Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a STEM major student working on a tiny machine

Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)

Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) is a great opportunity for high school students interested in engineering and technology! This guide gives you a detailed look at everything SHAPE provides, highlighting why it’s perfect for students who want to become engineers. You’ll learn how this program not only sparks your interest in engineering but also builds a strong base for a successful future in this rapidly changing field.

What is Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)?

Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) is an enriching and intensive summer initiative designed specifically for high school students with a keen interest in engineering and technology. Hosted at the esteemed Columbia University, this program spans several weeks during the summer and offers an immersive dive into the engineering world. Participants engage in hands-on projects that allow them to apply theoretical knowledge in practical scenarios, enhancing their understanding of various engineering principles.

In addition to project work, the program includes a series of lectures and workshops led by experienced faculty members and industry experts. These sessions cover a wide range of topics, offering insights into the latest trends and technologies in the field. An emphasis on collaboration is a key aspect of SHAPE, as students work alongside peers who share similar interests, creating a dynamic learning environment. The program is not limited to one discipline; instead, it provides exposure to multiple branches of engineering, such as mechanical, electrical, computer science, and biomedical engineering. This broad scope helps students gain a comprehensive understanding of the engineering sector and aids in making informed decisions about their future educational and career paths.

Located on Columbia University’s campus in New York City, SHAPE also gives students a taste of college life at a top-tier institution, adding to the overall experience. Overall, Columbia Engineering’s SHAPE program is not just an academic course but a platform that inspires, prepares, and connects young minds to the vast possibilities in the engineering and technology sectors.

A Glimpse Into the Program

Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) for Summer 2024 offers an engaging educational experience through two distinct 3-week sessions. Each session is carefully structured to provide students with a rich learning environment.

During these sessions, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in one of the college-level engineering courses offered. The curriculum is comprehensive, including electives and workshops focused on college preparation, complemented by support from Columbia students. It’s important to note that while SHAPE is conducted by faculty and offers a pre-college experience, it does not provide college credit.

Course Offerings

The courses for each session in Summer 2024 cover a diverse range of topics, allowing students to explore different areas of engineering and technology. Students accepted into SHAPE will have the flexibility to confirm or adjust their course and session preferences at a later stage.

SHAPE 2024 Session 1 Courses

  • Robotics and Autonomous Driving
  • Moving Forward: Walking Robots
  • Biomedical Engineering: Intersection of Biology, Medicine, and Design
  • Competitive Programming: Introduction to Problem Solving
  • Sustainable Engineering: Approaches to Mitigating Climate Change
  • Product Studio: Conceptualizing and Creating Prototypes
  • Civil Engineering: Exploring Human Impact on the Built Environment
  • Math in Action: Applying Operations Research for Social Benefits
  • Data Science: Unraveling the Mysteries of Data

SHAPE 2024 Session 2 Courses

  • Robotics and Autonomous Driving
  • Moving Forward: Walking Robots
  • Biomedical Engineering: Convergence of Biology, Medicine, and Design
  • Competitive Programming: Advancing Beyond the Basics
  • Sustainable Engineering: Designing Solutions for a Better Planet
  • Electrical Engineering: Exploring Solar Energy Utilization
  • Chemical Engineering: Balancing Material and Energy

Each course is designed to challenge and inspire students, providing them with valuable skills and knowledge in their chosen field. The SHAPE program’s combination of rigorous academic content and practical, hands-on learning makes it an ideal summer opportunity for high school students passionate about engineering.

computer engineering students being demonstrated on by a professor

Course Overview

Robotics and Autonomous Driving (Sessions 1 & 2)

Go on an exploratory journey through the realms of robotics and autonomous vehicle technology in this course. It’s a perfect blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experimentation. You will delve into the foundational aspects of engineering that underpin modern design and innovation.

Project Highlights:

  • Construct and program a robotic car from the ground up.
  • Navigate complex mazes and complete various tasks using programmed paths.
  • Delve into the intricacies of engineering and mechanics, including 3D modeling with SOLIDWORKS, sensor technologies, solid modeling principles, and the mechanics of movement.
  • Engage in a creative challenge to build the most efficient autonomous robotic vehicle.

Moving Forward: Walking Robots (Sessions 1 & 2)

Designed for those with a background in robotics, this course elevates your skills to new heights. Focus is on the conceptualization, design, and control of a self-designed quadrupedal robot.

Project Highlights:

  • Master engineering sketching and transform these sketches into 3D models.
  • Bring 3D models to life through 3D printing techniques.
  • Integrate motors and control your creation using Arduino programming.
  • Program various walking patterns, letting your robot explore different terrains.
  • Gain an overview of contemporary legged robotics.

