Close Menu

Program Overview

Join our community of artists and makers, and spend your summer building a portfolio of new and exciting artwork! Engage with SMFA at Tufts’ interdisciplinary approach to art making and create conceptually sophisticated artwork. As you learn to work with new materials and deepen your understanding of familiar mediums, you will make connections to bigger ideas. 

Over the course of the program, you will participate in virtual foundations classes that will blur the lines between disciplines. Taught by a team of qualified artists and educators, these classes will include instruction to technical skills such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and digital media; allowing you to build a portfolio of materially complex, intentional works of art. 

Virtual group critiques lead by instructors, virtual field trips to local museums and galleries, and an artist statement workshop will facilitate analysis and contextualization of art within the real world, encouraging you to think deeply about what it means to make art!

Program Highlights

  • Expand your art practice with the introduction of new materials and ideas
  • Work one-on-one virtually with faculty to develop your portfolio
  • Refine your approach to making art and renew your creativity
  • Individual portfolio review sessions with SMFA admissions representatives

Program Outcomes

  • Polished additions to your art portfolio
  • Virtual exposure to renowned art institutions in Boston
  • Take art school for a test drive

Note: this page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver this summer, but due to the ever-evolving situation, is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

Not for you? Check out one of our other programs.

Meet Your Program Staff

photo of a woman with brown hair and a striped shirt laughing

Ashley Wood, Program Director


Ashley is an artist and educator who has worked as a visual arts instructor, art education advocate, and arts program coordinator. As a writer and photographer, she is interested in making work that addresses the inadequacy of words and images to tangibly represent feelings, people, and places. Ashley earned her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Art, Boston and Tufts University, and currently works full-time as a high school visual arts and humanities teacher at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens, MA.

photo of a woman in glasses behind strips of film hanging by clips

Christine Banna, Instructor


Christine is a multidisciplinary animator and educator.  She has been teaching animation in undergraduate and precollege programs for the past seven years.  In her art practice she specializes in experimental animation and projection design for live events.  She is an alumni of SMFA’s graduate program and is thrilled to be returning for her second summer at SMFA’s Pre-College Program.

side profile of a man with blonde hair and a beard in a flannel shirt

Michael MacMahon, Instructor


Michael is part of the painting faculty at SMFA, originally from Ireland now residing in the United States. In addition to painting he has enjoyed trans-disciplinary opportunities that bridge art and other ventures. Michael's paintings present a range of possible approaches and perspectives by which to analyze not only the unique places we inhabit, but also their context in relation to ourselves. Michael is an SMFA alumni and returning Pre-College instructor.

photo of a woman with brown hair in a striped shirt leaning over her work

Alaina Montuori, Instructor


Alaina is an artist, educator, musician, and cat lover who lives and works near Boston, MA. Alaina has taught in SMFA’s Pre-College program since she was a graduate student at the college in 2010 and has been teaching art curricula in both elementary and collegiate programs ever since. Her practice has spanned a variety of media - including sculpture, video, performance, illustration, and design. Currently, Alaina runs a small lettering design business in addition to her many creative pursuits.

Program Schedule

Artwork on paper materials used to form a book

Virtual Orientation & Welcome Event

Our program begins with a required virtual orientation and welcome event held via Zoom. During this required first whole-group meeting, we will review the overall program schedule, introduce the online learning tools we will be using, discuss policies and safety, and answer questions.

Foundations Classes: Drawing and Painting, Sculpture/3D, and Digital Media 

During the three weeks of the program, students will participate in three foundations classes geared towards instruction in drawing/painting, sculpture/3D, and digital media. Students will work with a range of materials from acrylic paints and charcoal to wire, found objects, and digital animation. These classes will help students build technical skills while supporting them in making connections across mediums. Students will attend online lectures via Zoom and work on projects with support and feedback from their instructors and classmates. 

Portfolio Development 

Students will have the chance to work one-on-one with summer program faculty to help develop their portfolios. They will also have individual meetings with members of the SMFA at Tufts admissions team  to answer questions about building a portfolio and putting together college applications. To further strengthen their portfolio, students will receive instruction around creating artist statements. These meetings will occur via Zoom.

