Applications for the 2021 session are due April 30.

MCAD’s Pre-College Summer Session (PCSS) is an exciting and challenging 2-week, 3-credit studio art and design program. It is open to high school students who have completed their sophomore, junior, or senior year. 

Residential Program $2500*

Students stay in fully furnished air conditioned apartment-style dormitories. A full meal-plan at MCAD’s Cafeteria is included.

Commuter Program $2150*

Students who commute to the program will still be expected to participate in all scheduled activities, including required studio time and extracurricular activities. Commuter students will also participate in the full meal plan.

*Please note: Students in the painting major pay an additional $100 materials fee (for both Residential and Commuter programs)

MCAD plans to have the 2021 session of PCSS on campus, following CDC recommended safety guidelines. In the event that MCAD cannot host on-campus programming this summer, a variety of online or hybrid teen courses will be offered. Students who receive a scholarship to PCSS may apply the funds towards another summer class. Many adult classes are also open to teens ages 16 and up.


About the Pre-College Summer Session

Through a combination of personal investigation and group collaboration, this program encourages you to explore new concepts, share ideas, and develop your studio practice. You will learn what an art college education is like, including:

  • Choosing a major
  • Exploring your creative abilities
  • Improving your critical thinking skills
  • Trying new techniques with help from professional artists
  • Sharpening your aesthetic senses through critiques
  • Developing time-management and classroom participation skills

You will spend full days under the guidance of professional instructors, immersed in both foundational and major-specific classes. Evenings and weekends provide a chance to spend dedicated time working in studios, building new friendships, and exploring Minneapolis on small group excursions.

The program closes with a celebratory final student exhibition and graduation ceremony, during which four exemplary students are awarded a $1,000 scholarship toward an undergraduate MCAD education.

View the 2021 Catalog

Apply Now

What You Will Need to Apply:

The Pre-College Summer Session application consists of two parts. The online application and the slideroom application. The slideroom portion of the application is where the student will upload their personal statement, portfolio, and tax return if they are applying for the financial-need-based scholarship. MCAD staff will upload high school transcripts and letters of recommendation to slideroom once they are received. 

  • Online Application Form
  • High School Transcript
  • Personal Statement
  • Portfolio
  • Optional: Letter of Recommendation
  • 2019 or 2020 Income Tax Return if you are applying for a financial-need-based scholarship

More information on application materials
Program FAQs

MCAD reserves the right to change policies and programs on this site.

 Pre-College Summer Session students explore the "crazy mess of artistic influences" found in downtown Minneapolis. 


What Participants Are Saying

"It has been one of the most valuable experiences of my life so far. It has shaped not only my art, but has helped me become a more confident and independent person."

"It was an incredible introduction to animation. I feel much more confident in my ability to animate independently. I learned a lot about animating AND the programs used to edit and compile finished elements of a film."

"The instructors and staff were all welcoming and extremely helpful and made the working environment very comfortable and fun."

“What a life-changing opportunity. It increased my daughter’s self-esteem and gave her a true college experience. I highly recommend it to others.”


Looking for Something Shorter?

If you are in high school and interested in taking a single class, MCAD Summer Youth camps and classes are also available.

Also check out the Pre-College Studio Intensives. These are weeklong, 1-credit courses, available for high school students each summer. Portfolio Preparation courses are also available throughout the year.

Pre-College Weekend Intensives are available during the school year. These are two-day, hands-on intensives. 

Tell Me More about Pre-College Summer Session at MCAD