A Summer Well Spent

High school students can get a head start during Summer at Columbia. Photo: Jacob Boll '12
Columbia launches new pre-collegiate summer programs aimed at students wanting to jump-start their education.

In July, Continuing and Community Education (CCE) will launch Summer at Columbia, a series of courses aimed at high school students looking to earn college credit. While the program is in its first year, careful course design from faculty mentors allow students to earn credit they can use later at Columbia or elsewhere. “We’re envisioning the program so that the courses we’re offering are actual freshman courses in Columbia’s catalog,” says Robert Tenges, assistant provost of CCE.

Commuter courses in more than 20 disciplines will be offered for high school students already living in or near Chicago, while six immersion programs will give students an authentic feel for life at Columbia. Immersion students will live, study and learn on campus as a member of their cohort. “These courses aren’t only credit-bearing,” says Tenges. “They’ll give students a deep dive into creative industries and the city of Chicago. It’s a three-week program in which we’re taking responsibility for their full experience.”

Hands-on learning is key in each immersion program. Digital Game Design students will develop original video games by the end of their stay, while Digital Strategy and Innovation students can expect to create strategic content for platforms like Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. An open house will take place at the end of the program where both commuter and immersion students can showcase what they’ve accomplished while at Columbia.

The open enrollment courses vary in tuition from $2,000-$5,900, depending on whether the student is in a commuter course or an immersion program. Students will be evaluated on their achievement of a set of learning outcomes that are consistent with first-year Columbia students. “There’s homework,” says Tenges. “We’re not allowing students to take more than one course during the program. They need time to prepare for class and to reflect.”

Tenges hopes Summer at Columbia will energize faculty across the school. “Faculty members and chairs who weren’t involved this time around can start thinking about how this model could work in their departments,” he says. But above all else, Summer at Columbia is about young creatives. “It’s starting a conversation with talented students a little bit earlier than we normally do.”

Summer at Columbia will take place July 10–28. Registration closes June 1.


Danielle Wilcox