Program Overview

Courses + Majors

Courses + Majors

A typical week:

  • two full days in foundation-level drawing & design courses
  • a half day in a critical examination of art, artists and their context in society
  • two full days in your major concentration


Drawing Foundations
The ability to observe and the skill of translating these observations into visual expression are fundamental to an artist’s education. Students in this course first develop their power of observation and strengthen their ability to think and express themselves visually on paper. They learn techniques for working from the human figure, forms in nature, landscapes, interior spaces and still-life setups. Traditional and nontraditional materials are used throughout to investigate line, value, form and composition. Portrayal of drawing skills is often an essential requirement for college admissions portfolios. Therefore, RISD Pre-College emphasizes that Drawing Foundations studies are as important as major work.

Design Foundations
Design is critical to all visual expression. This course introduces students to the formal elements of design – line, shape, color, texture and space. Through challenging exercises, students are encouraged to explore traditional methods of visual organization and to discover new solutions on their own. Projects may include both two- and three-dimensional design concepts. Development and representation of thoughtful design choices in all artwork is often an essential component for consideration in college admissions portfolios. Therefore, RISD Pre-College emphasizes that Design Foundations studies are as important as major work.

Critical Studies in Art
Critical analysis – the ability to thoroughly examine, analyze and respond to creative concepts and ideas, both verbally and in writing – is an essential tool in an art and design education. In this foundation course, historical and contemporary art (both two- and three-dimensional) is presented in relationship to a specific theme. Students develop an approach to critical analysis by delving into the historical context of the artwork. Coursework is enhanced by visits to the RISD Museum of Art, where students explore the collections and examine original artwork in an intimate setting.


Animation – the study of art in motion – is a constantly evolving art form. This major introduces students to the rich traditions of frame-by-frame nonlinear movie construction, and to recent developments in the field. Using a variety of rendering techniques, students focus on the development of unique characters and compelling narratives. In order to produce impactful visual elements, emphasis is placed on studio projects – such as flipbooks, storyboard, cutouts and stop-motion film – that develop strong perception and drawing skills. Students are introduced to basic technical skills in computer distortion, timing, exaggeration, sound and sequencing, and also view noteworthy animated films and discuss ways in which they relate to their own work. Students will present their work at the Film/Video and Animation Screenings during Finals Critique Week. NOTE: While not required, students may wish to bring a high-capacity storage device such as an external hard drive or flash memory device.

Students profit from the dynamic relationship between learning basic architectural concepts and physically employing them in the construction of prototypes. As an introductory architectural design studio, important architectural principles are presented through studio exercises, slide lectures and demonstrations. Students implement these principles through both drawing and model-building to develop an understanding of scale, form and spatial relationships. This intense study provides the framework for the process of analysis and synthesis that is critical to further architectural pursuits.

Clay has long been respected as the medium of choice for relief and sculptural portraiture, and has been used throughout history in many varieties of functional ware. Its plasticity and versatility are increasingly appreciated in works that transcend traditional boundaries, so that today, ceramic media are also associated with contemporary sculptural possibilities. Accordingly, students learn basic construction and finishing techniques, including hand-building, wheel-throwing, methods of surface design, glazing and kiln firing, and are also encouraged to experiment with both functional and sculptural ideas.

Comic Book Art
Comic books are pure pop-culture adrenaline – influencing novels, movies, fashion and even the Web – and have become an essential element of our popular media consciousness. This major provides students with the expertise needed to combine words and pictures into compelling visual narratives for strips, comic books or graphic novels. Students learn the creative and technical aspects of this idiosyncratic art form, including its unique characteristics and limitations. Classes include a survey of selected comics, in-class demonstrations of scriptwriting and drawing techniques, and studio assignments that encourage participants to develop original comic stories of their own. Beyond comic books themselves, the skills acquired also apply to children’s books, film and television production and video games.

This major allows students who wish to immerse themselves in drawing to expand significantly upon skills and techniques introduced in Drawing Foundations. Students confront demanding technical exercises and explore imaginative, descriptive and conceptual imagery on paper. All the critical technical elements of drawing – line, tone, composition and color – are employed as tools that facilitate extensive experimentation, discipline, and an environment of intense inquiry.

Fashion Design
Students in this major examine the fashion design process from sketchbook to consumer. Initial exercises focus on developing the visual communication skills necessary to illustrate a fashion concept. Merchandising and construction methods come to the forefront as students gain an understanding of color interaction, form and proportion. In the process, students begin to appreciate how fashion tastes and styles both reflect and contribute to contemporary culture. Ultimately, students design and construct fashion pieces out of alternative materials to be shown as part of the Pre-College Exhibitions at the end of the program. NOTE: Prior sewing skills are not required.

