Instructions for new 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.

The program is open to students who will be in grades 9 through 12 while the program is in session. Students in grade 8 may apply if they will be in grade 9 when the program starts.

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 2023

Application Closed


Fall 2023 

The application for Fall 2023 will be available at a later date.


Application Process

Students apply to the overall program and not for admission into a specific course. Course registration takes place after a student confirms their intent to participate by paying the enrollment deposit. Course registration is monitored to ensure students have met course prerequisites. Please expand each step and carefully read this information which explains our enrollment process in detail.

Step 1. 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. The teacher recommendation should be written by a teacher at your school who is currently teaching you or has previously taught you in a field closely related to your curricular preferences.
  • Write your essay and obtain your unofficial academic transcript(s).

Step 2. Identify Subjects of Interest

  • On the application, you will identify subject areas of interest. Review the course listing to determine areas of interest..
  • You will also be asked to provide a statement of academic preparedness. This is an opportunity for you to amplify information contained on the application or academic transcripts, explain any weaknesses that may appear on the transcript, or highlight any strengths that may not be evident elsewhere. This information is used to help determine your overall admissibility for the program and when we review your course registration for eligibility and the completion of course prerequisites.

Step 3. Submit Your Application

  • Enter all requested information in the online application form.
  • Ensure all required materials are uploaded and all student and parent signatures are completed.
  • Pay the $80 application fee.
  • Only applications complete with all required materials will be reviewed. You may view the status of your application within the application system and send reminders to your recommender if needed.

Step 4. Receive Your Admissions Decision

  • The Admissions Committee will review your application for admission and 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.
  • If you are admitted into the program, you must confirm your intent to participate by paying the non-refundable deposit. Please discuss the decision with your parent or legal guardian. After paying the deposit students must submit the required enrollment forms; they will then receive instructions on how to register themselves for class(es).
  • Students are encouraged to apply early and submit their deposit as soon as possible for the best selection of classes. Space in courses is limited. Students may check up-to-date, real-time enrollment numbers for any course by clicking on the Call Number on a course’s description page. This will bring you to Columbia's Directory of Classes, where you can see live enrollment details.

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 to be an active participant in the courses and co-curricular activities.

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. 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, courses being offered online are synchronous. Students must be able to attend their course(s) during their listed meeting time.

Application Materials

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

We strongly encourage students to upload all materials directly to their application as it will expedite the admissions process. If that proves problematic, students may also email them to us at

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

Completed online application form.


Nonrefundable Application Fee. The application fee is $80. Applicants must include credit card information through the online application.


Transcript. An unofficial transcript is required for application review. Candidates offered admission will later be requested to supply official documents prior to enrollment. Applicants are therefore strongly encouraged to arrange for the submission of official transcripts at the earliest possible stage.

Instructions for current 8th & 9th grade students

Current 8th and 9th grade students must supply their most recent report card, or final 8th grade transcript. All institutions attended must be listed in the Academic History section of the online application.

Instructions for current 10th–12th grade students

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. All institutions attended must be listed in the Academic History section of the online application.

Instructions for International Students

Applicants must submit a transcript for the US equivalent of grades 9-12. We require grades starting 4 full academic years before your anticipated high school graduation date. The only exception would be for students whose high schools conclude at the end of grade 11.

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.

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.

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

Academic Recommendation. Applicants are required to submit the professional contact information for an instructor who teaches in a field closely related to the applicant's curricular preferences. The recommender is required to submit a form attesting to the student's qualification to engage in concentrated study.


Applicants may submit their online applications in advance of the recommendations.

Instructions for current 8th grade students

Instructors for current 8th grade students must supply a recommendation from a middle school teacher.

Instructions for current 9 - 12th grade students

Current 9th–12th grade students must supply a recommendation from a teacher at your school who is currently teaching you or has previously taught you in a field closely related to your curricular preferences.

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.

The letter of recommendation must be submitted through the online application. Please note that recommendations submitted from non-school affiliated email addresses will not be accepted and must be resubmitted.

Essays submitted through the online application.


General Essay

In 400 words or less, please respond to one of the following essay prompts:

Option 1. Tell us about a topic or social issue for which your opinion has changed. How has your change in perspective influenced your actions?

Option 2. Select one of Columbia's Pre-College Program values that most resonates with you and describe how you have pursued this value in your own life. Our values: Innovation, Critical Thinking, Social & Environmental Responsibility, Leadership, Global Awareness, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Any Type of Writing Sample

For students enrolling in the Creative Writing or Journalism only. Submit one of the following:

  • Two writing samples, 3–7 pages total (longer submissions are acceptable), consisting of poems, short stories, scripts or creative nonfiction.
  • Two writing samples, 3–7 pages total (longer submission are acceptable) of any kind of writing demonstrating a command of grammar and punctuation.

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.


Mailing Address

Programs for High School Students
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. Upon completion of your application file it will take approximately two 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.