This occurrence is rare. This program is recommended for High School students since the curriculum may be challenging and you may not be able to finish all assignments. For onsite and online classes, there may be students up to 18 years of age. As such, the discussions may be more mature. If you still think this is a good program for you, taking fewer than the maximum number of classes can help. In order to qualify, your parent/guardian must send an email confirming that they understand the above specifications and provide a reference from a teacher or non-relative adult describing why they feel you are ready for PCAE.

All current high school students are eligible to apply. Once a complete application is submitted, students are accepted into the PCAE. 

No. A portfolio is not required. You can build a strong portfolio for college admission and scholarships through our pre-college program.

No. Once you graduate from high school you are no longer eligible for the pre-college program. However, you are welcome to apply to one of the amazing art and design undergraduate programs at the Academy.

Yes, as long as you have not finished your high school program.

Costs and Fees

The Pre-College Art Experience is a scholarship program, where the application and tuition fees are covered. Cost of supplies, course fees, and housing will need to be paid by the student. To learn more about this opportunity complete your PCAE application online. Once this is processed, you will be contacted by a member of our Admissions Department to register for your classes. Or call 1.800.544.2787 and we’ll walk you through the process.

Application and tuition fees are covered by the program. The student will be responsible for supplies, applicable course fees, and housing (Summer semester only). Course fees vary by class, so please connect with your Admissions Advisor to confirm actual amounts.


Yes you can. Students may use the pre-college scholarship on top of other grants or scholarships that may be awarded up to the cost of attendance.

Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 units in the Fall and Spring terms, and also be enrolled in the Summer term as well.


Pre-College Art Experience classes will be graded on a PASS/FAIL basis, rather than a letter grade basis. For every one pre-college class in which a student receives a PASS, the student will earn a $1,000 scholarship toward their undergraduate studies at Academy of Art University. A student may earn up to a maximum of $4,000 in scholarships.

The scholarship will be disbursed across the first year following successful completion of the student’s first semester. It will be released $1000 per semester.


It is recommended that students bring all supplies on the first day. The instructor will advise you on what you need for future classes.

No, if you already have some of the necessary supplies you are more than welcome to use what you have.

This varies by class. Please check with your Admissions Rep for supplies needed for specific classes.



No, only during the Summer semester.

You can scan or photograph your artwork and/or create a digital file per your instructor’s requirements. Our Learning Management System allows instructors to comment on your work and add feedback. Assignment submission and work critiques will be explained in detail in the orientation sample online class.

This will vary depending on which classes a student takes. You can check what building and room your classes will be held in by visiting the COURSE CATALOG.

Classes are meant to challenge students regardless of their ability or level, but the primary goal is to expose them to different areas of art and design, and to give them a true college experience. Students that take online classes should have strong time management skills to stay on top of assignments.

No. The online classes can be very different from on-campus. They have completely different instructors, and may have different projects.

Class sizes are kept small and can accommodate all levels of experience, from beginner to advanced.

Yes. You must re-apply every semester you take part in PCAE. If you are a returning participant, you should log in as a “returning user” on the application page.


Unfortunately, there is not a waiting list. You can continue checking the course catalog to see if a spot opens up. Classes are first come, first served.

You can choose up to two classes to study online or onsite in the Fall or Spring, and up to three classes in the summer.



Yes, you have until the end of the first week of class to switch to another class for it to count towards your scholarship funds. You can drop a class anytime.

Pre-College online classes are not live. You can log in and participate at your own convenience, but there are assignment and discussion deadlines

Summer at the Academy

Daily rate students are entitled to 3 meals per day for each day they are staying in Housing.


The housing cost should be paid in full before moving in. There is no official payment plan but students and parents can make payment arrangements with their admissions representative if they would like to start payment in advance.

You are advised to reach out to their Resident Assistant in your hall to solve any problems or issues in the dorm.

Yes, but there are some activities designated for on-campus housing students only. There are many that are open to all students.

Students who plan to go home on the weekends should fill out a Housing Absence request form.

It goes back onto the original credit card used unless otherwise specified.

Yes. They will have the same room for the duration of the semester, and are allowed to leave their belongings behind. Since they will more than likely have a roommate, the belongings will not be fully locked down. Do not leave valuables behind.

Students who wish to room together can let their representative know. This request of roommate is not guaranteed and students must be of the same sex to be considered.

Students have a variety of activities planned during the program. These can change from year to year and are not required by the students. Some examples from past summers include: hiking in Muir Woods, Yerba Buena Art tour, basketball games, exploring the Mission District and more!

Yes, they will have to check in and out each week.

Other Questions

Pre-College students will be taking classes in the same buildings as undergraduate and graduate students. However, PCAE classes only have PCAE students attending. They will not have a lot of opportunities to network with undergrad/grad students.

Classroom Services ensures equal access and facilitates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. They can be reached at 415.618.3775 or accessibility@academyart.edu. Information provided to Classroom Services is confidential and will not be shared without permission from the student.

Get a head start on your art and design education with our pre-college program.

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