Is it hard to get into Interlochen?

Find out if you have what it takes to get into Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen Arts Camp, or Interlochen Online.

A student works on a laptop in class.

Maybe you have a passion for pottery. Maybe your joy is jazz. Wherever your interests lie, you’re a gifted young artist who’s ready to take the plunge and dive into an arts summer camp or even an arts boarding school. You’ve got your eyes set on Interlochen, but you know it’s prestigious—and putting an entire application together feels intimidating. You’re wondering: is it hard to get into Interlochen? How competitive is the process, and will it be complex or time-consuming?

You’ve come to the right place for answers. At Interlochen, the admissions process is competitive, but it offers plenty of opportunities for you to showcase your skills in a variety of areas. It’s also a very straightforward process, with clear guidelines to help you along the way. Read on to get an inside look into the application process, and find out how hard it actually is to get into Interlochen.

What is Interlochen?

Located a few miles southwest of Traverse City, Michigan, Interlochen is a global destination for artists and arts enthusiasts. For students looking to grow in their creative talents, Interlochen Center for the Arts offers Interlochen Arts Camp, a world-class multidisciplinary summer arts program; Interlochen Arts Academy, the nation’s premier boarding arts high school; and Interlochen Online, a year-round source for expert arts education. Each of these programs has slightly different admission requirements.  

Is it hard to get into Interlochen Arts Academy?

Interlochen Arts Academy is renowned worldwide as an exceptional arts high school, where students learn from prestigious faculty and guest artists while enjoying the use of state-of-the-art facilities. The admissions office works hard to admit a community of students who will thrive in Interlochen Arts Academy’s challenging environment. But that doesn’t mean that applicants are expected to be at a professional level already.

“We’re not looking for perfection,” says Sydney Davis, Associate Director of Admission. “What we’re looking for is: do you really love your art form, enough so that you’re willing to persevere and grow through the challenges you’ll find here? That’s what we want to see.” 

Do you really love your art form, enough so that you’re willing to persevere and grow through the challenges you’ll find here? That’s what we want to see.

Sydney Davis, Associate Director of Admission

In addition, the admissions team takes into account multiple factors about you, allowing you to show off your readiness for Arts Academy in a variety of ways.

“Admissions for Arts Academy is a very holistic process,” says Davis. “We want students who are academically strong and gifted in their art forms. We also look for students who show the social, emotional, and mental readiness they need to thrive here. We’re not going to look at one aspect of you and make a snap judgment. We really look at the whole person.”

As for the process itself, it has three main parts: fill out responses, attach your artistic documentation, and complete a financial aid application. All application guidelines are clearly laid out online, and all applications are submitted online through our Education Community portal. You’ll start by filling out your contact information there and answering a few questions (both students and parents should make their own accounts), and then you’ll set up recommendations from your school principal or guidance counselor.

Next, you’ll upload your artistic documentation. Audition and portfolio requirements vary based on the program you choose—if you’re a dancer, for instance, you might need to attach a full-body pose photo, a short introductory video, and a few videos of your skills. Whatever your major of interest is, you’ll find a list of the exact documentation you need to submit on our website.

Finally, you’ll complete a financial aid application (if that’s something you’d like to apply for), pay the application fee, and click “Submit.”

Is it hard to get into Interlochen Arts Camp?

Interlochen Arts Camp is a competitive summer arts program where over 3,000 young artists study music, theatre, dance, visual arts, creative writing, interdisciplinary arts, and film every summer. Like Arts Academy, Arts Camp is prestigious, known for the expert faculty and internationally renowned guest artists who share their insights with students. The selective admissions process welcomes students who show artistic readiness and will have a positive impact on their fellow students at Camp.

"Students work hard at Camp, but there is also a lot of fun, learning, and growth in a safe, welcoming environment," says Sarah Jane Crimmins, Associate Director of Admission. "We're looking for students who can contribute in a positive way to the Camp community."

In addition, the Admissions team is looking for students who are ready to grow as artists.

"Many students want to submit an audition or portfolio without a single mistake in it, but we aren't looking for perfection—we're looking to see your potential and passion for the art form," says Crimmins. "We want to see that you love what you do and you're ready to grow as an artist."

The application process goes through the same portal as Arts Academy—you’ll start by creating parent and student accounts. Next, you’ll submit student and family contact information, making sure to note your first and second program choices for Camp.

Some Camp programs also require an audition or portfolio, and requirements for those are available on our website. For example, a student applying for the Intermediate Filmmaking program would attach a 200-word essay on their interest in filmmaking, as well as one sample of their artwork.

If you are interested in need-based financial assistance, you’ll upload the documents for financial aid. Finally, you’ll pay the application fee and submit it.

Is it hard to get into Interlochen Online?

Interlochen Online offers a wide range of courses and private lessons for students and adults in a variety of arts subjects, all taught by professional artists and arts educators. Unlike Arts Camp and Arts Academy, Interlochen Online does not require an audition or portfolio and can be a great way to prepare for Camp and Academy. To enroll in an Interlochen Online course or private lessons, simply find the programs you're interested in, create an account in our Education Community, select your programs, and complete your payment.

If you love art and want to get better at making it, you’re sure to find an opportunity that fits you in Interlochen’s welcoming community. Are you ready to shoot your shot and apply to Arts Camp or Arts Academy? Great—the Admissions team is excited to see what you have to share! Do you need an option that’s closer to home or a better fit for a busy schedule? Interlochen Online could be a great choice. We hope this article is helpful as you consider which Interlochen program is right for you. Remember, you can only get in if you apply.

Explore our offerings at, or check out our top 5 tips for creating a winning arts audition or portfolio