Parsons’ Summer Programs

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

an unidentified fashion school student sketching

Parsons’ Summer Programs

Parsons’ summer programs are your ticket to a game-changing experience in design and technology. They’re more than just classes—they’re a deep dive into creativity and skill expansion.

Are you a high schooler eager to jumpstart your career, a college student ready to focus, or a professional looking to switch gears or level up? Parsons’ summer offerings have something just for you.

Why Should You Consider a Summer Program at Parsons?

You might wonder, “Why should I consider spending my summer at Parsons?” Excellent question! The answer lies in a blend of factors that make Parsons’ Summer Programs an educational and life-altering experience.

Imagine being in an environment that nurtures your creativity while pushing you to break the boundaries of conventional design and technology. Picture yourself working on real-world projects that add to your portfolio and solve actual problems.

It’s not just about learning; it’s about applying what you learn in a setting that mimics the challenges and opportunities of the professional world.

The Prestige of Parsons as an Institution

Founded in 1896, Parsons School of Design is a part of The New School and is situated in the heart of New York City. It has consistently been ranked among the top art and design schools globally, boasting a legacy few institutions can match.

The prestige of Parsons as an institution is not just in its age or location but in its commitment to innovation and excellence. Alums from Parsons are leading figures in industries ranging from fashion and graphic design to architecture and interactive media.

When you enroll in Parsons’ summer programs, you’re not just signing up for courses but becoming part of a legacy of excellence that can open doors for you in ways you’ve never imagined.

The Unique Opportunities Offered by Their Summer Programs

The programs offer a multidisciplinary approach, allowing you to explore intersections between different fields. You could be a fashion design student learning about sustainable materials or a graphic design enthusiast diving into the world of augmented reality.

Young curly student woman wearing backpack glasses holding books

The programs also offer unparalleled networking opportunities, connecting you with industry leaders, potential employers, and like-minded peers. Add to that the workshops, internships, and guest lectures woven into the curriculum, and you have a summer experience that is as enriching as it is enlightening.

It’s not just about honing your skills; it’s about expanding your horizons and stepping out of your comfort zone.

What Makes Parsons’ Summer Programs Stand Out?

The answer is multi-faceted, encompassing a range of elements that go beyond mere coursework. At Parsons, you’re not just a student; you’re an innovator, a problem-solver, and a visionary. The programs are designed to offer a holistic educational experience that transcends traditional boundaries.

From an interdisciplinary curriculum to real-world projects and unparalleled networking opportunities, Parsons’ summer programs provide a unique blend of elements that set them apart.

It’s not just about acquiring skills; it’s about applying them in a context that simulates the real world, preparing you for the challenges and opportunities in your career.

The Interdisciplinary Approach

One of the most compelling aspects of Parsons’ Summer Programs is the interdisciplinary approach to education. In today’s fast-paced world, the lines between different fields are increasingly blurred, creating a demand for professionals who can easily navigate multiple domains.

At Parsons, you’ll find programs that allow you to delve into the intersections between design, technology, business, and even social sciences. Imagine working on a project combining graphic design, data analytics, and behavioral psychology, or you’re interested in sustainable fashion, exploring how materials science and environmental ethics can inform design choices.

This interdisciplinary approach enriches your learning experience and makes you a more versatile and adaptable professional.

Real-world Experience

What sets Parsons’ summer programs apart is the emphasis on real-world experience. You won’t be confined to a classroom, listening to lectures and working on hypothetical projects. Instead, you’ll be able to engage in hands-on projects that address real-world challenges.

Whether designing a sustainable clothing line, developing a mobile app to solve a social issue, or creating a marketing strategy for a startup, the projects you work on will have practical applications.

This enhances your portfolio and gives you a taste of what it’s like to work in a professional setting. You’ll collaborate with peers, receive feedback from industry experts, and even have the chance to present your work to potential employers. It’s a dynamic, interactive learning environment that prepares you for the real world.

Networking Opportunities

In any industry, who you know can be as important as what you know. Parsons understands this, so it offers numerous avenues for connecting with industry leaders, alums, and like-minded peers.

You’ll have ample opportunities to expand your professional network, from guest lectures and workshops to social events and alums mixers. These connections can open doors for you, whether you land an internship, receive a job offer, or even find a mentor who can guide you in your career journey.

Who Can Benefit from These Programs?

The beauty of Parsons’ summer programs lies in their inclusivity and versatility. These programs are not designed for a specific age group or career stage; they cater to a wide range of individuals with diverse needs and aspirations.

Whether you’re a high school student contemplating a career in design, a college student looking to specialize further, or a seasoned professional aiming for a career pivot or advancement,  Parsons’ summer programs have something to offer you.

