I figured with all the good minds here on this forum, thoughts from you guys can help me decide about this... But first, here's some background information: I'm a sophomore (I'm 16) in an "Arts Magnet" based highschool outside of Boston. I have a passion for the visual arts, and plan on going to college in some art related field. Ideally, I would love to go into architecture, but realistically, I don't have the high level math skills most architecture programs require (I did however score extremely high on the English and Writing sections of the PSATs - scoring in the 96th and 98th percentile. Unfortunately, my Math score was in the 49th percentile). I do however have an "advanced eye" for design and composition, as well as the artistic skills to back it up. Industrial design is something else that seems like a good possibility if architecture doesn't work out for me. I guess my third choice would be something along the lines of graphic design or interior architecture. At this point I'm undecided between 'em, but I know I want one of those. Anywho, I plan on taking two art classes next year at my school, one of which will be an Advanced Placement class, and my senior year, I'll also have two classes in art, with one being AP Art History. So, when I graduate highschool, I'll have taken 6 art classes, 2 being APs that can count towards college credit. Now I've stumbled across RISD's (Rhode Island School of Design) Summer Pre-College program. It looks fun, and my first college of choice is RISD. It's only an hour away from my home, in a nice city, and I have some family that lives in Newport, RI, just 20 minutes away from Providence. The program offers a rigorous study in a selected "Major," along with other basic required design courses. It is expensive (about $5,000, probably more with supplies all said and done), and it is demanding. So, my question: will this improve my chances of getting into RISD, or another "exclusive" design school (Pratt, etc...)?? The other dilemma I'm facing is the fact that it will eat away my entire summer. The program starts on June 24th, and goes all the way through August 5th. I'd have to miss summer camp (Boy Scouts, I'll have the rank of Eagle in the next few months), give up any job opportunities I might have, skip our annual family vacation to our summer home on Cape Cod, and obviously miss out on the social interactions with my friends here at home. I know that might sound silly, but I honestly am not sure if the trade off is worth it. This summer will be the last time I'll really get to spend with a few of my close friends, as they are going to an advanced Math and Science school for their remaining two years before college. On that same note, would it be better to miss summer this year then the summer before my senior year (or the summer immediately after I graduate HS)?? Like I said, I'm honestly not sure. I'd love to do the program, and I feel it will [obviously] improve my design skills immensely. While I might be "top" at my school, I know there's kids my age who are far more talented then I am, and I don't want to be shocked when I do go to college. I think doing the program will maybe give me that "competitive edge" that's oh so needed in art related fields today. Sorry for the long post, but I know there's a lot of like-minded people here who might be able to give me advice about what to do. Any thoughts are truly appreciated! Ryan.