Pre-College FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions about CCA’s Pre-College summer program for high school students.


For high schoolers dreaming of art and design school

Who is Pre-College for?

Pre-College is a summer art and design program for high school students who have just completed their sophomore, junior, or senior year. Students must also be at least 15 years old by July 12 but not older than 18 by August 2. Read Pre-College Policies.

How much does Pre-College cost?

The total cost depends on which Pre-College track you wish to pursue. Here’s a review and breakdown of those totals; however, please note that amounts are subject to change.

Residential Pre-College Student: ~$6,975

  • Nonrefundable Application Fee — $55 (nonrefundable)
  • Tuition for In-Person Pre-College Students — $4,200 ($500 nonrefundable tuition deposit and all studio supplies, field trips, and lab fees are included in this cost)
  • On-Campus Housing Standard Double Room — $1,570
  • Refundable On-Campus Housing Deposit — $250 (for cleaning and damage, due upon signing)
  • Residential Student Meal Plan — $900 (required)

Commuter Pre-College Student: ~$4,605

  • Nonrefundable Application Fee — $55 (nonrefundable)
  • Tuition for In-Person Pre-College Students — $4,200 ($500 nonrefundable tuition deposit and all studio supplies, field trips, and lab fees are included in this cost)
  • Commuter Student Meal Plan — $340 (required, lunch only)

Online Pre-College Student: ~$3,955

  • Nonrefundable Application Fee — $55 (nonrefundable)
  • Tuition for Online Pre-College Students — $3,900 ($500 nonrefundable tuition deposit is included in this cost)

Do you accept international students?

Yes, international students with strong English language skills can attend online or on-campus Pre-College. Once an international student has been accepted to Pre-College, paid their tuition deposit, and chosen to attend the on-campus program, they will receive an I-20 form to apply for an F-1 student visa to enter the United States. They will also receive information to apply for campus housing to live in a CCA residence hall in San Francisco for the duration of the program.

Do I need to have art and design experience to attend Pre-College?

At CCA’s Pre-College, you’ll join a diverse group of creative thinkers and makers who share your passion for art and design. The program is open to all interested participants, including those with little art and design experience and those with advanced skills. Our expert instructors are ready to teach foundations as well as guide experienced students to the next level.

What’s the difference between attending Pre-College on-campus or online?

Online Pre-College studios meet online 9 am to 3 pm PST Monday through Friday for five weeks during the summer.

On-campus Pre-College studios meet on CCA’s San Francisco campus for four weeks during the summer. Students can choose to stay on campus, living in one of our residence halls for the duration of the program, or they can commute to campus each day. We require meal plans for both residential and commuter Pre-College students.

How many college credits will I earn?

Students who have successfully completed CCA’s Pre-College program will earn 3 college credits and leave with portfolio-ready pieces to use for their college applications.

Do you have an attendance policy?

Yes. Students are expected to participate in and attend the entire program and arrive to all classes on time. Three late arrivals or early departures (10 minutes or more) will count as one absence. Absences negatively impact the student’s grade, and three unexcused absences in a given course will constitute a failing grade. Parents will be notified after their student’s second unexcused absence in any class. Read Pre-College Policies.


Applying for CCA’s Pre-College program

How and when should I apply to Pre-College?

You will apply to the Pre-College studio of your choice on CCA App. Applications open on September 15. Refer to Apply to Pre-College for a complete list of steps.

Early application is recommended. Completed applications are processed and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. An application will not be reviewed until all materials — including transcripts, fees, and scholarship materials (if applicable, submitted through SlideRoom) — are received.

Will I be notified when the college receives and is reviewing my application?

An email will be sent to the address provided once your application has been processed; however, your application will not be considered complete until we receive a copy of your transcript. You can always check your application homepage on CCA App for outstanding items we need to review your application. Please allow up to two weeks to process applications. Official notifications of admissions decisions are sent via email starting in March.

What is a transcript and how do I submit it?

Your high school transcript is a complete record of your academic achievements in high school. It starts with the first grading period of your first year of high school and is updated each term until you graduate. It also includes your GPA (grade point average). It is not a report card or your semester grades.

To submit your transcript, you can upload it to CCA App or email it to [email protected]. Transcripts must include grades from the earliest fall prior to the summer you’re applying to attend Pre-College. We recommend that you order transcripts from your high school as soon as possible. Most schools take at least two weeks to send out a transcript.

When will I know if I’ve been accepted to Pre-College?

Accepted students will have admissions notifications added to their application homepage on CCA App starting February 15. If you have been accepted, studio placement and enrollment next steps will be emailed to you in March.

When will I know if I got into the studio I wanted?

Studio placement and next steps for enrollment are sent by email starting in March. You can also always check your application homepage on CCA App for status updates and to see if there are any outstanding items, such as the application fee or transcript, which could be preventing us from placing you in a studio.

Each studio is limited and we cannot guarantee placement in your first choice. In the event that your first choice is full, you will be waitlisted and placed in the next available studio selection. We’ll notify you immediately via email if space becomes available in a studio you are waitlisted for.

