Apply Now!


Apply Now!


Student raising hand in class

Take a look at our daily schedule to understand what goes on during our summer seminar. Our days are packed with reading, writing, class time, and tutorial sessions. Our students see great results, especially if they're willing to work for it!

boy holding sign

Our students want to get involved in solving society's biggest problems. Our program gives you the tools and education you need to make a difference, we ask our students come with with open minds, a strong work ethic, and a commitment to change.

girls at graduation

We're much more than a summer program. Can you commit to the month of July AND the full academic year? Look at our summer calendar and year-long schedule and see if you can make weekly meetings on Columbia's campus before you apply.

Two students smiling

We accept New York City students entering their senior year of high school. We give strong preference to students from low-income households and/or who will be the first generation in their families to attend college


An F&C application may take a few days to compile. Check below to see all the information and materials you'll need to apply.

Trust us, it's worth it!

  • Your name, address, cell phone number, email address, date of birth, high school
  • Your parents' highest level of education
  • Your family’s taxable income and household size
  • Your fall after-school schedule for 2022 (you can make educated guesses if you’re not sure)
  • Guardian permission: Signature from your guardian indicating that you have permission to participate
  • Transcript: Attach your most recent high school transcript
  • Email address of your letter of recommender (optional): Ask a teacher or guidance counselor to email a confidential letter addressed to Jessica Lee at [email protected]. The letter should speak to your ability to handle a heavy academic workload, willingness to participate in class, commitment to academic improvement, and engagement in social or political causes, as applicable.

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • 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?
    • Ideas from past years (you CAN suggest a topic not listed below):
      • Immigration
      • Human Trafficking
      • Domestic Violence
      • Refugees
      • Gentrification & Housing
      • School Segregation
      • College Affordability
      • Health Care
      • Gender Equality
      • Climate Change
      • Gun Control 
      • Mass Incarceration


In 2021 we had a tremendously successful summer with hybrid learning (online and on campus). We hope that this summer will be entirely in person, with students either living in the dorms or commuting daily to campus. 

Decisions about summer 2022 will be made by the leadership of Columbia University and we'll keep our applicants updated as we know more.

Applicants must be in 11th grade in a New York City high school. We serve students who are low-income (as determined by federal income guidelines) and/or of the first generation in his or her family to attend college.

No. Our program is one year long, from July through May. Students must commit to BOTH the four-week summer program and the civic leadership program, which meets twice a month throughout the academic year and requires students to work independently between meetings. 

If you're willing to work hard we're willing to guarantee your success. The program is intentionally difficult—you're going to be immersed in the same texts Columbia sophomores are required to read to prove to yourselves and your future university that you can handle anything. But we wouldn't assign this syllabus if we didn't think our students couldn't rise to meet the challenge. Our teaching assistants offer round-the-clock support to make sure you succeed. 

Most of our texts come from the "Contemporary Civilization" course on political philosophy that all students at Columbia take in their sophomore year. Columbia started Contemporary Civilization in the wake of the Great War to teach the future leaders of America how to lead the country away from war and toward peace. The course, texts, and student populations have changed drastically since 1919 but the goals remain. The texts we read directly contributed to establishing the political values our country is built upon: life, liberty, freedom, citizenship, and the pursuit of happiness. We believe that by understanding where those ideas originated and taking ownership of them, our students will be better prepared to lead their fellow citizens toward progress.

Explore our syllabus here.

The civic leadership project is an activism lab for Freedom and Citizenship students. Beginning in the summer, students consider the issues that matter most to them. In September they research their topics—its history, current state, possibilities for the future. In the spring, they work with their peers to take action. Some past projects have included videos, visual art, and personal narratives. Students regularly take the training they gain in the program to their colleges as campus activists. 

Explore past and current projects here. 

In the summer, students are expected to attend the full program including orientation, daily seminars, and study sessions. You can expect to spend 6 hours each day with us, split between seminar, reading, and writing sessions. 

See the virtual schedule here.

The civic leadership program meets about every two weeks during the academic year. Meetings typically last 2 hours and are schedule around the students' schedules. The meetings allow students to workshop and prepare their civic leadership projects. 

In addition, all F&C students receive college mentoring from their TA. They will meet for about 1 hour a month via Zoom with their mentors. 

We designed our application to ensure that we accept students who are prepared for our program's level of reading and writing. Choosing your strongest writing sample and proofreading your essay will help you put together a strong application. However, our most successful applicants are not necessarily the best writers, but those who can demonstrate excitement for the summer's intensive college experience and a willingness to commit fully to the academic year program. We are particularly interested in students who have some ideas about the civic leadership project. We recommend students look at past years' projects to get an idea of what they would like to contribute.

Contact our Associate Director, Jessica Lee at [email protected] or our DDC college counselor Christian Rivera at [email protected]

Summer 2022 Dates:

July 5 - 29


**Vaccinations will be required for on-campus programming in 2022**

F&C Brochure 2022 by Freedom & Citizenship