Carnegie Mellon University

The college experience is more than the classroom experience. It’s a student experience.

At Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Programs, you will experience what life is like on a college campus. You will learn both inside and outside of the classroom. You will leave better prepared for your future.

Residential Experience

Students will be housed in residence halls that are typically used for Carnegie Mellon first-year undergraduate students.  Each building is staffed with a team of Resident Advisors (RAs) and a managing Community Advisor (CA) who is responsible for creating community and shaping the lived experience. These current Carnegie Mellon undergraduate students or recent CMU grads are selected through an intensive application and interview process. Prior to the arrival of the students, our residential staff receives robust training that gives them the tools needed to bolster a safe, inclusive, and supportive residential experience. Training includes (but is not limited to) conflict resolution, environment inclusivity, programming, supervision, and emergency response.


Students will have the opportunity to live in Carnegie Mellon's residential communities and experience an authentic college living experience. Most students will live in a double room with a roommate. Some residence halls have triple and quad rooms that will also be used during the Pre-College programs. The rooms are furnished with twin extra-long beds, chests of drawers, desks with chairs, closets, and wastebaskets. Linens (including pillows, sheets, comforters, towels, etc.) and fans are not supplied. 

Washers and dryers are available in each of the dorms at no charge. Detergent and any other laundry supplies are not supplied.

Housing Options

Students who are admitted to a Pre-College program will have the opportunity to choose their housing preference during the enrollment process. Students are randomly paired and will typically be placed in a double room with another student from their academic program. In the enrollment portal, students will have the opportunity to share their lifestyle preferences including sleep habits, wake-up schedule, and organizational preferences. Students are matched based on their academic program as well as their housing preferences.

Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Programs strive to provide a comfortable and safe housing environment for all students, including students who prefer gender-inclusive housing. Gender-inclusive housing has a limited capacity. Students will be informed of their housing style in June. 

The Pre-College gender-inclusive housing utilizes suite-style rooms that share semi-private bathrooms. The gender-inclusive floors are mixed-gender, while the other housing option is single-gender floors (male or female).
The Pre-College single-gender housing utilizes traditional-style housing with shared bathrooms. Floors are single-gender (male or female) but buildings are mixed gender.


Residential student meal plans are designed to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Monday through Friday. Brunch and dinner are provided on Saturday and Sunday. The main dining hall is located in Resnik Hall in the Resnik Café. Students will eat breakfast (Mondays through Fridays) and brunch (Saturdays and Sundays) at Resnik Café. All other meals can be eaten at Resnik OR any other dining venue on campus. We refer to meals outside of Resnik as “traveling meals”. Note: Monday, July 4, will be brunch and dinner.

In addition, residential students are provided with $12 per week (Sunday through Saturday – expires weekly) DineExtra funds that can be used at all dining venues on campus including Entropy (the campus convenience store located on the first floor of the Cohon University Center (CUC)).

Commuter student meal plans provide $14 per day Monday through Friday which is equivalent to $70 per week. The full value of $70 is available for use each Monday and any remaining funds in the account will expire on a weekly basis (the following Saturday at midnight).  

Activities and Events

Students have the opportunity to participate in many evening and weekend activities both on- and off-campus. Past events include:

  • Day trips* to local attractions such as Kennywood Amusement Park, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, theater productions with cast talkbacks, and a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game.
  • More than 50 Pre-College club offerings each summer including an introduction to collegiate acapella, art clubs, fitness clubs, sports clubs, gaming clubs, and much more.
  • Afternoons at local museums and art galleries (free of charge courtesy of the Arts Pass access on student’s CMU ID card). The CMU ID card also provides access to the Port Authority Transit (PAT) system for transportation within the city.
  • On-campus celebrations including a campus-wide July 4th event with all-day activities culminating in an evening of live music and an on-campus fireworks display.
  • Educational seminars with campus partners such as “How to Job” with the Career & Professional Development Center or “How to Career” with alumni speaking about specific career entry points and life skills needed.

*Off-campus trip tickets are available for purchase or reservation at a highly subsidized rate on a first-come, first-served basis. Bus transportation is provided. 

In addition to the Pre-College formal activities, our residential staff will also be responsible for engaging their floor community through a variety of building programs and co-floor activities.  

We also encourage Pre-College students to create their own programming with the aid of residential staff. These can include personal interest/hobby events (like a musical instrument jam or a book club), relaxation events (like cloud-watching), or inter-cultural events (like Big Questions or society’s news discussions), etc.

Student Support and Resources

To support our students, we offer a wide variety of campus resources for all aspects of the Pre-College experience.

We expect Pre-College students to arrive on campus ready to be independent, both socially and academically, as well as be prepared to manage their time and self-advocate for their immediate needs. We believe that participating in our Pre-College programs will help to enhance these skills for students who are ready for this while still offering a large variety of support for all students.

If you are interested in learning more about the services provided, please visit the links listed below and/or reach out to these departments directly*:

*For all University resources, summer hours and availability may differ from what is posted for the academic year. Summertime offerings will be given to students prior to arrival or in their welcome packet.

