Application Requirements

Student art work

Who Can Apply?

High school students who have finished their tenth or eleventh year (or equivalent) and who are 16 to 18 years old (born between August 4, 1999 and June 22, 2002).*

All applicants who meet the above requirements and demonstrate the ability and desire to benefit from the program, as evidenced by their application materials, are accepted. There are no admission tests or portfolio requirements.

Non-US Citizens and Non-US Permanent Residents: In addition to completing the online Pre-college application you’ll need to follow the instructions found in the International Students section.

*students who will be 16 years old by November 1, 2018 may still apply

Submitting Your Application

Prospective summer Pre-College students must apply online. Payment of a $60.00 non-refundable application fee is required in order to process your application.

Non-scholarship applicants (only) must submit the following:

  • a completed online Pre-College application (electronic signature from student and parent/guardian required)
  • a 250-word statement written by the student expressing personal reasons for wanting to participate in the program
  • one letter of recommendation from a high school art teacher or guidance counselor
  • a $60 non-refundable application fee

All applications must be completed online and include all of the above requirements in order to be reviewed for admission.

NOTE: Housing request forms are sent in May via email by RISD’s Residence Life Office.

To apply, students will create an account on our online application portal. While students must use their primary email address, parents/guardians are required to provide electronic consent. Once accepted, all forms and documents required before the start of the program are located on the application portal and must be submitted online with parent/guardian signatures. Please work with your child to complete the application process together.

We communicate by e-mail directly with prospective and current students—not with parents or other third parties. Please be sure your child checks e-mail daily to ensure he or she receives important communications.

Choosing a Major:

Since space in each major is limited, the earlier you can apply, the better. Each application is dated and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and incomplete applications cannot be processed for review. Early application increases your chance of placement in your preferred major. If your desired major is full at the time you apply, you may select an alternative major that is open AND opt to be added to the waitlist for a major that is full. If a space in the waitlisted major becomes available, you will be notified via email. Majors cannot be changed once the application is submitted.

Choosing a Pre-College major will allow you to explore one particular field of design or fine art in depth. Study in a major is only one component of the comprehensive Pre-College program. Students in all majors come away with a depth of experience, advancement and artwork through their Foundations courses


Application + Payment Timeline

November 2017:
Online application available

Friday, February 2, 2018:
Scholarship application deadline

Friday, April 6, 2018:
Applications submitted after this date must be paid in full

Friday, April 13, 2018:
Deadline for non-US citizens and non-US permanent residents. This includes the Pre-College online application (student visa information required),, and payment in full (tuition, housing and dining, and health services fee).

Monday, May 7, 2018:
Payment deadline: all balances are due

NOTE: For international students who require a Form I-20, applications will not be accepted after April  13, 2018.

PARENTS, PLEASE NOTE: Students who apply before Friday, April 6, 2018 and are accepted will need to submit a $500 deposit within five business days after acceptance. Full payment is due by Monday, May 7, 2018. If no statement has arrived as the due date approaches, contact the Continuing Education office at or 401 454-6200. Students applying after Friday, April 6, 2018 must pay all tuition and fees in full within five business days after acceptance.


Each year, we are able to award scholarships to approximately 15 – 20% of the scholarship applicants. These students demonstrate significant financial need as well as the ability to meet the artistic challenges of our program and contribute to the diversity of the program in a unique way.

A very limited number of scholarships (full and partial) are awarded to those applicants able to demonstrate:

  • significant financial need
  • artistic and academic ability
  • potential to contribute to the cultural, intellectual, artistic and other diversity of the program
  • interest and commitment to the program
  • United States citizenship or permanent resident status

*Scholarships are not offered to previous Pre-College scholarship recipients.

PLEASE NOTE: If you plan to attend the program regardless of receiving a scholarship, we strongly encourage you to apply through the regular application process.  A limited amount of major spaces are held for scholarship recipients for whom we make every effort to place in a major of choice. After those placements have been made, if you are a non-recipient, your major choices might not be available.

Scholarship Application Deadline:
To be considered for a scholarship, applications must submit an online application with all required attachments by the application deadline of Friday, February 2, 2018. Incomplete applications will not be processed.

Submitting the Pre-College Scholarship Application


In order to apply for a scholarship, complete an online Pre-College Scholarship application and submit with all the required documents.

Scholarship Applicants (only) must submit the following:

  • A completed online Pre-College Scholarship Application Form, including all required financial documentation (electronic signature from student and parent/guardian).
  • A 250-word statement written by the student explaining the ways in which s/he will contribute to the cultural, intellectual, artistic and other diversity of the program. Consider what will you contribute to the RISD Pre-College community that is uniquely you – your experience, interests and background. This can include areas outside of the visual arts.
  • One letter of recommendation from a high school art teacher or guidance counselor.
  • Five artwork samples that best represent the student’s artistic abilities (See “Sample and File Formatting Requirements” below)
  • A copy of your most recent high school transcript.

Artwork Samples and File Formatting Requirements

Five artwork samples that best represent the student’s artistic abilities must be uploaded digitally at the time of the online application as a portfolio and should include as much of a variety of media as possible. However:

  • at least one (1) sample must be a black-and-white drawing done with graphite pencil or any dry (fixable) medium;
  • at least one (1) sample created from direct observation (not from photographs, other artworks, computer, etc);
  • only one of the five artworks can be created digitally or digitally enhanced.

