About Sotheby’s Institute of Art

  • Evolving from a small connoisseurship program begun by Sotheby's auction house in 1969, today Sotheby's Institute of Art is the premier, global leader in art business education and object-based learning. Our faculty represents the highest quality of art scholarship and best of the art world professionals, helping students master the unique forces at play at the intersection of art and commerce. We have campuses in New York, London, and online, and we offer a range of different programs from master’s degrees to online, semester, and summer courses. Please visit sothebysinstitute.com to learn more about our full suite of program offerings.

  • The Sotheby’s Summer Institute – Pre-College Program is an academically rigorous residential and day student program in New York City for high schoolers (rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors) who are intellectually curious and passionate about art. Each dynamic and immersive two-week course is taught by leading scholars and art world professionals and takes students behind the scenes of world class museums, galleries, auction houses, artists’ studios, and more.

  • The Institute is committed to fostering a culture that embraces the values of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. We believe that diversity — in all its forms — is a driver for new ideas, creativity, and academic excellence. Moreover, we are dedicated to creating a climate of dignity and respect as well as recruiting and retaining a diverse group of leaders, administrators, faculty, staff, and students. Promoting a nurturing, inclusive environment means actively opposing intolerance, bigotry, bias, and discrimination. The policies and educational objectives of The Institute further inclusivity and cultural effectiveness. These values are recognized, supported, and embraced fully by The Institute’s leadership. Additionally, we recognize that the responsibility for maintaining a culture of diversity and inclusion lies with all of us.

Admissions Process

  • All prospective students must complete an application through our online submission system. The application requirements include making a class selection, answering a few short questions, submission of current grade transcripts and school report, and the contact information for one academic reference. Students may also submit writing samples and portfolios (if applicable) for review by the admissions committee. We ask that the prospective student themselves complete the online application and not their parents, counselors, or agents.

  • Admission to Sotheby's Summer Institute is highly competitive. All applications are carefully reviewed by our admissions committee who seek talented student leaders with diverse interests, ambitions and writing styles. The committee strives to select critical thinkers who will contribute to a well-rounded, academically engaged community of students. Each application is reviewed holistically and qualified students who have demonstrated a genuine interest in the program as well as hold a strong academic background will be considered for admission.

  • Rising 10th through 12th grade high school students as well as graduating seniors are eligible to apply. Students must be 15 years old by the first day of the program. Students who have graduated from high school who are 18 years of age may still apply for courses.

  • All applicants will be notified via email. Our admissions review process currently takes 1-2 weeks and we are often able to release a decision sooner.

  • Yes. We have limited capacity in our courses and always recommend that students apply at the earliest deadline to have a better opportunity at being accepted into their preferred course. Prospective students applying under our Early Decision will have first consideration in course placement based on their preferences. While prospective students applying for Regular Decision will be considered for course placement based on their preferences, courses may fill to capacity after Regular Decision. As such, it is recommended that applications be submitted as early as possible.

  • All admitted students must complete an Enrollment Form and submit a nonrefundable deposit to guarantee their space in the Summer Institute. Students and parents will be sent an acceptance email which will contain a link to complete the form. At the end of the form, the system will prompt you to submit the deposit via credit card or bank payment.

  • We only review applications after the application deadline. However, we recommend that students start the application process and submit their application before the deadline to guarantee their application is submitted in a timely manner. Please note that all supplemental documents must also be submitted by the deadline in order for your application to be considered.

  • Yes, our courses change each year, so all students must re-apply even if they have attended in a previous year. However, returning students have a simplified application and do not have to pay an application fee. Returning students should, if possible, use the same email address that they used the year prior. If you are a returning student and are unsure which email you used, please reach out to us at precollege@sia.edu.

  • We accept references from a teacher, guidance counselor, coach, or school official.

  • No. Students are only responsible for including the name of their reference on their application. Admissions Counselors will reach out to the listed reference directly to complete an online form.

    All students must provide the most up-to-date contact information for their recommender(s). This includes an email address that he/she/they will check on a frequent basis.

    We encourage all students to notify their recommender(s) to expect an email from Sotheby's Institute of Art requesting a recommendation letter on their behalf.

  • Students who have already applied and wish to make changes to their application must contact admissions at precollege@sia.edu who will provide further assistance.