Carnegie Mellon's Pre-College participants must abide by the Code of Conduct. This collection of policies and procedures has been established to ensure the utmost safety and well-being of all who are involved with CMU Pre-College. The Code of Conduct can also be found in the enrollment portal accessible to admitted students.

What are some of the common terms students will hear in the process of becoming admitted to, and preparing to attend, Carnegie Mellon's Pre-College Programs?
  • Application Portal – This is where students will submit their application materials, essays, portfolios, and supplemental requirements (like tax forms). Students will learn of their application results here, via a link to be sent in an email.
  • Enrollment Portal* – This is where students will read relevant notifications, fill out preferences forms, and upload relevant documents like travel or medical forms.
  • SIO (Student Information Online)* – This is a portal where students will change their pronouns and/or mailing address, pay their bills, etc.
*NOTE: This will only be applicable to those admitted to a Pre-College program.

Does the residential staff live in the residence halls?
  • Yes. The RAs and CAs live in the residence halls and are available to respond 24 hours a day, every day. The residential staff will be proactive in building community by hosting activities as well as ensuring safety measures by enforcing curfew and all other policies.
  • All residential staff are compliant under PA Act 153 which requires a PA Criminal History, PA Child Abuse, and FBI Background check.
Do the residence halls have air conditioning?
  • All residence halls occupied by Pre-College programs are air-conditioned.
How are roommates assigned?
  • Roommates are assigned randomly and are matched first by gender and then by the academic program. Roommate information cannot be released prior to arrival on campus.
Are rooms equipped with refrigerators or microwaves?
  • Refrigerator/microwaves (combined) are available for rental on Opening Day (Saturday) ONLY at $90 for the duration of the program. The vendor will be set up to take orders and payments on Opening Day at the resource tables in the Cohon University Center. The units will be installed on Orientation Sunday. We encourage students to work with their roommates on Opening Day to determine if they would like to share a unit. 
How will students access their rooms? Are keys or ID Cards used?
  • The Carnegie Mellon ID Cards will act as the room keys. Students will tap their ID on the locking mechanism to unlock their rooms. If students lock themselves out of their rooms, they must follow the procedure to unlock their room via a smartphone app (instructions provided upon arrival) or they must contact Carnegie Mellon University Police (412) 268-2323 or the Pre-College 24/7 helpline (412) 212-8182.
  • In the event a student loses a Carnegie Mellon ID Card, it should be immediately reported via the SIO (Student Information Online) portal. There is a $25 charge for replacement of each lost ID. To obtain a new one, students should visit The Hub located in the lower level of Warner Hall. Please visit the Hub website for summertime hours of operation. After hours, students should visit the summer housing office in Stever House (located on Morewood Avenue, next to Mudge House) for a temporary card.
What will my first few days on campus be like?
  • Most students* will move in on Saturday, July 2. This is considered Opening Day. The day will be filled with staff members guiding participants to their dorms, distributing keys and welcome packets, residential staff meetings to introduce students to their dorm staff, academic meetings to meet their professors, etc.
    • *NOTE: International students are required to arrive on Thursday, June 30th. Domestic students who cannot arrive by NOON on Opening Day will have special arrangements to arrive on Friday, July 1st.
  • The next day, Sunday, July 3, is considered Orientation Day. This is a day filled with getting ‘the lay of the land'.  Students will take campus tours, find their class routes and cafeterias, and hear the Welcome Address. Some academic programs will have mandatory meetings (e.g., Drama, Game Academy, others).
What do students do on July 4th?
  • Students will not have classes for the observance of the July 4th holiday (Monday). There is a robust on-campus experience planned with a day of activities, live music, and a spectacular show of fireworks. Students are encouraged to stay on campus and participate in this exciting experience with the entire CMU community.
Can I change my residency status from resident to commuter?
  • If you wish to make a change to your residency status (resident to commuter), please contact the Pre-College program office at (412) 268-5914.
Are there televisions in the student rooms?
  • While televisions are not provided in student rooms, Pre-College students will have access to the campus cable network. You will need to bring a cable-ready digital TV and a coaxial cable to connect.
How safe is Carnegie Mellon University/Pittsburgh?
  • The Pittsburgh region has, for a long time, had one of the lowest crime rates in the country and remains one of the nation's safest cities. Its crime rate is half of the national metropolitan average; in fact, it is among the lowest of the 24 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.
  • Student safety is a top priority at Carnegie Mellon. The university employs a police department whose staff of police officers and security guards patrol the campus 24 hours a day on foot, by car, and by bicycle. Students attending Carnegie Mellon benefit from the cooperative relationship the University Police enjoys with federal, state, county, and city police agencies. The Campus Security Report, which documents crime statistics and security policies over the past 3 years, is available online for more information.
  • University Police has a Crime Prevention information table present on Opening Day to answer any questions students or their families may have. The Pre-College residential staff works to educate all students on safety procedures and emergency contacts during their time in the program. University Police and the Pre-College senior staff are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.