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Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of frequently asked questions from across the offices supporting Columbia College and Columbia Engineering collected here in one place for your convenience. You can browse by topic/department or search by keyword.

Scholars Program, CUSP FAQ

Are there any networking opportunities with Columbia Alumni and Alumni of the Scholars Program?

We are constantly seeking to connect our current Scholars with alumni, both in person and through more formal events such as the CUSP Speaker Series and the annual Senior Lunch.

Are there special opportunities for Scholars?

Yes! As a Scholar, you participate in an academic enhancement program featuring speakers, cultural events, field trips, opportunities to meet with faculty and alumni, and summer research programs, internship and research assistantships. We are always looking for new opportunities to enrich your experience here at Columbia.

Can I defer a year, take a year off, or study abroad, and still be a Scholar?

Yes! You will still be a Scholar, and a welcome participant in our community, even if you take some time off from Columbia.

Can I make suggestions for guest speakers?

We welcome suggestions for future speakers - in fact, some of our most exciting and thought-provoking programs have come about as the result of a Scholar's request for a certain speaker (Ernest Drucker, Diane Ravitch, Philip Gourevitch, Samantha Power, and George Bizos, to name just a few).

Can I use the CUSP Office as an additional academic and general advising office?

Of course. In addition to the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program, the CUSP Office was responsible for prestigious national fellowship advising for several years. As you consider graduate school options, we can assist you with your fellowship search and application process. In addition, we are here to advise you on academic matters, as well as any other questions or concerns you may have.

How do I ensure that my participation in CUSP events is recorded?

At every CUSP event, you will need to swipe your Columbia ID at the door. Additionally, following most events, you will be asked to submit a brief online evaluation. Your participation will not only ensure that you remain in good standing, but will also enhance your Columbia journey.

How does one become a Scholar?

Scholars are selected by the Office of Admissions during the application process, based on their academic and extracurricular achievements during high school. All applicants are considered for participation in the Scholars Program; there are no special application forms required.

Is there a financial package involved in being a Scholar?

While participating in the Program may help you with your financial aid needs, all Scholars' aid packages are determined on a case-by-case basis. Your financial aid officer can assist you with questions regarding educational financing.

What is required of me as a Scholar?

Throughout your four years at Columbia, we expect you to take full advantage of the resources and programming our office presents. Please refer to the expectations and responsibilities outlined here.

Will participating in the Scholars Program help me get a job? An internship? Summer employment? Accepted into graduate of professional schools?

Participating in the Scholars Program will broaden your horizons and challenge you to view the world in a new light. We offer ideas and issues you may not encounter in the classroom, and this element of your education - the exploration of current issues through an academic and intellectual lens - will serve you well in whatever field, discipline, or occupation you pursue. While participation in CUSP is a great honor (of which you should be proud), it is the intrinsic gains you reap from participating in it, which will be the most beneficial to you. You should take full advantage not only of the Columbia Journey Seminar (CJS), the CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series, the advising and mentoring by the CUSP staff, but also of the opportunity to learn experientially over the summer through the Summer Enhancement Fellowship (SEF).

CUSP Summer Enhancement Fellowships, Scholars Program

Can I apply as a senior?

No. Currently this fellowship is only for Scholars in their first, sophomore, and junior summers.

Can I apply for this as a team project with other people?

Yes, you may apply for a joint project. However, each Scholar has to submit a separate application. We always encourage Scholars to work collaboratively where applicable.

Can I apply to this fellowship if I have not secured an internship/research position by the deadline?

Scholars without secured internships can still apply for the internship fellowship, and should list in the application all of the internships they have applied for. Scholars are required to inform the CUSP office by May 30th to provide an update on what internship was finally secured for the summer. Please speak with a CUSP Advisor if this applies to you.

Can I get credit on my transcript for my summer internship?

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering do not provide credit for internships.

Can I indicate more than one internship/research position on the fellowship application?

Yes. Please prepare a complete application listing the different internship/research positions (and the dates) that you will be engaged in during the summer. For further information, please see a CUSP Advisor.

Can I use this money anywhere in the world?

Yes. This fellowship can be applied anywhere in the world.

Can my CUSP Advisor complete the SEF Recommendation Form for me?

CUSP Advisors cannot complete the Recommendation Form for the CUSP Summer Enhancement Fellowship. However, if you have a good relationship with our Graduate Student Mentors (GSMs), then they can complete the Recommendation Form at your request.

Do we have to research with a Columbia faculty member?

No. While we encourage Scholars to seek and develop relationships with Columbia faculty, we support research endeavors with faculty from other universities as well. If you have chosen a research advisor who is not a professor at an accredited institution, please see a CUSP Advisor before submitting your application.

Does this cover summer school?

This fellowship does not cover traditional summer school (i.e. courses to meet CORE/major/graduation requirements); however, some summer programs will be considered if they contain a strong research, fieldwork, or experiential education component. Please see a CUSP Advisor prior to submitting your application if your project falls in this category.

How will my Recommender or Faculty Sponsor submit their SEF Recommendation or Faculty Support Form?

Upon completing your online application, you will receive a confirmation email verifying your application submission.  Within the email, there will be an electronic link that you will send to your Recommender or your Faculty Sponsor so that they can submit a recommendation form on your behalf.  Please make note of the deadline for the Recommender and Facutly Support forms and let your contacts know as well.

If I apply for the fellowship this year, will it hurt my chances of applying for the funds next year?

No. Scholars can apply annually for this fellowship until their year of graduation.

If I get an internship abroad, will my airfare be paid?

All grants are based on availability of funds. Please note that CUSP cannot guarantee that you will receive the full amount that you requested.

If I secure a low-paying internship, can I apply to supplement my expenses?

Yes, you can apply. Please be sure to include all sources of funding that you have secured for this internship and please note that CUSP cannot guarantee that you will receive the amount that you request.

What is the average amount awarded?

The average amounts awarded vary.  All grants are considered based on availability of funds.  Please note that CUSP cannot guarantee the amount that you request. 

Who chooses the fellowship awardees?

The CUSP Fellows Selection Committee selects the SEF awardees.

Will there be interviews?

Interviews will no longer be conducted. 

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