Using video as a means for studying basic techniques of filmmaking, students develop universal skills of expression and storytelling, and the fundamental language and processes of motion pictures, from concept to final edit. Students learn basic digital video filming techniques and nonlinear editing with Final Cut Pro software as they shoot and edit a series of short individual and team projects. Experimental, documentary and narrative genres are all explored, and select student work is viewed and analyzed in class. Students will present their work at the Film/Video and Animation Screenings during Finals Critique Week. (Previous experience with video editing software, such as iMovie or Adobe Premiere, is helpful but not required.) NOTE: Video cameras are provided for use during class hours only. Students may bring their own video cameras, provided they have manual controls and record to a tapeless digital format, and have a USB port.

Furniture Design
You use it every day. You live with it and you can’t get along without it. But have you ever really examined furniture? Have you ever admired the form of a table or scrutinized the function of a chair? Midway between sculpture and industrial design, the vital discipline of furniture design directly impacts human interaction and well-being. Through drawings and modeling, furniture design students explore key aspects of three-dimensional design, incorporating the aesthetics of form and function to articulate their design ideas. They learn to use traditional furniture-making skills, including joinery and the time-honored techniques of hand and power tools, ultimately building one of their own designs.

Game Design
The game designer is a jack-of-all-trades: artist, engineer, psychologist and storyteller; but most of all, a creator of fun. This course provides aspiring game makers with practical experience creating tabletop games, and also familiarizes them with the theory and vocabulary of the industry. Through play testing, group critique and prototyping, students hone projects using ideas discussed in class – including character design and game mechanics – that encompass board, social, didactic, roleplaying and world building games. Students explore digital tools for design purposes, and aspects of computer-based video games are covered. However, all projects are delivered as real, physical objects. Students produce a portfolio of original games that highlights critical thinking skills, setting them apart from their peers. Game industry designers and developers serve as guest critics.

Producing glass is one of the most unique, exciting and immediate art experiences offering a wide variety of creative possibilities. Students learn to work directly with hot glass and explore the potential of glass as a conceptual material. Introductory glass offers students both traditional and nontraditional techniques of glass blowing, where students develop a working vocabulary of hot and cold glass processes while becoming familiar with tools, techniques and safe working practices. Cold working, sandcasting and mold making are elements in a comprehensive exploration of glass as a fine art medium. Students problem solve through research and sketches in and out of class while building on ongoing assignments. “Sketching” with the material and investigating historical and contemporary sources is encouraged. NOTE: For health and safety purposes this course will be offered during the hours of 7:30am-2:30pm. Students who are not normally early risers should consider this carefully before listing this major as a preference on their application.

Graphic Design
Graphic Design majors explore various combinations of traditional and digital design tools through a series of intensive classroom exercises. This regimen enables them to integrate diverse techniques with the design elements of color, form, typography and composition. Projects allow students to combine these tools and techniques in such creative applications as corporate identification, publications, posters, packaging and/or signage. Students also learn to recognize the principles of good graphic design as they integrate text and imagery (drawn from various media) into seamless, finished communications.

This major is an ideal choice for students with a strong drawing background who desire the added discipline of working with both text and visual imagery. Indeed, the critical component of this major involves learning the best ways to combine words, images and ideas. Students explore books, magazines and short stories, seeking models for manipulating content, design elements, materials and techniques in order to express ideas effectively. These exercises allow students to explore a variety of styles and to use various techniques and materials as they develop a personal visual vocabulary.

Industrial Design
From the creation of a handheld electronic device to the configuration of a satellite, industrial design is a steadily growing field that affects every aspect of our daily lives. This major is dedicated to instilling the conviction that fine aesthetics and mechanics reinforce one another in producing exemplary products for industry. Students work on design solutions for social, physical and ecological needs, and develop a working vocabulary in the language of two- and three-dimensional design. Three-dimensional drawing and model-making skills are therefore emphasized throughout the course.

Interior Design
Students in this major gain a strong foundation in the process of designing interior spaces. They develop a visual vocabulary in order to explore the relationships between interior components and movement within the space. Color, texture, fabric, lighting and other elements are investigated in a creative environment that encourages participants to express their own sense of design. Discussions and critiques help students understand the elements and principles of interior design as they develop project solutions.

Designing and constructing jewelry is an ideal discipline for developing an understanding of the structural underpinnings of all kinds of sculpture. Many skills learned in this major, if expanded in scale, are readily transferable to other modes of metalwork because they familiarize students with the properties of various metals and related materials, as well as with commonly used methods of joining. Techniques are learned through numerous demonstrations and structured exercises in the studio, enabling students to complete jewelry objects of their own choosing by the end of the course.

Students are introduced to both traditional and contemporary concepts and techniques in painting. They learn to create and organize forms, colors, textures and tones while experimenting with various methods of application. Initially, students work from the figure, still-life setups and diverse landscapes. They then seek to create more personalized imagery by adapting lessons from the studio. Lectures, demonstrations and critiques reveal how others have tackled similar painting issues in the past, so that students can discover their own style.

Photography: Digital
Professional photography is fully immersed in digital workflow, and anyone using a camera these days must have an understanding of digital tools. Students in this major develop technical and aesthetic skills in photography, with an emphasis on digital imaging and its potential applications in print and electronic form. Coursework focuses on camera techniques, lighting methods, and the use of computer software (Adobe Photoshop) for enhancing and refining images, and for presentation. NOTE: Students will have access to DSLRs in and out of class, but are free to bring their own DSLR camera.

Photography: Traditional
Students learn how to see and compose images through the camera’s eye, and are encouraged to develop personal concepts by solving fundamental visual problems specific to the photographic image. They explore black-and-white photographic tools and techniques, including operation of the single-lens reflex camera, how to determine proper exposures, and the chemical process for developing 35mm negatives and prints. Presentation methods and archival preservation are also demonstrated and discussed throughout the course. Both the experienced and the inexperienced photographer are welcome, but each student must have access to a 35mm camera with full manual exposure control capability.

This major is an excellent choice for students who want to expand upon previous drawing experience by exploring a tactile, process-oriented medium that offers many options for rich visual effects. Lessons in plate and paper preparation, registration and preservation enable students to explore diverse intaglio techniques such as pochoir, dry point, and hard- and soft-ground etching in both large and small formats. Surface printing techniques are also explored, including monoprinting, chine collé and xerographic transfer. As students begin to master these techniques, they are given the opportunity to demonstrate both their facility and their developing personal imagery by producing a series of related small-format prints for final portfolio presentation.

Students engage in a traditional approach to sculpture by exploring a range of three-dimensional concepts, skills and processes. Emphasis is placed on producing realistic structures based on human, animal and plant anatomy. Students select materials and methods that allow them to best address issues of form, space, expression, context and scale; in past years, projects have included constructing with wire, paper, fabric and found objects. Assignments encourage students to create well-crafted, conceptually sound and structurally durable sculptures. Information is provided and discussed regarding the expansive field of contemporary sculpture, including conceptual art, public art, installations, memorials and site-specific work.

Textile Design
Students working with textiles have the opportunity to explore how fabric and fibers can be manipulated to produce a wide variety of surface designs and expressive ideas. By mastering the basic elements of silkscreen printing and assorted dyeing methods, students learn to experiment with elements of layering, transparency and repeating patterns. Emphasis is placed on the creative use of color, and on drawing unique narratives and motifs, resulting in finished designs on fabric yardage. Discussions regarding the myriad ways contemporary textiles are created for fashion, home décor, architectural materials and original fine art augment studio work.

Academic Calendar

Academic Calendar 2018

June 23
Check-In Day | 9am-2:30pm
Student Orientation (students only) | 3pm
Check-in and Orientation are mandatory for all students.
Family Reception | 3pm
Resident Advisor Meetings | TBA
Student attendance is mandatory.
June 24
Safety and Campus Life Orientation
Student attendance is mandatory.
June 25
Classes Begin
July 4
Independence Day
Offices closed; no classes held
July 30-Aug 3
Finals Critique Week
Student attendance in all classes (entire class time) is mandatory.
August 1
Pre-College Exhibitions Opening & Fashion Show | 5-8pm
Exhibitions continue through Friday, August 3, 2:30pm.
August 2
Pre-College Film/Video and Animation Screenings | 6-8pm
August 3
Artwork Pick-up | 2:30-5:30pm
August 4
Check-Out by 12noon

Plan your travel. A successful RISD Pre-College experience depends on your full participation throughout the entire program. Please plan your travel to meet the following attendance requirements:

  • 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.)
  • Plan to attend all Finals Critique Week classes (entire class time) and pick up your artwork from the Exhibitions by Friday, August 3 at 5:30pm. If you leave the program early or don’t attend all of your final classes, you may fail the program. Parents/Guardians: Students should plan on being on campus until 4:00pm (end of class) on Friday, August 3. Students may not leave their final class(es) early and must also be available to collect their artwork from the exhibitions. 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.
  • Access to RISD is easy to arrange by car, bus, air or train. The Amtrak train station is within walking distance, though taxi service is recommended for students with heavy luggage. T.F. Green Airport 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. International students traveling to RISD by air are advised to also check flights into Boston’s Logan International Airport for more direct flights and potentially lower airfares. Logan International Airport is located a one-hour bus ride from downtown Providence. Frequent buses run directly from Logan International Airport to Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence (a five minute walk to RISD).