Artist Talks and Virtual Museum Tours

In tandem with their core foundations classes, students will have the opportunity to attend virtual artist talks by members of the SMFA community. They will also get to explore local art institutions through virtual museum tours and online exhibits! While the talks and trips will be held live, they will be recorded for students who cannot attend in real time. These students will have the opportunity to ask questions via a digital discussion board before-hand so they can participate in full!

Social Connection

While students will be participating in the program from all over the world, there will be many opportunities for students to connect! Work time will occur alongside virtual small group ‘studio space’ that will allow students to engage with one another and their mentors and staff as they work. There will be several other scheduled digital events, such as virtual group lunches, for students to participate in so that they can develop their connection with one another and support each other’s art making. 

Closing Event: Final Exhibition

On the last day of the program, students will participate in a virtual final exhibition that will give them the chance to share their finished work with fellow students. Family and friends will be invited to join the online experience as well!

Sample Student Schedule (Weekly)

Please note: the below is a sample schedule based on information at this time, considering an individual student attending the program scheduling independent work / recorded sessions in particular time slots. The schedule is subject to change as we continue to evolve the program to be as meaningful as possible for our students and will look different for students choosing to attend live or independent work / recorded sessions differently. All times are in EASTERN TIME. Because this is a virtual program, meals will not be provided for students even if a meal is stated on the schedule - this is for demonstration only. Activities may occur during meal times. 

Sample weekly schedule of activities and classes
Attending Outside the Eastern Time Zone

If you live on the West Coast or internationally, you may be wondering how you will be able to participate in a program that has both in-person and virtual options. Please know that Tufts sees a diversity of geographical perspectives as not just beneficial but essential to a twenty-first century education. We have been working hard with our staff to ensure all students who are offered a spot in our programs will be able to attend - whether in live, streamed, or recorded sessions. We will be updating this section with program-specific accommodations as we seek improved ways to suit our students' needs and have a better sense of the geographic distribution of our students. 

Materials & Other Requirements


A critical part of this experience is material experimentation. To make sure you have everything you need to complete your projects and participate actively in class, you will be receiving a detailed materials shopping list prior to the start of the program. All materials needed will be listed with links to online ordering. Please note that normally, we would provide these materials for you and we have eliminated the materials fee we previously charge to acknowledge this. The cost of all materials will not exceed the previous materials fee of $200.

In addition to purchased materials, you will have the chance to work with materials that you already have or with which you have been hoping to experiment. We want your work to be personal. You will have the chance to connect with instructors if questions about materials arise.

Besides this and the technology requirements listed under "Technical Needs & Support" below, no materials will be necessary for participation in this program. We will, however, be mailing you some fun Tufts Pre-College Programs swag and your Certificate of Completion at the end of the program. 

Note: if you live internationally, we are not responsible if the materials we mail are delayed (which we will try to avoid) or held in customs.

Social Activities

Across Programs

Tufts Pre-College Programs staff is developing a series of virtual social activities throughout the program so that students can meet each other across programs and so that students from all time zones can participate. Some examples of potential activities include:

  • Morning Meetups: start (or end) your day by catching-up with your classmates and classroom assistants about current events, last night's late night show, recent lectures or events over breakfast! 
  • Lunch & Learns: join your peers from around the world to discuss an interesting topic in a staff-led discussion. Can't attend live? No problem, we'll post recordings so you can view them later!
  • Trivia Night: Unwind with your classmates and some friendly competition. 
  • Wellness Courses: To get you moving and feeling your best, attend at-home guided meditation, yoga, or other workout classes.
  • Game Club: Create teams and play games like Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, Chess, and more. Teams will make moves when on their own time and games will play out over the course of the program or summer. 

And more! Look out for a social events calendar that may include a virtual talent show, dance party, cooking classes, photo challenges, scavenger hunts, 'quarenTHEME' spirit days, museum tours, and more!


Most programs will offer independent study time for students in a shared (and monitored) virtual "Common Rooms" "Studio Spaces" or "Study Rooms" that will allow students to work in the company of their peers, sharing questions and chatting.

Many programs are also planning their own program-specific activities, often thematically relevant to the program content itself. Look out for these activities in the program description above and in the information provided after you enroll!

