High School Visiting Students

The School of Continuing Education offers a special opportunity for academically exceptional local high school students to take college courses with Columbia University students and earn full college credit. The High School Visiting Student Program is open to high school juniors and seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence in their studies and are highly motivated to advance their academic careers.

If you are interested in taking courses as a High School Visiting Student in the summer, please visit the Summer site.

“I had completed enough math at The Brearley School that I was able to take calculus at Columbia over the summer. I enjoyed the class so much that I continued taking math, physics, and theoretical computer science classes. I have almost completed the requirements for a math major at Columbia. I just found out that I've been accepted to Cambridge and Yale and I'm looking forward to starting college!”Francesca Slade, Age 17



High School Visiting Students can select their courses from any of departments of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University, working with advisers at the School of Continuing Education to tailor their study. Students are responsible for ensuring prerequisites have been met where required. High school students normally enroll in lower level (1000-2999) courses and must obtain special permission from the Director of Summer Sessions and Visiting Student Programs to register for upper level courses.


Space is limited, and admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must have:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3
  • Two strong letters of recommendation
  • Strong writing ability as evidenced in a statement of purpose and a writing sample that showcase intellectual and academic strength and promise for continued growth and achievement
  • Scores in the 85th percentile or better in all subjects on the PSAT, SAT or ACT


  • Admission as a High School Visiting Student is permitted for two terms of study. Please note that summer sessions do not count towards this term limit. Continuation into the second term is contingent on successful completion of the first. Students in good academic standing after two terms may petition to continue as Visiting High School Students.
  • The High School Visiting Student program is only open to high school juniors and seniors (in the summer, rising juniors and rising seniors).
  • High School Visiting students must be actively enrolled in their secondary school throughout their studies at Columbia.


  • Recent high school graduates who have been admitted to a four year undergraduate program but have not yet begun their undergraduate studies should apply in the Visiting Undergraduate Student category.
  • Recent high school graduates who are not committed to undergraduate study are not eligible to enroll in the School of Continuing Education in any applicant category.
  • International students may not apply as High School Visiting students due to visa regulation requirements.

In addition to the academic year and summer college-credit program for visiting high school students, Columbia University also offers noncredit immersive summer programs for highly motivated domestic and international high school students interested in living and studying in New York City, Barcelona, and Jordan.

Application Deadlines

Applicants are urged to submit application materials well in advance of the deadline. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and admissions decisions will be delivered through the online application system 4-6 weeks after an application becomes complete.

Fall admission: August 1
Spring admission: December 1
Summer admissions: Session 1: May 15
Session 2: June 26

Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed on a space-available basis.

Rising juniors and seniors currently enrolled as high school students at other colleges and universities who wish to take courses at Columbia only in the summer should apply directly to the Summer Sessions.

Additional Requirements

Applicants for whom English is not a first language will be required to demonstrate English proficiency before being considered for the program, regardless of whether or not they have studied at a high school where the instruction is in English. Non-native English speakers must submit official scores either from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Official scores must be sent directly from either TOEFL or IELTS and are only valid for two years. (Use school code 2594 to report TOEFL scores.) Applicants taking the TOEFL must have a score of at least 100 on the Internet-based version (600 paper based). Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of 7.0 or higher.

Application Materials

  1. Completed Online Application form.
  2. $80.00 nonrefundable application fee (U.S. currency). Applicants not applying online may pay in the form of a check or money order made out to Columbia University. Do not send cash. Checks must be in U.S. currency drawn on a U.S. bank. If you would like to pay by credit card you must apply online. These procedures also apply to tuition payments, once the applicant is accepted for admission.
  3. Writing sample (no more than 10 pages). The writing sample must be a graded assignment from your high school that showcases your best work.
  4. Statement of purpose (600-800 words). The statement should address the following:
    1. A brief summary of your academic background and your personal and academic goals.
    2. Clearly articulated ideas regarding why the High School Visiting Student program appeals to you and how participation in the program will help you realize your academic and personal goals.
    3. A description of a situation in which you contributed to the learning of your fellow students in the classroom that will allow the admissions committee to consider how you would fit into a learning experience at the university level.
  5. Transcripts. Official transcripts must arrive in envelopes sealed by the issuing institutions. Copies, opened or unsealed envelopes, unofficial printouts, or facsimiles will not be accepted. Many schools take a number of weeks to fulfill transcript requests; please plan accordingly.
  6. Official scores on either the PSAT, SAT or the ACT (SAT school code: 2594; ACT school code: 2721)
  7. Two letters of recommendation attesting to your intellectual strengths and commitment to personal and academic growth. One letter must be from your school principal or guidance counselor and must include an approval of the courses you have selected for study. The second letter must be from a teacher.

Mailing Address and Contact Information

High School Visiting Student Program
Office of Enrollment Management
School of Continuing Education
203 Lewisohn Hall
2970 Broadway, Mail Code 4119
New York, NY 10027-6902
Office hours: Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM