Pre-College FAQ

Academics

What will the overall student experience be like?
Our Pre-College programs are intensive, highly challenging programs. The amount of work varies from program to program and also depends on how much time you want to personally invest. Remember this is not summer camp. The AP/EA program includes real college classes and the Pre-College Fine Arts programs are intense conservatory/studio programs. 

In general, the Pre-College programs aren't evaluative. They're intense six week programs modeled after the undergraduate experience. They're intended to help you determine if a conservatory/studio experience is what you're looking for at the college level. The art program, however, does send evaluations to students for each studio. Pre-College is academically/artistically challenging, not at all like a recreational “summer camp” experience.

Who teaches the classes?
The AP/EA classes and Pre-College Fine Arts programs are taught by Carnegie Mellon faculty. Faculty/staff associated with our Entertainment Technology Center teach courses for the National High School Game Academy.

How large are the classes?
Typically, the AP/EA classes are about 25 students and the Pre-College Fine Arts classes are smaller. 

What does the daily schedule consist of?
The daily schedule varies from program to program. For the AP/EA program, it depends on the classes that the students choose. For Pre-College Fine Arts it varies from program to program. Most classes do not begin prior to 8 am and conclude prior to 5 pm; however, some projects may allow or require students to work in the evenings on campus. 

When will we receive a class schedule?
Class schedules for each student are distributed on Opening Day during the academic department meetings. For the AP/EA program, students will be able to select class options after being admitted. Final course placement will be granted by the AP/EA Program Coordinators. 

Can my child get college credit for this?
The courses in AP/EA are credit-bearing classes but students cannot receive credit for the Pre-College programs in Art, Architecture, Design, Drama, Music or Game Academy. 

Can I arrange an interview with the Office of Admission this summer?
Pre-College students who have interest in Carnegie Mellon's undergraduate programs are encouraged to arrange an admission interview over the summer. Please call the Office of Admission at 412-268-2082 to register for an interview as they fill quickly. Admission information sessions for families are offered regularly, registration is preferred.

Arriving on Campus

When will we receive our room assignment?
Students will be notified of their room assignments prior to their arrival. Roommate assignments will be shared on move-in day. A request for specific roommates should be emailed to Conference & Event Services by BOTH parties who would like to live together during the length of the program (after both students have been accepted to Pre-College). 

How can my child get to campus from the airport? 
The most affordable way to get to campus from the airport is via the 28X Airport Flyer, a service of Pittsburgh's Port Authority Transit bus system. The 28X is a special city bus, equipped with space for luggage, and costs only $3.75 each way (exact change required). One end of the 28X's route is the airport; the other end is Carnegie Mellon's campus, a ride time of approximately 45 minutes. It runs approximately every 20 minutes from 6:00 a.m.-midnight. For specific bus schedules and more information, visit the Port Authority online or call the Port Authority at 412-442-2000.

The Pre-College residential staff cannot meet individual students at the airport. The staff will welcome students once they arrive on campus.

Check out our Pittsburgh Travel & Accommodations page for more information.

What should we pack? 
The double rooms in Morewood Gardens are furnished with beds, chests of drawers, desks with chairs, bookshelves, clothes closets and wastebaskets. Students must bring their own pillows, extra-long twin-size bed linens, towels, and a fan, as the dorms are not air-conditioned and are hot in the summer months. We also recommend that students bring an alarm clock, extension cord and a light blanket for chilly nights. Most students choose to use a personal cell phone instead. For clothing, students should bring a bathing suit, fun clothes for dances and sporting supplies. Please note the items that aren't permitted for Pre-College students, including toaster ovens, candles or incense, weapons, pets, air conditioners and cars.

Can we send some belongings in advance? 
The campus Post Office will begin accepting packages during the week of June 25th. Packages should not be sent before this date. The Post Office package pick-up is on Saturday, July 1st, 2017. Students shipping belongings in advance should bring provisions and personal effects for the first days and nights until the Post Office opens, including a pillow, sheets, toothbrush, medications, etc. Belongings sent in advance must be addressed as follows:

Student's Full Name
Pre-College Program
SMC 7361
5032 Forbes Avenue 
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Can you recommend places for me to stay when I’m picking up my child?
Please refer to our Pittsburgh Travel and Accommodations page for more information.

Where do students eat on campus?
Residential student meal plans are designed to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and brunch & dinner on Saturday and Sunday. The main dining hall is located in Resnik Hall in the Resnik Café. Students have the option to eat five meals per week (Sunday through Saturday) outside of the Resnik Café (these are referred to as “traveling meals”). The traveling meals can be used at any of the dining locations. In addition, residential students are provided with $12 per week (Sunday through Saturday – expires weekly) DineExtra funds that can be used at all dining venues on campus including Entropy (the campus convenience store). Please visit Dining Services (link) for a listing of various locations across campus.

