Online Experience

"Having the course offered in an online format made it extremely accessible to me . . . I got to experience an incredibly educational experience from the comfort of my home, without the strain of commuting. It also allowed for other students in my class to connect from all over the world. I find it fascinating to have the opportunity to meet such individuals." –Brielle K. | New Jersey, USA


Columbia University's Program for High School Students is dedicated to bringing an Ivy League education into the homes of bright, high-achieving students.

Through Columbia's online interactive learning platform, students across the globe can engage with one another through rigorous curricular instruction, inclusive student life activities, and informative college success events.

Young female student sitting wearing headphones looking at laptop and writing in notebook

The Virtual Classroom

Through Columbia's leading online interactive learning platform, which has been a hallmark of our graduate programs for nearly a decade, students across the globe can engage with one another through rigorous curricular instruction, inclusive student life activities, and informative college success events.

Technology Requirements

You do not need highly specialized equipment to engage in world-class learning opportunities. To successfully participate in your course and co-curricular activities, you will need:


A computer that is capable of running the latest versions of browsers, plug-ins, and recent software, including tools that will keep the system free of viruses and spyware.

Internet Connection

A high-speed, hard-wired internet connection (Ethernet) that will support streaming/interactive audio and video. Weak Wi-Fi may cause issues such as latency, choppy audio, and loss of connection.


A webcam will be required for your daily participation in class. If your computer does not have a built in camera, you can purchase a USB-based webcam to affix to the top of your computer.

Headset with Microphone

While many laptops come with built-in mics and speakers, we highly recommend that you use a USB-based headset with a microphone, such as the Logitech H390 USB Computer Headset. If you are using a laptop with a built-in microphone, please use headphones or earbuds during class sessions to avoid echo or feedback. Listening through speakers may cause echo that disrupts the entire class.

Zoom Installation

Please be sure you have administrative permission to install Zoom and other technologies on your computer.

Designated Learning Space

Students should choose a well-lit, distraction-free learning space appropriate for interacting with faculty and fellow students on camera.

Technology Support

For students requiring technical support or troubleshooting assistance, we have a variety of resources available. Resources include a designated helpdesk, reference guides, and specially trained Online Course Facilitators who are present in every curricular offering for the duration of each class.

Student Engagement

Students are expected to participate actively in class and to collaborate with their peers and with program instructors. Discussions, group work, and in-class presentations given by students are regular components of our courses. The virtual classroom functions as a dynamic community of learners and thinkers.

All students are required to utilize webcams, headsets, and microphones so they can engage in active discussion and contribute to the online classroom community.

Learning At Home

Students should do their best to find a suitable location from which to engage the online course. The location at home where students set up not only impacts their own experience, but also the experience of their fellow students.

Ideal “home classrooms” are free of noise, music and other people or pets passing through the display. Any decorations, graphic art, or posters should be suitable for a Columbia University classroom.

Young student sitting wearing headphones looking at laptop and hands elevated in conversation

Respect in the Online Community

The Academic Year Immersion Program expects that students will make a positive contribution to the experience of their fellow students and to the intellectual atmosphere of their course.

Students are expected to engage seriously in their courses through both focused class participation and completion of assigned work. Disruptive behavior or the use of course platforms for inappropriate content or discourse will not be tolerated.

Students are further responsible for their social or public conduct, including that in digital forums such as text messages, social media posts, emails, and discussion boards. Examples of “cyber-bullying” are considered serious breaches of Columbia University Community Standards.