As part of their first year of coursework, undergraduate students take "First-Year Programs" to improve their college-level reading and writing skills and prepare them for their future academic courses.

Some international students start with EIS courses their first semester.  These classes are designed for students whose first language is not English. Special focus is placed on developing art vocabulary and practicing spoken critiques, learning reading strategies for art history, and writing American college essays with an emphasis on self-editing.

Some students are placed into AAP for in-depth practice with reading, writing, and metacognitive skills. AAP classes are small, interactive, and designed to provide a successful transition to college academics. Students explore the writing process, read about Modern and Postmodern art history, and learn strategies for organizing their work and ideas.

While others take FYS: English classes which are theme-based writing courses designed for first-year students, with an emphasis on teaching foundational writing skills. Students will develop the intellectual skills of reading critically, and writing responsively, which form the basis of each student's career at the School. While faculty have autonomy in determining course themes, the theme is an accessory to the writing; the balance in these classes is weighed toward explicit writing instruction and workshopping of student writing, not content.