About Sotheby’s Institute of Art

  • Evolving from a small connoisseurship program begun by Sotheby's Auction House in 1969, Sotheby's Institute is now the leader in art business education and object-based learning. Our faculty represent the best of the art world 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 Pre-College Summer Institute is a residential and day student program in New York City for high schoolers (rising 10th – 12th graders and graduating seniors) who are curious and passionate about art. Each two-week course is taught by a leading scholar and professional in the art world and takes students behind the scenes of world class museums, galleries, auction houses, artists’ studios, and more.

Our Response to COVID-19

  • All students and faculty are expected to follow all campus and Sotheby's Institute safety policies, and procedures outlined in this document. Failure to comply will result in being restricted from campus. All on-campus activities are subject to change based on current health and safety guidelines issued by the CDC, New York State, and New York City. Do not hesitate to reach out to the student life team with questions about the physical space as it applies to your health and safety.

    Vaccination Policy
    The Institute will require all students and faculty to be vaccinated with an FDA or WHO approved COVID-19 vaccine. Students will be required to submit proof of full vaccination before they may begin classes or come to campus. All enrolled students will be sent an invitation to SchoolDoc, through which they submit all required medical forms along with proof of required vaccines.

    Students and faculty are required to submit a health screening report prior to any campus visit which allows us to monitor and trace those that are on campus. Students will receive instructions on how to complete health screening reports. Failure to follow this policy can result in restricted access to campus and could impact course completion and visa compliance. Please be aware that current policies reflect Delta variant conditions and may be revised as conditions change.

    • Pre-arrival health screening must be completed and show as clear
    • Masks must be worn in class and at all times on the 6th floor and indoors while on any site visit except when eating or drinking
    • At this time, we ask that you not use campus spaces for long periods of socializing or eating
    • Do not come to campus if you are showing any signs of illness. You will not be penalized for prioritizing your health and safety as well as the health and safety of others.

    Guidelines for Isolation or Quarantine Conditions
    At this time, the New York State Travel Advisory is no longer in effect. All travelers to New York City, domestic and international, should continue to follow all CDC travel requirements.

    Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be asked to provide a negative PCR test result before returning to class.

    If you have had direct, prolonged exposure to someone who has tested positive we ask that you isolate and get tested 4-5 days after exposure. Stay home for 7 days. Get tested at Day 5, 6 or 7. Stay home while awaiting results. If test is negative AND you stay symptom-free, quarantine ends. Monitor symptoms, wear a mask, and social distance through day 14. The CDC has issued guidelines to help you understand what steps you should take if you are exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

    We ask that all students disclose COVID-19 positive status to Student Life so that we may keep our entire community including family members of students, faculty and staff safe.

    Please note that we follow the CDC exemption regarding close contact for instances in classrooms where both vaccinated students are wearing close fitting masks.

    Protocols for Reporting a Case of COVID-19
    Do not come to campus If you have any of the following symptoms or feel unwell in any way. Our highest priority is the health and safety of our entire community, so we ask that you notify the student life team immediately if you test positive for COVID-19 and have been on campus at any point. Students, faculty or staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine and show negative PCR test results to return to campus.

    Symptoms include:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    Flu Shots
    The Institute strongly encourages all students, faculty and staff to get a flu vaccine. According to the CDC “Because the viruses that cause flu and COVID-19 might spread at the same time this fall and winter, getting a flu vaccine is particularly important as a way to reduce the amount of flu disease and symptoms that may be confused with COVID-19, and to reduce stress on the U.S. healthcare system.”

    Health and Safety
    Our first and main concern is that of everyone’s health and safety when coming to campus. We will continue to monitor and update our policies and procedures accordingly and on a continuous basis.

    Face Mask/Cloth Face Coverings: Prior to arrival on campus all Visitors, Staff, Faculty, and Students will be required to have proper PPE-face coverings to enter Campus. The Institute will have available a limited number of PPE-disposable face coverings-for use, but we strongly encourage you to have your own reusable mask both for safety and to encourage sustainable practices. View the CDC’s Guide to Masks.

    Cleaning Procedures and Utilization of Common Areas: Maintenance will continue to clean the campus on a regular basis, after regular work hours, based on CDC guidelines and with CDC approved materials.