Tufts Virtual Campus

We endeavor to make each moment of the student experience at Tufts memorable for our students. Tufts Virtual Campus brings new meaning to this as we strive to recreate the critical learning and social environment students expect from Tufts University through digital tools. Tufts Virtual campus exists on a series of software platforms to which students will have full access during their program. In particular, the following two platforms will be used for the majority of our activities:

  • Zoom: allows students to connect for lectures, webinars, breakout sessions, one-on-one mentoring, phone calls, chat sessions ... and more!
  • Canvasprovides a collaborative space for course content, assignments, and grading. Many programs will host course material (syllabus, readings, review questions, etc.) on a Canvas course site.

Academic Experience

Tufts Virtual Campus programs are being designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive experiences to our students. We are carefully designing them to have the same academic rigor and expectations for teaching, studying, and achievement as their on-campus counterparts. The benefits of learning in a virtual environment include giving students greater freedom to interact with course content (lectures, presentations, discussions, forums, etc.) on a schedule that works for them, using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals.



Tufts University is not only a leading institution of higher education and academic research, but it is leading the nation in terms of higher education's response to our public health crisis.

To ensure the safety of our Pre-College students, we are closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis, and following local, state, and federal guidance as it pertains to our Pre-College programming.

After careful consideration we, at Tufts University, have decided that Summer 2021 Pre-College Programs, with the exception of Courses at Tufts for High Schoolers*, will be conducted online through our virtual campus.

*Courses at Tufts for High Schoolers: As of today, planned in-person courses will still be held on campus during Summer 2021. Virtual options are also available. Updated information regarding course modalities will be posted here as it becomes available.

For more information about Tufts' response and action planning regarding COVID-19: Please visit Tufts University's COVID-19 homepage.


Students are required to attend all elements of the program schedule and any expected absences must be communicated to program staff in advance. Tufts takes the safety of its students very seriously, even in the virtual environment. Students who enroll will receive more information about our virtual safety protocols.

Tufts makes reasonable efforts to secure background checks and to provide Title IX training to every staff person responsible for students in its Pre-College Programs.

Technical Needs & Support

Technical Needs

Students will need access to the following in order to participate in this program:

  • Computer: either a Mac or PC with the following
    • Mac - running at least OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) 
    • PC - running Windows 7/8/10. Users on Windows 10 will have to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
  • Smart Phone: any phone capable of accessing social media platforms like Instagram
  • Internet Access: A reliable, high-speed (cable or broadband) internet connection is required. Students are expected to log into Zoom and Canvas and to check email daily, and will need regular and reliable access to the internet.
    • If you do not have reliable access to internet, programs may have internet hotspots available for students with demonstrated financial need. While this cannot be guaranteed, and supplies may be limited, please check with your program for availability. 
  • Web Camera: either integrated into your computer or external, set-up and working
  • Web Browser: one of the following browsers updated for the latest updates: 
    • Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari.
  • Software*: programs capable of

              *software may vary by program

We will provide you will access to other software that is required for your program for the duration of your program. As long as you have technology that meets the above requirements, you should have no trouble accessing the software. Depending on the program, this software may include Zoom and Canvas.

Trial Run: Getting Connected

Most programs will send software in advance with instructions to complete a trial-run before the program begins. We will also use orientation time to ensure everyone is connected and comfortable! 

Accessing Tufts Email

Critical university emails will go to your Tufts email address. You can access your Tufts email through a web‐based email reader used to manage your Tufts email. It includes calendar and contact management tools as well. You must read Tufts University email, since this is the primary way that the university will send you information about registration and payment. Access Tufts Exchange via this link. You can also set up your Tufts email to forward to your personal email account using these instructions.

Getting Help/Support

First, please try contacting the Pre-College staff at 617-627-2926.

If they cannot answer your question, they will pass you along to our technical support team who is available 24x7 to students who are actively enrolled in a program.

Application & Policies

Application Materials & Deadlines

Apply Now!

Application & Key Enrollment Dates

Priority deadlines may apply. Admission granted on a rolling basis.

Note: all dates are as of 11:59PM ET

Application Opens Deadline: Application Deadline: Payment Deadline: Enrollment Forms
December 1 May 1 May 15 June 15

*Applications submitted after the payment deadline will require payment in full on admission to hold their seat.

Program Eligibility

General Requirements

  • Entering high school grades 10-12 *or* a Spring 2021 high school graduate

International Students

Both domestic and international students are welcome to apply to and attend our pre-college programs, although please note we cannot sponsor visas for this program.

Non-Native English Speakers

If you indicate that English is not your primary language, you will be asked to submit evidence of English Language proficiency. Please see our "How to Apply" page for details.

