Application Checklist

Early Applications are due March 3, 2024 and Regular Applications are due March 31, 2024.

Our application asks for...


  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Birthday
  • T-shirt size
  • Gender assigned at birth
  • Gender identity/dormitory suite
  • If you're enrolled in any college access programming already

Please note, to participate in the program you must be:

  • a New York City resident
  • a current junior in a New York City high school
  • prepared to commit to the full summer and academic year program (view calendar here)
  • ready to live in the dorms on weeknights during July (and have parental permission to do so!)

The application will ask you for your:

  • Address
  • Year in high school
  • High school
  • Availability for after-school civic leadership meetings
  • Parental permission

You and your parent will need to sign before you submit. 

You'll promise to...

  • Participate fully and to the best of my abilities in both the summer and academic year segments.

  • Attend the complete summer seminar--I will not ask to be excused from any class or study session.

  • Live in the dormitories Sunday through Friday afternoons for the four program weeks.

  • Attend every civic leadership project meeting during the academic year except for unavoidable medical, religious, or academic conflicts.

  • Communicate with Freedom and Citizenship staff whenever problems emerge or I need help.

Your parent will promise to:

  • Give permission for my student to participate in the Freedom and Citizenship program at Columbia University.

  • Allow my student to live in the dormitories Sunday through Friday afternoons for the four weeks of the summer program.

  • Avoid scheduling medical or other appointments for my student during the summer program.

  • Support my student's participation in the full summer AND year-long program.

Please note, we give preference to applicant who are:

  • From low-income households
  • The first generation in their families to complete college in the United States.

Other students are still encouraged to apply! We may accept some students who do not qualify for priority status based on availability.

Our application will ask:

  • Your family's taxable income 
  • Your household size
  • Your parents' highest level of education
  • Your English language familiarity
  • High school transcript or counselor's name and email address
    • We can email your counselor for you and ask them to submit your transcript directly to us.
  • Recommender name and email address (optional)
    • If you'd like a teacher to submit a letter on your behalf we'll email your recommender with instructions for submitting letters.
  • 3 essays
    • Please answer all of the following questions with answers of 300 - 500 words per essay:

      We encourage students to use this essay template. If you are not using the template, please make sure to submit ONE document for all three essays. You may submit as a PDF, Word, or Pages document, but we cannot accept google docs.

      If you're not ready to submit now we can email you a link to submit the essays later.

    • 1. In Freedom & Citizenship we ask the big questions about how humans live together in society. We use ancient texts to help us think about the world today and our own place in it. Tell us about yourself and why you’re interested in asking big questions about humanity. What specific questions are you interested in? 

    • 2. Former students describe the summer seminar as both exciting and challenging. How are you looking for a challenge? What kind of skills would you like to improve, or what new experiences would you like to have? 

    • 3. During your senior year you’ll work with a group of students on a civic leadership project. What topic would you like to work on, why are you interested in that topic, and what kind of changes would you like to make?

You may upload your attachments directly into the application or submit them later using this link. Attachments must be received by the deadline for a student's application to be considered.

Application Checklist 2024 by Amanda Elizabeth Lowe