Pre-College Art & Portfolio Camps: Getting An Early Taste Of Art School

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If you are still in high school but looking longingly forward to art school, the wait might be shorter than you think.

Art schools around the country and abroad put together pre-college art and portfolio camps with you in mind. These programs are multipurpose.

What might be most exciting for students buzzing with anticipation about art school is that they give you a chance to experience college before you are finished with high school. You can get a feel for the atmosphere at the school you are interested in attending, explore campus, meet teachers and just have fun learning before the pressure is on to graduate.

Applying for pre-college programs will give you a taste of what admissions processes will be like. And, just being on campus could help you keep the freshman jitters at bay when you actually start college later.

In terms of practicality, pre-college programs offer a chance to build your portfolio under the guidance of faculty. Your portfolio is the body of work you will show to colleges when being considered for admission and even to future employers. The more diverse your portfolio is the better. Art and portfolio camps will more than likely allow a chance to work with mediums that you might not have experienced in your high school classes.
As an added bonus, many schools offer pre-college programs for credit. Any adviser will tell you that getting ahead in college credits is a great thing.

Age and grade eligibility for pre-college programs vary by college. So, be sure to check the specifics for the classes offered at your school of interest. Many programs are geared toward high school juniors and seniors. However, some schools offer classes for students as young as middle school.

Here, we’ve provided a list of schools that offer art and portfolio camps. But there are many more options out there. Do your research and find a college, university or institute that best fits you as an artist.

Pre-College Programs At A Glance

Academy of Art University
Pre-College Art Experience Program offered in fall, spring and summer

California College of the Arts
Pre-college summer art program

Champlain College
Pre-college Art, Portfolio and Creative Writing Summer Programs

Drexel University Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Pre-college Programs

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
Pre-college Academy

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University
Pre-College Portfolio Camp

Massachusetts College of Art & Design
Summer Intensives and Summer Studio Classes

Montana State University – School of Art
Pre-college Classes

Minneapolis College of Art & Design
Pre-college Summer Session

New Hampshire Institute of Art
Pre-college Summer Program

Parsons The New School of Design
Pre-college Summer Intensives

Penn State School of Visual Arts
Pre-college Summer Art Camp, Portfolio Thinking

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design
Pre-college portfolio workshops and art classes

School of Visual Arts NYC
Pre-college Program

Southwest University of Visual Arts
Summer Art Camp

Syracuse University
Summer College For High School Students

Temple University – Tyler School of Art
Pre-college Portfolio Boot Camps, offered Monday through Friday for 2 weeks during the summer or weekends during the school year.

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Alexia Lang holds a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. Lang has worked in newspapers, magazines, radio and blogs, producing award-winning content centered around community and the arts.

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