Parents + Guardians

Parents at exhibition

What to Expect

RISD’s Pre-College is an opportunity for students to artistically develop, creatively thrive, socially engage with peers in and out of the classroom, and experience life as a college student.

Our program is oriented toward independent young people. The student needs to take initiative both in and outside of the classroom including prioritizing their schedule to accommodate extensive homework assignments. Students are responsible to actively seek out information and guidance from faculty, Residence Life and other appropriate staff to resolve any issue. If parents and their children are seeking a somewhat sheltered environment, they should consider the nature of this program very carefully before applying.

Additionally, because the Pre-College Program is an immersive experience designed to keep students intellectually, creatively, and socially engaged, residential students must stay on campus throughout the program. However, as we realize that you may have a family commitment, you may choose to take ONE (1) pre-determined “Weekend Away” by completing an online form prior to the start of the program. “Weekend Away” begins Friday after class ends up until Sunday curfew. Please go to the Policies section for more specific details about attendance.

Students will create an account for our online application portal. While students must use their primary email address, parents 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 or guardian signatures. Please work with your child to complete the application process together.

In keeping with a collegiate philosophy, staff and faculty communicate by e-mail directly with prospective and current students—not with parents, guardians or other third parties. Students are expected to check their e-mail daily to ensure they receive important communications. During the program, unless a student has incurred a serious infraction, parents and guardians are not necessarily informed when students receive an Academic Warning, attend a Disciplinary Hearing or have violated minor policies. Our program is designed to support students in all aspects of their adjustment to collegiate life and as such are allowed to fail in myriad ways. In this way they can learn to make alternative choices and self-correct in order to succeed. Students are expected to communicate their challenges with their parents or guardians not as a means for intervention, but so they can work together to identify and improve skills in preparation for college. We encourage this dialog to continue, especially post-program.


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.

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.

Parents/guardians may add funds to risdbucks, an optional prepaid debit account linked with the student ID card. Risdbucks may be used to pay for art supply purchases at the RISD Store and/or the RISD Store 3D, as well as printing and laundry. Information about risdbucks and log-in credentials will be sent to the primary email address indicated on the Pre-College application.

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.

Plan Your Travel 

Students must attend the Check-In and Orientation on Saturday, June 23. International and West Coast students traveling long distances may submit a request for an Early Arrival. We cannot provide housing before 9am on Friday, June 22. Information about early arrival for international and West Coast students will be included in the housing application process email, sent in early May.

All students must attend all Finals Critique Week classes (entire class time) and pick up their artwork from the Exhibitions by Friday, August 3 at by 5:30pm. If you Students who leave the program early or don’t attend all final classes, may fail the program. Students should plan on being on campus until 4:00pm (end of class) on Friday, August 3.  Students, parents, guardians and family members should plan their travel arrangements accordingly. Please see Finals Critique Week, Exhibitions + Check-Out Information page for essential schedule information.

Getting to RISD:

By Air

 T.F. Green Airport (PVD) is 12 miles south of Providence in Warwick, providing direct flights to most major cities. T.F. Green airport vans are available to downtown Providence and the RISD campus for a nominal fee. Visit or call 401 737-2868 for more information about this service. International students traveling to RISD by air should also check flights into Logan International Airport (BOS). It has more frequent and more direct flights and potentially lower airfares. Logan is 50 miles north (60-90 minute bus ride) from downtown Providence. Frequent buses from Peter Pan Bus Lines run directly from Logan to Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence (a five-minute walk to RISD campus). Buses run every 1-2 hours.

By Car

From Route 95 North or South, take Exit 22 for Downtown Providence. On the exit ramp, bear left, following signs for “Providence Downtown.” Continue straight (onto Memorial Boulevard) to the fourth traffic light, and turn left onto Washington Place. Continue straight, through the second traffic light (Washington Place becomes Waterman St.) to 30 Waterman St. (on your left).

From Route 195 West, take Exit 2 (South Main St.). Follow South Main St. to the intersection of South Main and Waterman streets. Turn right onto Waterman St. and proceed to 30 Waterman St. (left side of street).

By Train

Amtrak’s Providence station is less than a mile from campus. Visit for information and reservations. Taxis are queued curbside, just outside the station. Uber and Lyft also operate in Providence.


Student safety is a top priority of Pre-College and RISD offers many services, tools, policies, and procedures to help maintain a safe environment on campus. The Public Safety Office (at the Quad complex entrance) and the Security Desk (at the 15 West entrance) are staffed 24 hours a day to ensure the general welfare and security of all Pre-College Program students.

The RISD!ALERT emergency notification system uses broadcast phone, e-mail and/or text message for quick distribution of time-sensitive information to students, faculty, staff and their family members. The primary e-mail address, listed on the Pre-College application, is automatically enrolled in the system. To learn more about RISD|Alert and mobile phone enrollment go to the Forms + Document page under Admitted Students.

Mandatory Safety Orientation: On Sunday morning, June 24, 2018, all students must attend and participate in the Safety Orientation. Attendance is mandatory for all Pre-College students so they can become familiar with RISD policies, resources, the campus and surrounding areas.