Book Awards FAQ

Which schools are eligible to participate in this Book Program?

To be eligible to participate in the Program, a school must be:

  • Sponsored by one or more Columbia University alumni. Sponsorship costs can be found elsewhere in the Website
  • A secondary high school located approximately no more than 50 miles from Boston.

What does school sponsorship entail?

We welcome donations of any size, and a value of $50 will cover the cost of one complete Book Award. Often donors will contribute for multiple years, e.g. $100 for two years, $150 for three years. Regardless of what you donate, we appreciate your generosity! You can find the donation link here.

My school is outside the Boston area.  Can we still participate in the Program?

As this initiative is sponsored by the local Columbia Alumni Association of Boston, the Program is limited to Boston area schools exclusively. Please call the national alumni office to get more information about other local Columbia alumni associations that may offer similar programs.

How do we join or start a book program in our region? Whom do we contact?

Please contact the national Columbia Alumni Association for additional details.

I don't see my school on the list.  Why? How do we join?

Schools must be sponsored by a Columbia alumnus/alumna AND be located in the greater Boston metropolitan area. If your school had been a participant at one time, it is possible that school sponsorship has been discontinued for several years.

May our school provide its own sponsor?

Yes. A sponsor or a school itself may request and initiate participation (rather than the sponsor initiating). Basic eligibility guidelines still apply in order to participate in the Boston Program. That is, the secondary school must be in the greater Boston metropolitan area and be sponsored (i.e. a contribution paid to CAA Boston).

What is the criteria for award recipient selection?

The expectation is that this award is presented to acknowledge outstanding juniors and seniors at local high schools who have demonstrated their commitment to excellence. Students are not required to apply to Columbia, although we do hope that this honor may encourage them to consider Columbia in their college search.

Who presents the award to the participant, e.g. the sponsor, the Columbia alumnus/alumna, the school?

With few exceptions, a representative of the school, e.g. a principal, educator, or guidance counselor, presents the Award at a time and place of the school’s choosing, usually an annual awards ceremony.

What is the general process and schedule?

The Book Award Program generally kicks off in late winter/early spring, at which time sponsored schools (typically 45-50) confirm their participation in that year’s Program. Each participating school will then provide to the Columbia Book Award Coordinator the name of the award recipient, upon which the school will then receive a copy of that year’s chosen book, written by a Columbia author, personalized with the recipient’s name along a congratulatory note intended for the recipient. A school representative, e.g. principle, guidance counselor, will present the Award at its annual awards ceremony at or near the end of the school year, usually May or June.

During this same period, the Columbia Alumni Association of Boston solicits donations to support this distinguished program, one that not only showcases and acknowledges the academic rigor and excellence of outstanding secondary school juniors and seniors, but also brings further brand recognition of Columbia University to high schools and a pool of high-achieving potential applicants.

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