Commuter student meal plans (excluding Part-Time Music students) provides $13 per day Monday through Friday which is equivalent to $65 per week. The full value of $65 is available for use each Monday and any remaining funds in the account will expire on a weekly basis (the following Saturday at midnight). 

Part-Time Music students do not receive a meal plan.

Are there televisions in the student rooms?
Cable television is included in all student rooms. You'll need to bring a cable-ready digital TV and a coaxial cable to connect.

Should I bring a computer to campus?
Students may bring their own computer to campus or use one of the 25 computer labs or clusters. Please refer to the Computing Services Pre-College page for more information.

What can students do when they aren't in class?
There are many diverse evening and weekend activities planned for students during their time in Pittsburgh. Day trips to amusement and water parks, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, theater trips, movies, afternoons at local museums, and art galleries, a Pirates baseball game, and barbecues are just some of the many options available during free time. Some activities carry additional cost for participation. Visit the Pre-College student life online calendar for more details.

General

What is the duration of the summer programs?
Both the Pre-College programs and AP/EA are six weeks long running from July 1-August 11, 2017. 

Where is Carnegie Mellon?
Carnegie Mellon is located five miles from downtown Pittsburgh in the Oakland business district. Known as the medical, cultural and educational hub of the surrounding area, Oakland is home to the Carnegie Museum complex, four colleges and universities and the nationally recognized University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Carnegie Mellon's campus is adjacent to two quiet, residential neighborhoods, Shadyside and Squirrel Hill, and is bordered by Schenley Park, a 500-acre public park. Pittsburgh's public transportation system provides easy access to any of the surrounding neighborhoods, and downtown Pittsburgh is a short 15-minute bus ride away.

My child is in 9th or 10th grade. Is he/she allowed to participate?
The program is designed for students who have completed tenth or eleventh grade in high school and who are also 16 years old. All summer Pre-College students must be born between August 11, 1998 and July 1, 2001. This doesn't apply for commuters in the AP/EA program. No other exceptions will be made.

My child is very advanced. How will we know if this program will be right for them?
Many students that attend the program are very advanced. These classes/programs are designed to be rigorous even for a high achieving student. They're college level classes and/or designed after the freshman year at Carnegie Mellon. 

Where do the students attending Pre-College come from?
Students come from all over the country and some travel overseas to attend our programs.

Is it possible to enroll a student who wishes to commute?
Students wishing to commute to campus from a local residence may be considered on a case by case basis. These cases will be reviewed and approved before a student may enroll as a commuter student. To be an eligible commuter student, you must have a permanent residence within approximately 30 miles of campus or within Allegheny County.

Can I do two programs/combine programs?
Many of the programs have a structured schedule and have time-consuming workloads, so it's not possible to combine two different programs.

Can I leave/arrive late/early?
Due to the rigorous nature of the programs, students aren't permitted to arrive late. Students are also not permitted to leave the program early based on the rigor of the program. Early arrivals are permitted under the circumstances below.

International students must arrive on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Carnegie Mellon will provide shuttles at intermittent times during that arrival period. If international students arrive outside of those times, they will be responsible for their own transportation to campus. There will be a mandatory International Student Orientation on Friday, June 30. 

Domestic students who have difficulty traveling, cannot arrive to campus on Saturday, July 1 before 3 p.m., or have some other extenuating circumstances, may apply for early arrival on Friday, June 30. Early arrival is considered on a case-by-case basis. After receiving an admission decision, students will have to make their official request for early arrival through the Student Life Office.

Students seeking early arrival must apply for early arrival by June 16. A confirmation will be sent once the early arrival is confirmed. If approved for early arrival, the student may stay in their assigned room without additional charge for this night, but the meal plan will not begin until Opening Day.

Are parents required to attend Opening Day? If they do attend, how long should they plan to participate? 
Parents are encouraged to attend Opening Day if they wish, however, attendance is not required. After dinner on campus for students and families, the students meet with their counselor and hall groups. Parents are asked to depart at this time.

Do you have any programs that are shorter, like two weeks?
All programs are six weeks. 


My child has a learning disability, is there student support available?
Students with documented disabilities may be eligible to receive services from Carnegie Mellon's Equal Opportunity Services. Please visit our Disability Services site for more information.

International Students

I want to come to Pre-College for the summer and then go back home, but I'm not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. How can I attend the program?
You'll need a Carnegie Mellon Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) for the summer program if you're coming from high school outside of the United States and you'll return to your overseas high school after the program. The Office of International Education (OIE) will send you forms to complete and return to us. We’ll issue the I-20 and send it to you.

