Student Life

Live and learn with others at RISD Pre-College.

Students in dining hall

Housing + Dining

Co-curricular life is an important aspect of the Pre-College experience. For you, that may include living on campus. The residence halls and dining facilities offer a great environment to learn from other students and swap classroom experiences in a casual and social setting.

Campus Housing

The Residence Life professional staff members work hard to create an extensive residential program that provides safe, social, inclusive and educational opportunities to enhance your overall student experience. Live-in professional staff and student resident advisors (RA’s) assigned to each floor supervise the residence halls, as well as mentor and support Pre-College students.

Upon acceptance to the program, students will receive directions for completing the online housing application in May. Any student needing a housing accommodations due to medical needs must fill out a request accompanied by a letter from the attending physician. Any student interested in gender-inclusive housing options can email Anu Meschisen at

NOTE: 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.

If you have questions regarding summer housing, please contact RISD’s Residence Life office at


RISD Pre-College welcomes commuting students who are invited to participate in all residence life activities as well as weekend events. You’ll also have access to the workrooms in the residence halls whenever residential students have access. Commuting students are also encouraged to spend out-of-class time on the RISD campus, hanging out with friends, enjoying the activities and events and, of course, doing homework.


Pre-College students living in RISD residence halls may not operate motor vehicles (including scooters and motorcycles) while in residence on campus. Commuters are advised that parking is severely limited in the campus area. They may park in garages, municipal lots nearby, or on the street. RISD parking stickers are not available to Pre-College students.

Dining Services

The Metcalf Dining Center, also known as The Met, features a sandwich station, salad bar, as well as a vegetarian/vegan bar, daily soups, a miso station, and traditional entrees. The Portfolio Café, located in the lobby of 15 West, features a continental breakfast for residents.

The RISD Dining Services staff is sensitive to the dietary needs and preferences of a student body representing cultures and religious traditions from all over the world. For questions about special dietary needs, call 401 454-6362.

The full dining contract is required for all Pre-College boarding students, who may dine at either The Met or the Portfolio Café. Payment for the dining plan is nonrefundable.

Commuting students may elect to purchase blocks of 5 meals at a time by contacting Dining Services at 401 454-6642, or are welcome to purchase individual meals using cash, credit (MC/Visa) or risdbucks.

If you have further questions about dining plans, please contact Dining Services at 401- 454-6642.

Public Safety

RISD Public Safety is staffed 24 hours a day and is the office to call for all emergencies. From RISD phones, dial ext. 6666 or from the outdoor blue emergency phones, simply pick up the receiver to be connected to Public Safety. In an emergency on campus, a call to 401 454-6666 initiates a faster response than a call to 911. In an emergency off-campus only, dial 911.

RISD Public Safety

30 Waterman Street
Emergency: 401 454-6666
Non-Emergency: 401 454-6376

Girl on campus


RISD Pre-College recognizes the importance of balance and having the ability to recharge physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Throughout the summer, students will have access to campus services to support their overall health and wellness.

Health Services

RISD Health Services is a medical clinic staffed by licensed healthcare providers, nursing and office administrators. Health Services is available to all RISD Pre-College students and is included in the Health Services Fee paid with your tuition. This fee allows all Pre-College students to receive medical care from Health Services, regardless of their personal insurance. However, insurance is required for any medical services a student may require outside of Health Services. For further details and more information, please visit the RISD Health Services website.

Short Term Medical Insurance

The college requires all students to carry adequate medical insurance to help cover the extra expenses of medical treatment that is not covered by our Health Services. All medical insurance policies must be from a U.S. domestic insurance company. Medical insurance is mandatory for all students at RISD, including summer students. If you do not have medical insurance from a U.S. domestic insurance company, you may purchase a six(6)-week short-term medical insurance policy for $164 (Note: This fee is separate from the $155 RISD Health Center fee that is mandatory for all students. The short-term medical insurance fee is paid directly to University Health Plans.) To assist in providing you with the coverage you will need during your summer studies at RISD, we have contracted with University Health Plans Insurance Program to offer the Pre-College Student Health Insurance Plan. The plan includes a local and national network of preferred providers, and is designed to be an affordable option.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Pre-college therapists in RISD’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) office are available to meet with students for individual counseling, with parent/guardian consent (when the student is under age 18). CAPS may also provide emergency evaluations, urgent assessment, and triage for Pre-College students experiencing a psychological emergency. If off-campus care is needed/desired, Pre-College therapists can assist students in connecting to local mental health resources. Parent/guardian consent will need to be given for students under age 18 to receive mental health services off-campus. CAPS does not have on-site psychiatric medication services available during the summer, however, we are happy to provide Pre-College students with recommendations for local medication providers, if needed.

Costs for transportation to clinicians off-campus are the student’s responsibility. Students are financially responsible for any psychological services received off-campus. For more information please contact RISD Counseling and Psychological Services at 401-454-6637.

Parents: To support your student’s success in the Pre-College Program, if your student is in counseling or has received medication or some other treatment for mental health concerns, please contact the CAPS office to learn about the services that are available both on and off campus at 401-454-6637.

Fitness Center

Located in the Quad, the Catanzaro Student Fitness Center is home to two cardio and weight rooms, two group fitness rooms, space to stretch, locker rooms and more. To use the Student Fitness Center facilities, all minors (under the age of 18) must have a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian. Complete the 2018 Pre-College Fitness Waiver available on the Res Life Parent Housing Portal.

Disability Support Services

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 Disability Support Services at

Parents: If your child has a disability, please contact Disability Support Services at 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:

Student painting of Providence

Our Neighborhood

RISD is located in Rhode Island’s capital, Providence–a small city filled with history, culture, and creativity. Known as the “Creative Capital”, students will find a range of film, food, music, theater and arts options to choose from, many a short walk or bike ride from campus.

On weekends, residential students will have the opportunity to explore all Rhode Island has to offer including museums, art galleries, and beautiful beaches. With so much to see and explore, make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes!

On the RISD campus, students enjoy open access to the RISD museum and its collection of over 100,00 art objects, the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab collection of natural history specimans, microscope lab and living plants and animals , and the RISD Library with its extensive art and design book collection, periodical subscriptions and Visual + Material Resource Center .


Learn more about Providence and Rhode Island:


Advice from Alumni

Pre-College student alumni share some advice on how to be successful and make the most of your experience…

  • Be bold!

    “If you have no experience with something, that makes it even better because you’re not already limited in what you think you can do.”

  • Push yourself!

    “Get out of your comfort zone!”

  • Enjoy the experience!

    “Enjoy it, have fun, but be prepared to work very hard!”

  • Get ready!

    “You’re about to have the best time of your life.”

  • Manage your time!

    “Time management is key!”

  • Push yourself!

    “When you think you’re done, you’re not done.”

  • Work hard!

    “Think conceptually, and be open to criticism and feedback because it can really enhance your work.”

  • Embrace the process!

    “Take time and be patient with your work, pursue beauty or vision, work on something that speaks to you, give it the time it deserves.”

  • Learn from others!

    “Make friends and work together, they’re really helpful. Don’t be intimidated by other’s work.”

  • Develop beyond your major!

    “Your major is NOT everything you do here! I did not get my 1st-choice major but I tried photography in a studio setting for the first time and I also got so much inspiration in the Design and Foundation classes.”