Pre-College FAQ


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. APEA includes real college classes and the Pre-College Fine Arts programs are intense conservatory/studio programs. 

In general, the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Programs are intense six-week programs modeled after the undergraduate experience. The Fine Arts programs are intended to help you determine if a conservatory/studio experience is what you're looking for at the college level. All programs send evaluations after the six-week experience. Pre-College is academically/artistically challenging, not at all like a recreational “summer camp” experience.

Who teaches the classes?
The APEA classes, Pre-College Fine Arts programs and Computational Biology 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?
Class sizes vary depending on the popularity of the course, and the capacity of the classroom. However, most classes range from 10-30 students. 

What does the daily schedule consist of?
The daily schedule varies from program to program. For the APEA program, it depends on the classes that the students choose. 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. Typically, students in the Fine Arts or National High School Game Academy have classes from 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM.

When will we receive a class schedule?
Class schedules for each student are distributed on Opening Day during the academic department meetings. APEA students will be able to select class options after being admitted. The Academic Directors finalize the class schedule for each student by Opening Day.

Can my child get college credit for this?
The courses in APEA are credit-bearing classes but students do not 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?
Carnegie Mellon no longer offers Admission Interviews but rather non-evaluative one-on-one admission counseling sessions. These are for rising/current high school seniors to seek guidance or ask questions about the uniqueness of our programs/colleges and the admission process.

Arriving on Campus

When will we receive our residence hall assignment?
Prior to Opening Day, students will receive a notification with the residence hall that they have been assigned to in order to ensure that students move into their appropriate residence hall. A request for specific roommates should be submitted via the Enrollment Portal by BOTH parties who would like to live together during the length of the program (after both students have been accepted to Pre-College). Requests received after May 31st cannot be accommodated.

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 city bus, equipped with space for luggage, and costs only $2.75 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 30 minutes from 4:30 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 on Opening Day. 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 dormitory rooms are furnished with beds, chests of drawers, desks, 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. Please note the items that are not permitted for Pre-College students, include toaster ovens, candles or incense, weapons, pets, air conditioners and cars.

Can we send some belongings in advance? 
The University 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 open on Opening Day. Students shipping belongings in advance should bring provisions and personal effects for the first days and nights in the event they arrive after the Post Office closes. The items include 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 on campus. 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 for a listing of various locations across campus.

Commuter student meal plans 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). 

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 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.


What is the duration of the summer programs?
The Pre-College programs are six weeks long running from June 29 – August 10, 2019. The Architecture and Art programs and Computational Biology offer 3-week options running from June 29 – July 19, 2019.

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 10, 2000 and June 29, 2003. This doesn’t apply for commuters in the APEA program with a permanent address within 30 minutes from campus. 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. Any student that leaves early from the program will be withdrawn from the program and will not receive an evaluation/transcript at the conclusion of the program. Early arrivals are permitted under the circumnstances below.

International students must arrive on Thursday, June 27, 2019. Carnegie Mellon will provide shuttles at intermittent times during that arrival period. There will be a mandatory International Student Orientation on Friday, June 28, 2019. 

Domestic students who have difficulty traveling, cannot arrive to campus on Saturday, June 29 before 2 p.m., or have some other extenuating circumstances, may apply for early arrival on Friday, June 28. 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 Enrollment Portal that they will have access to once they have been admitted.

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 an 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 resident assistant and residence hall group. Parents are asked to depart at this time.

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

The Architecture and Art programs and Computational Biology offer 3-week options running from June 29 – July 19, 2019.

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.

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 27, 2019) 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 27, 2019 and OIE will check you in on Friday, June 29. 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 March 1. 

Will Carnegie Mellon send me a bill for the Pre-College program?
Yes, a bill will be sent to you by the end of March. You can make your payment in full prior to this date by visiting Student Information Online.

What is the payment due date?
An enrollment deposit of $400 is due within 10 days of receiving your admission notification. Full payment for the program is required by May 15.

Is the $400.00 admission deposit in addition to the program cost?
The deposit will be applied to the overall cost of the program. You will owe the remaining amount.

How much should we expect to pay for books, supplies and other necessities?
Books and supply costs vary across programs. 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.


How are the students supervised in student housing? 
Resident Pre-College students live in residence halls on campus. Student rooms are organized into single-gender floor sections, each with an assigned pair of residential advisors (RAs). The Pre-College RAs are supervised by Community Advisors (CAs), all of whom live in the residence halls with the students. The RAs and CAs 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 Affairs, Susie Rush. Susie is a full-time staff in the Student Life Office. All residential staff 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 has a Crime Prevention information table present on Opening Day to answer any questions students or parents may have. 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.