Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Columbia Urban Experience (CUE)

The Columbia Urban Experience (CUE) is a week-long pre-orientation program for 60 Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Barnard College first-year students. CUE empowers incoming first-years to explore what it means to effectively engage in one's community through direct service in New York City. CUE aims to explore the ethical perspectives of service, create community among incoming first year students, and introduce students to living in New York City. The CUE community of participants, leaders, and coordinators support and inspire CUErs in their leadership and social justice endeavors at Barnard, Columbia, and beyond. 

The 2019 CUE Program for the incoming class of 2023 will run from August 18-24, 2019. Applications will be available on Tuesday, April 2; applications are due Friday, May 18 at 12:00 p.m.

CUE is managed by a staff member in Columbia Undergraduate Student Life and a staff member in Barnard College Student Life, as well as two student coordinators.

If you have any questions, email:


Program Logistics

Each day, student participants join their same small group and participate in direct service opportunities at sites across NYC. Past service sites have included Harlem Grown, Hunger Free America, Brooklyn Community Services, and Planned Parenthood.

Each night, CUE participants select their preferred New York City activity from four amazing options. Past activities have included excursions to the Apollo Theater, Hungarian Pastry Shop, Times Square, Magnolia Bakery, the Nuyorican Poets Café, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

CC and SEAS students move directly into their first- year academic housing assignments on CUE move-in day. However, the program takes place in Special Interest Community (SIC) housing throughout the duration of CUE week. Therefore, academic year housing is not accessible during CUE week. Students are instructed to pack a week’s worth of their belongings to take with them to the SIC house. Barnard student participants stay in the academic housing for the entirety of the week.

Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners during CUE are provided by Dining Services.

Specific move in and packing information will be sent to participants once accepted into the program.


Application Process 

Once applications are received for all pre-orientation programs, the CUE team reviews all applications from students who indicated an interest in CUE. Often, the process yields more interest than there are spots on the program, and as a result, each year there are students that the program is not able to accept. CUE accepts 40 Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students and 20 Barnard students.

Program Fees

The program fee for CUE is $350.00 which covers all your needs during the week of CUE.

Partial and full fee waivers may be available to students who demonstrate financial need, as verified through the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing.




505 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-3611

Fax: (212) 854-6972

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Student Groups & Events

Get your student group news and event information and manage your group memberships.

Go to Live Well | Learn Well