Frequently Asked Questions: Arts Academy Boarding High School

General

Am I good enough to get in? How competitive is it?
There is no simple answer to this question. The best way to find the answer is to visit campus or apply. It is important, however, to note that students are not expected to be "perfect" in order to be accepted. Because Interlochen Arts Academy exists to help young artists develop and improve, it is most important that potential students show eagerness to learn and a capacity for continued growth.

Is the Arts Academy only for students who plan to be professional artists?
No. Many Arts Academy alumni find success in fields outside the arts.

What kind of academic opportunities are available at Interlochen?
Interlochen offers a challenging and comprehensive college-preparatory program. The academic curriculum includes courses in math, sciences, English, history, political science and world language. Courses are rigorous and often meet or exceed honors or advanced placement levels.

Where do Interlochen students go to college?
Interlochen graduates attend leading arts and academic programs in the U.S. and abroad. For a complete and updated list of colleges, universities and conservatories where Academy students have successfully matriculated, please review the most recent Academy profile.

Where is Interlochen Arts Academy located?
Interlochen is located in the northwest corner of Michigan's lower peninsula. We are a four hour drive from Detroit, and about five hours from Chicago. Our region is served by Cherry Capital Airport (TVC), which offers multiple daily flights to and from Chicago and Detroit, and seasonal service to/from Minneapolis, New York City, and Newark. 

Application and Audition

Do I have to visit the campus before I can be accepted / enrolled?
Although recommended, a campus visit is not a requirement for acceptance to the Academy.

Does Interlochen consider my academic grades when making a decision on my acceptance?
Yes. Interlochen Arts Academy is committed to academic success. Many students find the academic program at the Academy to be more challenging than academics at their previous schools. Consequently, it is important that students demonstrate proficiency and success in their core academic subjects. Applicants who demonstrate artistic potential but unsatisfactory grades may be asked to improve their academic performance before earning a place at Interlochen.

What factors are considered during the review of admission files?
A committee considers each student's artistic skills, potential for growth, academic performance and overall social and emotional readiness.

Tuition, Financial Aid and Scholarships

Is financial aid available?
Interlochen provides more than $6 million in financial aid to Academy students each year. Financial aid does not require repayment. Some families also utilize educational loans.

How does Interlochen decide how much aid an individual student receives?
Each application for financial aid is carefully and individually reviewed, and aid assessments are determined by a number of factors including: family income, assets, number of children, educational costs of other children and special expenses.

How do students apply for financial aid?
An application for financial aid is included in the application for admission.

When are financial aid decisions made?
Financial aid decisions are not made until a student has been accepted to Interlochen Arts Academy.

Are merit scholarships available?
Merit Scholarships are available and typically awarded to students who demonstrate academic, artistic and social leadership. Merit-based aid is very competitive and limited.

Student and Residential Life

Where do students live?
Boarding students at Interlochen Arts Academy live in one of six residence halls. Student rooms are small but comfortable and provide space and furnishings for resting and studying. Residence halls also include lounges, laundry facilities and practice rooms.

How are residence halls supervised?
The Vice President for Student Affairs and two Deans oversee the residence halls, which are staffed by a manager, hall counselors and a house mother. Members of the trained residence life staff work closely with students to make the halls welcoming, safe and constructive environments. While students enjoy a great deal of personal freedom, clear rules and guidelines ensure the halls remain a positive and healthy environment for all residents. The campus is served by a security staff that is on duty 24-hours a day.

Where do students eat? What kind of food is available?
The Stone Cafeteria serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. A variety of choices are available at each meal, including vegetarian dishes. For breakfast, students can choose between a hot option such as eggs, pancakes or a breakfast sandwich and cold options like cereal, bagels or toast. A typical lunch might include a hot sandwich, a pasta, or pizza and vegetables. A standard dinner offers a main entree, side dishes and vegetables. At lunch and dinner, additional options include soup, deli sandwich or a salad from the salad bar. More information about Dining Services

Are students able to attend religious services?
Interlochen provides transportation for students who wish to attend religious services in nearby Traverse City. Attendance at religious services is voluntary. Interlochen Center for the Arts does not have a religious affiliation.

Are there organized sports teams? Opportunities for exercise?
There are no organized sports teams, but many students regularly participate in informal sports activities including soccer, basketball, volleyball and Ultimate Frisbee. The large campus is also an ideal setting for walking, jogging, cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Students have access to an indoor fitness center, which includes a variety of fitness and exercise equipment.

What kind of health care is available to students?
Interlochen employs a staff of health professionals who provide information, promote overall wellness and respond in case of sickness or injury. The on-campus health clinic is typically open 16 hours a day and is staffed by registered nurses. Students who require supervised medical care or observation are housed in the Health Services Clinic. For any medical emergency, nurses are on-call 24-hours a day and the Interlochen campus is served by the Green Lake Township Emergency Medical Service and fire station, which is located less than one mile from campus. Munson Hospital, which has been recognized as one of the top 100 hospitals in the United States, is located in nearby Traverse City. In addition to physical health care, Health Services provides individual or group counseling to assist students with personal issues in a confidential setting. The personal counselor may refer students to mental health professionals as needed.

Can Interlochen accommodate students with special medical needs?
Parents and students with specific medical concerns should ask their enrollment counselor to arrange a consultation with the Health Services staff.

Do students have a social life?
Despite challenging schedules, Academy students enjoy an active social life that draws on shared artistic interests and talent. The residence life staff regularly plans and provides recreational and social opportunities both on and off campus. In classrooms, rehearsals, studios, coffee houses and over meals, students spend a great deal of time with each other developing friendships that will last a lifetime.

Is the campus safe and secure?

The safety and security of students is the foremost priority of faculty and staff. Campus policies, personnel and infrastructure have been put in place to ensure students' well-being. Background checks are conducted for all faculty and staff as part of the hiring process. Interlochen faculty, staff and students wear Interlochen-issued photo ID tags. Interlochen also employs security and safety professionals, many of whom have previous law enforcement experience. Campus safety features include a public address system and all-campus electrical generators.

Academics

What is the average class size?
The average academic class size is approximately 13. Arts classes vary as needed ranging from personal instruction to large groups.

How does the school balance arts and academics?
Students must successfully complete a core academic curriculum in order to graduate. Unlike most schools, however, arts and academics at Interlochen Arts Academy often overlap. Academic classes frequently draw upon the arts and vice versa.

Do students receive help with the college search and application process?
Academy students receive help and support from faculty members and a staff of college and academic counselors who have years of experience helping students find and apply to the right programs. Additionally, students have the advantage of learning from other students who are going through the audition/portfolio review process.

Does the Academy offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses?
While Interlochen offers a limited number of AP courses, Academy students take AP exams in many subject areas and traditionally perform very well.

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