Instructions for new applicants


The Summer Immersion program is open to domestic or international students currently enrolled in grades 8 through 12. The residential option is open to students who will be 16 years of age or older by the start of the program. Younger students are welcome to apply for the commuter option or one of the online experiences. 

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. 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.

Documentation of immunization for MMR and Meningitis is a requirement for course registration for students studying on campus. Students who need to request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for specific medical or religious reasons will need to submit these requests to the Immunization Office.

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.

Final Application Deadlines (Residential)
Final Application Deadlines (Commuter 3-Week)
Final Application Deadlines (Commuter 1-Week)

Applications are reviewed while space is available.

Start Your Application

Application Process

Please expand each step and carefully read this information which explains our enrollment process in detail.

Step 1. Select Your Program Option

Students may participate in multiple sessions. Please review the possible session combinations to determine your desired program. You should plan to enroll in all sessions you select on the application. Modality and session changes after applying are not guaranteed approval.

Residential Program

  • (R1) 3 Weeks - Session 1: June 26 —July 14, 2023 (June 25 move-in)
  • (R2) 3 Weeks - Session 2: July 18 —August 4, 2023 (July 17 move-in)
  • (R3) 6 Weeks - Sessions 1 & 2: June 26 —August 4, 2023 (June 25 move-in)

Commuter Program

  • (C1) 3 Weeks - Session 1: June 26 —July 14, 2023
  • (C2) 3 Weeks - Session 2: July 18 —August 4, 2023
  • (C3) 1 Week - Session 3: August 7 —August 11, 2023
  • (C4) 6 Weeks - Sessions 1 & 2: June 26 —August 4, 2023
  • (C5) 4 Weeks - Sessions 1 & 3: June 24 —July 14 and August 7 — August 11, 2023
  • (C6) 4 Weeks - Sessions 2 & 3: July 18 —August 4 and August 7 —August 11, 2023
  • (C7) 7 Weeks - Sessions 1, 2, & 3: June 26 —August 11, 2023

Step 2. 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. Recommendations need not have been received prior to submission of your application.
  • Write your essay and gather your academic transcript.

Step 3. Submit Your Application

  • Enter all requested information in the online application form. Please ensure all required materials are uploaded, and all student and parent signatures are complete.
  • Pay the $80 application fee.
  • You can view the status of your application within the application system.
  • 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.

Step 4. Receive Your Admissions Decision

  • The Admissions Committee will review your application for admission to the program. You will be notified by email if any materials must be resubmitted.
  • Within 3–5 weeks of your application being complete, you will receive an email notifying you that the decision is ready to be viewed within the application system.
  • If you are admitted into the program, please discuss the decision with your parent or legal guardian and review the program costs.

Step 5. Confirm Your Enrollment

  • Submit the enrollment forms and pay your non-refundable deposit in the admitted student portal. The deposit will be credited towards the program cost. All enrollment forms must be submitted prior to registering for classes.
  • Upload your immunization records. All immunization records must be submitted within 15 business days of your acceptance to the program. You will not be permitted to register for class until your immunization records have been processed.
  • Learn how to register for a course following the instructions provided in the admitted student portal and complete the course registration process.
  • 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.
  • Regularly check the email you used for your application for information about registration, billing, and next steps.
You may also learn more about the application process by viewing our Application Walkthrough Videos which give detailed explanations about the various application requirements.

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.

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

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

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..

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.

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.

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 sent 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.

You can learn more about the transcript requirement by watching our application walkthrough video on transcripts.

Essay submitted through the online application.


Essay instructions

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.


Two Recommendations Recommendations must be submitted by your recommenders through the online application. Once you add and save their information (name, title, and email address) an email is sent to your recommenders 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 applications before we receive their recommendations.


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

Academic Recommendation

Applicants must designate an instructor who teaches in a field closely related to the applicant's curricular preferences, currently works at their school, and has taught them in class. The recommendation 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.

Guidance Counselor Recommendation

You can learn more about the recommendation requirement by watching our application walkthrough video on recommendations.

Applicants must designate an academic advisor, guidance counselor, principal, or headmaster who works at their current school and can comment on the student's intellectual ability, level of maturity, and motivation.

Writing Sample (creative writing applicants only).
Students interested in a Creative Writing course will 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 submissions 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.


Financial Responsibility Agreement

Students and the parent/legal guardian sign to agree to pay the full program costs if the student enrolls and does not notify the Office of Admissions of their withdrawal before the published withdrawal deadline.

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. You will be notified via email when a decision letter is ready to be viewed in your application portal.

We will begin releasing decisions at the end of January.