The curriculum is flexible yet comprehensive, allowing you to tailor your summer experience to meet your unique goals and interests. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach; it’s a personalized educational journey that recognizes and nurtures individual potential.

High School Students

For high school students,  Parsons’ summer programs are an invaluable introduction to design and technology. These programs offer pre-college courses that provide a solid foundation in various disciplines, from fashion design to game development.

Two women smiling on a camera

But it’s not just about learning the basics; it’s about getting a taste of what a career in these fields could look like. High school students can work on projects that simulate real-world challenges, thereby gaining practical experience that can give them a head start in their academic and professional journeys.

Moreover, the experience of being in a college-like environment helps students make more informed decisions about their future, providing insights that can be crucial when choosing a degree or career path.

College Students

For college students, Parsons’ summer programs offer an opportunity to delve deeper into their chosen fields. These programs provide advanced courses beyond the standard curriculum, allowing students to specialize in areas that interest them the most.

Whether it’s sustainable fashion, digital marketing, or interactive media, the programs offer courses aligned with industry trends and demands. College students also benefit from the real-world projects and internships that are part of the curriculum, providing them with practical experience that can be a significant advantage in a competitive job market.

It’s not just about earning credits; it’s about gaining skills and experiences that can set you apart from your peers.


Lastly, professionals stand to gain immensely from Parsons’ summer programs. In today’s rapidly evolving job market, continuous learning and upskilling are more critical than ever. Parsons offers continuing education courses for professionals looking to advance their careers or pivot to a new field.

Industry experts teach these courses and focus on practical, applicable skills that you can immediately implement in your work. Networking events, workshops, and guest lectures provide additional value, offering insights into industry trends and connecting you with potential employers or collaborators.

When you enroll in Parsons’ summer programs as a professional, you’re investing in your future—an investment that can pay off in the form of new opportunities, higher earning potential, and long-term career growth.

How Do You Choose the Right Program for You?

Choosing the right program from the myriad options offered by Parsons’ summer programs can feel daunting. After all, each program comes with its unique set of courses, projects, and experiences.

So, how do you navigate this sea of opportunities to find the one that aligns perfectly with your goals and aspirations? The answer lies in self-assessment, financial planning, and logistical considerations.

It’s not just about picking an exciting program; it’s about choosing one that fits your interests, skills, budget, and schedule. In the following sections, we’ll delve into these factors in greater detail, providing a comprehensive guide to making an informed decision.

Assess Your Interests and Skills

The first step in choosing the right program from Parsons’ summer programs is to assess your interests and skills. Are you passionate about sustainable fashion? Do you have a knack for graphic design? Or are you interested in the business side of the creative industries?

Once you’ve identified your interests, consider your skill level. Some programs are designed for beginners and provide a foundational understanding of the subject matter, while others are more advanced and require a certain level of expertise.

Parsons offers self-assessment tools and career counseling services to help you make an informed decision. Remember, choosing a program that interests you and challenges you to grow and develop your skills is the goal.

Financial Considerations

While Parsons’ summer programs offer an invaluable educational experience, it’s essential to consider the financial aspect. Tuition fees vary significantly between programs; additional costs like materials, accommodation, and travel can add up.

The good news is that Parsons offers a range of financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and payment plans, to make their programs more accessible. Before you enroll, make sure to explore these options and create a budget that takes into account all potential expenses.

Investing in your education is essential, but ensuring that you’re making a financially sound decision is equally crucial.

Duration and Flexibility

Last but not least, consider the duration and flexibility of the program. Parsons’ summer programs offer a range of options to suit different needs and schedules. Some programs are intensive, full-time experiences that last for several weeks, while others are part-time courses that can be completed in a shorter timeframe.

Additionally, some programs offer online options, providing greater flexibility for those who cannot commit to an in-person experience. Consider your other commitments, whether work, family, or other educational pursuits, and choose a program that fits into your life without causing undue stress or disruption.

After all, the goal is to enhance your skills and knowledge, not to overburden yourself.

What Are the Must-Try Programs?

With many options available, narrowing down the must-try programs within Parsons’ summer programs can take time and effort. However, a few standout courses consistently receive high praise for their comprehensive curriculum, hands-on projects, and industry relevance.

Whether you’re an aspiring fashion designer, a budding graphic artist, or an enthusiastic gamer, specific programs are designed to catapult you into the professional world with a robust skill set.

In this section, we’ll delve into three such programs—Fashion Design, Graphic Design, and Game Design—that students and industry professionals have lauded as transformative experiences.

Fashion Design

When it comes to Fashion Design, Parsons’ summer programs offer an unparalleled experience that goes beyond sketching and sewing. The program explores all aspects of the fashion industry, including materials, sustainability, and ethics.

