Pre-College Summer Session FAQs

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Who should apply to this program?

Students of all artistic/creative levels are accepted into the Pre-College Summer Session. To be successful and gain the most from this program, it is important to be interested in art and design and willing to commit to the program’s culture, requirements, and workload.

Please note: While the program is open to sophomores, most participants are in their junior or senior year of high school. It is recommended that sophomores have already taken advanced or honors classes.

Can international students apply?

Yes! Equal entrance consideration is given to international applicants.

Keep in mind that travel and visa plans and expenses are the sole responsibility of the student.

How difficult is the program?

The Pre-College Summer Session provides students with three college credits for successful completion of the program. Therefore, students should come prepared to be engaged participants in their classes, complete homework assignments on time, and spend a dedicated number of extra hours in their studios working on projects. The eye-opening work done in class is balanced with exciting activities and excursions as well as downtime.

Students who commit to this program reap great rewards artistically, academically, and personally. Students are often amazed by their accomplishments and leave the program with deep and lasting connections with fellow students and instructors.

Do students have free time?

Yes. Evenings and weekends are a mixture of free time, scheduled off-campus outings and activities, and time spent working in the studio.

Can students change their majors?

Students are able to change their major up until the priority application deadline.

What are the backgrounds of your instructors?

Staff and faculty are drawn from a pool of talented, enthusiastic, and dedicated professional artists and designers immersed in the Twin Cities arts community. Some are faculty at MCAD or other local colleges and universities, while others are professional working artists.

What types of assignments can students expect?

Students may find themselves spending their mornings discussing how to develop ideas through a process called ideation, writing short papers on aspects of art history that may be influential to them, fine-tuning their observational drawing skills, and more. During the afternoons, they will work intensely on individual projects. They will be asked to delve into their own processes as artists, to ask questions about their work and that of others, and to develop the art of making and taking critique.

Will students walk away with pieces suitable for a portfolio?

Absolutely. The work students create in this program will no doubt be some of their best. Students receive a portfolio review during the program, and they learn about admissions standards for application to MCAD and how their work compares.

How do students get their work home at the end of the program?

Students are responsible for getting their work home at the end of the program. Those who need to ship work are taken to a local FedEx, but MCAD does not package or cover the cost of shipping work.

What should students bring with them to the program?

Students will receive a list of what to bring upon acceptance into the program.

Can students see friends and family throughout the program?

Yes! Students may either leave campus (with parent/guardian authorization), or have friends or family members visit them on campus. Campus visits or outside activities should take place on weekends or after 6:00 p.m. on weekdays. We recommend waiting until the start of the program before solidifying plans with family and friends. The second week is often the best time to visit.

What are the student apartments like?

Students are housed in one- and two-bedroom apartments with common amenities such as kitchens, baths, closets, and air conditioning units. Male and female students live in separate buildings. The buildings are located directly across the lawn from the MCAD Main and Morrison Buildings, where classes take place.

How many students live in a dorm?

Generally, three to four. Due to space limitations, single rooms cannot be accommodated.

Is it safe?

Safety is the number one priority of this program. Students live across the lawn from MCAD’s public safety office, which is accessible twenty-four hours a day. Apartment buildings are secured, both at the main entrance and at individual apartment doors, by keyed entry. These dorms are staffed with trained resident advisors who live in the dorms with the students throughout the program. Students are not allowed to leave campus without supervision at any point and there is a program staff person with them at all times. All staff and faculty also undergo thorough background checks.

What food options are available?

The Pre-College Summer Session program tuition includes the cost of three meals per day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—at the MCAD cafeteria. The MCAD cafeteria offers basic vegetarian and non-vegetarian dining options and can accommodate special dining considerations based on student requests. Students are welcome and encouraged to bring their own snacks for their dorms. Also, shopping runs are organized every week.

How much money should students bring?

This varies widely for each student. Most often, students spend money on snacks and everyday items during shopping runs, miscellaneous personal purchases, and art supplies at the on-campus store. The cost of basic required art supplies for the program and outside excursions are included in the cost of tuition.

Do students have to live on campus throughout the program?

Yes, living the complete Pre-College Summer Session experience is an important component of each student’s overall success in the program.

Can students bring their own cars?

No, monitored, overnight parking is not available in the MCAD parking lot.

What is the most important part of the application? Tips?

  • Document your portfolio images well. Make sure the image is not blurry, is cropped appropriately, and is well-lit.
  • Put time and effort into your personal statement. Be real. Be honest.
  • Request official high school transcripts early as they can often be delayed.
  • Request letters of recommendation from teachers or counselors who have known you the longest and who are invested in your success.
  • If your grades are poor and not a good indicator of your commitment to your art, explain why in your personal statement.

Pre-College Summer Session students receive three college credits for successful completion of the program. What do these credits mean?

After successful completion of the program, each student receives three credits in the form of an A–F letter grade on an MCAD transcript reported as “Pre-College Summer Session.”

Students are encouraged to speak with their high school counselor to see if this program will satisfy any high school or college requirements. In some cases, the three credits transfer into a future undergraduate program, but this is a highly individualized process based on the accepting institution, so there are no guarantees. If students go on to attend MCAD, these credits function as elective credits.

When do I know if I have been accepted? Received a scholarship?

Scholarships will be reviewed shortly after the scholarship application deadline, and acceptance/denial letters will be mailed to students within two weeks thereafter.

More questions? Find more program information below or contact or 612.874.3765.