Artwork: Kevin Valentine MFA ’12


For many students, Summer at Columbia is their first college experience and along with that may come different processes and expectations than those from high school. This Frequently Asked Questions section will be continually updated to provide answers to common questions we receive from both students and their families.

If you don't see an answer for your specific question or concern, feel free to email us at summer@colum.edu.

Program Details

  • What type of program is Summer at Columbia?

    First and foremost, Summer at Columbia is a college-level academic experience. Students enroll in a freshmen course that has also been taught during the regular academic year, complete coursework (including homework and projects), and receive a grade that becomes part of a student’s permanent transcript. Summer at Columbia students are subject to the same expectations, academic rigor, and learning outcomes as those of the regular Columbia College Chicago school year.

  • How do I apply?

    Summer at Columbia is an open enrollment program and does not require an application. Students must determine on their own if they are prepared and willing to work at the college level prior to registration.

  • How do I know if I’m ready for Summer at Columbia? 

    Students interested in participating in Summer at Columbia are advised to consult with their family, teachers, and/or high school guidance counselors when determining their ability to successfully complete college coursework. In addition to academics, students must also posses the independence and maturity to communicate with faculty and Columbia staff, navigate college processes, and operate according to the Columbia College Chicago Student Handbook.

    Below are general guidelines to help students determine if they are prepared for the Summer at Columbia program:




    Please note the above are for reference purposes only and are neither minimum requirements to enroll nor a guarantee of successful completion of the Summer at Columbia program.

  • Will college students be in the courses?

    No, Summer at Columbia courses are exclusive to the program and not open to currently enrolled Columbia College Chicago undergraduate students.

  • What are the age requirements?

    Summer at Columbia is open to high school students who will be entering their junior or senior year in fall 2024 and who will be fifteen to eighteen years old during the program dates.

  • How do grades and credits work? 

    Faculty assign grades to students using the same metrics as the regular school year and expectations will be reviewed with students in the first class session. Faculty complete grading shortly after the conclusion of the program and grade reports are mailed to a student’s home. Please note grade reports do not serve as official transcripts. Click here for more information on requesting official transcripts.

  • Do you provide accommodations for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)?
    The Services for Students with Disabilities office coordinates support services for students with disabilities and assists in providing a successful educational experience while attending Columbia College Chicago, including Summer at Columbia. Please click here to learn more about the accommodations available and reach out to a representative who will be happy to assist.
  • What is FERPA?
    FERPA is the Federal Education Records Privacy Act, and it applies to all accredited college courses, including those offered during the Summer at Columbia program. Click here for more information about FERPA.

Living on Campus

  • Do Summer at Columbia students have to live on campus during the program?
    While living on campus is not required, we recommend it unless you have daily and easy access to Columbia College Chicago's campus. Courses take place on campus but enrichment activities take place in and around the city during the week and on weekends. 
  • How many roommates will I have?

    Students typically have three roommates for a total of four students per suite.

  • How and when are roommates assigned?

    Room assignments are made by Columbia College Chicago's Residence Life team and roommate contact information will be shared with students within a month prior to the program start.

  • Is Summer at Columbia gender-inclusive?

    Summer at Columbia welcomes and provides additional housing options for students across all gender identities and/or expressions, including transgender, questioning or gender non-conforming students. Students may select gender-inclusive housing on the Student Information Form which is distributed upon registration. For additional gender-inclusive resources at Columbia, please click here or email us at summer@colum.edu.

    Students who do not select gender-inclusive on the Student Information Form will be assigned roommates of the same gender as reported during registration.

  • Should I bring any spending money?

    Yes, and we recommend having it in the form of a debit or credit card. The costs for required activities like classes, enrichment field trips, and community events are provided by Columbia College Chicago but students are responsible for the purchase of their own CTA pass which is used for transportation to and from events off campus. CTA passes can be purchased upon arrival in any CTA station. There will also be opportunities for shopping, small group activities, meals, and exploring around the City of Chicago, especially in the evenings and on weekends. 

  • How many meals are provided?

    Weekday lunches are provided for both residential and commuter students. Residential students also have a 15-meal per week plan at the University Center dining facility that can be used for breakfast and dinner at the student’s discretion throughout the week and weekend. There is also access to kitchens on each floor of the dorm, grocery stores, diverse places to eat in the neighborhood, and online food delivery services like Grubhub. 

  • Is there a curfew?

    Yes. Curfew for Summer at Columbia is 10:00 p.m. on weekdays and weekends unless attending a staff hosted event. Students must be in the dorm by these times. No exceptions. Failure to adhere to curfew will result in immediate notification to caregivers and/or expulsion from the program.

  • Families: Can I visit my child or take them out when they are living in the dorms?

    Because students are only together for four short weeks, we strongly encourage that time be spent connecting with their peers, Columbia, and the City of Chicago. However, students are responsible for creating an experience that is most impactful for them which may mean spending time with friends and family outside of Columbia. In all instances, students must be back in the dorms by the 10:00 p.m. curfew. This is imperative to ensure the safety of all students.

