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FEBRUARY 2013

Columbia University Summer High School Programs:
A Taste of College for High School Students
 

From digital filmmaking to string theory, courses offered through the School of Continuing Education drew high school students from around the U.S. and the world to Columbia over the summer.

The 2,100 students in the Summer Program for High School Students spent four hours a day in the classroom for three weeks in one of 55  intensive courses.

“We’re learning about stuff that some college students may not know about – I think that’s really cool,” said Selin Kazby, a junior from Turkey who signed up for “Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Changing the World via Venture Creation.

The High School Program was founded in 1987 when roughly 90 students commuted to campus for a handful of college-preparatory courses.  The program has grown exponentially since then, with that many students in the entrepreneurship course alone.

Courses are also offered through two satellite programs in Jordan and Barcelona, Spain.  Students from 71 different countries and more than 42 states enrolled this year in classes. In the New York program, more than half of the students lived in dorms while local students commuted to campus. 

Qais Masri, a junior from Jordan, signed up for the course “Why are Poor Countries Poor?” He appreciated the opportunity to study economic development among international students.

“It’s always a lively discussion where everyone always has something to say,” Masri said after leaving class one day.  The instructor, Giorgio Secondi, “keeps pushing us with questions and wants us to find deeper answers.”

“Because kids are involved in something they love, they do it outside of class,” notes Mark Blacher, Director of the Columbia Summer High School Programs.  “Creative writers, for example, are writing 24-7.”
Anne Chen, a junior from California who took the entrepreneurship course, said the class gave her an idea of what college life might be like. 

“It’s so different from high school where they walk you through everything,” said Chen. “It exposed me not only to what I’m interested in pursuing as a career but what attitude I should approach college with.”#

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