Our Program

Freedom and Citizenship is a free, eleven-month educational program for New York City high school students who are entering their senior year. Each cohort takes part in the full year of programming which includes three essential components:

  • Summer Seminar in Political Philosophy

    Students live in dormitories on Columbia's campus while taking part in a seminar in political philosophy. The typical summer includes a 4-day orientation before the 3-week seminar, taught by distinguished faculty. Students are expected to commit fully to the summer program while on campus, and return home each weekend to rest and recharge.

    Learn about the summer seminar.

  • College Application Support

    Each student who successfully completes the summer seminar receives a letter of recommendation for college written by their professor.

    Each student is also paired with an undergraduate college student who serves as a near-peer mentor throughout the college process. Mentors meet regularly with students throughout the eleven-month program to support students in applying to college, making college decisions, and planning for the future.

    Finally, each student is encouraged to enroll in one of our partner college-access programs. Many of our students enroll in Goddard Options Center and Columbia's Double Discovery Center. Professional college counselors at these organizations provide the expert-level guidance our students need. 

    See where our students attend college.

  • Civic Leadership Project

    From September through May, students meet twice a month in small groups to work on a civic leadership project, led by their undergraduate teaching assistants. Students select topics that matter to them and spend the academic year researching the issue and discovering ways to make a difference on the topic. View recent civic projects here.

Applications open in January and are decisions are usually made by the end of May. We give priority to students who are the first generation in their families to attend college in the United States and/or from low-income families.

Learn about the application.