You’ll be busy on weekends, too! As a RISD Pre-College student, you’ll spend your weekends focusing on your homework and attending a wide variety of events. For this reason, 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. Of course, commuting students are also encouraged to spend your out-of-class time on the RISD campus, hanging out with friends, enjoying the activities and events and, of course, doing your homework!

Housing + Dining

Housing & Dining

Campus Housing
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.

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 (RAs) assigned to each floor supervise the residence halls, as well as mentor and support Pre-College students.

Directions for completing the online campus housing application will be sent via email by the Residence Life Office in May and we encourage you to submit your application a promptly as possible. Rooms will be assigned and confirmed with students in June, prior to the beginning of the Pre-College Program.

Roommate Pairings: An important part of the residential learning experience is getting to know and interact with new friends in a new environment; therefore, RISD Pre-College does not give the option of requesting a particular roommate. To encourage this growth and foster a healthy roommate relationship, students must complete the housing application on their own and answer as candidly as possible. Our office will use the application to pair students based on important living habits (e.g., similar sleeping hours). To fully immerse in the Pre-College program, students coming from the same school, city or major will not be paired together.

Any student needing a housing accommodation due to medical need must fill out a request accompanied by a letter from the attending physician. Any student interested in gender-inclusive housing options can email Joshua Peipock at

If you have questions regarding summer housing that are not covered here, please contact RISD’s Residence Life office at or 401 454-6650 between 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

RISD Pre-College welcomes commuting students. You’re 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.

Parents/guardians are solely responsible for whatever choices they make should they choose to house their students off-campus, and for whatever may happen to their students while they are off-campus. Additionally, they are responsible for arranging all transportation to and from RISD. Students who reside off-campus are still subject to all rules and regulations including the Pre-College Code of Conduct.

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 or 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 and miso station, and traditional entrees. The Portfolio Café, located in the lobby of 15 West, features a continental breakfast for residents.

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.

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.

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

Public Safety
30 Waterman Street
Emergency: 401 454-6666
Non-Emergency: 401 454-6376
RISD Public Safety Info (includes annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report)

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. Public Safety’s non-emergency extension is 6376 (from standard phones, 401 454-6376).

Travel & Directions to Campus
Access to RISD is easy to arrange by car, bus, air or train. The Amtrak train station is within walking distance, though taxi service is recommended for students with heavy luggage. T.F. Green Airport 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. International students traveling to RISD by plane are advised to also check flights into Boston’s Logan International Airport for more direct flights and potentially lower airfares. Logan International Airport is located a one-hour bus ride from downtown Providence. Frequent buses run directly from Logan International Airport to downtown Providence.

Driving Directions: From Interstate 95 North or South, take Exit 22A, Downtown. Continue straight off the exit ramp onto Memorial Boulevard. At the fourth light, turn left onto Washington Place (which becomes Waterman Street).

From Interstate 195 Westbound, take Exit 2, South Main Street. Follow South Main Street for five blocks to its intersection with College Street.

Pre-College Pre-View

Pre-College Pre-View

Join us at this special event to see what RISD Pre-College has to offer.

Date TBD, 2018
Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center
20 North Main Street, Providence, Rhode Island
Registration: 9am | Program begins: 9:30am

SEE Pre-College student artwork from past years.
HEAR relevant information from Pre-College staff, faculty, Residence Life, and other key student services personnel.
TAKE a campus tour led by RISD undergraduate students.
MEET staff and instructors at our optional hosted lunch

NOTE: The Pre-View is not mandatory.

Application Information

Who Can Apply?

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.

Non-US Citizens and Non-US Permanent Residents: In addition to completing the Pre-College Application form, you’ll need to follow the instructions found in the International Students section.

There are no admission tests or portfolio requirements.

Application Form

Application Form

NOTE: Check back in late fall 2017 for the 2018 application procedures.

Apply Early
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 are not processed until all missing parts are supplied, so make sure you include all attachments and required payments and signatures. If for some reason you’re ineligible for the program, we’ll reach out to your parent or guardian as soon as possible after your application is received.

Choosing Majors
Please make your major selection carefully, as changes cannot be accommodated once the application has been received. Majors are assigned in the order of preference indicated on your application form, on a first-come, first-served basis. Because space in majors is limited, first choice selection cannot be guaranteed. Early application increases your chance of placement in your preferred major.

Applicants are asked to indicate three preferences of major. All should be selected with equal care, because an applicant is automatically waitlisted for the first (or subsequent) preference if it is full, and placed in the next available preference. If all three preferences are full, you’ll be notified as quickly as possible and given an opportunity to select another major. You’ll also be notified if space becomes available in a major for which you are waitlisted. If you forfeit a place in any major when it is offered, whether a first, second or third preference, that decision is final.

NOTE: 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.

VERY IMPORTANT: There can be no changes of major or section once the application has been received.

