Support Tyler Pre-College programs

Help high school students learn practical skills, forge lifelong relationships and find a path to college and future careers.

Every summer for three decades, The Tyler School of Art and Architecture’s Pre-College Programs at Temple University have offered high school students—some of whom have never been on a college campus before—the chance to see themselves as college students and help realize their dreams of studying at one of the nation’s preeminent schools for art and architecture.

“[Tyler’s] summer classes helped make the decision that I was going to go to art school and major in something creative,” says August Barrett of West Chester, Pennsylvania, who attended Tyler’s Architecture Institute and Portfolio Boot Camp in 2016 and is now a sophomore in the accelerated 4+1 B.S. in Architecture/Master of Architecture program at Tyler.

Tyler’s Pre-College Programs—the largest pre-college programs of any type at Temple—attract hundreds of regional high schoolers, from New York to Baltimore, as well as national and international students. The Pre-College Summer Workshops, Architecture Institute, Portfolio Boot Camp and Visual Studies Academy bring teenagers with shared interests together to work in Tyler’s state-of-the-art facilities while experiencing a large public research university. Through group critiques, field trips and one-on-one instruction from practicing artists and professionals, students forge lasting relationships, experiment with self-expression and develop critical, creative and technical skills.

“For many high schoolers, our programs are their first time setting foot on a college campus,” says Laura Hricko, assistant director of Pre-College Programs and Continuing Education at Tyler. “These programs are intended to broaden students’ horizons by providing them with the meaningful experience of learning with other creatively-driven high schoolers at a renowned art school and research university. Awarding partial or full-scholarships enables us to give students access to our programs, studios and faculty who might not otherwise have the ability to join their peers in this pre-college experience.” 

When Mak Bowdren of Levittown, Pennsylvania, was deciding where to apply to college, they were looking to pursue bioengineering, having primarily taken STEM-based high school courses—a similar path to the rest of their family. Mak’s mother encouraged them to take Tyler Pre-College classes, recognizing their creativity and artistic interests, as a way to meet new people and explore options.

“I took graphic design because it wasn’t offered at my high school,” they say. “Tyler’s pre-college graphic design and printmaking courses helped guide me where I want to be.” Now, Mak is a freshman at Tyler, with a plan to double-major in printmaking and sculpture.

Tyler Pre-College students learn more than art, design and architecture. Over each two-week session, hobbies and curiosities develop into the foundation for college. Beyond critical thinking, problem solving and other creative skill sets, Tyler Pre-College Program instructors teach their students critical thinking, problem solving, responsibility and resilience—pushing students outside their comfort zones and encouraging risk in a fun, collaborative atmosphere.

 “Tyler becomes a family,” says August. “You know everyone because you work with them.”

The personal and academic growth of students over the two-week program isn’t only noticed by the participants themselves; their parents notice it, too.

“Each session ends with an exhibition,” Hricko says. “This is where the ‘aha!’ moment comes for parents. When their child shows them the work they’ve been doing, but can also explain what it means and what they were thinking when they made it, parents begin to understand that this creative drive and passion can lead their child to succeed in college and beyond.”

Currently, Tyler offers partial scholarships to help teenagers from all over the country and world experience a college environment and develop applicable skills, with a goal of offering more students full scholarships to help shape the next generation of bold thinkers and makers.

“I loved [Tyler’s pre-college] printmaking class—it’s what made me want to go to art school,” says Mak. “I love going to Tyler. I took classes here before coming to college. Tyler feels like a second home. I was really excited to come back.”

Help make dreams and futures come true

Many high school students rely on financial support to attend Tyler’s Pre-College Programs, and many must turn down what could be a defining moment in their lives due to insufficient funding. 

Make a gift to students of Tyler's Pre-College Programs here—100 percent of your generous tax deductible gift will directly support students, with a priority placed on fully-funding scholarships.

Make a difference:

$5 purchases a set of drawing pencils for one student

$10 supplies a set of paint brushes for one student

$25 provides a student with a one-week SEPTA pass for Philadelphia-focused field trips.

$50 equips one student with all necessary supplies for a two-week summer program.

$100 purchases sketchbooks for 50 students.

$425 funds a half scholarship for a student to attend a two-week summer program.

$850 funds a full scholarship for a student who otherwise could not attend and helps prepare them for college and further study in art or the built environment. 

Posted by Zachary Vickers

Photo by Kayla Thomas