Why Should You Participate in a Pre-College Program?

Carolyn Bedell, Writer

As teenagers, we have many different options for what to do in our summers, and for many of us, the thought of returning to school is a dreadful thing. So why would one be attracted to the idea of spending a portion of their summer at a pre-college program? This interview, and the opinions of the interviewees, are in no way to advertise the programs they attended but to rather inspire other students to consider attending a pre-college program before they graduate high school, and while these are art-oriented, there are many different programs out there.


1. Which program did you attend? 

Jay Harsch (senior, Middletown High School): SCAD’s Rising Star 2017 summer.

Jamie Novak (senior, Westlake High School): I attended the Cleveland Institute of Art Pre-College program (painting).

Carolyn Bedell (senior, Westlake High School): Savannah College of Art and Design’s Rising Star (5-week) Program.

2. Why/What inspired you to participate in that one?

JH: My parents were encouraging me to. The most I’d leave home for was two weeks, so I tried doing five weeks so that me leaving for the school year won’t be as rough.

JN: I’ve wanted to attend an art school for as long as I can remember and I thought this program would give me a good preview of what I would be doing there.

CB: Mr Wilson and my parents suggested I do it, and SCAD has always been my dream school, so I thought, why not? If I get in, then I’ll do it. And I did.

3. How was your experience in the program?

JH: Great! I learned a lot, I worked on stuff I cared about, my roommates were great, I made cool friends, and the hardships made me stronger.

JN: The experience I had at CIA was amazing. I met lifelong friends and got a few paintings to submit as a part of my portfolio.

CB: It was incredible! Being at SCAD and living in the freshman dorms were amazing. We had quite a bit of freedom and I made so many friends and lasting memories. I didn’t want to leave at the end of the program, I felt right at home!

4. Any favorite memories or events that made the program worthwhile?

JH: Meeting my future girlfriend! Oh, and doing a Super Smash Brothers tournament and karaoke was fun too!

JN: Having 9 hour studio classes for 2 weeks is where I made all my memories. From friends to learning new skills- I made all of my memories on the top floor of CIA, in a small critique room.

CB: I know Jay’s going to say something about yours truly, so definitely meeting him and helping each other out with projects. Exploring West Broughton Street, relaxing in SCAD’s community garden and going to Tybee Beach trips!

5. What class(es) did you take?

JH: Intro to Film and Survey of Visual Effects!

JN: My program was painting, so we had 3 hour studios 3 times a day.

CB: Intro to Film and Draw 100 (it’s a foundations class).

6. Did the program help you determine what career you want to pursue in the future?

JH: Kind of. I knew I wanted to major in film and minor in theatre. The program helped me tighten up my plan more.

JN: I knew before going into the program that I wanted to pursue textiles. I knew after the program that I would love to be spending 9 hours a day in my specific major.

CB: I wouldn’t say it helped me determine what career I would like to pursue one day, but my success in the courses helped me realize that I could be successful at an art college and my dreams as an art major are achievable.

7. Would you recommend other students to participate in a pre-college program?

JH: Definitely. There’s so many benefits.

JN: Yes! It was such an amazing experience and I wish I could do it again!

CB: Of course! I’m not certain about other programs but because I had applied to Rising Star, the application process to SCAD was so much easier.

8. What advice would you give students that have been accepted into the program?  

JH: Have fun, work hard, and experience everything.

JN: Don’t let other people intimidate you. seeing/working with others should not discourage you, you will benefit from all of these talents.

CB: Time management is key. Once you learn that, live in the moment, sign up for every event (if you can) and communicate with your professors.

9. Last question: now that you’ve been through the program, would you do it again, if given the chance?

JH: In a heartbeat.

JN: I would do it in a heartbeat.

CB: In a heartbeat.