Application + Payment Timeline

Application + Payment Timeline

November 2017: 2018 Application submissions go live

Friday, March 9, 2018: Scholarship application deadline

Friday, April 6, 2018: Students applying after this date must pay in full upon acceptance.

Friday, April 13, 2018: Deadline for non-US citizens and non-US permanent residents. This includes the Pre-College Application, Student Visa Information Form, and payment in full (tuition, housing and dining, and RISD Health Center fee).

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

Late Applications
Late applications are accepted on a space-available basis. Please contact the Pre-College Program Assistant at 401 454-6204 after May 7, 2018 to find out if late applications in specific majors are still being accepted. NOTE: Late applications will not be accepted for international students who require a Form I-20.

PARENTS, PLEASE NOTE: Applicants who apply before Friday, April 6, 2018 and are accepted will need to send a $500 deposit within 5 business days after acceptance. Instructions for subsequent payments through RISD’s Tuition Management System will be on your bill. (Note: Credit card transactions incur a 2.99% service fee.) Full payment is due by Monday, May 7, 2018. If no statement has arrived as the due date approaches, please 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 5 business days after acceptance.



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

RISD Health Center Fee
A $155 fee is required for all Pre-College students. This fee is separate from and unrelated to health insurance. Additional information is available on the Health Services page of the RISD website, or by calling RISD Health Services at 401 454-6625.

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.

Program Deposit
Students who apply before Friday, April 6, 2018 and are accepted will need to send a $500 deposit within five business days after acceptance. Students applying after Friday, April 6, 2018 must pay all tuition and fees in full within five business days after acceptance. (This amount includes the nonrefundable deposit.)

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 form.

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.



NOTE: Check back in late fall 2017 for the 2018 scholarship application procedures.

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

Depending on the amount of the award, grants may cover tuition and room and board.

NOTE: If you apply for a scholarship, and you do not receive one, you are still eligible to attend Pre-College, if you have submitted a deposit. If you have not submitted a deposit, you can contact the Pre-College Program Assistant at 401-454-6204 to find out if space is still available in the program.

Scholarship Application Deadline: Friday, March 9, 2018
To be considered for a scholarship, applications must include all required attachments and be submitted by the application deadline of Friday, March 9, 2018. Please note: Incomplete applications are not processed.

Submitting the Pre-College Scholarship Application Form
Complete a Pre-College Scholarship Application form and submit with all the required attachments (see checklist below). If you submit a Scholarship Application form you do not need to also submit a standard Pre-College Application Form.

L.A. Alliance School Students:
Please use the application procedures provided to you by your school.

Scholarship Application Checklist

Scholarship Applicants (only) must submit the following:

  • A completed Pre-College Scholarship Application Form, including all required financial documentation
  • 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
  • One (1) letter of recommendation from a high school art teacher or guidance counselor
  • Five (5) artwork samples that best represent the student’s artistic abilities; 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. Only one sample can be a digital or digitally enhanced artwork. (See “Sample and File Formatting Requirements,” below.)
  • A copy of your most recent high school transcript
  • A nonrefundable deposit, only if you plan to attend the program even if a scholarship is not awarded: $500 is due from all boarding students; $350 is due from all commuting students

Sample and File Formatting Requirements
Please follow these instructions closely!

Images of artwork are submitted digitally and must adhere to the following guidelines:

2D and 3D Artwork

  • File format: JPEG or PNG only
  • File dimensions: At least 1920 but no larger than 3000 pixels on the longest side
  • File resolution: 72 ppi/dpi (standard web resolution)
  • File size: 5 MB maximum

Time-based works (Video, Animation or Performance)

  • File Format:.mp4 only
  • Length: No longer than 3 minutes in length, and encoded in h264
  • Resolution: minimum 640 x 480, maximum 1920 x 1080
  • File size: 100 MB maximum

File Labeling: Each image file name should include your name and be numbered in the order of viewing (i.e. john_smith_precollege_image1, john_smith_precollege_image2, etc.)

Artwork Description: Submissions must be accompanied by a corresponding Artwork Description Document (.pdf or .rtf) titled with your name (i.e. john_smith_precollege_description). Include the following for each work submitted:

  • Artwork Number and Title in order of viewing (i.e. 1. Self-Portrait, 2. Curiosity, etc.)
  • Dimensions (For video, include program length.)
  • Brief description
  • Medium (i.e. pencil on paper, oil on canvas, collage on paper, video, digitally-created artwork, digitally-enhanced photo/artwork, etc.)
International Students

International Students

NOTE: Please check back in late fall 2017 for the 2018 procedures for international students.

Not from around here? That’s no problem. RISD welcomes students from all over the world to participate in the Pre-College Program. Please note, some additional requirements do apply if you are an international student:

If your primary language is not English, you will need to demonstrate a working knowledge of the English language. If you do not hold US citizenship or US permanent residency, you must obtain or already have a valid F-1 student visa.

