Liberal Arts: Academic Access Program

The Academic Access Program (AAP) is a first year college program designed specifically for SAIC and its academic requirements in art history, liberal arts, and studio courses. The AAP consists of four intensive courses that focus on students' advancement of critical thinking, analytical reading, and college writing skills.

Placement in the Program

Placement in first year academic courses is based on a comprehensive assessment of application materials, including college entrance test scores and writing samples.

Students who have consistently earned lower than a B in high school English, history and/or social science courses and/or have sub-scores below ACT Reading 22 or SAT (Administered Prior to March 2016) Critical Reading 520 or SAT (Administered March 2016 and later) Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Component 580 and/or have below college readiness level writing skills are placed into SAIC’s Academic Access Program (AAP).

Freshmen who have not been placed in the AAP but desire to begin their academic studies through the AAP may request to participate in AAP courses during their first year on campus. International students may be placed into the AAP rather than the English for International Students program based on their educational record.

How it Works

Students participate in Academic Access Program courses during their first year on campus, while they begin their studio courses in Contemporary Practices and other departments. The AAP courses are:

First Semester

  • AAP 1001: Academic Foundations Seminar
  • AAP 1011: Foundations Writing Workshop

Second Semester

  • AAP 1002: Critical Inquiry Seminar
  • AAP 1012: Critical Writing Workshop

Students may enroll in the Critical Inquiry Seminar only upon successful completion of the Academic Foundations Seminar and may enroll in the Critical Writing Workshop only upon successful completion of the Foundations Writing Workshop. AAP 1002 and 1012, Critical Inquiry and Critical Writing, are open to students who are not AAP participants with permission of the department.

Each AAP course counts as three credit hours toward graduation. AAP 1001 and 1011 earn general elective credit and AAP 1002 and 1012 earn liberal arts elective credit within the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Some degree programs at SAIC, for example the BFA in Art Education (BFAAE), do not have general elective and/or liberal arts elective credits as part of their curriculum; if you transfer into such programs, you will be required to take additional courses towards the fulfillment of degree requirements.

  • AAP participants must successfully complete both the Academic Foundations Seminar and the Critical Inquiry Seminar prior to enrolling in their art history courses.
  • AAP participants must successfully complete both the Foundations Writing Workshop and the Critical Writing Workshop prior to their enrolling in their liberal arts English and other courses.
  • SAIC expects students to complete their AAP coursework in no more than three semesters so that they can complete their required art history level 1000 survey courses and their liberal arts English (1001 and 1005) courses by the end of the fifth semester on campus and be on track to graduate, if they so desire, in four years.

Academic Resources

To help ensure your success, we provide the following resources:

  • The AAP provides an in-class orientation during the second week of the semester where you will learn more about the program and become acquainted with strategies for a successful college experience.
  • The AAP encourages student-instructor conferences. You will be meeting with your instructors for individual and group conferences in and outside of class, and your instructors, as well as the program coordinator, are available to meet with you whenever you have concerns or questions about your studies.
  • The Academic Advising Office monitors your progress through completion of the program, and advisers are available to link you with available campus resources.
  • The Writing Center, Learning Resource Center, and Disability Resource Center are available to all students. You are encouraged to take advantage of the academic support they offer.

Performance Review

At the end of each term, the AAP Coordinator chairs a committee to review the academic performance of each student in the program. The committee is composed of the Chair of the Liberal Arts department and undergraduate division academic administrators, including deans from the Office of Student Affairs and Academic Advising.

The possible outcomes for individual students are:

  • Continuation to second term—If you have successfully completed the first term of the program, you can continue to the second term. Successful completion is defined as receiving a grade of Credit (CR). No Credit (NCR), Incomplete (I), or Withdraw (W) do not meet the requirements.
  • Early Exit from AAP—If you have consistently performed at a high level and demonstrated an exemplary work ethic in your first term, your instructor may recommend you for early exit from an AAP Seminar or Workshop. A committee reviews the work of all students recommended for early exit and determines whether it is granted.
  • Continuation to Liberal Arts and Art History courses—If you have successfully completed your second term of AAP with full credit, you will begin your required art history survey and liberal arts English requirements.
  • Repeat a course—If you receive any grade other than Credit (CR) in an AAP course, you must repeat the course the following semester. In this case, you are strongly encouraged to use all resources available to help ensure your success.
  • Dismissal from the school—Unfortunately, if you have repeated a course or courses unsuccessfully, you will be dismissed from the school regardless of your performance in your studio classes. Also, if you do not receive Credit in more than one course in the program, you are at risk for dismissal without the opportunity to repeat the courses. You may appeal a dismissal decision in writing to SAIC’s Academic Review Board prior to the following semester.

Appeals (Other than Dismissal)

If you wish to appeal a program policy decision other than dismissal, you should contact the following people in this order:

  • AAP Coordinator
  • Chair of the Liberal Arts Department
  • Undergraduate Dean
  • Academic Review Board

Completion of the program

You are considered to have completed the Academic Access Program when you have met all requirements of the program. You will receive a letter from the Office of Academic Advising informing you of your successful completion of the program.

For more information, contact the AAP Coordinator at: 312.345.3784. See AAP courses here.