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ArcStart is a three-week long residential program for high school students that offers students the opportunity to explore the built environment firsthand through an introduction to architectural design. Participants will experience the rewarding intensity of an engaging college architecture studio, partake in skill-building workshops that reinforce analytical and conceptual problem solving skills, and visit architecturally significant projects in Ann Arbor and the immediate region.

Decisions regarding 2021 programming are forthcoming.

Complete this ArcStart Interest Form to receive updates. 



Over the course of the program, students will witness how a design education prepares students to engage the world around them within the context of a rigorous academic setting at a leading design institution. Students will engage in thought provoking discussions that challenge their understanding of architectural design and push them to think more broadly about space and the built environment. The curriculum is aimed at introducing and enhancing a wide variety of skill sets including hand drawing, model making, diagramming, photography, and sketching. Students will employ a variety of digital and analog tools to aid in the design process of their own projects and will also be introduced to the possibilities of advanced 2D and 3D modeling and printing facilities at the college's advanced Digital Fabrication Lab.

Inside ArcStart: National architecture high school residential summer program

Residential Life

Living on the University of Michigan's North Campus, students will experience the collegiate lifestyle and have opportunities to strengthen their academic skills, develop a peer support network, and familiarize themselves with the campus and its resources. In addition to a rigorous academic schedule, there will be plenty of time to relax and unwind with new friends and partake in a variety of evening and weekend activities organized by the live-in residential counselors. These may include evening software tutorials, pick-up basketball games, afternoons at a nearby outdoor pool, movie nights, sketching scavenger hunts, and more. Students will also have access to the North Campus Recreation Building, which offers a full range of sporting and workout equipment.

College Preparation

In addition to the academic and social aspects of the program, students will also benefit from presentations conducted by the Office of Financial Aid and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on the college application process and how to prepare for their college experience. Although these presentations are based on the University of Michigan's programs, they will help guide students and parents in the college process no matter the institution.

At the end of the three-week session, students will come away with an expanded understanding of the role architecture and design plays in everyday life, and those intending to apply to architecture school will be well equipped to begin the application process.


Admission is limited to rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well as rising college freshman that are U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. There is no minimum GPA requirement to be eligible to apply. 

Sample Program Dates and Timeline

Program typically begins in mid-July and runs through late-July. Please note: The dates below are subject to change. Decisions are still being made regarding 2021 programming.

Jan 15                         Online application available

Mar 15                         Deadline to submit applications                                 

Week of April 1            Decisions completed, notifications sent 

April 15                        Deadline for accepted students to accept/decline

May 1                          Acceptance deposits due

June 1                         Final date to pay any remaining tuition balance, forms and ID photo due 


The program cost is $3,600, which includes housing, most meals, program fees, excursions, access to the recreation center, and studio supplies. It does not cover travel expenses to and from the program, medical expenses, insurance, and daily personal expenditures. Limited scholarships are available for students that express financial need.

Funding Opportunity: The Watson S. Young Scholarship is available for Michigan residents with an annual family income of $65,000 and under. Click here for more information regarding eligibility and how to apply.

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. housing information, class schedule, liability and health forms).

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