Summer Institute FAQs

What criteria is used to decide who gets admitted?
We tend to give priority acceptance to:

  • Returners (or advanced participants) who are applying for both a reading and writing institute
  • Early applicants (those who apply soon after the application is released, around the end of February)
  • Teachers who have demonstrated a commitment to our work and who function as lead-teachers or mentor teachers to others
  • Teachers in schools that receive on-site professional development from one or more of our staff developers
  • Building and district administrators
  • Students or teachers who are taking the institute for Teachers College graduate credits (3 or more credits)
  • International applicants

What is the cost of each summer institute?
The noncredit registration fee for 2016 summer institutes is $825 ($775 plus a $50 materials fee) per person, per institute.

Included in all registration fees is a $75 non-refundable application and processing fee. Accepted applicants who withdraw before the deadline will be charged this fee. Those who withdraw after the deadline will be charged the entire institute fee.

How can I pay for a summer institute?
The institutes may be paid for by credit card, debit card or purchase order. Payment is due within 14 days of notification of your acceptance. Before the payment deadline expires you will receive a reminder message. Requests for time extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. While we try to make accommodations whenever necessary, we reserve the right to withdraw applications if payment has not been made on time.

The 14-day payment deadline does not apply to graduate credit applicants, as payment is due directly to Teachers College. Students of Teachers College will find the course numbers available for summer classes under the class directory. Please note that registration will be available via the TC Portal beginning [date TBD]. Non-Teachers College students (upon acceptance) will need to complete the non-degree application found below and will be able to register via registration tools beginning [date TBD].

I want to take the institute for graduate credit. How do I do that?
if you are interested in graduate credit, there is a place to select that on your initial application. In addition to this, you will have to apply to Teachers College as a non-degree student as well as apply through our online application. If you have any questions about the graduate credit process, please contact Mary Ann Mustac at maryann@readingandwritingproject.com.

How do I check my application status, payment status, or section assignment status?
All of this information is available if you simply log into your account at Member Login, using the e-mail and password you applied with.

I am still getting e-mails that I have not paid for the institutes, but I think my payment was submitted. How do I check that my payment was received?
These e-mails are automated and may not be accurate if you have recently submitted payment. If you know your payment was sent, please sit tight as we are processing purchase orders as quickly as possible. There may be a lag time of 2-3 days from when your purchase order was faxed to when payment will be applied. You will receive an e-mail when payment is processed. If you do not receive your confirmation email within the same business day please call 212-678-3104.

My school/district requires proof of attendance. Do you provide something officially?
We provide a certificate specifying the professional development hours you earned at the institute. These are emailed following the institute. If you attended every session and were on time, you will receive a certificate stating as much. If you missed a day, you will receive a certificate with the number of hours you were in attendance. Many participants submit this paperwork to their school/district as proof of attendance.

I just learned that I will be teaching a different grade level next year. It is different than the one I signed up for. Can I change my grade level or small group section assignment?
After you receive your small group section assignment via email, there will be instructions to make a grade level change request. All grade level change requests must be made via email. As always, we will do our best to accommodate your needs, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to place you in a new section. We accept participants based on the grade level they signed up for in their initial application.

Can I transfer my application to a different institute, or use my one application for multiple institutes? Can my colleague attend in my place?
No. Due to the structure of our system and fairness to all of our applicants, applications cannot be transferred or replaced. Also, your application cannot be used for multiple institutes. If you want to attend a different institute than the one to which you applied, you must apply separately to that institute and be accepted separately. Substitute participants cannot show up in your place. We will deny them admittance.

What is the difference between an "advanced" and "first year" participant?
The difference between advanced and first year participants is simply whether or not they have attended a summer institute before. Advanced participants in either a reading or writing institute have attended that particular institute before as a first year participant. First year participants, then, of course, are attending an institute for the very first time. A participant is eligible for advanced study after he or she has attended an institute as a first year participant.

Will breakfast or lunch be provided at the institute?
No. We do not provide breakfast or lunch for participants. We have, however, made some helpful suggestions for meals on our Places to Eat page. We encourage you to review our suggestions before the institute begins.

What is the dress code at the summer institutes?
Casual. Please dress comfortably with shoes you can walk in. Some classrooms are upstairs and many sessions will be held in different areas of Columbia’s campus throughout the week. We suggest bringing a light sweater or cardigan as some classrooms get a little chilly.

What should I bring with me to the institutes?
Plan to bring a notebook. Laptops are also welcome—Teachers College has a WiFi network that you can connect to with an iPad, laptop, or handheld device while on campus. There is no password required and is free of charge. The network is called “TCWiFi”. If you take notes on a laptop, please be aware that not all classrooms come equipped with outlets for a power source. Other than that, we will provide you with everything you need at registration.

I have luggage but cannot check into my hotel yet. Is there a safe storage for it at the college?
Yes. During registration and the keynote speech on the first day of the institutes you can store your things on the 8th Floor of Thorndike Hall, TCRWP’s main office (ask a staff member for assistance with this). If you need storage after this point or throughout the week, please inquire, also, at the front desk of our main office. We will find a suitable place for your things. Please be mindful, however, that we don’t have unlimited space—it’s first come, first served. Also, we cannot assume responsibility for your things while in our office, although we have never had issues with theft of luggage in the past.

I’m trying to plan my travel schedule, evenings or childcare needs. What time does the institute start/end?
The institutes run from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm for all participants. On the last day of the institute, in lieu of closing workshops, there is a celebration. Details regarding the celebration will be included in your Trail Guide. Additionally, on the last day of the institute, there won’t be a very long break between sessions, maybe 20 minutes to a half hour. This is probably just enough time to get from one area of campus to another, to use the restroom, or to make a quick call. We suggest you grab some snacks to bring with you to your sessions so that you don’t get too hungry.

I am really interested in getting one of the texts my group leader mentioned during the session. Where can I buy books?
We hold our own book sale throughout the week. If you are interested in a book, particularly a professional text, we suggest you stop by our book sale before looking elsewhere as we mark down the prices considerably. However, depending on demand, we may run out of some books. If there is something you know you’d like to purchase, come by sooner in the week rather than later. Check the morning announcements (before the keynote speech) or Trail Guide for the days, times, and location of our book sale. Other book shopping options:

Barnes & Noble at Columbia University
2922 Broadway at 115th Street
Open Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Sat-Sun 11am- 6pm

Bank Street Bookstore
Broadway and 112th Street
Open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8pm

Book Culture on Broadway
2915 Broadway
Open Mon-Fri 9am-11pm, Saturday 10am-11pm, Sunday 10am-10pm

Book Culture
536 West 112th Street Between Broadway and Amsterdam
Open Mon-Fri 9am-10pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm

Will there be homework?
Yes, there is homework, but nothing too strenuous. Of course, if you are taking the institute for graduate credit, you will have work that is due. The details about this will be discussed at a lunch meeting on the first day.

More Helpful Tidbits…

Services for Participants with Disabilities
Individuals with disabilities are invited to request reasonable accommodations including, but not limited to sign language interpretation, Braille or large print materials, and a campus map of accessible features. Address these requests to the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities at (212) 678-3689 or keller@tc.edu, or Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at (212) 678-3853 V/TTY or jaech@tc.edu. While every attempt will be made to fulfill all requests for reasonable accommodations regardless of when these requests are made, making requests two weeks prior to the date of the event will ensure that accommodations will be provided.