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ArcStart is a pre-college program for high school students that offers students the opportunity to explore the built environment firsthand through an introduction to architectural design. Participants will experience the rewarding intensity of an engaging college architecture studio, partake in skill-building workshops that reinforce analytical and conceptual problem solving skills, and explore architecturally significant projects.

About ArcStart

ArcStart is a pre-architecture residential program designed to introduce students to the built environment, architectural design principles, and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Over the course of the program, high school students will witness how a design education prepares participants to engage the world around them within the context of a rigorous academic setting at a leading design institution. 

Participants will experience the rewarding intensity of an engaging college architecture studio, partake in hands-on workshops that reinforce analytical and conceptual problem-solving skills, and enjoy an energetic camp-like atmosphere. 

The ArcStart program is designed to give students the opportunity to study many different aspects of architecture, through learning to use specialized drawing, drafting, and modeling tools, explorations of architectural history, a visit to a thriving architecture firm, the creation of original design proposals, and the curation of their work into a digital portfolio.

This year’s program functions under the direction of Julia McMorrough, our Faculty Director.

2023 Program Dates and Timeline

March 22, 2023 Selected students notified (rolling basis thereafter)
April 3, 2023 $300 Deposit Due (non-refundable)
May 1, 2023 Full Tuition Due
July 10-28, 2023 ArcStart Residential Program

2023 Schedule

Preview the tentative schedule for ArcStart 2023.

Testimonials from 2022 ArcStart participants

“The best part about ArcStart was the valuable knowledge and hands-on experience I gained.”

“I liked how welcoming everyone was from the very beginning. It didn't feel awkward or scary once we actually started and that definitely helped me feel more comfortable. I also had so much fun with the workshops and learning all kinds of different aspects of architecture.”

“The best part, I'd say, was learning about instructors and directors' journeys and projects and learning from their teachings/own favorite architectural styles/features/ aesthetics to create our own as students.”

“ArcStart really exposed me to the design aspect of architecture - something I really needed to see as an artist.”


Admission is limited to rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors as well as rising college freshmen. There is no minimum GPA requirement to be eligible to apply.


Applications for ArcStart 2023 are no longer being accepted.

If you are interested in being notified about ArcStart 2024, complete the ArcStart inquiry form.


The cost for the 19-day, residential ArcStart program in 2023 will be $3,600, which includes overnight accommodations on campus, meals, materials, and field trips.

Funding Opportunity: The Watson A. Young Scholarship is available for Michigan residents with an annual family income of $65,000 and under. Click here for more information regarding eligibility and how to apply.

arcDESIGN Young Architect Scholarship

arcDESIGN in Indianapolis offered one full-tuition scholarship for ArcStart 2022.  Priority is given to Indiana residents. No additional scholarship application is required.  arcDESIGN will review all admitted ArcStart students for scholarship consideration.  Stay tuned if this scholarship will be offered again in 2023.

Admitted Students

Applicants will be emailed an admission decision per the dates outlined above. Admitted students will receive an information packet by email that provides enrollment material (i.e.class schedule, liability, and health forms).

Admitted students will be required to submit a $300 nonrefundable deposit upon accepting their admission/registering for the program by March 31, 2023. Full tuition is due by and fully refundable by April 15, 2023. All cancellations after April 15 are nonrefundable.

College Preparation

In addition to the academic and social aspects of the program, students will also benefit from presentations conducted by the Office of Financial Aid and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on the college application process and how to prepare for their college experience.  The Taubman College Admissions team will also review the application and admissions process for undergraduate degrees in architecture and urban technology.

At the end of the program, students will come away with an expanded understanding of the role architecture and design plays in everyday life, and those intending to apply to architecture school will be well-equipped to begin the application process.


Contact the ArcStart team at ArcStartProgram@umich.edu

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