  • No, once an application has been submitted, you are not allowed to change it. Please contact the admissions office at precollege@sia.edu if you have any questions.

  • Transcripts do not have to be official. Unofficial copies are acceptable.

  • A secondary school report has information about the school, its curriculum, and grading system. Your school office or guidance counselor should be able to provide this information.

  • Click here to return to the login page where you'll be prompted for your username and password.

International Applicants

  • Unfortunately, we do not provide student visas, nor do we provide information on how to obtain visas for travel to the United States. We encourage international students to contact their country of origin's embassy/government office for that information. Letters of verification can be provided upon request.

  • While we do not require test scores, all international applicants should have an adequate understanding of both verbal and written English language. A minimum TOEFL score of 95 is recommended to succeed in the program.

  • Currently, we are unable to accept international bank payments. International participants can submit a payment via credit card or ACH wire transfer. Please note that all international payments incur an additional processing fee. To submit a payment via ACH wire transfer, please reach out directly to the Admissions Office and the necessary bank details can be provided upon request.

Tuition, Financial Aid & Billing

  • Accepted payment methods include:

    • Credit Cards & Debit Cards
    • Mailed Payments: Check, Money Order, Cash
    • Bank Payment: Checking Account or Saving Account
    • Domestic and International Bank Transfers

  • Full tuition will be due in early to mid-May depending on the date of enrollment and the term in which the student is enrolled. After the student is enrolled, in a few weeks, the family will receive an invoice for the remaining balance of the tuition if tuition was not initially paid in full at enrollment. Invoices will outline the payment due date, which is typically 30 days before the start of a term and will provide instructions for submitting partial or full payment up until the due date indicated.

  • To enroll and reserve your place in the program, admitted students will be required to pay a nonrefundable $1500 deposit. Students may also be asked to pay their full tuition balance depending on the enrollment and program start dates. For those preferring to pay in installments, an invoice for the remaining balance of the tuition will be sent within two weeks of the deposit submission. Tuition may be paid via credit card or ACH payment by the invoice due date. Families may access their accounts and submit as many payments as necessary until the invoice is paid in full. All payments must be received by the due date indicated on the invoice: 30 days before the start of the term. If the deposit is not received by the designated date on your acceptance letter, the offer of admission may be revoked or your application may move to the waitlist and only if a space becomes available in the next review, will an offer be extended.

  • Deposits for Summer Institute are non-refundable. To withdraw from the program for any reason prior to the start of the term, the student must notify the Admissions Office in writing via email and depending on the date of withdrawal, a portion of the tuition and fees previously paid may be refunded. No refunds will be given for early departures from a program, once it is underway, whether voluntary or otherwise.

    Date of receipt of written cancellation notification: Before March 15
    Amount of tuition, materials and health fees refunded*: 100%

    Date of receipt of written cancellation notification: March 16 - April 15
    Amount of tuition, materials and health fees refunded*: 60%

    Date of receipt of written cancellation notification: April 16 - May 15
    Amount of tuition, materials and health fees refunded*: 30%

    Date of receipt of written cancellation notification: After May 15
    Amount of tuition, materials and health fees refunded*: 0%

    *Deposit and processing fee not eligible for refund.

    Exceptions may be made for students who must withdraw from the program prior to their planned arrival on campus because they test positive for COVID-19. Under these circumstances, you may request a deferral to a later term or apply for a full refund. To process a refund request, the Institute may request proof of a positive COVID-19 PCR test result from a doctor, pharmacy, health center, or other testing site.

  • Financial aid is available to all students and the applications are evaluated at the Priority Decision deadline. To be considered for financial aid, students must submit a completed program application and financial aid application by March 11, 2024. The Priority Decision deadline is the last opportunity to be considered for financial aid. Financial aid has no bearing on the admissions review process and awards are released at the same time as an admissions decision. We strongly recommend that students apply at the earliest possible deadline.

  • We aim to provide affordable educational opportunities to as many qualified applicants as possible. If the tuition cost is a barrier to your attendance in any way, we encourage you to apply. Partial financial assistance is awarded based upon need, as well as other determining factors. Please note that a student’s need for financial aid has no bearing on admission to the program. Aid can be awarded to both domestic and international participants. Members of historically underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

  • The Summer Institute does not award college credit for its precollege program. Therefore, 529 funds cannot be used.

