"Wrestling with Hobbes and Locke might not be the average summer fare for most high school students, but for the past decade Columbia’s Freedom and Citizenship summer program has encouraged a small set of rising seniors to pursue an experience — and an education — outside the norm.

The four-week seminar (one week of orientation, three weeks of classes), which recently marked its 10th anniversary, aims to give underrepresented (minority, immigrant and/or low-income) New York City students a taste of college life before they embark on their final year of high school.

Monday through Friday students have a reading and writing assignment — roughly 20 pages of reading from a Core Curriculum text and then a one-page reflection on the work. Students discuss the readings the following day during a two-hour seminar. In addition, the students — who live in campus residence halls Sunday night through Friday evening — meet with tutors in the afternoon and evening to go over the classwork."