Instructions for applicants

Admission to the Academic Year Immersion program is selective. The admissions committee seeks out academically exceptional students who are eager to contribute original ideas and a spirit of intellectual curiosity to a community of highly motivated learners.

All students should follow the application procedures below, including those who have previously participated in a High School Program.

Application Deadline

Courses frequently fill up before the application deadline, so students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Applications are processed on a rolling basis and will not be reviewed until all application materials have been submitted.

Spring 2021 Final Deadline to Submit a Complete Application
December 28, 2020

All applications and application materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Start Your Application

Application Process

Gather your materials:

  • Review the application requirements and discuss the program with your parent or legal guardian.
  • Determine who will recommend you and notify your recommender.
  • Write your essay and gather your academic transcript.

Submit your application:

  • Enter all requested information in the online application form, including up to three classes you are interested in taking.
  • Ensure all required materials are uploaded and pay the application fee.

Decision notification and enrollment:

  • The Admissions Committee will review your application for admission and eligibility for the courses of interest. You will be notified by email if any materials must be resubmitted.
  • Within 1–2 weeks of your application being complete, you will receive an email notifying you when the decision is ready to be viewed within the application system.
  • Discuss the decision with your parent or legal guardian, submit the enrollment form within the application system, and pay your non-refundable deposit.
  • Sign up and attend a required registration webinar to learn how to register yourself for classes.
  • If you wish to register for a course not identified as approved within your acceptance letter, you must meet with an Admissions Officer prior to registration for course approval.
  • Attend the new student webinars to learn more about the student experience and expectations.

Application Requirements

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 program. Students must present evidence of the completion of any particular prerequisites identified in the individual program descriptions to be eligible to take courses with prerequisites.

We do not accept applications submitted on the applicant's behalf by parents, guardians, or third parties; the application should be submitted directly by the student. The individual identified on the application as Parent/Legal Guardian 1 will receive a copy of some of the application-related emails sent to the student, however, communications from our Office of Admissions will be sent primarily to the student.

International Students

International students who are proficient in English are welcome to apply to the program. While applicants are not required to submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores, students' English proficiency should be equivalent to 90 or above on the Internet-based TOEFL or at least 6.5 on the IELTS.

Please note: Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Academic Year Immersion courses will be held fully online, and courses are synchronous. Students must be able to attend their course(s) during their listed meeting time.

Application Materials

Applications and supporting materials (application fee, the personal essay, unofficial transcripts, and a letter of recommendation) should be submitted through the online application.

All materials submitted by mail should clearly bear the program name, applicant's name, applicant's date of birth and, if available, Columbia University ID number. We strongly encourage students to upload all materials directly to their application or to email them to us at as it will expedite the admissions process.

Applications are not considered complete until all required materials have been received. Only complete applications will be reviewed.

  • Completed online application form.
  • Application fee. Students are required to pay a nonrefundable $80.00 application fee. Applicants must include credit card information through the online application to make the payment.

  • Transcript. An unofficial transcript is required for application review. Official transcripts are required to complete the enrollment process for all Pre-College Programs. Applicants are therefore strongly encouraged to arrange for the submission of official transcripts at the earliest possible stage. All institutions attended must be listed in the Academic History section of the online application.

    Current 9th grade students must supply their most recent 8th grade report card.

    Current 10th–12th grade students must supply their final transcript for grades 9–12, plus their most recent report card for the current school year.

    International students must submit a transcript for the US equivalent for grades 9-12. We require grades starting 4 full academic years before your anticipated high school graduation date.

    Transcripts must come in PDF format as provided by your school. PDF downloads of unofficial transcripts from student portals can be accepted only if they clearly show your full name, your school’s name, the full name of all courses taken, and all grades achieved in those courses.

    If you are unable to obtain an unofficial copy of your transcript, please request to have an official copy sent from your school. It should be e-mailed from a school official’s professional email to It can also be mailed to our office at the address listed on this page. Note that mailed documents can take several weeks to be processed.

    Transcripts must be in English or come with an official translation. International students not graded according to the U.S. grading system should provide a grading key with the transcript. Applicants are recommended to use NACES for such services.

    Falsification, forgery, and misrepresentation of any type will risk forfeiture of admissions and/or enrollment.

    Candidates offered admission will later be requested to supply official documents prior to enrollment.

  • Statement of Academic Purpose submitted through the online application.

    Statement of Academic Purpose instructions

    In 600 words or less, please discuss how changes to your current reality have made you more aware of an arising global consciousness and prepared you to become a more informed global citizen.

  • One letter of recommendation. Applicants must submit a letter written by an instructor who teaches in a field closely related to the applicant's curricular preferences. The letter must describe the student's qualification to engage in concentrated study:

    Current 9th grade students must supply a recommendation from a middle school teacher.

    Current 10th–12th grade students must supply a recommendation from a current teacher in their high school.

    The letter of recommendation must be submitted through the online application. During the application process you will add your recommender's information (name, title and school affiliated email). Once you add and save their information, an email will be sent to your recommender with a link to our recommendation form. Please note, recommendations submitted from non-school affiliated email addresses will not be accepted and must be resubmitted. Applicants may submit their online applications in advance of the recommendations.

  • Community Standards Consent Form. Community standards are strictly enforced. Failure to abide by the Community Standards Consent Form will result in dismissal from the program.

Start Your Application

Mailing Address

Academic Year Immersion Program
Office of Admissions
School of Professional Studies
203 Lewisohn Hall
2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119
New York, NY 10027-6902

Contact Information

Office hours:
Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EST

Submitting Official Transcripts

Official transcripts being submitted via email should be sent by a school official to

Checking Application Status

The processing of application materials can take one to two weeks, and upon completion of your application file it will take approximately three to five weeks for a decision to be made. Please allow sufficient time after submitting your application before contacting the Office of Admissions about your application status. We encourage you, however, to check your application status online as often as you like.