General Information

Role and Responsibilities

High School Students

Is the internship only for applicants interested in Student Affairs?

The Internship in Building Community (IBC) is a professional development internship that provides wide-range skill development that contributes to the intern’s readiness for the contemporary workplace. Interns develop their skills in leadership, communication, community and team building, conflict resolution, and self-management, which can be applied to various career paths.

Do I need experience as a Resident Advisor?

Although experience as a Resident Advisor is useful in this internship, it is not a requirement to apply. For more information regarding eligibility please visit the apply page.

Do I need to be familiar with New York city to succeed in the internship?

We are glad to have applicants who are new to the city. In fact, during the Seminar period, interns have the opportunity to explore the city and learn firsthand how to navigate local transportation.

Do I need to attend Columbia University or Barnard College to participate?

Interns do not have to attend Columbia University or Barnard College to participate in the Internship in Building Community. Applicants are welcome from any college or university (as long as the applicant has at least one year of experience at a U.S. college or university). For more information regarding eligibility, please visit the apply page.

Can I receive college credit for the internship?

Interns can use this internship for college credit after receiving approval from the Director of Student and Residential Life. Please note, we cannot guarantee approval in advance.

Who makes up the intern population?

The intern population is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from universities across the U.S. with various cultural and educational backgrounds.

Will I be required to lead Cultural Excursions?

Planning and leading Cultural Excursions (field trips around the city) are an optional task for interns. We do require interns to do community building activities with students.

Admission to the program is competitive, but there are no minimum achievement requirements (such as a particular GPA) for admission. Application materials should establish that the student has the necessary academic background and level of ability, motivation, and maturity necessary for the curricular option for which he or she is applying. Students must provide sufficient evidence to satisfy prerequisites that may be listed in the program description.

What does it mean to be, “on-call”?

The average work day at the IBC involves designated work hours and hours during which interns are “on call” and are expected to be available if one of their students or the program has need of them.

Will I be able to take time off to attend prior commitments, such as weddings, family vacations, etc.?

As detailed in the interview and employment contract, the IBC does not allow interns time away from the program for such events. Additionally, interns should not make plans for their free time during the internship until after they have arrived and understand the program schedule and requirements.

What will an average day look like for an intern?

During the Monday – Friday workdays, interns work approximately 20 hours as Program Assistants, and then several hours fulfilling Resident Advisor duties (usually in the evening around program curfew). Some Program Assistant teams work occasional evening or weekend shifts.

Additional work hours in the evenings and on the weekends might be filled by planning and leading Cultural Excursions into the city for students.

An intern might also work unscheduled hours in the cases of student needs such as an administrative, behavioral, or medical issue.

There are several all-day work commitments related to student check-in and orientation.

Interns have considerable free time during the program, but the structure and scheduling of that free time varies from intern to intern and from week to week. Interns should not make plans for their free time during the internship until after they have arrived and understand the program schedule and requirements.

What is a typical day for the high school students?

Students are in class for 4 hours a day with a 2-hour midday break for lunch and midday activities. All students are welcome to participate in evening and weekend community outreach activities, special interest clubs and seminars, cultural activities, and a talent show.

Optional evening and weekend activities for residential students include both on-campus social events and supervised off-campus trips to various recreational and cultural events in and around New York City, including museums, Broadway and Off-Broadway theater, films, Central Park, concerts, and the beach.

Are all of the high school students from the New York area?

Students come from all over the world and across the U.S. to participate in the Columbia Programs for High School Students. The residential student community is over 60% international, with students hailing from 70 countries and 45 U.S. states.