Can I apply to Pre-College after the application deadline?

Yes, program applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications received after March 1 will be reviewed and admissions decisions sent within two weeks of submission. All applications submitted after May 15 must be paid in full at the time of acceptance. Please contact Pre-College staff at [email protected] to inquire about studio availability if you are applying after May 15.

What are the English language proficiency requirements for international students?

International students must have strong English language skills as the Pre-College program is conducted in English only. All applicants with citizenship from a country where English is not the national language are required to upload one of the following English language proficiency test scores with their Pre-College application:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) — CCA Pre-College requires a minimum TOEFL score of 550 PBT or 80 iBT
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) — CCA Pre-College requires a minimum IELTS score of 6.5
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) — CCA Pre-College requires a minimum Pearson score of 58
  • Duolingo (online English test) — CCA Pre-College requires a minimum Duolingo score of 110

We accept the following alternative to the English proficiency test requirement:

  • Minimum three years' attendance at an English-speaking secondary school in the U.S. or at an international school with English as a medium of instruction. We will review your transcript to evaluate that you have received the equivalent of a "C" or higher in your regular English classes. We do not accept ESL/ELL/ELD classes.

If you believe you should be exempt from taking a proof of English language proficiency test, please email [email protected].


Applying for CCA’s Pre-College scholarships

What should I apply for first: CCA Pre-College or a CCA Pre-College scholarship?

Apply to CCA Pre-College on CCA App first, then apply for CCA Pre-College scholarships on SlideRoom. Read Apply to Pre-College.

What should my portfolio for scholarship consideration include?

Five to eight pieces of art that reflect your best work. Label each piece with your full name, media, dimensions, and year completed. If you submit photographs, please indicate if they were printed commercially or if you printed them yourself. Writing samples should be in PDF format and two to five pages long.

Can I apply for Pre-College scholarships after the scholarship deadline?

All need-based merit scholarship applications must be submitted through SlideRoom on or before February 19. However, need-based scholarship inquiries after this date may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact [email protected] if you’d like to discuss a need-based scholarship after the February 19 deadline.

How will I know if I received a scholarship?

Scholarship applicants who meet the February 19 scholarship deadline will be notified of award decisions via email in March.

Do I have to pay any fees if I am applying for a scholarship and/or receive a scholarship?

Yes, you will still have to pay all associated fees. CCA scholarships are for tuition only.


Completing enrollment after you’ve been accepted

When is the nonrefundable tuition deposit due?

Deposits are applied to total tuition and are due on April 8 or two weeks after your admission notification, whichever is later. Instructions on how and when to pay your deposits and complete your enrollment will be included in your admission notification email.

When is the full balance of tuition due?

The tuition balance is due by May 6 or two weeks after your acceptance date, whichever is later. After May 6, any application submitted must include tuition and fees (if applicable) paid in full upon acceptance.

Failure to pay your tuition and fees in full by the deadline could lead to forfeiture of your studio selection. Payments are accepted online by credit card via your application homepage in the CCA App. Email [email protected] if you would like to set up a payment plan, pay by check, or pay by direct wire transfer.

When will I apply for housing?

If you’ve chosen to stay on CCA’s San Francisco campus during Pre-College, housing application information will be sent by email after you’ve paid your nonrefundable tuition deposit. Housing applications are processed on a first-come first-served basis with priority given applications received by April 22. If you have an access or disability accommodation request, please submit your request to [email protected] as soon as possible.

Where will I live?

On-campus Pre-College residential students live at Founders Hall on CCA’s San Francisco campus. All students are assigned a double studio. A limited number of suite-style single or double rooms are available and prioritized for students who request an accommodation. After submitting their housing applications, students may request an accommodation for special housing needs by emailing [email protected].

When will I move in/move out of the residential halls?

Move-in day for Pre-College residential students is Sunday, July 7, 9:00 am-12 pm. Move-out day is Saturday, August 3, 9:00 am-12 pm.

When will I know my housing assignment?

After you submit your housing application, you will receive an email with instructions on how to submit your required $250 refundable housing deposit. Once the deposit is paid, your application will be reviewed and your housing assignment will be confirmed.

Do I need a meal plan?

Meal plans are required for all residential students living on campus during Pre-College. Lunch meal plans are required for all students commuting to campus during Pre-College. A payment link for your room and meal plan will be emailed to you after April 1.

After Pre-College

Preparing for an undergraduate degree

When will I receive my grade?

An unofficial copy of your grade will be emailed to you four to six weeks after the program ends.

How can I get a copy of my CCA Pre-College transcript?

To obtain an official copy of your CCA transcript, visit CCA Student Records.

Can I use my Pre-College coursework to apply to CCA?

Definitely! You’ll leave Pre-College with art and design work you can use in any art and design school application portfolio, including CCA. You’ll also have an opportunity to attend appointments and workshops with CCA Admissions counselors during Pre-College to ask questions and learn more. Visit Undergraduate Admissions to learn how to apply.