Academic Access Program

The Academic Access Program (AAP) is a first year college program designed specifically for SAIC to prepare selected undergraduate students for success in required courses in art history and liberal arts. The AAP consists of a set of 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.

Program Structure and Requirements

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. Each AAP course counts as three credit hours toward graduation.

For AAP participants admitted to SAIC beginning in Fall 2020, the AAP courses are:

First Semester

  • AAP 1001: Academic Foundations Seminar (provides Liberal Arts elective credit*)
  • AAP 1011: Foundations Writing Workshop (provides Liberal Arts elective credit*)

Second Semester

  • ENGLISH 1002: First Year Seminar I, AAP – prerequisites: AAP 1001 AND AAP 1011  (provides Liberal Arts credit in place of English 1001)

*Some degree programs at SAIC, for example the BFA in Art Education (BFAAE), do not have liberal arts elective credits as part of their curriculum; if an AAP student transfers into such a program, they may be required to take additional courses towards the fulfillment of degree requirements. Students considering such a program change should discuss their plan and degree requirements with an Academic Advisor.

For AAP participants admitted to SAIC prior to the Fall 2020 semester, the AAP courses are:

First Semester

  • AAP 1001: Academic Foundations Seminar (provides General Elective credit*)
  • AAP 1011: Foundations Writing Workshop (provides General Elective credit*)

Second Semester

  • AAP 1002: Critical Inquiry Seminar – pre-requisite: AAP 1001 (provides Liberal Arts elective credit*)
  • AAP 1012: Critical Writing Workshop – pre-requisite: AAP 1011  (provides Liberal Arts elective credit*)

* 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 an AAP student transfers into such a program, they may be required to take additional courses towards the fulfillment of degree requirements. Students considering such a program change should discuss their plan and degree requirements with an Academic Advisor.

All AAP participants, regardless of when they were admitted to SAIC, are expected to complete their required AAP courses by the end of their first year of study. Students must complete their AAP Foundations coursework (AAP 1001 and AAP 1011) in no more than two semesters. Students can then complete their required art history survey courses and their English courses by the end of the fourth semester of study and be on track to graduate, if they so desire, in four years.

Academic Resources

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

  • The AAP provides an in-class orientation during the second week of the semester where students learn more about the program and become acquainted with strategies for a successful college experience.
  • The AAP encourages student-instructor conferences. Students meet with their instructors for individual and group conferences in and outside of class, and instructors, as well as the program coordinator, are available to meet whenever students have concerns or questions about their studies.
  • The Academic Advising Office monitors student progress through completion of the program, and advisers are available to link students with available campus resources.
  • The Writing Center and Disability and Learning Resource Center (DLRC) are available to all students. AAP students 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.

For AAP participants admitted to SAIC beginning in Fall 2020, the possible outcomes for individual students are:

  • Continuation to second term—If a student has successfully completed the first term of the program, they can continue to the second term. Successful completion is defined as receiving a grade of Credit (CR) in AAP 1001 AND AAP 1011. No Credit (NCR), Incomplete (I), or Withdraw (W) grades indicate a course will need to be repeated (see below).
  • Continuation to English and Art History courses—If a student has successfully completed AAP 1001 and AAP 1011 (earning a grade of Credit in both courses), they will continue with required art history survey and English 1002 courses.
  • Repeat a course—If a student receives any grade other than Credit (CR) in AAP 1001, AAP 1011, or English 1002, they must repeat the course the following semester*. In this case, the student is strongly encouraged to use all resources available to help ensure their success.
  • Dismissal from the school— Unfortunately, if a student cannot complete their required AAP Foundations courses successfully (for Credit) during their first two semesters of study, they will face dismissal from SAIC. There are two primary scenarios where students face dismissal:
    • The student has not completed both AAP 1001 and AAP 1011 by the end of their second semester of study. After this second semester concludes, they will face dismissal.
    • The student receives grades of Withdraw (W) and/or No Credit (NCR) in both AAP 1001 and AAP1011 in the same semester. After this semester concludes, they will face dismissal.
  • A student may appeal a dismissal decision in writing to SAIC’s Academic Review Board prior to the following semester.

*If a student was admitted to the AAP prior to 2020, and they receive any grade other than Credit (CR) in AAP 1002 or 1012 in Spring 2020, they must work with the AAP program coordinator to determine an appropriate plan for how they will enroll in academic courses for the following semester. This plan may include taking an additional AAP course, taking English 1002 (a targeted First Year Seminar for AAP students), or other options as determined by the AAP coordinator.

Appeals (Other than Dismissal)

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

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

Completion of the Program

A student is considered to have completed the Academic Access Program when they have met all requirements of the program. They will receive a letter from the Office of Academic Advising informing them of their successful completion of the program.

For more information, contact the AAP Coordinator, Jennie Berner, at: jberner1@saic.edu or 312.345.3784. See AAP courses here.