Biomedical Engineering: Where Biology, Medicine & Design Meet (Sessions 1 & 2)

Explore the world of biomedical engineering, a field where technology meets healthcare. From X-rays and COVID tests to life-saving devices like insulin pumps and pacemakers, this course sheds light on the innovations developed by biomedical engineers.

Project Highlights:

  • Participate in hands-on laboratory exercises across various BME fields like biomechanics, bioinstrumentation, and medical imaging.
  • Learn about the engineering design process and rapid prototyping, including 3D printing and laser engraving.
  • Construct a biomedical device of your own design.

Competitive Programming: Intro to the Art of Problem Solving (Session 1 Only)

This course invites math and programming enthusiasts to delve into the world of competitive problem-solving. It’s tailored for beginners, enthusiasts, and aspiring competitors.

Project Highlights:

  • Learn fundamental algorithms, including sorting, graph theory, and combinatorics.
  • Practice with online judges, understanding how to process inputs and outputs.
  • Train for competitions like USACO and ICPC, with recognition for top performers.

Competitive Programming: Beyond the Basics (Session 2 Only)

This advanced course prepares students for high-level competitive programming challenges, ideal for those aiming for top-tier competitions.

Project Highlights:

  • Explore advanced algorithms, including graph theory and dynamic data structures.
  • Master powerful tools like Edmond-Karp, Dinic, and Knuth-Morris-Pratt for various applications.
  • Solve complex puzzles at a level comparable to USACO Platinum challenges.
  • Applicants are expected to have a significant background in competitive programming.

Sustainable Engineering: Mitigating Climate Change (Session 1 Only)

For those dreaming of making a substantial impact on the planet, this course focuses on tackling climate change through science and engineering.

Project Highlights:

  • Understand the real-world impacts of climate change.
  • Learn about the greenhouse effect and strategies to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Explore eco-friendly technologies and renewable energy sources.
  • Redesign Earth’s future with scientific and engineering solutions.

Group of students talking in a room.

Sustainable Engineering: Designing a Better Planet (Session 2 Only)

This course takes you through the journey of creating a sustainable future, focusing on cleaner energy, greener infrastructure, and renewable resources.

Project Highlights:

  • Study the challenges of sustainable development and potential solutions.
  • Analyze sustainability indicators, life cycle, and supply chain.
  • Explore sustainable energy systems, renewable energy, and waste management.
  • Understand the role of technology and policy in sustainable solutions.

Product Studio: From Idea to Prototype (Session 1 Only)

Discover the process of product creation, from ideation to prototyping, in this hands-on course.

Project Highlights:

  • Develop skills in ideation, concept development, and rapid prototyping.
  • Use various techniques like 3D modeling, laser cutting, and soldering.
  • Present weekly progress and receive feedback on your prototypes.

Civil Engineering: Human Impact and the Built Environment (Session 1 Only)

Learn about civil engineering’s role in shaping our lives and environment, focusing on green designs and solutions for contemporary challenges.

Project Highlights:

  • Conduct experiments with both traditional and innovative materials.
  • Design the “Park of Tomorrow” using Morningside Park as a case study.
  • Utilize drones for data collection and advanced technology for prototyping.

Math in Action: Operations Research for Social Good (Session 2 Only)

This course merges mathematics with real-world social challenges, teaching students how to apply mathematical tools for societal benefits.

Project Highlights:

  • Learn optimization, simulation, and data analysis for practical problem-solving.
  • Apply these tools to improve sectors
  • Expanded and Paraphrased Course Descriptions

Group of students sitting on their table.

Electrical Engineering: Harnessing the Energy of the Sun (Session 2 Only)

This course takes you on an electrifying journey to discover how solar energy can be harnessed to power our daily lives. It’s a comprehensive exploration of electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering principles, all converging to demystify the engineering behind solar energy systems.

Project Highlights:

  • Design and construct a solar oven to bake treats using the sun’s energy.
  • Dive into the study of solar energy, focusing on photovoltaic (converting solar energy to electricity) and solar thermal (using solar energy directly) systems.
  • Grasp the fundamentals of electricity and solar cell technology by building a solar array.
  • Employ Arduino for crafting digital circuits and programming various sensors.
  • Develop a simulated voting machine to illustrate the impact of technology in societal systems.

Chemical Engineering: Material and Energy Balance (Session 2 Only)

Immerse yourself in the world of chemical engineering, where problem-solving and innovation collide to address global challenges. This course provides an insightful overview of the roles and thought processes of chemical engineers and their contribution across various industries.

Project Highlights:

  • Gain insight into the pivotal role of chemical engineers in spearheading innovative projects.
  • Investigate chemical reactions and their optimization in chemical processing.
  • Master techniques for assessing chemical processes and material balances, essential for process flow calculations.
  • Engage in practical chemical engineering projects targeting health, energy, and environmental issues.
  • Note: Prior completion of high school Chemistry is required for enrollment in this course.