    • Common Areas – Commonly used surfaces including doorknobs, handles, and countertops will be disinfected routinely.
    • Hand-washing – Wash your hands often with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or touching your face. Be sure to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth always. If you do touch your face, wash your hands immediately.
    • Goggles/Face Shields – Staff and students do not need to wear goggles or face shields while in campus, though Faculty may choose to do so while teaching. Hand-washing and avoiding touching your face are generally enough for non-healthcare environments.
    • Coughing/Sneezing Hygiene – When coughing or sneezing remember to cover your mouth with a tissue. Place used tissues into a trash basket and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
    • Classrooms – Classrooms will be utilized at the level allowable by CDC guidance which is currently full capacity.
    • Shared Spaces – Students, faculty and staff are asked to be mindful of social distance in shared spaces.

  • Under current guidelines, classrooms are operating at full or near-full capacity. We are limiting unstructured gathering and eating on campus at this time.

  • Before you come to campus, fill out the health screening report. Remember to always wear a CDC recommended face covering when on campus.

  • Yes, all students and faculty must be fully vaccinated before attending orientation or classes on campus. Students should upload proof of COVID-19 vaccination and other health requirements through SchoolDoc.

  • The Institute is not currently requiring COVID-19 testing. However, if you do not feel well or have been exposed to someone who has recently test positive for COVID-19 we strongly encourage you to get tested so that we can keep our community healthy. We ask that all students, faculty and staff adhere to CDC guidelines for staying healthy and reducing exposure to the virus even though you have been vaccinated. Safety protocols outlined in this Guide are mandatory and must be complied with for access to campus. Swift and accurate reporting of any COVID-19 case within our community is mandatory and required by New York State and New York City so that required tracing can be conducted to ensure the health of our community at large. We encourage all students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the city’s testing options and any private testing they might choose. Locate a testing center near you.

  • The building maintenance cleans the campus on a daily basis, after regular work hours, based on CDC guidelines and with CDC approved materials. High touch surfaces will be cleaned more regularly throughout the day.

Admissions Process

  • All students must complete an application through our online system. The application requirements include class selection, short answer questions, submission of current transcripts and school report and the contact information for one reference. Students may also submit writing samples for review by the admissions committee.

  • Admission to Sotheby's Summer Institute is competitive. All applications are carefully reviewed by our admissions committee. Admissions officers 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 a strong academic background will be considered for admission to the program. Our goal is to accept the most qualified students as possible and to ensure we are accepting the right students into the right program.

  • Rising high school students in grades 10 – 12 as well as graduating seniors are eligible to apply. Students must be 15 years old by the first day of the program.

  • Yes, students who have graduated from high school who are 18 years of age may apply to the Graduating Seniors courses at the Pre-College Summer Institute.

  • All applicants will be notified via email within four weeks after each deadline.

  • 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 in to their first-choice preference. Please note, that more students can be declined or waitlisted at later rounds because of lack of space. 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.

  • All admitted students must complete a Student Acceptance Form and submit a nonrefundable deposit to guarantee their space in the program. 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. Enter the email address you used to start your application and click submit. Within a 60 seconds, you should receive a verification code to your email inbox that will allow you to access your application.

International Applicants

  • We unfortunately 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 or verbal and written English language. A minimum TOEFL score of 95 is recommended.

  • At this time, 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 1% 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: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
    • Mailed Payments: Check, Money Order, Cash
    -Bank Payment: Checking Account or Saving Account
    • ACH Wire Transfers

    Please note: a one-time $150 processing fee is applied in the program invoice.

  • 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. Late payments will incur a $35 late payment fee.

  • In order to enroll and reserve your spot in the program, admitted students will be required to pay a $1500 deposit by credit card. Tuition may also be paid in full at this point.

    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, typically 30 days before the start of term.

    If the deposit is not received by the designated date on your acceptance letter, the offer of admissions 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. Payments cannot be deferred to future years.

    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.

  • There are no required additional expenses after arrival. However, we recommend that students have pocket money as needed for the purchase of incidentals.  Parents/guardians will be contacted in the case of incidental charges (e.g. damages, lost keys, medical fees, etc.)

  • Financial aid is available for all programs. Financial aid applications are evaluated at two rounds, Early Decision deadline and Regular Decision deadline. In order to be considered for financial aid, students must submit a completed program application followed by a financial aid application at the same deadline in which they are applying. Financial aid decisions and admissions decisions are sent at the same time. Therefore, if a student is applying for the program at the Early Decision deadline, they must also submit a financial aid application during this deadline. The Regular Decision deadline is the last opportunity to be considered for financial aid. We strongly recommend that students apply at the earliest possible deadline. Need for financial aid has no bearing on admission to the program.

  • 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.

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 student life 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.