    Overnight leave
    Residential students are expected to remain on campus overnight for the duration of the program. If it’s absolutely necessary that a residential student require overnight leave, their guardian must complete the Overnight Leave Permission Form and submit to summer@colum.edu 24-business hours prior to the student’s departure from campus. Calls, emails without the completed form attached, student notifications to staff, or in-person notifications to staff cannot be accepted. Overnight Leave Permission Forms are available on the admitted students page and cannot be used as curfew extensions.

  • When do I move into and out of the dorms?

    Move-in is Sunday, June 23, 2024 from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Move-out is Friday, July 19, 2024 from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Students must arrive and depart within these windows. Please note students may be submitting finals until the morning of Friday, July 21 and will pack and clean their rooms beforehand to ensure a smooth check out in the afternoon.

  • I will be a residential student. What do I need to know about transportation to and from campus on move-in and move-out days?

    Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from campus on move-in and move-out days. Columbia is conveniently located near CTA lines that serve Chicago’s main transportation hubs and is accessible by taxis and ride share services (Uber, Lyft, etc.)

Schedule and Supplies

  • What is the daily schedule?

    Courses convene every weekday from 9 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. The afternoons are dedicated to the business and entrepreneurship seminar, field trips, or projects. Seminar cohort placement, course schedules, and community events in the evenings will be communicated to you prior to the start of the program.

  • Will I have any free time?

    Though much of the day will be dedicated to class and creative projects, you will be responsible for managing your own schedule outside of those times. This means finding a balance between homework, self-care, optional community events, and exploring Chicago. Some students may not be quite ready for this independence and we strongly recommend discussing expectations with your caregiver prior to enrolling.

  • How much homework will I have?

    This varies between cohorts as each has its own projects, approach to discussions, field trips, guest speakers, and other factors that affect how a faculty structures assignments. You can expect to have some type of homework every day.

  • Why does the schedule say Monday - Friday 9am-5pm when I register?

    This is a default schedule (business hours) in the registration system and not an accurate reflection of contact hours or work load. All students will receive a course syllabus from faculty which will provide details on projects, assignments, and due dates.

  • Will I be able to participate in Summer at Columbia and other summer activities or work a part-time job?

    Potentially but this will vary by student. Similar to the college experience, students are responsible for building and managing their individual schedules and must adhere to all deadlines.

  • What if I’m traveling or have a schedule conflict?

    Students are expected to complete all assignments and actively participate in their classes for the duration of the program. Please communicate with your faculty if you anticipate missing an in-person session.

  • Do I need a laptop?
    Yes, students are expected to provide their own laptop computer. Access to computer labs on campus will also be available but are subject to Columbia building operation hours.
  • Do I need to purchase books or supplies?

    Additional supply requirements, if any, will vary by cohort and faculty will communicate these directly with students. Please note that faculty are prepared to work with the varying levels of access students have to materials and/or software.


  • How will I get to class each morning?
    Students will be responsible for getting themselves to their respective class buildings or any other pre-designated meeting points each day for the duration of the program. Tours will be available on move-in and orientation day. A digital map of Columbia buildings is also available by clicking here.
  • I'm a commuter student. What is the best way to get to campus each day?

    Whenever possible, we recommend commuter students use public transportation to get to our campus. Columbia College Chicago is an urban campus in the heart of downtown Chicago. As such, we have access to excellent public transportation systems including CTA trains and buses, as well as being located reasonably close to the two main Metra stations, Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation center.

  • I'm a commuter student and need to drive. Is there parking on campus?

    Columbia does not have its own parking lot but there are plenty of pay lots and metered street spots throughout our campus. If driving, prepare for traffic delays and allow plenty of time to commute and park.

  • I'm a commuter student, where do I go each day and when do I need to be there?

    Summer at Columbia commuter students will meet in their respective classrooms each weekday unless otherwise directed by their faculty member. Commuters should plan to arrive no later than 8:45am. Supplemental required activities often occur in the afternoons and evening on weekdays but there may also be one or two on the weekends. Faculty will notify students of these events on the first day of class so they can plan accordingly. Optional events will also happen throughout the program and meeting points may differ. These will be communicated in advance via the admitted students page.

  • I will be a residential student. What do I need to know about transportation to and from campus on move-in and move-out days?

    Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from campus on move-in and move-out days. Columbia is conveniently located near CTA lines that serve Chicago’s main transportation hubs and is accessible by taxis and ride share services (Uber, Lyft, etc.)

  • I'm flying into Chicago to attend Summer at Columbia. What do I need to know?
    • Purchase a refundable ticket. This is a necessary precaution in the event you are no longer able to attend the program, or a cohort must be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances and you select not to enroll in an alternate course. Costs associated with travel to and from Summer at Columbia will not be reimbursed.

