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ArcStart is a pre-college 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 explore architecturally significant projects.

ArcStart 2022 details will be announced in January 2022.

To stay informed about future programs, please complete this brief Interest Form.



ArcStart Virtual is a two-week online pre-architecture 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, 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. 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. Click here for a preview of a typical day and week during ArcStart 2021!

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 virual visit to a thriving architecture firm, the creation of original design proposals, and the curation of their work into a digital portfolio. 

Inside ArcStart: National architecture high school residential summer program

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 two-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. There is no minimum GPA requirement to be eligible to apply. 

2022 Program Dates and Timeline

Late January               Online application available

March 31                     Deadline to submit applications                                

Mid-April                      Decisions completed, notifications sent 

April 30                        Deadline for accepted students to accept/decline and submit deposits

May 1                          Acceptance deposits due

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

June 20                       2022 Program Begins (Draft schedule)

June 30 (tent.)            2022 Program Ends


The virtual program cost will be announced soon, which includes program fees and studio supplies that will be mailed to participants' homes.  

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.

2022 Application Details

The deadline for 2022 is March 31.

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. 
  • Examples of Work: Please submit two (2) to five (5) examples of work that you think best capture your abilities and interests. This might include drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, or other media.
    • Formatting recommendations: Format these examples as 8.5" x 11" (in landscape orientation), including labels such as titles and year created. Submit as a multi-page pdf document.

Please note: The attachments requested above 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. 

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).

Admitted students will be required to submit a $300 nonrefundable deposit upon accepting their admission/registering for the program. Full tuition is due by and fully refundable by June 1. All cancellations after June 1 are nonrefundable. 


Contact the ArcStart team at ArcStartProgram@umich.edu

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