Exploring Artistic Possibilities
“Reaching For Hope” by PCAE student Claire Wong.
Every spring, summer and fall session, Academy of Art University opens its doors to high school students interested in jump starting their arts education and exploring the possibilities for career artists.
The Pre-College Art Experience (PCAE) is a scholarship-based program that is offered both online and onsite for eligible local and international students, with several classes from different majors to choose from, including animation, visual development, 3-D animation and music production.
According to Manager of Pre-Admission and High School Completion Leora Shuchter, the PCAE program gives high schoolers all over the world the chance to explore the various majors the school has to offer. Those that move on to enroll as an Academy undergraduate student can earn college credit for up to two undergrad Elective classes.
“[Students] benefit by being able to test out these majors and see if that’s what they really want to pursue in college,” said Shuchter. “A lot of the classes are foundational skills and it’s important to learn and understand those concepts early.”
Freshman visual development major Amanda Roncaglia participated in the PCAE summer session in 2015. She enrolled after her high school teacher told her about the program and all the different areas of study the Academy had to offer.
“The PCAE program is what made me fully realize the possibilities of being able to turn art into a career,” she said. “It influenced my decision to go here because I was able to see exactly what the classroom situations were like, and I was able to learn so much in such a short amount of time.”
An illustrated fashion lineup by PCAE student Charnell Anderson.
Work by PCAE student Tyler Schmalz. (Center) PCAE student Tyler Schmalz.
"Candy House" by PCAE student Gustavo Haschich.
Students can take up to two classes during the fall and spring semester (one online and one onsite in San Francisco, or two online) over the course of nine weeks. Summer session students can take up to three classes online or onsite over the course of four to six weeks. On-campus housing is available only during the summer.
Shuchter said the localized summer program offers students a more complete experience with extracurricular activities such as barbecues, beach days and hikes. At the end of the program, the school hosts a final exhibition (similar to Spring Show) for students to show their final work to friends and family.
“The idea is to show them what it’s like to be a college student,” she said.
A illustration by PCAE student Nicola Bezuidenhout.
Drawing assignment by PCAE student Ifadara Patton.
For Sharon Galicia, a freshman fine art - painting major, she saw a huge improvement in her skills after one PCAE session that she decided to enroll again the following summer.
“I enjoyed my high school art class so much that I wanted to take the opportunity to explore and gain knowledge to see if I could make art my career,” she explained. “After my experience in the PCAE, I was very comfortable with the idea of attending [the Academy] because I knew how the classes were like and the environment of the campus.”
Interested students must be currently enrolled in high school to apply. Since the program tuition is covered by scholarship (students only have to pay for art supplies), Shuchter advises high schoolers to enroll as soon as possible; students interested in summer session have until July 8 to apply.
“We don’t judge students based on grades or skills,” she said. “It’s first come, first serve.”