If you are not a US citizen or US permanent resident, you must complete, sign and send the originals (hard copies) of the Student Visa Information Form listed above, along with the Pre-College Application Form, attachments and payment to:

Pre-College Applications
RISD Continuing Education
Two College Street
Providence, RI, USA, 02903-2787

Deadline: April 13, 2018
The 2018 deadline for the Student Visa Information Form is April 13, 2018.
Given the lengthy processing time within governmental agencies responsible for visas, we strongly encourage you to submit your 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
International students whose primary language is not English must supply written proof of English proficiency to attend the program—a minimum TOEFL iBT (Internet-based) test score of 93, a minimum TOEFL paper-based (PBT) test score of 580, a minimum score of 237 on the TOEFL computer-based (CBT) test, or a minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS Academic format examination. Students who are not able to obtain a test score in time for registration, or who have previously tested and are not able to access their test score, may request a waiver of RISD’s test score requirement. To request a waiver, students must provide a letter confirming their proficiency in English (spoken/written language and comprehension) from their academic advisor or English teacher. The letter must be on official letterhead of the advisor or teacher’s institution, and must be included with the student’s registration materials.

Application Checklist (For Non-US Citizens or Non-US Permanent Residents Requiring a Form I-20) *
The following materials must be submitted by the April 13, 2018 deadline:

  • Completed Pre-College Application Form, signed by student and parent or guardian
  • A 250-word statement written by the student expressing personal reasons for wanting to participate in the program
  • A letter of recommendation from a high school art teacher or guidance counselor
  • Completed Student Visa Information (SVI) Form
  • Copy of your passport
  • Payment in full (tuition, housing and dining fee, and health center fee)

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

Payments Using International Bank Transfers
International bank transfers must be made through peerTransfer/Flywire. PeerTransfer/Flywire offers a best rate guarantee and tracking.

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

**NOTE: 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.

Notice to People with Disabilities

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 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. It is in your best interest to make your formal requests as early as possible to ensure accommodations are in place prior to the start of the program/course(s). Failure to do so might limit our ability to meet your needs.
 Learn more about disability support.

Please note that modifications cannot be made to the program structure, academic requirements or course curriculum.
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.

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.


Student Conduct

Student Conduct

RISD Pre-College encourages artistic and intellectual freedom, but also offers a structured campus environment. Most students live in campus residence halls, which are accessible only by authorized ID cards. Special rules apply to Pre-College students, which include but are not limited to evening curfew and the need for parental and/or guardian permission to leave campus overnight. The Division of Continuing Education and the Residence Life Office plan all social, artistic and educational activities.

PARENTS, PLEASE NOTE: RISD’s Pre-College 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.

Further details of conduct expectations, attendance and curfew policies are included in the Student Handbook, which is provided to students after acceptance into the program. Students must be able to follow all of the guidelines of the program or should not consider the program.

NOTE: Violations of college policies and regulations may result in such sanctions as a warning, probation or dismissal. All policy materials must be read and acknowledged prior to the start of the program.

Academic + Attendance Requirements

Academic + Attendance Requirements

Because of the rigorous and intense nature of the Pre-College program, students are required to adhere to the following in order to participate in the program:

  • RISD Pre-College is a comprehensive, full-time program in which all courses are integral and interdependent. Therefore students are to be active and engaged participants and must attend all classes and complete all coursework (including homework), in each class, on time.
  • Students who incur three (3) absences (whether due to a recognized illness or not) may be dismissed from the program.
  • A student who is consistently not prepared for class, fails to attend class, grossly neglects coursework, lacks the English proficiency required for the course, or whose continued enrollment is disruptive to the progress of instruction may be dismissed from the program.
  • In order to be considered for successful program completion, students are required to attend the entire six weeks of the program. The last week of class consists of final critiques and presentations and student exhibitions and shows, in which student work is exhibited throughout the campus. Participation in Finals Critique Week (all classes) and the Student Exhibitions and Shows is required in order to complete the program and receive transcripts and be eligible to receive faculty letters of recommendation (if warranted). Students who do not participate in the exhibitions or do not attend a final class will be downgraded accordingly, which includes a possible failure for the course or the program as a whole.
  • Parents/Guardians: Students should plan on being on campus until 4:00pm (end of class) on Friday, August 3. Students may not leave their final class(es) early and must also be available to collect their artwork from the exhibitions. Students, parents, guardians and family members should plan their travel arrangements accordingly. Please see Finals Critique Week, Exhibitions + Check-Out Information tab for essential schedule information.

All students must be able to follow the above guidelines or should not consider the program.

