Instructions for new applicants

Application instructions for Returning Students can be found here.

Important Note for Returning Students

If you participated in one of our programs during 2020 or Spring 2021, please do not create a new application account with a new email address.

We will reach out to you via email in early January with detailed instructions regarding re-enrollment. If you attempt to create a new application before receiving this invitation, you will receive an error message in your account.

The email invitation will contain detailed instructions on how to start a new application for summer 2021, and we have created an expedited re-enrollment process for returning students. You will be considered a priority registration applicant as long as your application is submitted before the listed deadline. We appreciate your patience.



We are excited to welcome commuter students to campus for the 2021 NYC Summer Immersion Programs. Housing will not be available for Summer 2021. Students who are unable to commute to campus may wish to consider one of our online summer programs.

2021 COVID-19 Notice

We understand the heightened concerns families have surrounding COVID-19. To ensure the safety of our community, the University is closely monitoring developments and adjusting our on-campus attendance policies as necessary. At this time, we plan to hold our on-campus 2021 NYC summer immersion programs and are excited to welcome students to campus. We are committed to offering a rich and academically rigorous program regardless of the format.

We will be in regular contact with applicants and admitted students with information related to COVID-19 and new developments that may affect the program. Applicants will be notified if the on-campus program is canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, and their candidacy will be reviewed for the online program. Admitted students who paid the enrollment deposit will be automatically switched to the online program.

To learn more about the University’s COVID-19 policies and protocols, please visit this website.


Admission to the Programs for High School Students is selective. The admissions committee looks for academically exceptional students who are eager to contribute original ideas and a spirit of intellectual curiosity to a community of highly motivated learners.

The Summer Immersion program is open to domestic or international students currently enrolled in grades 8 through 12.

Application Deadlines

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.

Early Registration Deadline
February 11

The $80 application fee is waived, and priority course selection is given to students who apply by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on this date.

Financial Aid Deadline
February 11

Students applying for financial aid must submit all documents by this date.

Application Fee Waiver Deadline
March 4

The $80 application fee is waived for students who apply by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on this date.

Application Deadline
April 1

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(s).
  • Write your essay and gather your academic transcript.

Submit your application:

  • Enter all requested information in the online application form, including up to four 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, please email with the course name and any pertinent academic preparation details 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.

International students should be aware that participation in the Program for High School Students does not constitute the basis for securing a student visa. Past participants have had success in obtaining Visitor (B) visas to participate in our program because the program comprises a short recreational course of study and is not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate. Information on the U.S. Department of State’s policy on short periods of recreational study is available here

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.

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.

  • Nonrefundable application fee. For applications submitted online by March 4, no application fee is required. After March 4, the application fee is $80. Applicants must include credit card information through the online application.

  • 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 8th & 9th grade students must supply their most recent 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.

    Read Conditions & Details

    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.

  • Two letters of recommendation. Recommendations must be submitted through the online application. During the application process you will add your recommender's information (name, title and email). Once you add and save their information an email is 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. Applicants may submit their online applications in advance of the recommendations.

    For more information on recommendation letter requirements, please see below.

    Letter 1 | Academic 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 8th grade students must supply a recommendation from a middle school teacher.

    Current 9th-12th grade students must supply a recommendation from a current teacher in their high school.

    Letter 2 | Guidance Counselor Recommendation

    Applicants must submit a letter written by an academic advisor, guidance counselor, principal, or headmaster commenting on the student's intellectual ability, level of maturity, and motivation for participating in the Columbia University Program for High School Students.

  • Writing sample (creative writing applicants only).

    Required for creative writing applicants only. For specifications, see the course page of each individual creative writing class.

  • 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

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
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

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.