File Sizes and Types
The online application portal supports media files as large as 5GB, but please be advised that larger files will take longer to upload from your Internet connection and may stall if you are on a wireless connection or one that cannot sustain a connection for the necessary period of time. Files must be submitted in the following formats:

          Video: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .webm, .wmv

          Slide: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff

          Document: .doc, .docx, .odg, .odp, .odt, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .rtf, .wpd

International Students

RISD welcomes students from all over the world to participate in the Pre-College Program. Please note, if you do not hold US citizenship or US permanent residency, you must obtain or already have a valid F-1 student visa. Additionally, if your primary language is not English, you will need to demonstrate a working knowledge of the English language.

NOTE: International students must submit payment in full (tuition, housing and dining fee, and health center fee) within five business days after acceptance to the program.

Application Requirements For Non-US Citizens or Non-US Permanent Residents Requiring a Form I-20*:

The following materials must be submitted online by the April 13, 2018 deadline:

  • completed online Pre-College application (electronic signature from student and parent/guardian)
  • 250-word statement written by the student expressing personal reasons for wanting to participate in the program
  • one letter of recommendation from a high school art teacher or guidance counselor
  • $60 non-refundable application fee
  • Verification of English proficiency (see “English Proficiency” section below)
  • copy of your passport

* If you already have an F-1 visa and Form I-20 and are currently studying in the US, you must still provide copies of your immigration documents (passport, F-1 visa, and Form I-20).

Application Deadline: April 13, 2018

The 2018 deadline for Pre-College international student applicants is April 13. Given the lengthy processing time within governmental agencies responsible for visas, we strongly encourage you to submit your online application, forms, and all required fees as early as possible–before the deadline. Please contact your local US Consulate or Embassy with any questions regarding visas. You may also visit the SEVP website.

English Proficiency

All applicants who speak English as a second language, including US citizens, must submit results from either TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Since proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants must attain an acceptable score on either test; RISD Pre-College  requires a minimum result of 93 on the TOEFL or 6.5 on IELTS. Students who are not able to obtain a test score at the time of submitting an online application, or who have previously tested and are not able to access their test score, must provide a letter confirming their proficiency in English (spoken/written language and comprehension) from their academic advisor or English teacher. Applications will not be processed if documentation of proficiency is not submitted at the time of applying.

International Student Payments

After acceptance, international students are required to submit payment in full (tuition, housing and dining fee, and health center fee) within 5 business days. Students who are accepted to the program will receive a decision letter on their applicant portal with a link to the RISD/CE online payment center–students will have the option to pay using a credit card, check (from a domestic bank account), or a wire transfer.

For More Information

If you have additional questions about your immigration-related paperwork*, please contact:

Office of International Student Services (OISS)
Call: 401-277-4957
Fax: 401-454-6605

*OISS can only respond to immigration questions. For all other Pre-College Program inquiries, please contact the Pre-College Program Assistant at 401 454-6204.


Application Fee
A non-refundable $60 application fee is required in order to process an application.

$5,625 covers basic tuition, but not housing and dining, art supplies or lab, linen, or other special fees.

Housing and Dining Fee
$2,760 includes residential and dining fees for boarding students.

Dining Plan for Commuters
Commuters are invited to purchase meals individually or in blocks.

RISD Health Center Fee
A $155 fee is required for all Pre-College students. This fee is separate from and unrelated to health insurance. Please visit the RISD Health Services website or call RISD 401 454-6625 for more information about services.

Program Deposit
Students who apply before Friday, April 6, 2018 and are accepted will need to submit a $500 non-refundable deposit within five business days after acceptance. Students who apply after Friday, April 6, 2018 must pay all tuition and fees in full within five business days after acceptance. International students must pay full tuition and fees within five business days of acceptance regardless of submission date.

Art Supplies and Presentation Materials
Students will need a variety of art supplies and presentation materials (along with appropriate carrying cases) for their courses. Depending on the student’s major and approaches taken by different instructors, supplies can sometimes be in excess of $800. Students may wish to bring supplies that they already own to mitigate cost. To this end, a general supply list that every student needs will be sent with the student’s program forms and documentation. Inevitably, students will need to purchase supplies during the program, and there are several local art supply stores to accommodate these needs.

Other Expenses
All costs and fees associated with planned Pre-College Program activities (e.g., museum/venue admissions fees, buses, ferries, etc.) are included with the tuition for the program. However, students are responsible for any sundry purchases during these activities. As with art supplies, all other miscellaneous expenses, such as travel to and from the RISD campus at the start and end of the program (and during excused absences), are the responsibility of the student and their parents or guardians.

Notice to People with Disabilities

Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education attempts to make its classes, programs, events and services accessible by providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations. If you need accommodations to participate in any class, program or event offered by RISD|CE, please contact Brittany Goodwin, Director of Disability Services and Academic Support at 401 454-6600 or

Parents: If your child has a disability, please contact Brittany Goodwin prior to submitting your application to learn what reasonable accommodations can and cannot be provided during the Pre-College program. 

Requests for accommodations should be made at the time the student is accepted into the Pre-College program and at least two weeks prior to the start of the program. Arrangements for all accommodations requested less than two weeks before the start of the program/course(s) cannot be guaranteed, as most accommodations take time to arrange. Failure to make formal requests as early as possible  may limit our ability to meet your needs.Please note that modifications cannot be made to the program structure, academic requirements or course curriculum.

Learn more at:

NOTE: If you need access to the RISD Continuing Education offices at 345 South Main Street, Providence, please contact a Registration Assistant at 401 454-6201 or for further assistance.