Travel & Safety

  • New York City is one of the safest big cities in the United States. While the residence hall and academic buildings are secured spaces, students should note that our campus is not separated from the city. As always, students should stay alert and travel with caution when leaving campus and understand that their distance from campus limits the ability of our SIA staff to provide support. We encourage students and parents/guardians to discuss safety and guidelines prior to their arrival at Sotheby's Summer Institute. Parents should feel comfortable allowing their students to move unsupervised throughout New York City during their off time.

  • Urgent Matters Help Line for Parents and Guardians A dedicated phone line is available for parents and families with urgent matters. This line goes to the team on campus. To ensure issues are attended to promptly, this number should only be used for urgent matters. Please consider the seriousness of your enquiry before using this number. Non-urgent queries submitted to this Help Line will be redirected to our team via email for appropriate follow-up during regular business hours. You may contact us at studentlife@sia.edu any time. Emergency Number for Students All students will be given the Emergency Phone Number on the day of their arrival. While they will have access to our team at any time, this number allows students to reach us in case of emergencies. Welcome Desk studentlife@sia.edu The Welcome Desk attends to student and parent/guardian queries. The Institute will primarily communicate with parents through email.

  • All classes and official program activities are chaperoned by our instructors and program staff. Security as well as SIA Staff are present in the residence hall 24/7 for the duration of the program.

  • All staff who have regular interaction with students will have comprehensive background checks completed before they can begin working in the program. This includes instructional staff, residential staff and any other staff who will have more than incidental interaction with students. All staff receive Protection of Minors training and clear policies are outlined and enforced to ensure that student safety is prioritized.

  • Yes. All students are required to have valid health insurance coverage for the duration of the program. In the past, international students have purchased travel insurance that covered medical emergencies during their stay in the United States.

  • Students will be accompanied by instructors and/or program staff during class site visits and official program activities and will travel using public transportation including the NYC subway and bus system.

    During their free time, students can travel around New York City with other students by using our checkout system through the student services app Orah. Students and staff will communicate through Orah to stay informed with any relevant information that students may need while off campus. All students are expected to return to campus prior to campus curfew.

    We recommend that students and parents/guardians discuss safety and guidelines prior to their arrival at Summer Institute. Parents should feel comfortable allowing their students to move unsupervised throughout New York City during their off time.

  • Students are responsible for their own travel expenses during the program. New York City MetroCards will be officially phased out and replaced by OMNY, a "tap to pay" system for riders. Students will have to ensure that their OMNY mobile app is downloaded and ready for use before their first day of class. See here for the app link to get started. Students should budget approximately $6 per round trip with for the entirety of the two-week term. Additional costs need to be accounted for should they wish to attend additional optional activities that require travel outside of the campus boundary.

  • Check-in day is on Sunday, the day before the first day of class, and is mandatory for both residential and day students. Please plan for arrivals accordingly. All students will participate in the required student orientation after they have checked in and should plan for an evening of activities with the residence life staff. Details on move-in and orientation programming will be provided prior to the start of the program.

  • No. Move-In/Out days and times are the start and end of the program term. We will not have housing or staff available outside of the specified term dates and times.

  • No, unfortunately, housing is not available to students in between terms. Please seek alternative housing plans if you are a consecutive term participant.

  • Yes. Students may complete a special leave request to check out from campus alone to meet with family and friends. Students must be back on campus by curfew and should only submit requests that fall within their designated free time.

  • We recommend that students keep their rooms locked when unattended. We also recommend that students not bring any valuables; Sotheby's Summer Institute does not bear any responsibility for lost or stolen items.

Program Events & Student Life

  • Sotheby's Summer Institute offers a variety of carefully curated cocurricular activities for students on weeknights as well as weekends, for both residential and day students throughout their term. Some activities include a photo challenge event at Central Park, Artist talks at the Sotheby’s auction house, New York City neighborhood tours, Young Professionals and College Night, as well as other events. There is an expectation that students may have homework after class. In the evenings, students will also have access to residence hall study spaces that facilitate individual and group work.

  • Official college visits are not included in the academic program. Unofficial college visits may be available as special excursions based on student interest.

  • Students stay in a student-accommodation housing campus located in the center of New York City and reside in shared dormitories with laundry facilities, lounges, study spaces and cafeteria.