Parents: If your child has a disability please contact Brittany Goodwin, Director of Disability Services and Academic Support, prior to submitting your application to learn what reasonable accommodations can and cannot be provided during the Pre-College program. (Refer to the Notice to People with Disabilities tab on this website.)

For additional details about RISD policies and services, please refer to the Pre-College Student Handbook included in the program forms and documentation, which is provided to students after acceptance into the program.

Non-Discrimination Notice

Non-Discrimination Notice

Rhode Island School of Design does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law in admission to, participation in, or administration of its educational programs and activities; in employment; or in its other programs and activities. Learn more about our non-discrimination policy.

Withdrawal + Refund Policy

Withdrawal and Refund Policy

To officially withdraw from the Pre-College Program, prior to the start of the program, submit written notification to the Associate Director, Enrollment + Operations in the RISD|CE office in person or by mail or fax.

To officially withdraw from the Pre-College Program, after the start of the program, students must meet with the Assistant Director, Pre-College for withdrawal approval. Student and parents or guardian must sign a Voluntary Withdrawal form (completed by Assistant Director, Pre-College). Students may not withdraw from the program without written notification of a parent or guardian.

Failure to properly withdraw from the program results in a permanent grade of ‘F’ on the student’s record.

RISD refunds tuition and fee payments in full for applications that are not accepted, or if registration is closed. In this case, you will be notified via email or phone. Unless you receive notification, your deposit is non-refundable at the time of application submission. Refunds for voluntary withdrawal after the student has been accepted into the program are granted, minus your non-refundable deposit and any transaction fees, according to the following schedule:

Written withdrawal postmarked by:Percentage of fees refunded, minus applicable deposit(s)
May 25100%
May 26-June 1580%
June 16-2260%
June 23-2940%
June 30-July 620%
After July 6no refund

IMPORTANT: No tuition or other fees are refunded to a student who is asked to leave the program for a violation of school policies or regulations. The Pre-College Student Handbook, included in the program forms and documentation, more fully describes these regulations. At Check-In, students and their parents or guardians are required to sign a statement affirming that this information has been read.

Please note: Refunds take up to six weeks to process. Refunds are made payable to the student and are sent to the mailing address indicated on the application.



RISD Pre-College now uses Parchment to process transcript requests. You may order paper transcripts or e-transcripts, for yourself or for an institution, with this service. To order official transcripts, please visit the Parchment Transcript Request page. Please note there is a fee to process each request.

Information for Admitted Students

Forms + Documentation

Forms + Documentation (for admitted students only)

Please check back during the application season for the Forms + Documentation for the 2018 program.

Check-In Day

Check-In Instructions: Saturday, June 23, 2018

All Pre-College students must attend the Pre-College Check-In and orientation on Saturday, June 23. Students and their families may check in anytime that day from 9:00am to 2:30pm. Orientation starts at 3:00pm.

Pre-College Check-In Day Schedule:
9am – 2:30pm: Check-In; 30 Waterman Street
3 – 4:15pm: Pre-College Student Orientation; RISD Auditorium (students only, due to space limitations)
3 – 4:15pm: Parents/Guardians Reception (optional); Nickerson Green (adjacent to Nickerson Hall)
7:00pm: Residence Life Orientation for Residential Students; Residence Halls
8:30pm: Welcome Dance for Students; Upper Quad

Check-In Instructions

  • Parking is available at two MetroPark parking lots (see map) located at the corner of Park Row and Canal Street and near Stillman Street and Exchange Street. You may then walk or take the shuttle to Check-In located at 30 Waterman Street. Free parking is only available in these lots until 4:30pm.
  • For all residential students it is recommended that you clearly label all luggage, so that it can be easily retrieved from the drop-off point, and not be confused with other students’ belongings. It is also advisable to pack everything in suitcases, bags and boxes – unpacked items become difficult to manage.
  • All Pre-College students, including residential and commuting, must attend Pre-College Check-In and Orientation. Check-In procedures include: Residence Hall room assignments and access; ID cards with RISDbucks; Registration and class schedules; CE Business Office for billing issues; Health Services; Public Safety; Laundry service pick-up; RISD Store accounts and art supply kit pick-up.
  • The Met dining facility, located in the Lower Met, will be open for brunch and dinner on Check-In Day. Please join us for a hosted brunch, from 10:00am – 2:00pm, for family members and guests of students. Students will swipe their ID cards for meals on Saturday to confirm that their account is set-up properly.
  • Check-In usually takes about one hour to complete. However, a longer Check-In time should be expected if all program forms and documentation have not been filled out, signed and returned as instructed. Lines usually get longer as the day goes along.

Late Arrivals:
All students are required to arrive on time for Check-In and Orientation. Students whose travel has been interrupted and arrive between 2:30 – 4:15 should immediately go to Orientation at the RISD Auditorium. If for some reason your travel plans are interrupted and you find that you are arriving after Orientation on June 23 you must notify the Office of Residence Life, in advance, of your expected arrival date and time via email at Please include your name, phone number and program you are attending.