Data Science: Decoding the Secrets of Data (Session 2 Only)

Step into the world of data science and evolve into a decision-maker driven by data. This course encompasses three key aspects of data science: inferential thinking, computational thinking, and real-world relevance.

Project Highlights:

  • Understand and apply fundamental statistical theories in practical scenarios.
  • Utilize computer programming for a range of tasks including computation, data manipulation, visualization, and analysis.
  • Develop the ability to scrutinize a dataset, pose meaningful questions, and apply data science techniques to derive solutions.

Electives for 2024

Students in the 2024 session have the opportunity to choose from a range of electives. These electives are curated in collaboration with the undergraduate team and cover various innovative topics. Students can indicate their preferences for multiple electives, with placements being finalized based on interest and communicated prior to the program’s start. Adjustments, if necessary, will be accommodated during the initial stages of SHAPE.

Lab Spaces: Makerspace

The Makerspace is an integral part of the SHAPE experience, where all students will have the opportunity to visit. This space is well-equipped with advanced tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines, all designed for digital fabrication. Safety training is a prerequisite to using the Makerspace, ensuring a secure and supervised environment for students. Various classes will utilize this space regularly for building and testing prototypes.

Can I enroll in multiple courses?

Single Course Per Session: Students can enroll in only one course during each session.

Attending Both Sessions: If interested in multiple courses, students can apply for both 3-week sessions. This allows participation in different courses across the sessions. Indicate this preference on your application.

Payment for Both Sessions: Enrolling in courses across both sessions entails paying for each 3-week period.

a teacher demonstrating something on the computer

A Day in the Life of a SHAPE Attendee

Morning Schedule

9:00 AM: Arrival and Check-In

Begin your day at SHAPE by checking in at 9:00 AM. This is the time to get settled and prepare for the day’s learning activities.

9:15 AM: Professor-Led Instruction

At 9:15 AM, immerse yourself in an engaging class conducted by a Columbia professor. These sessions are designed to provide in-depth knowledge and stimulate intellectual curiosity in your chosen field.

10:15 AM: Laboratory Experience

Following the class, at 10:15 AM, transition into a hands-on lab session. This is where you’ll apply the concepts learned in class to real-world scenarios, enhancing your practical understanding of the subject.

11:15 AM: Elective Course

At 11:15 AM, dive into an elective course of your choice. These electives allow you to explore additional areas of interest and broaden your academic experience.

12:15 PM: Lunch Break

Take a well-deserved break at 12:15 PM for lunch. This is a great opportunity to relax, refuel, and socialize with peers.

Afternoon Schedule

1:45 PM: Midday Check-In

Reconvene at 1:45 PM for a midday check-in. This helps ensure that everyone is ready and prepared for the afternoon sessions.

2:00 PM: Professor-Led Instruction Continued

Resume your learning journey at 2:00 PM with another insightful session led by a Columbia professor. This class builds upon the morning’s lessons, offering a comprehensive educational experience.

3:00 PM: Project Development Time

At 3:00 PM, dedicate time to work on your projects. This period is crucial for applying your knowledge, developing ideas, and collaborating with classmates on various assignments.

4:00 PM: PDL Session or Social Hour

Engage in a Professional Development and Leadership (PDL) session or enjoy a social hour starting at 4:00 PM. These sessions are essential for personal growth and offer a chance to unwind and connect with fellow students.

5:00 PM: End of Day Dismissal

The day concludes at 5:00 PM with dismissal. This marks the end of a productive and enriching day at SHAPE, filled with learning, innovation, and social interaction.

a female student checking her smart phone

Lunch Coverage: The meal plan includes daily lunch for the duration of the program. This policy was not applicable to the virtual programs in 2020 and 2021.

Attendance Importance: Regular attendance is crucial, but if you must miss a day or more, notify the program as soon as possible.

No Proration for Absences: Tuition cannot be prorated or discounted for missed days, and special materials for these days will not be provided. Teamwork is often a component of the program, which can be affected by absences.

Withdrawing from the Program

Initial Two-Day Grace Period: If you start SHAPE but decide to leave, you have two days to withdraw without penalty.

Post-Two-Day Withdrawal: Withdrawal after 5:00 PM on the second day incurs full tuition responsibility.

Open Communication Policy: If concerns arise within the first two days, the program encourages students to discuss them. Personal emergencies are considered individually.

Interaction with College Students

Columbia Student Involvement: Throughout the program, Columbia students assist and provide insights into the university student experience.