  • Students are typically roomed according to their age and self-identified gender listed in the Program Form. The Summer Institute may consult with students on an individual basis as needed to find appropriate accommodations. Students will learn their room assignment upon arrival to the program.

  • Meals are provided and include vegetarian and vegan options. Students and families must indicate any other necessary dietary accommodations prior to arrival in their program form.  Families with specific dietary concerns are encouraged to contact the program office at studentlife@sia.edu as early as possible to speak with us directly about accommodations options.

  • Students are free to visit with their parents and other family members off campus during their free time. Parents are not permitted into the residence hall after initial move-in.

Day Students

  • Transportation for day students to and from the program are decided by the student and their families. Day students are required however, to check themselves in each morning at the Welcome Desk on campus and out at the end of the day.

  • Day students should arrive on class days at least 15 minutes prior to their class start time to check in with program staff at the Welcome Desk. Day students can check out any time after afternoon class sessions conclude.

  • Yes. Day students are encouraged to remain on campus and attend evening and weekend activities, with access to all the same spaces and programming as residential students. The day and residential programs only differ regarding room and board. We do ask that all day students depart from the residence hall by curfew.

  • The purpose of the co-curricular activities is to provide a unique and holistic New York City experience to complement the academic rigor of the classroom. Co-curricular activities and events also offer the opportunity for students to bond outside of the classroom. While we encourage all day students to partake in all events, we understand that some of the evening events might pose a transportation and or time concern for some, therefore the co-curriculars, while strongly encouraged, will be optional for day students. Some signature events however, such as the Photo Challenge and Artist Speaker Series will be required.

Packing List & Dress Code

  • • Clothing: light and cool casual summer clothing, jacket or sweatshirt, raincoat, swimsuit, sandals, comfortable walking shoes, a set of nicer clothes (for more formal events)
    • Weather gear: sunscreen, sunglasses, umbrella, reusable water bottle
    • Academic supplies: laptop, notebook, pen
    • Camera and/or journal/diary
    • Personal electronics: U.S compatible cell phone and plan, alarm clock, hair dryer, headphones, chargers, and laptop adapters (if international)
    • Fitted Twin XL-sized sheets, blanket, towel, pillow etc.
    • Photo ID (e.g. government issued ID, official school ID, or copy of passport)
    • Copy of health insurance card (front and back)
    • Spending money (for travel, souvenirs, and incidentals)

  • Students will be doing a good deal of writing and keyboards are essential, hence the recommendation that they bring laptops. Tablets with an attached keyboard are also acceptable. Students who do not have a laptop may be able to borrow one at the start of the program, however availability is on a first come first served basis. Each course will have its own requirements regarding materials which will be provided by Sotheby’s Summer Institute.

  • • Students may not bring flammable materials, including but not limited to candles, incense, matches, lighters, electronic cigarette/JUUL products, explosive devices or fireworks. Students who violate this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
    • Students are not allowed to bring weapons of any kind, including but not limited to knives, pepper spray, firearms, paintball guns, laser pointers or other dangerous items. Students who violate this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
    • Students are not allowed to use or possess tobacco products, alcoholic beverages or unauthorized drugs or medication. Students who violate this policy will be subject to immediate dismissal.
    • Students may not bring USB drives on campus.
    • Students are not allowed to have a car, skateboard, skates, or a bicycle on campus.
    • Students may not bring pets of any kind.
    • Students may not bring cooking or kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators, microwave or toaster ovens or hot plates.
    • We recommend that students not bring any valuables. The Institute does not bear any responsibility for lost or stolen items.

  • Sotheby's Summer Institute expects all students to represent themselves and the Institute in a way that is appropriate for an academic and professional environment. Students will frequently interact with art world professionals and scholars, affording them exclusive networking opportunities. As such, we require that certain body parts (genitals, buttocks, breasts, nipples, and bellybuttons) must be covered by opaque clothing at all times.

    That said, we support positive, creative forms of self-expression and encourage students to be who they are.

