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. Benefits of the program include small class sizes, an innovative curriculum developed specifically for art and design students, dedicated instructors who embrace a range of teaching and learning styles, and opportunities to develop lasting relationships with peers, mentors, and instructors.

  • Placement in first-year academic courses is based on a comprehensive assessment of application materials, including high school coursework and grades, teacher and counselor recommendations, and writing samples. Students who have consistently earned lower than a B in high school English, history and/or social science courses, have sub-scores below ACT Reading 22 or SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Component 580*, and/or whose records indicate that they would benefit from foundational college writing and/or reading instruction prior to enrollment in other academic courses are placed into the AAP. 

    *Please Note: As of Fall 2020 and later, SAIC does not require SAT or ACT scores for admission, and submission of test scores is optional.

    First-year students 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 by contacting Asia Mitchell, the Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions, at International students may be placed into the AAP rather than the English for International Students (EIS) program based on their English language fluency and educational record.

    If you have questions about placement, contact the AAP Coordinator, Jennie Berner, at To appeal an AAP placement decision, please complete the Academic Access Program Appeal form.

  • Students participate in Academic Access Program courses during their first year on campus. Each AAP course counts as three credit hours toward graduation.

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

    First Semester

    • AAP 1001: Reading Art (RA provides liberal arts elective credit*).
    • AAP 1011: Foundations Writing Workshop (FWW provides liberal arts elective credit*)

    *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.

    Second Semester

    • ENGLISH 1002: First Year Seminar I, Enhanced (FYSe satisfies the English 1001 degree requirement)

    For a list of upcoming AAP courses, see our Courses page.

    Students placed in AAP may enroll in a maximum of 15 credit hours of combined academic and studio courses when participating in the program and may not enroll in any 3000-level or 4000-level studio or academic course during their first year. The program recommends that students drop or withdraw from their studio elective (which is not a first-year requirement) if they are struggling with a 15-credit hour course load. If a student is required to repeat any AAP course, the student may be limited to an enrollment of fewer than 15 credit hours.

    All AAP participants 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 third or fourth semester of study and be on track to graduate, if they so desire, in four years.

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

    • 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.
    • 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 Academic Advisors 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.

  • At the end of each semester, 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 deans, as well as deans from the Office of Student Affairs and Academic Advising.

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

    • Successful completion of program—If a student has successfully completed AAP 1001, AAP 1011, and ENG 1002 (earning a grade of Credit in all courses), they have completed the AAP and may move on to take First Year Seminar II (ENG 1005) and a required Art History survey course in their next semester.
    • Continuation to second-term English 1002 and Art History courses—If a student has successfully completed AAP 1001 and AAP 1011, they will continue with required art history survey and English 1002 courses in their second term. No Credit (NCR), Incomplete (I), or Withdraw (W) grades indicate a course will need to be repeated (see below).
    • 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:
      1. 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.
      2. 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 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

  • 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