Application Requirements

Step 1: Complete an Online Application

The online application will ask you for the following information:

  • Basic personal information, including parents/guardians and emergency contact (if you are under 18, we will contact a parent for permission to enroll)
  • Art courses taken
  • Short interest statement (max 200 words) - What are your goals for attending a Pre-College Studio Art Intensive this summer?
  • Test scores - optional, unless you must submit scores as evidence of English proficiency
  • Warrants and signatures

If you need to log back into this application after starting, click here: return to my application.

Step 2: Parental Consent

As a part of your application, you will be asked to provide contact information for a parent/guardian. Once you submit your application, our systems will automatically email the parent/guardian you listed in the application with instructions for how to fill out the online permission form.

Please note your application will not be considered submitted and review of your application will not begin until the materials from Step 2 and Step 3 have been received by Tufts Pre-College Programs.

Pre-College Admissions Decision

Once an applicant has submitted an application and all required admissions documents are received, the applicant will be considered for admission by the Tufts Pre-College Programs review committee for the specific program(s) to which they applied.

Decisions are made on a rolling basis and students will typically receive an official email informing them of their admissions status within 10 business days of Tufts receiving all required materials.

If you do not receive your email within two weeks of all materials being submitted, please contact us at or 617-627-2926.

Disclaimer: This program is not related to Tufts University Undergraduate Admissions. Participation in this program does not result in admission to a Tufts University degree program. Tufts reserves the right to admit as requested, to deny admission, or to offer provisional admission. The program will not provide feedback to applicants if admission is denied.

Post-Enrollment Materials

Admitted students must do the following prior to the start of the program:

  • Submit a deposit to hold your seat; this program requires a deposit within 10 business days of the date on which the admissions decision was posted
  • Pay your balance in full prior to the stated deadline
  • Complete all enrollment forms and/or follow-up requests prior to the stated deadline

Should the above not be completed prior to the stated deadlines, the student will be automatically withdrawn from the program.

Tuition & Fees

Program Fees - Summer 2021

Virtual Program Fee: $4,200

  • Includes: all program activities, opening/closing events, and daily activities.
  • Excludes: anything not explicitly stated above.

Non-Refundable Program Deposit: $550, applied to the Program Fee

  • A pre-payment on program fees is required to reserve space in the program within 10 business days of admission to the program
  • This deposit will be applied toward program fees and is not an additional fee
  • The balance of payment for program fees is due upon notification of charges, and no later than May 15
  • This deposit is non-refundable in the event of withdrawal from the program

Other Key Financial Policies

Refund Policies - COVID

Billing & Payment Policies

All Policies

Financial Aid

Availability of Awards

Tufts Pre-College Programs are committed to aiding students from all backgrounds. Although we have only limited financial aid available, we do our best to distribute the funds to students for whom it can make the greatest difference in their ability to attend.

Financial Aid awards are made on a rolling basis to students with demonstrated need. We aim to provide enough aid to eligible students that they are able to successfully enroll and participate in the program. Seasonal aid awards are as follows:

  • Fall: we currently do not offer aid for the Fall term
  • Spring: we currently do not offer aid for the Spring term
  • Summer: we will typically distribute awards monthly beginning in February and will continue until the enrollment deadline or until aid is fully distributed

Please note:

  • International students are not eligible for financial aid at this time. Families should expect to contribute to the remaining portion of the program cost as well as other expenses like travel, books, etc. 
  • We currently do not offer aid for students participating in our Leadership for Social Change Intensive


  1. Complete the Admissions Application for the pre-college program you would like to attend.
  2. During the application process, you will be asked to indicate whether you are interested in being considered for financial aid.
  3. After submission, you will have the option of completing a financial aid application in your student portal
  4. We will review your financial aid application. Your financial aid application will be considered for the next monthly aid award(s).
  5. If you receive an award,
    1. You will be notified by email of the amount of the award
    2. You will have 10 days (including weekends and holidays) to accept the award by completing your Financial Aid Award Form and submitting your deposit
    3. Tufts Pre-College Programs will then credit your student account with the amount of financial aid you received
    4. Please note: Your enrollment in the program is still contingent on payment of any remaining balance after the award is applied to your account, and on receiving your enrollment forms
  6. If you do not receive an award you will be notified via email

Please see the policies section of this website for a complete list of applicable policies.