Impact on Columbia University College Admission

Attendance at SHAPE does not automatically enhance chances of admission to Columbia University. While campus familiarity can be beneficial, it does not directly influence the admissions process.

Why Should You Go to ​​Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)?

Participating in SHAPE means immersing yourself in a world of cutting-edge technology and engineering concepts. You’ll gain practical experience, work on collaborative projects, and learn from experts in the field. This experience not only enhances your understanding of engineering but also strengthens your college applications and helps you stand out in a competitive academic landscape.

Maximizing Your ​​Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) Experience

A. Harnessing Library Resources

Explore Extensive Collections: Columbia’s libraries are treasure troves of knowledge, housing an extensive collection of books, academic journals, and electronic resources. Delving into these can supplement your classroom learning, provide deeper insights into complex topics, and inspire new ideas for your projects.

Utilize Research Tools: The libraries offer access to a plethora of research databases and advanced search tools. These resources are invaluable for finding up-to-date information, academic papers, and case studies relevant to your engineering interests. Learning to navigate these databases will enhance your research skills, a critical component of academic success.

Attend Workshops: Regularly scheduled workshops by the library can dramatically improve your academic skills. These sessions cover a range of topics, from effective research strategies to mastering citation formats. They are designed to help you become more efficient and independent in your academic work.

Study Spaces and Group Work Areas: The libraries provide various study environments to suit different needs. Whether you need quiet spaces for individual study or collaborative areas for group work, these facilities are designed to enhance your learning experience.

Librarian Assistance: Don’t overlook the value of librarian assistance! Librarians can guide you to the right resources, assist with research strategies, and even help with navigating digital platforms.

B. Making the Most of Laboratories

Hands-On Experience: Laboratories at Columbia are state-of-the-art facilities where you can apply your theoretical knowledge in a practical setting. Engaging in lab experiments helps solidify your understanding of engineering principles, providing a hands-on experience that is both educational and enjoyable.

Seek Guidance: Laboratory instructors and assistants are valuable resources. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and their insights can provide deeper understanding, troubleshoot experiments, and suggest new approaches to your projects.

Collaborate with Peers: Laboratories are also a hub for collaboration. Working with fellow students on experiments or projects fosters teamwork and communication skills. It’s an opportunity to learn from peers, share knowledge, and gain different perspectives.

Safety and Protocols: Understanding and adhering to lab safety protocols is crucial. This not only ensures your safety but also teaches you the discipline and responsibility required in professional engineering environments.

Documenting Experiments: Learning to document your lab work meticulously is a vital skill. Keeping detailed records of your experiments helps in analyzing results, preparing reports, and developing a systematic approach to problem-solving.

a male student holding something while looking at the camera

C. Electives: Broadening Your Horizon

Choose Wisely: Electives provide a unique opportunity to explore subjects outside your primary interest. Selecting electives that complement your main course can deepen your knowledge, while choosing diverse topics can broaden your perspective and spark new interests.

Engage Actively: Active participation in electives enhances the learning experience. Engage in discussions, contribute to group projects, and take advantage of hands-on activities. These electives are designed not just for academic learning but for developing critical life skills like teamwork, communication, and adaptability.

Networking and Interaction: Electives often involve interactions with students from different backgrounds. This is an excellent opportunity for networking, sharing ideas, and building relationships that could be valuable in your future academic or professional life.

Feedback and Reflection: Take advantage of the feedback from instructors and peers in elective classes. Reflecting on this feedback can provide insights into your strengths and areas for improvement, helping in personal and academic growth.

Exploring New Interests: Electives can sometimes lead to discovering new passions or career paths. Be open to these new experiences as they can enrich your educational journey and possibly guide your future career choices.

D. Additional Campus Resources

Guest Lectures and Seminars: Attending these events exposes you to cutting-edge research, industry trends, and diverse viewpoints. These experiences can inspire new ideas for your projects and broaden your understanding of the engineering field.

Networking Events: These gatherings are perfect for connecting with industry professionals, faculty, and fellow students. They provide a platform for exchanging ideas, seeking advice, and learning about different career paths and opportunities in engineering.

Career Services: Columbia’s career services can offer invaluable guidance in preparing for college applications, securing internships, and planning your career path. Take advantage of resume workshops, interview preparation sessions, and career counseling.

Mentorship Opportunities: Seek out mentorship opportunities with faculty or senior students. A mentor can provide guidance, share experiences, and offer advice that can be crucial in navigating your academic and professional journey.

Feedback and Self-Assessment: Regularly seek feedback from instructors and peers and engage in self-assessment. This helps in identifying areas for improvement and tracking your progress.

Setting Goals: Set clear, achievable goals for your time in the SHAPE program. This helps in staying focused and motivated throughout the program.

