Frequently Asked Questions

Student in class

Q: How do I submit my Pre-College Application?

All students must submit applications and required documents online through the student application portal with a $60 non-refundable application fee. PLEASE NOTE: Students and parents must electronically sign the application.

Q: Does the letter of recommendation need to be included with the application or can it be sent separately?

A letter of recommendation must be submitted in order to process an application for admission. The letter of recommendation will be uploaded directly to the online application portal. We strongly suggest that you request the letter, from the referrer, as soon as you’ve decided to apply to Pre-College.

​Q:  Should I include samples of my artwork and/or a copy of my grades with my application?

Students DO NOT need to submit artwork or a transcript as part of the regular application process. However, applicants applying for a scholarship are required to submit samples of their artwork, a copy of their most recent transcript, and additional scholarship application documents.

Q: Is there a deadline for me to submit an application to RISD Pre-College?

The application deadline for the 2018 RISD Pre-College program is Friday, June 1. However, applications will not be accepted if the program is full. We are able to accept students into the program as long as there is still space available in a student’s major choice. If a student is interested in a specific major area of study, it is suggested that they submit their application as soon as possible as placement in a major is on a first come, first served basis.  After April ​6​, payment in full for the program must be submitted in order to secure your placement in a major. The deadline for international students requiring an I-20 form to submit an application is ​April 13th.

​Q:  Can I arrive late or leave the RISD Pre-College Program early?

Due to the intensive nature of the program it is very difficult to start the program late. The Saturday Check-In and Orientation on June 2​3​ are mandatory. Students should plan to arrive on Saturday morning.

P​lease note that it is very important that students do not leave the program early. Classes are held right up to the last day (Friday, August ​3​) and the last week is dedicated to their Final presentations, term reviews and academic advisement. Beyond being required to have work in the Exhibitions, participation in Finals Classes is critical to the student’s overall grade and performance.

Q. What if my high school is still in session when the program begins or starts before the program ends?

Each year we work to time our program to meet the schedules of the most US and international schools possible, but unfortunately there are always instances when the schedules overlap. Often, in these cases students have been able to petition their school and/or advisor to finish the term and/or their exams early or start their high school year late so that they can participate in our program. Since our Pre-College program is academic and upon completion offers transcripts and faculty letters of recommendation which can be used for college applications, most institutions are willing to make special arrangements, as they see the benefit to their student’s academic advancement.  We strongly suggest that students in this situation inquire as to whether their school can make arrangements for them to complete the requirements early or start their high school year a bit late. If a student needs any kind of written confirmation of our program’s schedule and requirements we will be happy to provide it.

Q:  If I am living in the residence halls, what should I bring?

Below is a list of items you must provide as well as suggested items to bring as a residential student. Please refer to the section in the 2018 RISD Pre-College Student Handbook “Living at RISD” for more information.

You must provide:

  • Sheets (custom, extra-long 80” twin)
  • Pillows/pillowcases
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Alarm clock
  • Mobile Phone (U.S. number)

We suggest you bring:

  • Mattress pad
  • Desk lamp (no halogen lamps are allowed)
  • Fan
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Flip-flops/Shower sandals
  • Shower caddy
  • Sunscreen
  • Key chain
  • Earplugs (the city can be noisy with open windows)
  • Hangers

For students who do not wish to transport or purchase bedding and linens RISD works with a third-party service who offer rental of these items. Students will receive more information about this the housing email in May

​Q: Which visa should a Pre-College student apply for?

SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) is currently processing RISD’s authorization for the F-1 visa program. Since our application is pending, the most appropriate visa would be the B-1/B-2 visa for recreational study.

Q:  Will transportation be provided for me to get to RISD from the airport?

Students need to make their own transportation arrangements to and from campus.

Q:  Will I get college credit for the 6 week RISD Pre-College Program?

RISD does not offer credit for our Pre-College program. RISD is in agreement that the optimum value for our Pre-College students is in their transcripts and the ability for students to request letters of recommendation from their faculty. We recognize that these elements weigh heavily in favor of college applicants at institutions worldwide. This along with the work students create and the tremendous personal growth and maturity students come away with after completing our program sets them far ahead of their peers. However, students who complete the Pre-College program have the opportunity to earn an official certificate of completion.

Q: Will I be able to build my portfolio during the RISD Pre-College Program?

All students who work hard and successfully complete the Pre-College program will greatly improve their skills and attain work for their portfolio. This includes work that will come from the required Drawing and Design Foundations courses. Additionally, during the program you will have the opportunity to schedule an appointment to meet with the RISD Admissions Department and have them review and advise you on your portfolio. Many students have reported that they created their entire portfolio while they were at Pre-College.

Q:  If I have never taken any formal art classes, can I still attend RISD Pre-College?

All of our Pre-College courses (including majors) are tailored to meet the needs of students from all backgrounds and skill levels. Our students range from complete beginners to AP Arts and everyone in between. The faculty work with each student to improve their individual levels. The most important attributes to bring to the program are a passion for creating, an open mind and willingness to step out of your comfort zone.

Q:  If I complete the Pre-College Program, will I be accepted to RISD’s degree program ?

Successful completion of the RISD Pre-College program will provide you with an opportunity to develop your college admission portfolio and access to RISD admissions for portfolio review, but participation in the Pre-College program does not guarantee admission to RISD’s degree program. For more information on how to apply for an undergraduate degree at RISD, visit the Admissions page or email them at