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College Arts Access Program: College Preparation

With thanks to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the support of a generous gift from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, SAIC is pleased to announce the College Arts Access Program (CAAP), a three-year college bridge program designed for students dedicated to studying art and design. CAAP prepares CPS high school students in grades nine through 12 with the skills and preparation needed for admission to and success at SAIC, another school of art and design, or any post-secondary institution.

Students accepted into CAAP will enroll in courses offered through Continuing Studies Early College Program (ECP). Scholarships will be provided to cover program tuition and fees, art supplies, transportation fees, and meal costs. Additionally, the program will provide academic support, financial planning support, advising, and mentorship to form a holistic program committed to the success of each student. CAAP students who apply and are accepted into SAIC's undergraduate program will be eligible for special scholarships and guaranteed college Work-Study jobs.

Key Components of CAAP

The CAAP Curriculum: The CAAP curriculum, designed as a sequence of Early College Program courses, seeks to balance creative development with academic progress. CAAP students will enroll in one course each semester beginning in the fall semester of their sophomore year though their final semester as a senior.* Through this multiyear commitment, students will advance their academic and creative skills by engaging in a rigorous arts curriculum grounded in SAIC’s interdisciplinary approach. Juniors and seniors in the CAAP program will earn college credit for successful completion of coursework.

Academic Support: CAAP will provide academic workshops that strengthen students’ work and study habits, reading, writing, and communication skills. Field trips, visiting artist presentations, and other extracurricular activities will add to the experience and encourage academic excellence.

Advising: Students will work closely with a staff advisor throughout the program. The advisor will provide a single point of contact for questions and support and will help students to select elective coursework that relates to their interests and goals.

Mentorship: SAIC undergraduate students with proven leadership skills will serve as role models and mentors for CPS students interested in following similar paths. Each mentor will be matched with a small group of CAAP students, and they will work together for multiple semesters. Through continued dialogue and interaction, the advisors and mentors will fortify students’ commitment to the program and their work.

Financial support: Holistic financial support is an integral part of this program. Additional funds will be allocated for art supplies, transportation to and from all classes and events, and a meal plan. Students and their families will have access to financial services advisors to guide them through the college application process. Parents and guardians will have the option to attend workshops and advising that provides information about scholarships, grants, and financial aid applications.


Through a rigorous application process SAIC will select 10 sophomores, five juniors, and five seniors to become the first CAAP students. CAAP students will be chosen based on:

Download the CAAP Application [PDF]. The NEW deadline is Friday, May 23, 2014. Email or call 312.629.6170 with any questions.

2014 Timeline—UPDATED

*In the first year of CAAP, juniors and seniors will be selected as part of the initial cohort of students. These juniors will complete two academic years of the program, and seniors will complete one academic year of the program. In subsequent years, only rising sophomores will be eligible for application.

For more information about CAAP and the application process, please review the College Arts Access Program—Frequently Asked Questions [PDF].