I want to come to Pre-College and then I plan to stay in the U.S. after summer to attend college. I’m not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident…what can I do?
You'll need a Carnegie Mellon Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) which covers the summer AND your regular fall program if you are coming from outside the United States to attend the Pre-College program and you will attend Carnegie Mellon in the fall. The Office of International Education (OIE) will send you forms to complete and return to us. We’ll issue the I-20 and send it to you. If you attend another institution after Pre-College, OIE will give you instructions about the transition to the new school once you arrive in Pittsburgh.

What is an I-20 and what do I do with it?
The Form I-20 is used to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Please note that Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement – Canadian citizens only need the I-20. With your I-20 you will be sent detailed instructions regarding travel to the U.S. and a mandatory immigration check-in. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Students who have received an I-20 from Carnegie Mellon must arrive on International Pre-College Student Move-In Day (Thursday, June 29, 2017) to complete a mandatory immigration check-in prior to Pre-College Opening Day in order to maintain legal status in the U.S.

I want to come to Pre-College and I am already attending a high school in the U.S. Do I need a visa document?
No, you do not need a Carnegie Mellon I-20 immigration document if you are already attending high school in the U.S. in a legal non-immigrant status and if you plan to return to that school for the fall semester.

When will I get my I-20?
Once all forms and original bank statements are sent to and received by the Office of International Education, you will receive the I-20 in approximately three weeks.

I’m not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and I’d like to come to Pre-College. Can I attend the program as a tourist or on the visa waiver program?
No. You must enter the U.S. with an I-20 in F-1 student status, NOT as a B-1/B-2 visitor. The Department of Homeland Security prohibits full-time study in the B category. The regulation states with regard to B-1/B-2: “Enrollment in a course of study prohibited.” 8 CFR 214.2 (7)

Once I get my I-20 and F-1 student visa and get to Pittsburgh is there anything else I need to do or am I done with immigration requirements?
There is one more important step to take. The Department of Homeland Security requires that you check in with our office to complete the immigration process. You must arrive in Pittsburgh on Thursday, June 29, 2017 and OIE will check you in on Friday, June 30. You must bring your original I-20 Certificate of Eligibility and your passport with you to Immigration Check-In. 

I have more questions. Who can I contact to help with immigration questions?
Please review the Frequently Asked Questions on the OIE website for more information, and contact the Carnegie Mellon Office of International Education by email or phone at 412-268-5231.

Program Costs

How much does it cost to attend the program?
The tuition varies from program to program. Please refer to our Apply page for each program's costs.

Is there financial aid and/or merit based scholarships available to students who enroll in one of the summer programs?
Some financial and merit-based scholarships will be available to select students who have been accepted into the art or architecture programs. They must complete the scholarship application and submit a digital portfolio by April 1. 

Will Carnegie Mellon send me a bill for the Pre-College program?
Yes, a bill will be sent to you after you have made your Admission Deposit.

What is the payment due date?
An enrollment deposit of $200 is due within 10 days of receiving your admission notification. Full payment for the program is required by May 15.

Can I deduct my $200.00 admission deposit from the amount due on my bill?
Yes, please do.

How much should we expect to pay for books, supplies and other necessities?
Students may want to bring some spending money for the weekend, which also varies from student to student. Some weekend trips and events include a ticket price not included in the cost of the Pre-College program. Students normally find that $350-$450 is a comfortable amount of spending money.

Spending money can be in the form of traveler's checks or accessible through ATM cards. There are several PNC Bank ATMs across campus and a Citizens Bank ATM in the Cohon University Center. 

Safety

How are the students supervised in student housing? 
Resident Pre-College students live in Morewood Gardens residence hall. Student rooms are organized into single-gender floor sections, each with an assigned counselor. The Pre-College Counselors are supervised by Head Counselors, all of whom live in Morewood Gardens with the students. The Counselors and Head Counselors are current Carnegie Mellon undergraduates who have undergone thorough training programs to provide academic, social and personal support for their residents. This staff is supervised by the Director of Pre-College Student Life, Susie Rush. Susie is a full-time staff in the Student Life Office. Three assistant directors live near campus. All residential staff and the directors of Pre-College are based in the Pre-College Student Life Office in 1060 Morewood Avenue.

How safe is Carnegie Mellon/Pittsburgh?
The Pittsburgh region has long had one of the lowest crime rates in the country, and remains one of the nation's safest cities, with a crime rate that is half the national metropolitan average. In fact, it is among the lowest of the 24 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

Student safety is a top priority at Carnegie Mellon. The university employs a police department whose staff of police officers and security guards patrol the campus 24 hours a day on foot, by car and by bicycle. Students attending Carnegie Mellon benefit from the cooperative relationship the University Police enjoys with federal, state, county and city police agencies. The Campus Security Report, which documents crime statistics and security policies over the past 3 years, is available online. 

University Police delivers security presentations about safety on campus to all Pre-College students on Opening Day, and the Pre-College residential staff works to educate all students on safety procedures and emergency contacts during their time in the program. University Police and the Pre-College senior staff are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.