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Your College, Your Way

The educational experience at Columbia College emphasizes relationships with faculty, small classes and our supportive academic and social community.


You choose how you attend most classes, in-seat or virtually. The class times won't change, but your physical location can.


To ensure social distancing, we will cap course sizes and use larger classrooms. Masks are required on campus, including during class. Classrooms are cleaned daily per CDC guidelines.


We’ve invested in enhanced technology throughout our campus so you won’t miss a beat when attending school virtually.

Here's how it works

For most classes, Day Campus students can choose each day whether to attend in person or virtually based on their schedule. Returning to campus late after a visit home? Start your Monday right by taking your 8 a.m. class online, then head to your 11 a.m. class in person and grab lunch at the dining hall after. Feeling under the weather? Attend class online, then take a nap.

The choice to attend in person or virtually can be made at class time, giving you autonomy and flexibility. (If a course requires you to attend classes in person, the instructor will tell you at the start of the session.)

Virtual classes for Day Campus students are synchronous, which means they're not recorded—you will be attending live, either in seat or virtually. Both options will be available for you simultaneously each day, in real time.

This High-Flex Plan is a new educational model for us, so to go along with it, we’re starting a virtual coaching initiative to help you and all our students make choices that lead to educational success. Your advisor can give you more details.

Read our COVID-19 updates

This information only applies to the 2020-21 academic year. More information to come for 2021-22.

Fall 2020 academic calendar

  • Student technology training will be available virtually in August.
  • The 16-week fall semester starts on Aug. 31 and ends on Dec. 17.
  • The final day of in-person classes will be Nov. 20. Students will break for Thanksgiving and complete their classes virtually.
  • Final exams will be virtual during the week of Dec. 14-17.
  • Over winter break, our campus will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before the next semester starts in January.

Day Campus Student Q&A

What is the High-Flex Plan?

The High-Flex Plan is Columbia College’s innovative educational model that allows you to choose how you attend class. You can either attend in person or virtually, and you can change your mind depending on your specific circumstances. With the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, Columbia College believes that empowering you to choose will help you successfully continue your education under challenging circumstances.

The High-Flex plan prioritizes in-seat experiences, but it also provides a high-quality virtual option at the same time. We have made significant investments in technology and pedagogy to ensure that you receive the same excellent education no matter how you choose to attend.

What is a virtual classroom and is it the same as an online class?

A virtual classroom is a remote learning experience where you participate in synchronous instruction through Zoom (or other meeting technology). Synchronous instruction means that you are in the virtual learning environment at the same time as your faculty and other students, and interacting with them in real time even though you are not in the same physical location.

By contrast, online classes are asynchronous – while you are covering the same materials, you do not have to attend a class at any specific times.

Will I be able to attend classes in-seat on the day campus this fall?

Yes! Most classes will take place in-seat and also have a virtual classroom offered simultaneously. You can choose which method to attend for each class period, and if you choose to attend in-seat, you will be able to do so safely, with appropriate social distancing. After Thanksgiving break, all instruction will take place virtually through Zoom and other resources.

Could I attend all my classes virtually if I wanted to?

In most cases, yes. Some classes (for example, lab classes) may not offer a virtual classroom. There may also be times when your faculty may ask you to attend a class in-seat for academic reasons. It is recommended that you speak to your advisor about course options and to your faculty member about individual class requirements.

Am I guaranteed in-seat instruction?

Not always. We are prioritizing in-seat experiences to ensure that students are in-seat for most of our classes, but social distancing requirements have changed class sizes and there may be some classes where space is no longer available. Registering early will help ensure that you have the best selection of in-seat courses for your schedule. Please speak to an advisor with questions on specific courses.

How many students will be in a classroom?

It varies depending on the class and the room assigned. We are committed to your health and safety and have reconfigured all our classrooms to be consistent with social distancing guidelines. We are also using some innovative methods to provide in-person classes – in some cases we are offering classes in larger spaces that haven’t been used as classrooms before. In other cases, we are using technology to allow a faculty member to teach in two classrooms at the same time.

Will I have to wear a mask?

Yes, we are requiring masks for students attending class in person. Masks are also required in on campus at other times. Please see detailed safety information provided by the College here.

If I attend virtually, does that count for attendance?

Yes, in classes where the virtual classroom is available, attending virtually will count for attendance. You will be expected to be present for the entire class with your video camera turned on. Please refer to your course syllabus for additional guidelines on attendance.

What equipment will I need to attend virtual portions of a class?

A computer, web cam and microphone/headset will be required. The computer should be meet technical requirements for Zoom.

Will technology training be available for students?

Yes, Training training will take place on Zoom in August. It will include training on any technology you need to know to participate virtually in a classroom. More details will be provided as we get closer to the semester. We are also starting a virtual coaching initiative which will provide you with the skills to be successful in the High-Flex model.

Are the dates changing for the semester?

No, the academic calendar remains the same. The semester still starts on Aug. 31, 2020, and ends on Dec. 17, 2020. However, the last day of in-seat classes will be Nov. 20, 2020, after which instruction will be fully virtual. Finals week is still Dec. 14-17, 2020, - Dec 17, 2020 and most exams will take place virtually, unless specified differently otherwise by your faculty member. Fall Break (Oct. 23) is cancelled and we will hold classes on that day.

Will classes go fully virtual at any point?

Yes, all classes will be fully virtual after Thanksgiving. If we have to transition to fully virtual courses earlier due to the pandemic, we will inform you as soon as possible. Please know that Columbia College is prepared to go fully virtual, and has made investments in technology and training to make sure you can continue your education with limited interruption.

I have not registered for the fall yet, what do I do?

Get registered! Register online immediately or contact a day campus advisor at to get assistance. A day campus advisor is ready to assist you during regular business hours and appointments (by Zoom or phone) can be set up to discuss your options.

Will faculty still have office hours?

Yes, faculty may hold office hours by Zoom or in -person. The specific office hours and method will be announced early in the semester when classes start. The key is to communicate – and communicate often – with your faculty. The CC faculty and staff are here to help, but we need you to reach out if there are issues or concerns. We are CC strong when we communicate our needs to each other!

Does the housing requirement still apply to full-time students who are wishing to attend classes virtually using the High-Flex Plan?

Yes, full-time students at the Columbia College residential (Day) campus who do not meet the requirements to live off-campus will be still be required to live on-campus. All residence halls have been cleaned and prepared for student arrival. Public spaces will be arranged to maintain social distancing and will be cleaned daily. High touch areas will be disinfected at least daily. Personal face masks are required in all areas outside of a resident’s room. Frequent reminders of proper hand hygiene will be made (verbally, posters, videos) and hand sanitizer will be widely available in common areas.

According to the CDC, some members of the community face a greater risk from COVID-19 than others. Refer to the CDC website for more information. Students who have concerns about their individual circumstances are encouraged to consult with Student Accessibility Resources (SAR) about seeking accommodations or adjustments as warranted. Questions regarding on-campus residential living should be directed to the Residential Life Office at

Columbia College has been teaching online courses for over 20 years. This deep history of high-quality online learning has allowed us to offer this new, more flexible brand of education quickly and reliably.

This plan is subject to official guidance, legal regulations, and other requirements related to the pandemic situation. If necessary, Columbia College has made plans to go fully virtual at any time, including before the semester starts, if necessary.

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