    • Allow plenty of time to travel to and from Chicago airports. It can take upwards of an hour and half in heavy traffic.

    • Select a return flight that leaves after 3pm on Friday or find alternative accommodations for Friday night and leave on Saturday morning. Students may be in class until noon on the final Friday and move-out will immediately follow until 4 p.m. All students must be completely moved out of the dorms by 4:00 p.m, Friday, July 21.

Safety and Security

  • Will Summer at Columbia students be supervised at all times?

    Student safety is the number one priority at Summer at Columbia. That being said, Summer at Columbia is also an opportunity for students to start developing independence and a sense of responsibility within a college and urban environment. Flex time will occur occasionally for students to work on special projects, attend staff-led optional events, or explore Chicago independent of immediate supervision. Because of this, it is imperative that Summer at Columbia attendees possess an exemplary level of maturity. High school students attending Summer at Columbia are…

    • Required to adhere to the 10:00 p.m. curfew;

    • Strongly advised not to explore or take public transportation alone;

    • Asked to notify their assigned Resident Associate of their plans, including expected return times;

    • Encouraged to remain on campus or the surrounding area in order for program staff or campus security to assist them in an emergency. This area spans to the interior of Lake Shore Drive, down to Roosevelt Road, west to Clark Street, and north to the interior of the Loop.

  • Where will Summer at Columbia students be living?

    Summer at Columbia students reside in the University Center Residence Hall, located in the South Loop neighborhood in Downtown Chicago and in close proximity to all campus facilities. All students will be assigned a Summer at Columbia Resident Associate. There is also 24-hour security detail at the main entrance and security cameras throughout the building.

  • What do you do to ensure the safety of Summer at Columbia Students while they are on campus?

    Campus buildings are staffed with fully licensed and vetted security guards during hours of operation, which is 24-hours/day in the case of University Center. A Columbia College ID must be presented to gain admittance to any college building during the summer months. Students will also be assigned a Resident Associate and Student Mentor whose main responsibilities are to ensure their cohort of students is safe and supported throughout the program. We also strongly recommend caregivers discuss their own behavioral expectations with their students prior to arrival. Summer at Columbia policies are strictly enforced to ensure the safety of all students. Students who fail to respect these policies risk immediate removal from the program and University Center if applicable.

  • Do students receive a Columbia College Chicago ID?
    Yes, all Summer at Columbia students receive a photo ID on the first two days of the program. Columbia student IDs provide full access to campus buildings and can often be used for discounts in the neighborhood. More information on Columbia ID discounts will be provided to students upon arrival.
  • How do you collect emergency medical and contact information?

    We partner with the ePACT Network to collect signed waivers and comprehensive medical and emergency contact information for all students. ePACT is a free, secure, and HIPAA compliant online system. Through ePACT, program staff have access to student emergency information via a smartphone app, so no matter where we are, we can ensure that we have immediate access to all your teen’s vital information through a completely secure and private system. Invitations to join the ePACT Network will be sent out to all registrants several weeks prior to the start of the program. Completion of ePACT is REQUIRED in order to attend Summer at Columbia.

Registration and Billing

  • Is there a deadline to register?

    Summer at Columbia is an open registration program but space is limited and registration will close once capacity is reached. Additional deadlines include…

    • April 15, 2024 - Regular registration deadline. If needed, cohort cancellations due to low enrollment will be made shortly after this date.

    • May 24, 2024 - Final payment deadline for registered students.

  • Is there a deadline for housing?

    Housing is available on a first come first served basis and residential registration will close once capacity is reached.

  • What forms of payment are accepted?

    All payments must be made by credit or debit card via the online registration system. At this time, we are unable to accept payments over the phone, in person or via check.

  • What about refunds?

    All students will be entitled to a full refund until May 12, 2024. For withdrawal requests made after May 12, 2024 but before the program start on June 24, 2024, residential students receive a partial refund of full tuition minus the cost of room and board; commuter students will receive a full refund. Withdrawal requests made after the program start of June 24, 2023 will not be entitled to a refund of any kind.

  • What happens if registration fills up?

    In the event that registration is full for the class you prefer, you may opt to be placed on a waiting list via our registration system. If a student withdraws from the class, the next person on the waiting list will be notified and given the opportunity to register.

  • Can I pay for Summer at Columbia Online with my college savings 529 plan?

    We recommend consulting with a financial advisor before using funds from your 529 plan to pay for Summer at Columbia.

  • Do you accept state or federal financial aid?
    Summer at Columbia does not accept payment via government-sponsored financial aid programs.
  • Do you offer scholarships?

    A limited number of merit-based scholarships are available. All students are automatically considered for scholarships based on their initial applicaitons. There is nothing additional to submit.

  • Can you send us a bill or an invoice for us to pay later?

    Billing and/or invoicing is not available for Summer at Columbia payments. All payment for the program must abide by the processes outlined above.

  • I still have more questions. What should I do?

    Please send an email to summer@colum.edu