Resilience and Adaptability: Be prepared to face challenges and adapt to new situations. Developing resilience will not only help during your time at SHAPE but also in your future academic and professional endeavors.

By actively engaging with these various aspects of the SHAPE program and utilizing the available resources, you can significantly enhance your learning experience and lay a strong foundation for your future in engineering.

The Role of Mentorship in Elevating Your Experience at ​​Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)

Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) is a transformative experience, and one of the key elements that can significantly enhance this journey is mentorship. Mentorship plays a pivotal role in enriching your learning and overall experience at SHAPE. Here’s how mentorship can contribute to making your time in the program more impactful and rewarding:

Access to Experienced Guidance

Learning from Experts: Mentorship connects you with experienced individuals, often faculty or industry professionals, who can offer insights that textbooks alone cannot provide. They bring real-world experience and practical wisdom, enriching your understanding of engineering concepts.

Personalized Advice: Mentors can provide tailored advice that addresses your specific interests and challenges, helping to steer your academic and career trajectory in the right direction.

Nurturing Professional and Academic Development

Skill Enhancement: Mentors can help you refine essential skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication, which are crucial for a successful career in engineering.

Project Guidance: For your course projects, mentors can offer valuable feedback, suggest resources, and help you approach problems from various perspectives, thereby enhancing the quality of your work.

Expanding Networks and Opportunities

Building Connections: A mentor can introduce you to a network of professionals, alumni, and other students, expanding your connections within the engineering community.

Opening Doors: Through their networks, mentors can also help identify opportunities such as internships, workshops, or conferences that can further your learning and exposure.

Providing Emotional Support and Motivation

Encouragement: The journey through a rigorous program like SHAPE can be challenging. Mentors provide the much-needed encouragement and motivation to keep you focused and resilient.

Coping Strategies: They can share strategies to manage stress, balance workload, and maintain a healthy work-life balance, crucial for your mental well-being.

Students learn from their teacher.

Offering Real-World Insights and Career Advice

Industry Insights: Mentors with industry experience can provide a glimpse into what working in the engineering field is really like, preparing you for your future career.

Career Guidance: They can offer advice on college applications, career paths, and long-term goals, helping you make informed decisions about your future in engineering.

Fostering Long-Term Professional Relationships

Ongoing Support: A mentor-mentee relationship can extend beyond the duration of the SHAPE program, providing you with continued support and guidance as you progress in your academic and professional journey.

Role Model: Mentors often become role models and lifelong contacts who can continue to inspire and guide you in various stages of your career.

Mentorship is an invaluable component of the Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE). It provides a supportive framework that not only enhances your academic learning but also prepares you for the real-world challenges and opportunities in the field of engineering. By actively seeking and engaging with mentors, you can significantly enrich your experience, gain deeper insights into your chosen field, and set a strong foundation for your future endeavors in engineering.

How Do You Get into ​​the Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)?

Eligibility for the esteemed Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) is specifically designed for rising high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors. This program is ideal for students who possess a strong inclination towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. SHAPE is known for its selective nature, catering to students who have shown a keen interest and aptitude in the realms of science and technology, as well as engineering and mathematics.

The program is open to U.S. citizens or those who hold a permanent resident visa, ensuring a diverse group of participants from various backgrounds. SHAPE is structured to offer participants a rich, hands-on experience in creative problem-solving, set within the context of contemporary and cutting-edge engineering fields. These experiences are designed to challenge and inspire students, fostering both intellectual and practical growth.

How Do I Apply to ​​Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)?

Columbia University’s SHAPE program offers two immersive three-week sessions during the summer. Prospective students have the flexibility to enroll in either one or both sessions, depending on their preference and availability.

A. Application Timeline and Process

Priority Deadline: The application for Summer 2024 is currently open, with a priority deadline set for December 15, 2023. It’s advisable to submit your application by this date for the best chance of admission.

Rolling Admissions: Post the priority deadline, admissions will continue on a rolling basis, subject to space availability. Therefore, early application submission is recommended even after the priority deadline.

B. Application System

Platform Used: The application process utilizes the Columbia Graduate Engineering application system. Don’t be alarmed if you see references to Graduate Engineering during the application process – you’re in the right place.

Assistance and Queries: For any uncertainties or need for clarification, reach out to SHAPE via email.

Application Instructions and TipsGuidance Material: Refer to the “SHAPE Application Instructions” page while completing your application. This page contains essential details that will aid you in navigating through different sections of the application.

Estimation and Clarification: In case you encounter sections that don’t directly apply to you (like if you don’t have a GPA), estimate to the best of your ability. If you’re unsure about any part of the application, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification by emailing [email protected].

C. Application Components

Personal Information: Include personal details for both the student and parent/guardian.