    Students must wear:
    • Tops that are full-length in coverage (no crop tops)
    • Bottoms consist of pants/jeans or the equivalent (skirt, sweatpants, leggings, a dress or shorts) and do not expose any of the aforementioned body parts
    • Shoes/sandals/flip flops

    Sotheby’s Summer Institute will not accept:
    • Clothing or accessories with violent language or imagery
    • Clothing or accessories with language depicting drugs or alcohol or any illegal activity
    • Clothing or accessories with images or language that creates a hostile or intimidating environment
    • Swimsuits
    • Accessories that could be dangerous or used as a weapon

  • Yes, there are laundry facilities within the residence halls for a fee. Students will need to download the service app on their phones to select washers, dryers and pay per use. Students must provide their own detergent.

  • Yes, students may receive packages and mail to their temporary residences. However, we caution students and families to consider the limited timeframe of stay as packages and mail are not guaranteed to arrive on time. The Institute is not responsible for late mail or packages while students live on site nor after their departure.

  • Most program-related expenses are included in the program tuition or supplemental fees. However, New York City provides many opportunities for shopping and students have typically wanted to acquire souvenirs of their stay. Travel expenses and any additional meals or activities students wish to take part in will require additional expenditure. We recommend that students and parents exercise prudence and that students not carry around large amounts of currency.

Student Evaluations

  • Yes. All students that successfully complete the term in good standing will receive a digital certificate from Sotheby's Summer Institute.

  • Yes. Each student who completes the course and is in good standing will receive a narrative evaluation from their instructor via their Canvas account.

  • As a pre-college program, Sotheby's Summer Institute gives students the opportunity to get a glimpse of the college experience while also exploring possible art and art world topics of study with the premier leader in art world education. Typically, college admissions officers look favorably on students who continue to enhance their academic portfolio during the summer months. Students will also benefit from receiving a narrative evaluation from their instructor which can be included as part of their college applications.

Health and Wellness

  • All students, faculty and staff are expected to follow all campus and Sotheby's Institute of Art's safety policies and procedures. Failure to comply will result in being restricted from campus. These policies and procedures are subject to change and may be updated from time to time in accordance with the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and any changes in laws, regulations, and public health guidance issued by the CDC, New York State, or New York City. Do not hesitate to reach out to studentlife@sia.edu with questions about the campus as it applies to your health and safety.

  • Yes. Students must provide health information including proof of immunization for Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR), Meningitis and COVID-19 in the Program Form. Note that COVID-19 vaccination means a full primary series of an FDA-approved or WHO-approved vaccination. Booster shots are recommended. The Institute will not issue a refund to students who withdraw enrollment due to lack of immunization. FDA and WHO-Approved COVID-19 Vaccines:
    • The Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine
    • The SII/COVISHIELD and AstraZeneca/AZD1222 vaccines
    • The Janssen/Ad26.COV 2.S vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson
    • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA 1273)
    • The Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine
    • The Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine
    • The Bharat Biotech BBV152 COVAXIN vaccine
    • The Covovax (NVX-CoV2373) vaccine
    • The Nuvaxovid (NVX-CoV2373) vaccine

  • Exemptions to certain requirements for medical reasons may be granted in limited circumstances and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Exemptions might be requested for a medical condition that contraindicates a student from:
    • receiving any of the available FDA- or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccinations
    • receiving other vaccinations
    • being able to share a room with other students (requiring a solo room if space permits)
    • other relevant conditions

    Exemption requests must be received at least 2 weeks prior to the start of term. The Institute will notify students by email if the exemption request has been accepted or rejected. In the case of an accepted medical exemption request, the student must follow all current Institute guidelines contained within this policy. To request a medical exemption, the student must submit a letter signed by a certified/licensed medical provider describing the student’s medical condition. The letter must certify to the following:
    • The student is the patient of the medical provider
    • The medical provider has reviewed the student’s medical history
    • The student has a medical condition that contraindicates a student from one or more of the above listed circumstances

    The letter must be sent via email to the designated address given after enrollment to the program. For general inquiries please contact studentlife@sia.edu.

  • Summer Institute does not provide ongoing mental health counselors for students, but it is prepared to handle emergencies according to The Institute’s mental health safety plans. Students and their families are encouraged to discuss and prepare for the potential challenges of attending a rigorous academic program that may be in an unfamiliar environment far from home. This preparation should include arranging for any necessary mental health support before the start of the program and indicating any ongoing care in the student health forms.

Now Accepting Applications for Summer Institute 2024!

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