! Advanced Program Online: Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 enrollment now open

About Pre-College

Program Dates

Summer 2024 dates to be announced in October 2023

  • Sat, June 24, 2023

    Check-In Day
    For international and students traveling long distances, see Early Arrival option.

  • Mon, June 26, 2023

    First day of classes

  • Fri, July 28, 2023

    Last day of classes

  • Sat, July 29, 2023

    Check-Out Day; move out by 12 noon

Program Description

RISD Pre-College offers rising high school juniors and seniors the chance to experience life as a RISD undergrad. For five weeks you’ll follow a college-level curriculum with day-long studio classes, critiques and projects. You’ll work alongside hundreds of other creative, highly motivated students from around the world who will challenge, inspire and encourage you to push your limits and produce your best work. You’ll live like a RISD student, access renowned resources and instructors, strengthen your portfolio and forever change the way you approach art and design.

About Rhode Island School of Design

RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) is a creative community founded in 1877 in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, we enroll 2,620 students hailing from 59 countries. Led by a committed faculty, they are engaged in 44 full-time bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and supported by a worldwide network of over 31,000 alumni who demonstrate the vital role artists and designers play in today’s society.

Beyond facts and figures, what is the spirit of this community? Through a cross-disciplinary curriculum of studio-based learning and rigorous study in the liberal arts, RISD students are encouraged to develop their own personal creative processes, but they are united by one guiding principle: in order to create, one must question. In cultivating expansive and elastic thinking, RISD seeks to activate a critical exchange that empowers artists, designers and scholars to generate and challenge the ideas that shape our world.

RISD’s mission, at both the college and museum, is not only to educate students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, but to transmit that knowledge and make global contributions.

RISD is located in Providence, Rhode Island—on the east coast of the US, a three-hour drive north of New York City and 45 minutes south of Boston.

50+ Unforgettable Summers of RISD Pre-College

RISD’s first Pre-College summer program started in 1971 (pictured above!) with a few dozen students in just one building. Now, celebrating more than 50 unforgettable summers of Pre-College, roughly 550 students experience RISD’s campus each summer—representing nearly every state in the US, 84 different countries, and boasting more than 10,000 alumni since 1971.

RISD Pre-College: Program Overview

Note: Effective Summer 2023, RISD Pre-College will be 5 weeks long.

Hear From Alumni & Faculty

Find out more about RISD Pre-College from those with first-hand experience, including Pre-College alumni, faculty and program administrators.
Note: Effective Summer 2023, RISD Pre-College will be 5 weeks long.


Johnny Adimando

From first-generation college student to Pre-College faculty member, Johnny Adimando shares what it’s like to be part of a community where everyone takes their own creative lead.


Ruihan Lee

Pre-College helped prepare Ruihan Lee for her first year at RISD. Ruihan went on to earn her BFA in Industrial Design in 2022.


Rebecca Leuchak

Pre-College faculty member Rebecca Leuchak expresses her appreciation for the program and the value of art and design education during unprecedented times.


Christina Schaller

Pre-College faculty member Christina Schaller shares what sets RISD’s summer program apart from others and takes us through the day-to-day lives of the students.


Noah Frase

Noah Frase’s growth as a Pre-College student prepared him for the rigors of college and his career as an illustrator.


Matthew Kane

Alum Matthew Kane shares his journey into men’s and women’s fashion and how the program gave him the confidence he needed while applying to liberal arts colleges.


Joy McLaughlin

The program’s associate director discusses the challenges that come with being a young creative and what it means to be an artist attending RISD Pre-College.


John Gonzales

Pre-College faculty member John Gonzalez discusses the nature of the program and expresses his appreciation and gratitude for art and design.


Kristina Byrne

The program’s associate director for student experience points out several resources that will guide and support students.


“My friend experienced a tremendous amount of growth with your program here in the summer of 2017, and highly recommended that I apply. So far the program has totally changed my technicality and creativity for the better, and I can’t wait to see how much I will improve by the program’s end. RISD has given me the opportunity and creative freedom to present myself as an artist.”
– Hailey, Virginia

“Going into the RISD Pre-College program, I knew I was considering RISD as my top choice in my college application process, but I still wanted to get a better feel for the school’s environment and programs. The time I spent at RISD this summer allowed RISD to feel like my home away from home and I fell even more in love with the school and everything it has to offer. The [foundation] classes and major classes pushed me to challenge myself and to think more creatively than ever before… The program also allowed me to grow as an artist and individual, improve my technical skills, and explore new mediums… The relationships you form with faculty members, friends, and classmates is unparalleled. RISD Pre-College 2018 was an unforgettable experience and I loved every second of it.”
– Izzy, New Jersey

“Went for animation this past year. Honest to goodness the best instruction and community I’ve had at any art program. Encouraging and prepared instructors, fun RAs and RD, creative classmates and kind and accepting floor-mates. Food is great too! The last day was a cry-fest because no one wanted to leave. Great program, can’t wait to apply for real next year.”
– Katherine, Massachusetts

Info Sessions and Fairs

Do you have questions about RISD Pre-College? Visit with us at a virtual or in-person event to connect, learn and ask questions.

Info Session Recording (Virtual/Recording)

For students interested in RISD Pre-Collegiate Programs and potentially applying to Rhode Island School of Design. Join RISD Admissions and Pre-College teams for this hour-long presentation and Q&A session. Learn the basics about a RISD education and an in-depth look at RISD Pre-College and Advanced Program Online.

Summer 2023 Pre-College Program Fairs (Virtual)

Visit the RISD booth at these virtual events, which provide students and their families the opportunity to learn about academic summer programs at top US colleges and universities. Meet with our Pre-College team members including Associate Director of Student Experience, Kristina Byrne and Application and Enrollment Specialist, Noah Frase. You’ll have the opportunity to speak with us about our programs via chat or video.

  • Saturday, January 28, 2023, 1–3:30 pm ET
  • Saturday, February 25, 2023, 10 am–12:30 pm ET

Teen Summer Expos (In Person)

Visit us at one of two in-person Teen Summer Expos! These events are free and open to everyone, offering students and their parents a place for face-to-face conversations with the representatives of the best summer enrichment programs.

  • Monday, February 6, 2023: Newton South High School, Newton, MA
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023: Lexington High School, Lexington, MA