  • Students in Homer, Nickerson, South or East Halls who miss Check-In hours and arrive later in the evening must report to the Office of Public Safety at 30 Waterman Street (phone 401-454-6376).
  • Students in 15 West who miss Check-In hours and arrive later in the evening must report to the Office of Public Safety at 15 Westminster Street (phone 401-427-6915).
Exhibition + Check-Out Information

Finals Critique Week, Exhibitions + Check-Out Information – 2018

Finals Critique Week is the chance to show our stuff! Pre-College students, families and friends can check here for important information about Finals Critique Week, Exhibitions, Artwork Pick-up and Check-Out.

Finals Critique Week
Students are in their final classes all day, every day of Finals Critique week – presenting and documenting their work, giving and receiving critiques and having individual meetings with instructors. Students should plan on being on campus until 4:00pm (end of class) on Friday, August 3. Students may not leave their final class(es) early and must also be available to collect their artwork from the exhibitions. Students, parents, guardians and family members should plan their travel arrangements accordingly.

A note to parents/guardians, family members and friends of students: The final week of class is an especially intensive time, and students are highly focused on developing and presenting their final projects–right through the final day of class. We welcome you to come to Providence and join us for the Final Exhibitions as your travel plans allow, but please be mindful that students need to keep their attention on their studies during this time. We ask that you respect the student’s time and energy and keep distractions to a minimum.

Student Exhibitions
The summer culminates with the annual Pre-College Exhibitions. The Majors Exhibition showcases pieces produced in the studios of all 21 majors; the Fashion Majors Show highlights wearable art; the Foundations Exhibition presents work from Drawing Foundations and Design Foundations; and Video Screenings show the work of Film/Video and Animation majors.

Majors Exhibition Opening
Wednesday, August 1, 5-8pm
Woods-Gerry Gallery
Exhibition continues Thursday, August 2 (10am-6pm) and Friday, August 3 (10am-2:30pm).

Foundations Exhibition Opening
Wednesday, August 1, 5-8pm
Memorial Hall Gallery
Exhibition continues Thursday, August 2 (10am-6pm) and Friday, August 3 (10am-2:30pm).

Fashion Majors Show
Wednesday, August 1
RISD Auditorium
Rehearsal Run-Through: 5pm
Main Event: 7pm

Pre-College Film/Video and Animation Screenings
Thursday, August 2, 6-8pm
Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center/RISD Museum

Artist Ball
Thursday, August 2, 8-11pm
(For students ONLY)

Artwork Pick-Up: Friday, August 3, 2:30-5:30pm
Students are responsible for picking up work between 2:30 and 5:30pm on Friday, August 3. Students, parents or guests may not remove artwork from galleries prior to 2:30pm on Friday, August 3. Removal of artwork prior to the pick-up time will result in a failing grade for the course. Any artwork not picked up by 5:30pm on Friday, August 3 will be discarded.

Parents or friends may pick up artwork for a student. Anyone picking up artwork for a student must present a picture ID along with a note from the student authorizing the pick-up.

UPS Artwork Pick-up and Shipping: UPS* will be on campus to help with shipping items for students and parents. They will be in the lobby of 15 West and in the Quad, and will also be at the final exhibitions. To make arrangements for UPS to pick up artwork from one or both of the galleries please contact:

UPS, Wayland Square, 11 S. Angell Street
Providence, RI 02906 (401) 751-6245.

Check-Out Information
Final residence hall room check-out is Saturday, August 4 at 12noon. All students must be checked out of their rooms and off-campus by this time; Residence Life office staff will not ship items left behind.

UPS* will be on campus during Check-Out to assist students who need to ship belongings home. There will be two UPS pick-up locations: 55 Angell St. (the Quad) and 15 Westminster Street during the following times:

Watch this page for specific days and times that UPS will be on campus during finals week.

Early Room Check-out: Students may check out of their rooms as early as Wednesday, August 1 (with their parent/guardian oversight and consent). Students checking out of their room prior to Friday, August 3 must have an authorized adult present to sign them out with Residence Life.

All students, whether checked out early, remaining as residents, or commuting, are still required to attend ALL final classes, until the end of class, and must be available to remove artwork from the student exhibitions, as described above, to be considered as having completed the Pre-College Program. Students and parents should plan on students remaining on campus, until the end of their Friday class and after their artwork has been picked up from the Exhibitions.

* NOTE: On-campus pick-up by UPS is a convenience offered to our students. UPS is an outside provider, and is not associated with Rhode Island School of Design. All shipping arrangements and payments with UPS are made directly between the student, parent/guardian and UPS.

Get more info

Contact RISD Pre-College

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