ArcStart is a pre-college, architecture residential program designed to introduce students to the built environment, architectural design principles, and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
Over the course of the program, high school students will witness how a design education prepares participants to engage the world around them within the context of a rigorous academic setting at a leading design institution.

Participants will experience the rewarding intensity of an engaging college architecture studio, partake in hands-on workshops that reinforce analytical and conceptual problem-solving skills, and enjoy an energetic camp-like atmosphere.

The ArcStart program is designed to give students the opportunity to study many different aspects of architecture, through learning to use specialized drawing, drafting, and modeling tools, explorations of architectural history, a visit to a thriving architecture firm, the creation of original design proposals, and the curation of their work into a digital portfolio.

This year’s program functions under the direction of Torri Smith, our Faculty Director.

A top down view of students learning in an open instruction area

Applications for the ArcStart 2024 program are closed. If you are interested in being notified about ArcStart 2025, complete the ArcStart Inquiry Form.

2024 Program Dates

ArcStart 2024 will take in person from July 8 – July 26, 2024.

December 20, 2023 Application Open
February 29, 2024 Application Closes
March 4, 2024 Watson A. Young Scholarship Opens – See details
April 5, 2024 Admissions Notification sent to Students
*Admissions decisions are conducted on a rolling basis. Students could receive a decision earlier. However, all decisions will be sent out by April 5th.
April 19, 2024 $300 Deposit Due
May 15, 2024 Remaining Tuition Balance Due

Waitlisted Admissions Notifications
The admissions timeline for waitlisted applicants will vary depending on whether a spot becomes available (anytime between May – late June).

2024 Schedule

The 2024 schedule will be available in Spring 2024. In the meantime, review the schedule for ArcStart 2023.

/ Testimonials from Participants

The people [at Taubman College] are all passionate about architecture, and I feel connected to be a part of the group. I also made a lot of new friends, which is quite rare for me.

My favorite part was the people. The friends I met, the Studio Instructors, and the Residential Counselors were all wonderful. The Studio Instructors and RCs were all very informative regarding both architecture and just college in general.

I overall enjoyed working in my studio the best. The combination and balance of Individual and collaborative work was something I really appreciated.

The best part of ArcStart was getting to build and create projects which helped me grow as an artist and a creative thinker.

/ Eligibility

Admission is limited to rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as rising college freshmen. There is no minimum GPA requirement to be eligible to apply.

International Applicants
International students are welcome to apply. Because ArcStart is a summer camp and not a formal or credit-bearing academic program, F-1 Visas are not required.

/ Application

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • High School Transcript (uploaded with application)
  • Essay (uploaded with application)
  • No application fee

Before you begin your application, please be prepared to submit information about yourself, your parent(s)/legal guardian(s), and your high school. You will also need to submit

  • High School Transcript(s): An unofficial high school transcript (PDF or JPG) for each high school you have attended.
  • Interest Essay: An essay (250-500 words) explaining your favorite building and why, your interests in architecture and the ArcStart program, what you hope to learn in ArcStart, and how the ArcStart program will help you reach your goals. Applicants are encouraged to write the essay before starting the online application. The essay must be complete when the application is submitted.

Applications for the ArcStart 2024 program are closed. If you are interested in being notified about ArcStart 2025, complete the ArcStart Inquiry Form.

Note: The attachments requested will help our team better understand your background, experience, and interests related to architecture and design. You will not be graded, nor are you expected to have any prior education or knowledge. Everyone who participates in ArcStart will learn and grow, no matter how much exposure they may already have to the field of architecture. Please use this as a chance to show us more about who you are and why ArcStart might be a good fit for you. 

If there are more applicants than space available, then Taubman College will utilize a waitlist.

/ Tuition

Tuition for the 19-day, residential ArcStart 2024 program is $3,600, which will include costs of overnight accommodations on campus, meals, materials, and field trips.

/ Funding Opportunity | Watson A. Young Scholarship

Selected students will receive a Watson A. Young Scholarship to support their participation in ArcStart. Scholars will also receive a Watson A. Young Scholar Certificate and Watson A. Young Memorable T-shirt + CEO promo gift bag.


Applicants must:

  • Reside within the state of Michigan
  • Be in the 6th through 12th grade when they apply
  • Demonstrate financial need (family income less than $75,000 per year.)
  • Complete the Watson A. Young scholarship application, including essays.

Terms and Conditions

  • Scholarship applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and are awarded as funds are available.
  • Priority is given to first-time applicants.
  • Scholarships are awarded once the Center for Educational Outreach (CEO) has verified that an applicant has been accepted into an eligible U-M summer opportunity.
  • If awarded, scholarships are paid directly to the U-M school, college, or unit sponsoring the summer opportunity. Payment is made to the sponsoring U-M school, college, or unit once the CEO has verified a student’s participation.

How to Apply

Check the Youth Hub Portal beginning March 1st. The application will go live and appear in the dashboard. If you are offered admission to ArcStart 2024 and are granted this scholarship, ArcStart will reach out to you directly along with your admission offer. Please notify us by emailing arcstartprogram@umich.edu when you submit your scholarship application.

/ Admitted Students

Applicants will be emailed an admission decision per the dates outlined above. Admitted students will receive an information packet by email that provides enrollment material (i.e.class schedule, liability, and health forms).

Students admitted to ArcStart 2024 must submit a $300 nonrefundable deposit upon accepting their admission/registering for the program by April 19, 2024. Full tuition will be due and fully refundable by May 15, 2024. All cancellations after May 15 are nonrefundable.

/ College Preparation

In addition to the academic and social aspects of the program, students will also benefit from a presentation conducted by the Taubman College Admissions team about the application and admissions process for undergraduate degrees in architecture and urban technology.

/ Questions

Contact the ArcStart team at ArcStartProgram@umich.edu.