Session and Course Preferences: Indicate your preferred Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) sessions and courses.

Essays: Respond thoughtfully to three essay questions. These essays are your opportunity to showcase your interest and aptitude for the program. Ensure you read each essay question carefully and understand what it specifically asks. It’s important to comprehensively respond to every essay question in the application. Consider having a teacher or counselor review your essays to check for any mistakes. Their input can be invaluable in refining your essays and ensuring they are error-free and effectively communicate your thoughts.

a smiling male student carrying his school stuff on this arms

D. Uploaded Documents

High School Transcript: Submit a copy of your most recent high school transcript. A teacher or counselor should send this.

Letter of Recommendation: A recommendation letter from a math or science teacher is required. This letter should speak to your academic abilities and interest in engineering. When requesting a letter of recommendation, it’s advisable to approach your science or math teacher at least three weeks before the deadline.

This advanced notice gives them ample time to craft a thoughtful and comprehensive letter. Additionally, it’s helpful to provide your teachers with a copy of your resume and recent grades. This information will assist them in highlighting your academic achievements and relevant skills, making for a stronger and more personalized recommendation.

Resume: Provide a resume outlining your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and any relevant experience. You, the applicant, should submit this document.

E. Deadlines and Document Submission

Rolling Admissions Post-Deadline: If applying after the priority deadline, ensure that you extend requests for necessary documents (transcript, recommendation letter) to your providers as soon as possible.

Grace Period for Supporting Documents: A grace period of one-week post-deadline is allowed for receiving supporting documents. During the rolling admissions phase, urge your providers to upload supporting documents promptly.

Completion of Application: Remember, your application can only be reviewed once it is complete, including all supporting documents.

Final Steps

If you’re ready and have gathered all the necessary information, proceed to apply. Remember, the sooner you apply, the better your chances of securing a spot in this prestigious program.

Ensure that every part of your application reflects your enthusiasm and capability for the SHAPE program.

How Hard Is It to Get into ​​Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)?

Gaining admission to SHAPE is challenging due to its popularity and limited spots. The selection process is rigorous, focusing on students who excel academically and show genuine enthusiasm for engineering. However, don’t let this deter you. With a strong application, you can showcase your potential and stand out.

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid Information for SHAPE 2024

Tuition: The tuition fee for the SHAPE program is set at $5,150.

Lab and Materials Fee: There is an additional fee of $250, covering lab usage and materials.

Activities Fee: An activities fee of $100 is charged for extracurricular and special event costs.

Total Cost: The cumulative expense for participating in SHAPE is $5,500.

A. Need-Based Scholarships

Scholarship Availability: Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) offers a select number of need-based scholarships that fully cover tuition and fees.

Application Process

  • Indicate your interest in a scholarship on the program application.
  • Complete the SHAPE scholarship application form, including basic questions and required supplemental document uploads.

Necessary Documents

  • Recent pay stubs of parent(s) with indicated pay period frequency.
  • Family Income and Expense Worksheet.
  • Parent Non-Tax-Filer Certification Form (if applicable).

Deadline: Applications for scholarships must be submitted by 11:59 PM on the priority deadline, December 15, 2023.

Notification: Scholarship decisions will be communicated via email.

B. Scholarship Eligibility

Financial Need Verification: Applicants must demonstrate financial need.

Program Requirements: Must meet the standard requirements of the SHAPE program.

Domestic Restriction: Financial aid is available only to domestic students and their families.

C. Scholarship Acceptance

Commitment Requirement: Accept a scholarship only if you are certain of your attendance. Unused scholarships prevent other potential candidates from receiving financial support.

D. Deposit for Accepted Applicants

Non-Refundable Deposit: Accepted applicants, not including scholarship recipients, must pay a $1,000 deposit, which is credited towards tuition. This deposit is non-refundable in case of withdrawal from the program.

E. Payment and Financial Responsibility

Balance Payment: After the initial deposit, an invoice for the remaining balance will be issued, due one month before the program starts.

Parent/Guardian Responsibility: A Parent Responsibility Agreement is required, in line with university policy for minors. This agreement must be signed and returned by the parents/guardians of SHAPE students.

F. Attendance Policy

Importance of Attendance: Regular attendance is crucial, but personal emergencies are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Limitations: Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) cannot offer prorated tuition, discounts, or special materials for missed days. Participation often involves teamwork, which is impacted by absences.

G. Withdrawal Policy

Initial Two-Day Grace Period: If a student decides to withdraw within the first two days of the program, there is no penalty.

Post-Grace Period: Withdrawal after 5:00 PM on the second-day results in responsibility for the full tuition.

Open Communication: Students with concerns are encouraged to discuss them with the SHAPE team, who are available to provide support and assistance.

