office will work closely with our program team to provide support. Additionally, students have access to our on-campus health facilities should they need medical care.

Cross-Cultural Community Building 

As New York’s oldest university, we are humbled to be part of one of the most celebrated cities in the entire world. Undoubtedly, one of the things that makes New York City so uniquely famous is indeed its diversity—of cultures, subcultures, identities, and perspectives. This multiplicity is another strength we are devoted to fostering in our programs. Students can experience community groups, clubs, and events to meet new friends, deepen empathy and understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives, and even reflect on their own self-understanding.

A student participates in a group activity.


Clubs are a great opportunity for students to learn, share, and make an impact as part of a team. Some clubs include: LGBTQIA Alliance, Multicultural Club, Film & Media Appreciation, Politics & Current Affairs, Activism and Civic Engagement, Self-Care and Wellness Club, and Environmental Sustainability.


Students can have fun at events while showing their support as part of a greater network. Some events include: Student Extravaganza, Talent Show, and Film Festival.

Special Opportunities

Columbia has exceptional instructors, and students have the chance to learn even more from them outside the classroom. In our Instructor Lecture Series, instructors speak on a range of interesting topics based on their expertise, such as “Selling Ketchup Popsicles to People in White Gloves: How to Market Anything to Anyone,” or “The Art of Negotiation.” Students can also perfect their essay skills in writing workshops and limited individual writing sessions.

Living on Campus

More than half of program participants live on Columbia University’s tranquil 36-acre enclosed campus.

Commuting to Campus

40% of students commute to campus, with many residing in the NYC area and others traveling from different parts of the world with their families. Students living off campus still have access to campus resources and activities.

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