Student Life

Teenage boys and girls socializing in a dining hall.

Life at RISD

Pre-College is designed to help you both work like a college student, and live like one. Because what goes on outside of the studio is just as important as what goes on inside. In addition to immersing yourself in your schoolwork, you’ll be encouraged to attend supervised weekend and evening trips to museums, art galleries, beaches, and excursions to nearby cities. You’re also given the freedom to explore the RISD neighborhood—and all that Providence has to offer—on your own.


Many Pre-College students opt to live on campus in the residence halls. Residence Life provides safe, social and inclusive opportunities throughout the program. Live-in professional staff and student resident advisors (RAs) supervise the residence halls as well as mentor and support you along the way.

Students will have the opportunity to live in single-sex rooms within mixed-gender floors, gender inclusive floors and single-gender floors. Single, double and triple rooms are available. There will be an opportunity in the housing application process for students to indicate their housing preference. If you’re interested in gender-inclusive housing options, email the Residence Life office, Once accepted, you’ll receive instructions on how to complete the online housing application.

If you need specific housing accommodations due to medical needs, you’ll be asked to fill out a request as well as provide a letter from your physician at the same time you apply for housing.

Residential students are expected to remain on campus throughout the duration of the program with the exception of an approved “Weekend Away,” to be arranged before the start of the program through the Student LifePortal.

If you have any other questions regarding Pre-College housing, contact RISD’s Residence Life office,

Residence Life Pre-College Housing: Includes Pre-College housing timeline and a link to view video tours of the first-year area.


An important part of the Pre-College experience is getting to meet new friends in a new environment; that’s why we don’t give the option of requesting a specific roommate. Roommates are assigned based on your answers to questions about lifestyle preferences included in the online housing application. Due to the short nature of the program, room change requests will not be available.

Cars on campus

Students living in the residence halls may not operate motor vehicles (including scooters and motorcycles) while in residence on campus.


If you commute to the program, you’ll need to consider how to balance home life and your studies. At the same time, you’ll also want to develop new friendships and be an engaged member of the RISD community. To help with that, we encourage you to attend all Pre-College events and weekend trips. You may also visit with residential students and work in the common studio work spaces in the residence halls (following visitor guidelines).

On-street parking is available but can be limited on RISD’s campus. If no on-street parking is available, you may park in garages or municipal lots nearby. Unfortunately RISD parking stickers are not available to Pre-College students.

RISD Pre-College requires that any student living off campus must be housed with a responsible adult over the age of 18 for the duration of the program. Students found to be living without a responsible adult are required to make alternative arrangements to rectify the situation within 24 hours. Commuting students who are unable to make suitable living arrangements for the duration of the program may be dismissed. Parents/guardians and their students are also solely responsible for arranging all transportation to and from RISD. RISD has no role in, does not oversee or monitor, and takes no responsibility for such matters.

For more information and commuter student requirements, review the Student Handbook.

Dining Services

Using the freshest ingredients, RISD Dining professionals serve nutritious and delicious meal options throughout your time at Pre-College. Our team serves dishes that reflect our community and highlight ingredients sourced from New England. At the Metcalf Dining Center (“The Met”) you can enjoy vegetarian and vegan specials, globally inspired entrées, special-diet meals, an artisan pizza oven, and homemade desserts and pastries. The full dining contract is required for all residential students. The commuter cost includes a 25-meal dining plan.

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

Health and wellness

Throughout the summer, you’ll have access to campus services to support your overall health and wellness whenever you need it.

Fitness Center

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, you must have a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Health Services

RISD Health Services is a medical clinic staffed by licensed healthcare providers, nurses, medical assistants and office administrators. Access to Health Services is included in the cost of the program and is available regardless of your personal insurance. A US-based health insurance plan, however, is required to attend as this is needed for any medical services received outside of Health Services, including laboratory testing, x-rays, prescriptions and emergency care. Ensure that your health insurance plan covers care in Rhode Island. RISD requires vaccinations that align with the requirements of the Rhode Island Department of Health. For the health and safety of our students, all health records and vaccinations must be completed prior to arrival on campus or dismissal from the program may occur.

Disability Support Services

The office of Disability Support Services (DSS) assists students who have cognitive (learning), psychological, physical and chronic medical disabilities. If you need accommodations to participate in any class, program or event offered during Pre-College, contact Disability Support Services prior to submitting your application to learn what accommodations can and cannot be provided during the program. Students should reach out as far in advance as possible to ensure accommodations are in place prior to the start of the program. Modifications cannot be made to the program structure, academic requirements or course curriculum.

Counseling and Psychological Services

Therapists at RISD’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are available to meet for individual counseling (parent/guardian consent is required if you’re under age 18). CAPS can 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 help you connect to local mental health resources. While CAPS does not offer on-site psychiatric medication management services during the summer, CAPS staff can share referral recommendations for local medication providers if needed.

Students are responsible for any transportation costs to clinicians off-campus, as well as any psychological services received off-campus. For more information contact RISD Counseling and Psychological Services at 401 454-6637.


Known as Rhode Island’s “creative capital,” Providence has a thriving arts scene, great restaurants, cool architecture and plenty of green space. Its relaxed pace and walkable scale make it easy to get to know. On weekend field trips you’ll have the opportunity to discover all Rhode Island has to offer including museums, art galleries and miles and miles of beautiful beaches.

Public Safety

RISD’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) works with the Providence Police and Brown University Police departments to maintain a safe campus environment and support the educational mission of the college. Patrolling campus on foot, bike and in distinctively marked cruisers, members of RISD’s Public Safety team–also trained as EMTs–work 24/7 to maintain a safe environment for RISD students. 

In an emergency, contact Public Safety at 401 454-6666. You are encouraged to program this number into your cell phone.

Hear from student services staff

Discover ways to make the most of your Pre-College experience.


Kristina Byrne

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