Students attentively listening to the professor

When is the Deadline to Apply to ​​Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)?

Application Opening Date: The application process for the SHAPE program will start on November 15, 2023. Prospective students are encouraged to start preparing their application materials in advance to ensure a timely submission.

A. Priority Admission Phase

End Date for Priority Admission: December 15, 2023, marks the conclusion of the priority admission phase. Applications submitted by this date will be given preferential consideration. It’s a critical deadline for those aiming to secure their place early in the program.

Transition to Rolling Admission: Following the priority admission deadline, the program shifts to a rolling admission process starting December 16, 2023. During this phase, applications are evaluated and admissions are offered based on the availability of slots in the program. This period allows flexibility for applicants who may need more time to complete their application.

B. Final Application Deadline

Closing Date: The final deadline for submitting applications is set for March 26, 2024. This is the last opportunity for students to apply for the upcoming summer session. It’s important to note that while there is a rolling admission process, the availability of spots may become limited as the final deadline approaches. Therefore, it is advisable to submit applications as early as possible.

C. Key Points for Applicants

Early Preparation: Begin gathering and preparing your application documents well before the opening date to ensure a smooth application process.

Priority Admission Advantage: Applying before the priority deadline increases your chances of acceptance, as the competition tends to intensify during the rolling admission phase.

Stay Informed: Regularly check for updates and any potential changes in the application deadlines or requirements.

By being aware of these key dates and planning accordingly, you can definitely optimize your chances of securing a place in the Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)!

When Do I Find Out About My Application to ​​Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)?

Applicants can expect to receive their admission decisions around the middle of January. This timeframe allows the admissions committee to thoroughly review all applications received by the priority deadline and make informed decisions.

Applicants should keep an eye on their email and the application portal during this period for any updates regarding their admission status.

It’s important for applicants to regularly check their email and the application portal for notifications, as this will be the primary method of communication from the SHAPE program regarding admissions decisions.

Where is the SHAPE program located?

The 2024 SHAPE program will be conducted in-person as a commuter program,  with students expected to travel to the Columbia campus daily. The primary campus is situated in the lively Morningside Heights area, nestled in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, in New York City.

Participants are required to adhere to Columbia University’s public health guidelines to ensure a safe and productive learning environment.

Although not provided by the program, students can explore campus housing or nearby temporary accommodation options through provided links.

In the library, a female student is studying.

When Does SHAPE Take Place?

SHAPE 2024 Session Dates:

Session 1: Scheduled from July 8th to July 26th, 2024.

Session 2: Planned for July 29th to August 16th, 2024.

How Long is the ​​Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)?

Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) consists of two 3-week sessions, providing an immersive and comprehensive engineering experience. This duration is perfect for diving deep into learning while still enjoying the summer!

Balancing Fun and Learning at Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE)

Engaging in Interactive Learning: SHAPE’s curriculum is designed to be interactive, encouraging active participation. This could include hands-on projects, real-world problem-solving scenarios, and group discussions that make learning more dynamic and engaging.

Innovative Teaching Methods: Instructors often use innovative teaching methods that blend entertainment with education, such as gamification of complex concepts or incorporating technology like VR in lessons.

Peer-to-Peer Learning: Learning alongside peers who share your enthusiasm for engineering can naturally make the educational process more enjoyable. Group assignments and team projects encourage camaraderie and make challenging topics more approachable and fun.

Balancing Rigor with Creativity: The courses are structured to balance academic rigor with creative freedom, allowing you to explore engineering concepts in a way that fuels both your intellect and creativity.

A. Exploring Extracurricular Activities

Diverse Club Offerings: SHAPE may offer a variety of clubs and groups focusing on everything from robotics to environmental engineering, providing fun, informal settings to explore interests outside of the classroom.

Social Events and Gatherings: These events are perfect opportunities to relax, socialize, and enjoy a break from the structured academic schedule. They can range from campus tours to informal get-togethers, offering a chance to unwind and build friendships.

Sports and Recreational Activities: Participating in sports or other recreational activities available on campus can be a great way to stay active and have fun while learning new skills.

Cultural and Artistic Outlets: Engaging in cultural events or artistic pursuits offered by the program can enrich your experience, providing a creative outlet and a chance to experience new aspects of campus life.

B. Making the Most of Electives

Varied Elective Choices: Electives at SHAPE offer a chance to delve into subjects that might be outside your primary area of study, providing a broader educational experience that is both enriching and enjoyable.

Interactive Elective Classes: These classes are often more interactive and less formal than main courses, offering hands-on activities, group discussions, and creative projects that make learning more engaging and less stressful.

Collaboration and Networking: Electives provide opportunities to work with students from different backgrounds, fostering collaboration, idea exchange, and networking in a more relaxed setting.