You can work on projects that mimic real-world challenges, such as creating a sustainable clothing line or designing a collection for a specific target market. The program also includes workshops and guest lectures from industry experts, providing insights into the ever-evolving fashion world.

By the end of the course, you’ll have honed your design skills and gained a comprehensive understanding of the fashion industry, making you a well-rounded professional ready to take on various challenges.

Graphic Design

Graphic Design is another must-try program within Parsons’ summer programs, especially if you’re interested in visual communication. This program is not just about learning how to use design software; it’s about understanding design principles and how they can be applied to solve real-world problems.

a male student typing unto his laptop

You’ll explore topics like typography, color theory, and layout design while working on projects with practical applications. Whether designing a brand identity for a startup or creating visual assets for a social media campaign, the skills you acquire will be immediately applicable in a professional setting.

The program also includes workshops on emerging trends like augmented reality and interactive design, ensuring you’re well-equipped to meet the demands of the ever-changing digital landscape.

Game Design

Last but certainly not least, Game Design is a program that has gained immense popularity in recent years thanks to the booming gaming industry. Parsons’ summer programs offer a comprehensive Game Design course that covers everything from game mechanics and storytelling to programming and user experience design.

You’ll have the opportunity to work on your game project, applying the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired to create something that could be market-ready. The program also includes guest lectures from industry professionals and opportunities to showcase your work, providing a holistic educational experience that prepares you for a career in game design.

Whether you’re interested in console games, mobile games, or virtual reality experiences, this program will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

How Do You Apply, and What Should You Prepare?

Applying to such a prestigious institution can feel overwhelming, but fear not. The process, while thorough, is designed to ensure that each student is a good fit for the program and vice versa.

In this section, we’ll walk you through the critical steps of the application process, from the initial submission to portfolio requirements and even the interview stage.

By the end of this guide, you’ll clearly understand what you need to prepare to make your application to Parsons’ summer programs as strong as possible.

The Application Process

The first step in applying to Parsons’ summer programs is to visit their official website and navigate to the application portal. Here, you’ll find detailed instructions on what you must submit, including an application form, academic transcripts, and a statement of purpose.

a male student sitting inside a classroom and smiling

The statement of purpose is significant as it gives the admissions committee insight into why you’re interested in the program and what you hope to achieve. Make time to craft a compelling narrative showcasing your passion and highlighting your suitability for the program.

You can submit your application online once you’ve gathered all the required documents. Keep an eye on deadlines, as submissions are generally only sometimes accepted.

Portfolio Requirements

A portfolio is required to apply for many of the programs within Parsons’ summer programs, particularly those in design disciplines. The portfolio visually represents your skills and creativity, showcasing your best work in your chosen field.

The requirements can vary depending on the program, but you must include 10-20 pieces demonstrating various skills and techniques. It’s not just about showing off your technical prowess; the portfolio should reflect your unique style and vision.

Read the specific guidelines for your chosen program carefully, as some may require particular types of work or even a themed project.

Interview Preparation

You may be invited for an interview once your application and portfolio have been reviewed. This is a crucial part of the admissions process for Parsons’ summer programs, as it gives the committee a chance to get to know you better and assess your suitability for the program.

college student talking in a plaza while one of them is looking at the camera

The interview is usually conducted via video call and lasts about 20-30 minutes. To prepare, review your application and portfolio thoroughly, as you may be asked to discuss specific pieces or experiences.

Also, prepare answers for common questions like “Why are you interested in this program?” or “What do you hope to achieve during your time at Parsons?” Lastly, come prepared with your questions, as this shows your genuine interest in the program and can help you make a more informed decision should you be accepted.


As we end this comprehensive guide, it’s clear that Parsons’ summer programs offer an unparalleled educational experience beyond traditional classroom learning. Whether you’re a high school student looking to explore your creative passions, a college student aiming to deepen your expertise, or a professional seeking to pivot or upskill, these programs offer a unique blend of interdisciplinary education, real-world experience, and invaluable networking opportunities.

The prestige of Parsons as an institution adds another layer of value, providing you with a highly respected credential in various industries.

Ready to Elevate Your College Application with Parsons’ Summer Programs Experience?

If you’ve been inspired by the transformative potential of Parsons’ summer programs and are wondering how to leverage this experience in your college applications, look no further. At AdmissionSight, we specialize in helping students like you turn their passions and experiences into compelling narratives that resonate with college admissions committees.

Our team of experts understands the intricacies of the college admissions process and can provide personalized guidance on how to showcase your summer experience at Parsons to its fullest potential. We’ve covered you, from crafting a standout personal statement to building a portfolio that captures your unique skills and vision.

Take the chance to make your college application shine with the added luster of a Parsons’ summer programs experience. Contact AdmissionSight today for a free consultation and take the first step towards turning your college dreams into reality.

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