Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Columbia Urban Experience

In our ongoing planning for the Columbia Urban Experience (CUE), we have recognized that there is still much uncertainty regarding what the on-campus experience will look like this fall. Specifically, uncertainties surrounding early arrival housing, campus and New York City operations, and space availability on campus. These ambiguities make it challenging to plan a pre-orientation program this summer. We also want to ensure we are prioritizing the health of the communities in which we work and engage as part of CUE. As a result, there will not be a 2021 CUE program

The Columbia Urban Experience (CUE) is a five-day long pre-orientation program for 60 Columbia College, Columbia Engineering and Barnard College first-year students. CUE is an opportunity to engage in inter-group dialogue around topics of social justice, identity development, activism in New York City, and transitioning to the Columbia and Barnard communities. The CUE community of participants, leaders and coordinators support and inspire "CUErs" in their leadership and social justice endeavors on campus, in New York City and beyond.

All incoming first-year students from Barnard College, Columbia College and Columbia Engineering are eligible to apply.

Program Logistics

Each day, first-year students participate in a variety of workshops focused on social justice topics, activism and inter-group dialogue. Students learn about the Columbia and Barnard communities, the Harlem communities that our campuses are a part of and the larger New York City area they now call home.

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

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided by Columbia Dining during CUE.

Application Process

Once applications are received for all pre-orientation programs, the CUE team reviews the applications from students who indicated an interest in CUE. Often, the process yields more interest than there are available spots, 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 College students.

Program Fees

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

A limited amount of funding may be available towards the registration fee for students who demonstrate high levels of financial need, as verified through Financial Aid and Educational Financing. Priority will be given to students with the highest levels of financial need.  



515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-3612

Fax: 212-854-6972

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