Skill Development Through Electives: While fun and interactive, electives also focus on developing practical skills, from public speaking to coding, which can be crucial in your future academic and professional endeavors.

C. Ensuring Personal Time

Importance of Downtime: Balancing intense study sessions with personal time is key to avoiding burnout. It’s important to schedule regular breaks for hobbies, relaxation, or simply doing nothing.

Mindfulness and Wellness Activities: Engaging in mindfulness or wellness activities, such as yoga or meditation sessions offered on campus, can be a great way to de-stress and maintain mental health.

Exploring Personal Interests: Use your free time to pursue personal interests or hobbies. This can include reading, art, music, or exploring tech innovations, providing a refreshing break from your academic routine.

Quality Rest: Ensure you get enough rest and sleep. Adequate rest is crucial for maintaining focus and energy levels, enhancing both your academic performance and overall experience.

D. Exploring Campus and Surroundings

Campus Exploration: Columbia’s campus is rich in history and architecture. Take time to explore its libraries, historical buildings, and green spaces, which can be both educational and relaxing.

Cultural and City Excursions: Being in New York City, you have access to a multitude of cultural experiences. Plan visits to museums, theaters, or iconic landmarks in the city.

Participating in Campus Events: Attend campus events, such as guest lectures, art exhibits, or cultural festivals. These events not only provide a break from studies but also enrich your cultural and intellectual understanding.

Enjoying Local Cuisine: Exploring local eateries and trying different cuisines can be a delightful way to take a break and experience the diverse culture of New York City.

A group of college friends around an outdoor table.

E. Fostering Peer Connections

Building Lasting Friendships: Forming friendships within the program can lead to study partnerships, sharing of ideas, and a support system that makes the learning process more enjoyable.

Group Activities and Study Sessions: Organize or participate in group study sessions, recreational sports, or group outings. These activities foster a sense of community and make learning a shared, enjoyable experience.

Peer Mentorship: Engaging with older students or peers in a mentorship capacity can provide guidance, support, and a different perspective on navigating the program and future career paths.

Cultural Exchange and Diversity: Embrace the diversity of your peers. Learning about different cultures and backgrounds can be a fascinating and enriching aspect of your overall experience.

F. Embracing a Positive Mindset

Adopting a Balanced Approach: View your time at SHAPE as an opportunity for both academic growth and personal development. Embracing both aspects will lead to a more fulfilling experience.

Staying Open and Adaptable: Be open to new experiences, whether it’s trying a new subject, attending a different type of event, or meeting people from diverse backgrounds.

Positive Attitude Toward Challenges: Approach challenges with a positive attitude. Viewing difficult tasks as opportunities for growth can transform potentially stressful experiences into rewarding ones.

Reflection and Mindfulness: Regularly reflect on your experiences and practice mindfulness. This can help maintain a positive outlook, reduce stress, and enhance your overall experience at SHAPE.

Engaging in both the academic and extracurricular aspects of the Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE), and by taking care of your mental and physical well-being, you can ensure a summer that is as enjoyable as it is educational. This balanced approach will allow you to make the most of your time at Columbia Engineering, creating memories and skills that will last a lifetime!

Final Thoughts

Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE) transcends the typical summer program experience, emerging as a pivotal launchpad for aspiring young engineers. This program is a gateway to a world where knowledge, innovation, and practical skills converge, providing a robust platform for intellectual and personal growth. By immersing yourself in SHAPE, you’re not just learning; you’re on a journey of discovery, unlocking doors to groundbreaking knowledge and mastering skills that are crucial in the modern engineering landscape.

Participation in SHAPE connects you to a network of like-minded peers and industry professionals, fostering relationships that could shape the trajectory of your future career. These connections often lead to lifelong collaborations and mentorships, invaluable in the competitive field of engineering. Furthermore, the program’s blend of theoretical learning with hands-on practical experience ensures that you’re not only prepared academically but also equipped with real-world problem-solving abilities.

As you stand at the threshold of your academic and professional life, SHAPE offers more than a glimpse into the world of engineering—it provides a solid groundwork upon which you can build a successful and fulfilling career. Whether you’re aiming for top-tier universities, groundbreaking research, or innovative industry roles, the skills and experiences gained at SHAPE will be your assets in every step forward.

So, if you’re ready to embrace the challenges and immerse yourself in the exhilarating world of engineering, SHAPE stands as an ideal starting point. Here, your curiosity is nurtured, your skills honed, and your aspirations given wings. Embrace this opportunity at Columbia Engineering’s Summer High School Academic Program for Engineers (SHAPE), and set forth on an academic and professional journey that promises to be as rewarding as it is enlightening.

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