  • Yes. The number will be provided during orientation on arrival day. The emergency number will also be emailed to parents.

  • All classes and official program activities are chaperoned by our instructors and program staff. Security as well as student life 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.

  • 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. Also required is an Immunization Form or Immunization record showing proof of the MMR Vaccine and a FDA or WHO-Approved COVID-19 Vaccine (students who wish to exempt themselves from the required vaccination for medical or religious reasons can contact the office).

  • Students will be accompanied by instructors and/or program staff during class site visits and official program activities.

    During free time, students are able to travel around New York City with another student by using our checkout system. Students must complete a regular leave request through Orah indicating their destination, name of their “buddy” and expected return time. Students then proceed to the Welcome Desk to have their request approved and officially check-out. Students who would like to leave campus independently (without another student) or for longer than four hours must complete special leave request through Orah and receive parent/guardian approval.

    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.

  • No. All students are given weekly MetroCard each week of the program.

  • Students must arrive the Sunday before the first day of class and check in at their assigned residence hall. Residential students may move into their assigned room on Sunday afternoon. Day students should arrive prior to mandatory orientation Sunday evening. Details on move-in and orientation programming will be provided prior to the start of Sotheby's Summer Institute.  

  • Yes. Students may complete a Special Leave Request to checkout from campus alone to meet with family and friends. Students must be back on campus by curfew and should only submit requests for designated free time. 

  • Sotheby's Summer Institute recommends that students keep their rooms locked when unattended. We recommend that students not bring any valuables; Sotheby's Summer Institute takes no responsibility for lost or stolen items.

Program Events & Student Life

  • Sotheby's Summer Institute offers a variety of non-academic or extracurricular activities for students throughout the summer. There is an expectation that students may have class activities, field trips and homework after class. In the evenings, students have access to residence hall study spaces that facilitate individual and group work. There are also several signature events open to all students such as the Speaker Series and excursions to explore New York City neighborhoods and iconic landmarks. Students and their friends are also welcome to explore New York City on their own.

  • Official college visits are not included in the academic program. Unofficial college visits may be available as special excursions based on student interest. Some classes may also visit local universities as part of their course curriculum.  

  • Students reside in air-conditioned suite-style residence halls with private en-suite bathrooms.

  • Students are typically roomed according to their age and self-identified gender listed in the enrollment form. Sotheby's 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.

    Students can request roommates by completing the roommate request form included in the enrollment form. Both roommates must fill out the roommate request form for a request to be considered.

  • Meals are provided and include vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, and Halal options. Students and families can indicate any necessary dietary accommodations prior to arrival in their enrollment forms. Families with specific concerns should contact the admissions office to speak directly about possible accommodations.

  • 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

  • No. Day students check themselves in each morning and self-dismiss 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 with regard to sleeping arrangements and housing. We do ask that all day students depart from the residence hall by curfew.

  • Day students are strongly encouraged (but not required) to fully participate in weekend events and activities.   

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: cell phone, alarm clock, hair dryer, headphones, chargers
    • 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 souvenirs and incidentals)

  • Students will be doing a good deal of writing and keyboards are essential, hence the recommendation that they bring laptops. Students who do not have a laptop will be able to borrow one from the program at the start of the program. Tablets are welcome but not necessary. Each course will have its own requirements regarding materials.

  • • 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 takes no responsibility for lost or stolen items.
    • Bedding and towels are provided, so students need not bring sheets, pillows, blankets or towels.

  • Sotheby's Summer Institute expects all students to dress in a way that is appropriate for an academic environment. Students will frequently be interacting with professionals and in professional environments and should dress as such. Basic Principle: Certain body parts (genitals, buttocks, breasts and nipples) must always be covered by opaque clothing.

    Students must wear:
    • A full-length shirt
    • Pants/jeans or the equivalent (skirt, sweatpants, leggings, a dress or shorts)
    • Shoes/sandals/flip flops

    Students cannot wear:
    • 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 hall. Students must provide their own detergent; machines accept liquid detergent only (no pods or detergent packs).

  • No, campus mail service operates on a very limited schedule during the summer months. As a result, students may not receive any packages or mail to campus. Please do not send your child a package by FedEx,UPS or other carriers.
    We suggest utilizing a local Amazon locker or similar service to send care packages to your student. If it is an urgent situation, please contact the admissions office about possible accommodations.

  • All 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. 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 certificate from Sotheby's Summer Institute via email.

  • 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 topics of study. 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.    

Applications Open December 1.

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