Pre-College 2015 film students working on production

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What is Pre-College?

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film offers highly motivated high-school students the chance to experience the life and culture of an art college through a two-week intensive summer program. Meet practicing artists and learn from Watkins faculty while creating a college portfolio and earning college credit.

Dates: July 8 – 20, 2018

Important Deadlines

March 1: Application deadline for scholarship consideration
April 1: Regular application deadline
April 15: $300 non-refundable deposit due to secure your spot
May 1: Payment-in-full due
July 8: Orientation
July 9:
Classes begin
July 20: Last day of class and exhibition


Develop your art and hone your skills in a program that will challenge you to:

2013 Group

2013 Pre-College Participants

  • Grow artistically and personally
  • Learn new techniques and media
  • Discover contemporary trends and potential career tracks
  • Study with faculty who are practicing artists, designers and filmmakers
  • Enhance your college portfolio
  • Relate with other students who are inspired by art
  • Earn college credit

Drawing & PaintingIn the Fine Arts Track, you will participate in three core courses, a studio concentration, field trips and a final exhibition. Fine Arts students strengthen technical skills and critical thinking as they learn to develop their own artistic practice.

Concentration (Meets 4 days/week)

Students choose from:

Drawing & Painting
Graphic Design

Download the full descriptions of our concentrations.

Core Courses:

Foundations (Meets 2 days/week)
This course will help you see the world as visual artists do by strengthening your ability to observe, conceptualize and analyze through artmaking.  Emphasis will be placed on the methods, materials, and concepts of surface, space, and time-based art.

Graphic DesignPortfolio Preparation (Meets 1 day/week)
Learn techniques and strategies for building a strong portfolio and gain a distinct advantage when applying for scholarships and admissions into art college. Professional admissions counselors will offer critiques and guide you through the college application process.

Art History (Meets 2 days/week )
In this course you will learn to evaluate, interpret and analyze works and develop a strong vocabulary to talk about art. Slides and group discussions will aid you in this learning process as you study historical and contemporary trends.

Field Trips and Outings (Meets 1 day/week)Zeitgeist Field Trip
Each week you’ll venture off campus to explore Nashville’s vibrant art and design communities. Past outings have included studio visits, museum tours and trips to local galleries for conversations with local artists, designers, curators and dealers.

Final Exhibition/Reception
You’ll gain practical experience planning and installing an exhibition to showcase your work.  Family and friends are invited to Watkins’ Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery to celebrate your work at the program’s concluding exhibition and reception.

Gallery Exhibition

As a Fine Arts student you will:

  • Earn college credit
  • Study and apply the principles and elements of art
  • Prepare a first-rate portfolio
  • Spend time in the studio or lab
  • Exhibit your work
  • Explore Nashville’s art scene
  • Discover what it means to be an artist or designer

PC FIlmPre-College Film Track

Film Production
Film students will learn about techniques, processes, film history, language and storytelling. Professionals with real-world experience will share insights on artistic, technical and business aspects of filmmaking. You will use digital video cameras, lighting and other professional production equipment and work with classmates to create a short-length film.

Film Editing
Explore the post-production phase of filmmaking and concentrate on the editing process. Working in Final Cut Pro, the program used by professional filmmakers, you will learn the overall workflow and fundamental techniques of editing.

During Pre-College you will:

  • Handle professional cameras and equipment
  • Use script-writing software
  • Cast live actors
  • Produce a short film that will be submitted to the Nashville Film Festival

    Movie Poster by Emma Forrest

    2013 poster for screening

  • Be introduced to the Macintosh operating system and Final Cut Pro editing software
  • Learn terminology for editing video and sound
  • Fix problems with footage through color correction and motion parameters
  • Manipulate audio and video with effects and filters
  • Customize projects by adding text and graphics
  • Export finalized projects for internet uploading and DVD burning
  • Learn tips for applying to film school.

All Film students will take Film History classes and have the chance to participate in field trips.

Congratulations to the 2014 Film students whose film “The Lonely Life of John Holloway” was accepted into the 2015 Nashville Film Festival!

Pre-CollegeDATES: July 8 – 20, 2017.

JOIN US: If you are a rising sophomore, junior or senior high school student and you are between the ages of 15-18.

SUPPLIES: Supplies are included, but students are encouraged to bring outside work for their portfolio reviews.

FACULTY: Our teaching staff includes local artists, professionals, educators, and college faculty.

Watkins Building

GRADES/CREDIT: Credit for 1 General Education Course (or the equivalent of 3 college credits at most colleges/universities on the semester system) will be awarded for successful completion of the program. Grades will be determined by quizzes, projects and writing assignments.

TUITION/FEES: 2018 tuition to be determined.

SCHOLARSHIPS: A limited number of full and partial need-based scholarships are available for the Pre-College Program through a generous grant from The Memorial Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please provide a copy of the most recent parent income tax return with your application. No additional application is necessary. The scholarship deadline is the same as the application deadline, March 1, 2018. Applicants should contact the Admissions office for more details at (615) 383-4848.

REFUND POLICY:  Deposit is non-refundable. No refunds will be given after final payment deadline of May 1, 2018.

Exhibition PrepEARN A COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP: If you successfully complete the Pre-College Program and decide to enroll at Watkins, you are eligible for a $4,000 tuition scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded over eight semesters if you maintain a 3.0 GPA. The annual amount will be equally divided between the fall and spring semesters and is based on full-time registration of 12 or more credits per semester. If a student registers for less than 12 credits in a semester, the amount will be pro-rated accordingly.

Pre-College Apply

Apply Online


Pre-College Application Checklist 

– Online application form
– 250-word personal statement of why you want to attend the Pre-College Program
– Letter of recommendation from a high school teacher or guidance counselor
– Images of 5 10 10 original works of art
– $35 application fee

If applying for a scholarship please also provide:
– Most recent parent tax return

Applications will not be considered complete until all of the above information has been received. Only completed applications will be considered.

Important Deadlines for 2018

March 1: Application deadline for scholarship consideration
April 1: Regular application deadline
April 15: $300 non-refundable deposit due to secure your spot
May 1: Payment-in-full due
July 8: Orientation
July 9:
Classes begin
July 20: Last day of class, film screening and exhibition reception


PCStudentContact Information:

Pre-College Program
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film
2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd
Nashville, TN 37228

Phone: 615-383-4848
Fax: 615-383-4849

Email: [email protected]
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