Applications for the 2021 session will open March 1.

MCAD’s Pre-College Summer Session is an exciting and challenging 2-week, 3-credit residential studio art and design program. It is open to high school students who have completed their sophomore, junior, or senior year. The program fee of $2,500 includes full room and board and many required supplies. Please note that students in the Painting major pay an additional $100 materials fee.


About the Pre-College Summer Session

Through a combination of personal investigation and group collaboration, this program encourages you to explore new concepts, share ideas, and develop your studio practice. You will learn what an art college education is like, including:

  • Choosing a major
  • Exploring your creative abilities
  • Improving your critical thinking skills
  • Trying new techniques with help from professional artists
  • Sharpening your aesthetic senses through critiques
  • Developing time-management and classroom participation skills

You will spend full days under the guidance of professional instructors, immersed in both foundational and major-specific classes. Evenings and weekends provide a chance to spend dedicated time working in studios, building new friendships, and exploring Minneapolis on group excursions.

The program closes with a celebratory final student exhibition and graduation ceremony, during which four exemplary students are awarded a $1,000 scholarship toward an undergraduate MCAD education.

View the 2021 Catalog

What You Will Need to Apply

The Pre-College Summer Session application consists of two parts. The online application and the slideroom application. The slideroom portion of the application is where the student will upload their personal statement, portfolio, and tax return if they are applying for the financial-need-based scholarship. MCAD staff will upload high school transcripts and letters of recommendation to slideroom once they are received. 

  • Online Application Form
  • High School Transcript
  • Personal Statement
  • Portfolio
  • 2019 or 2020 Income Tax Return if you are applying for a financial-need-based scholarship

More information on application materials
Program FAQs

 Pre-College Summer Session students explore the "crazy mess of artistic influences" found in downtown Minneapolis. 


What Participants Are Saying

"It has been one of the most valuable experiences of my life so far. It has shaped not only my art, but has helped me become a more confident and independent person."

"It was an incredible introduction to animation. I feel much more confident in my ability to animate independently. I learned a lot about animating AND the programs used to edit and compile finished elements of a film."

"The instructors and staff were all welcoming and extremely helpful and made the working environment very comfortable and fun."

“What a life-changing opportunity. It increased my daughter’s self-esteem and gave her a true college experience. I highly recommend it to others.”


Looking for Something Shorter?

If you are in high school and interested in taking a single class, MCAD Summer Youth camps and classes are also available.

Also check out the Pre-College Studio Intensives. These are weeklong, 1-credit courses, available for high school students each summer. Portfolio Preparation courses are also available throughout the year.

Pre-College Weekend Intensives are available during the school year. These are two-day, hands-on intensives. 

Tell Me More about Pre-College Summer Session at MCAD