FAP—First-year Arts Program

At MIT, it seems that cold technology is king; the halls echo with the talk of molecules while books overflow with diagrams of particle accelerators and other expensive, shiny things. Life at MIT, however, is more than just blind enslavement to calculators and periodic tables. The joy and beauty of art and creativity permeate throughout the campus in a number of ways. FAP will introduce you to these arts and initiate you into MIT's vibrant arts community. So before you take your first steps into adulthood, experience five days of the kind of mind expansion and fun that would make a preschooler jealous.

In addition to introducing you to the artistic opportunities that MIT and the surrounding Boston area have to offer, FAP will also help you develop yourself as an artist. Artists from all levels and backgrounds are invited to join 30 of their fellow freshmen and 10 passionate upperclassman counselors in participating in everything from learning to tango to finger-painting. Within your first days you will meet people just as enthusiastic as you are about playing the violin or reenacting Monty Python sketches. Through early exposure to the arts at MIT, we hope that you will leave with the confidence, connections, and knowledge to become active participants and leaders in the MIT arts community. So come crash an artistic and ever-so-human wave on the shores of cold technology.

To see more about what FAP is all about, take a look at this movie made in FAP 2017.

What Will We Do?

For much of the five-day program, you'll explore different art forms with all your fellow FAPers and rediscover the creative kid in you. Such activities include putting on a very silly musical and taking part in a campus-wide scavenger hunt. We'll take excursions into the surrounding Boston area, from the Museum of Fine Arts to a local comedy club. We'll also have workshops put on by guest artists from MIT and the area that will give you the opportunity to try your hand at an eclectic variety of art forms from Senegalese drumming to improvisational comedy.  For a few hours each day, you'll spend time with a smaller group of FAPers and counselors immersed in a week-long project of your choice. This project can be whatever you want it to be and can combine many of the disciplines below or just focus on one of them. If there is another art form that is not included in the list below, we would welcome suggestions as well!

The Disciplines


If you've ever dreamed of wowing Symphony Hall, know the interval between the first and second note of your doorbell, or just like to rock out, then come jam with us! Whether your favorite artist is Mozart, Megadeth, or Mos Def, we'll give you a place to play, compose, and improvise with other freshmen. We'll also give you a taste of the countless music opportunities that MIT and Boston have to offer. 


If you love to flail your limbs around or are like a delicate flower in the breeze, come ready to learn some crazy dances and explore your creativity. Even if you have limited experience, you'll have the opportunity to learn many traditional and nontraditional dances. So if you're curious about those wacky French terms (plie? arabesque?), or just want to learn some some hip-hop, get ready for an energetic week.

Creative Writing

More than just careening through literary forms, juggling words and phrases, batting around one another's ideas and critiques, and wrestling Poe's ghost; bring the classic literary attitude and jump into the 21st century. You will have the chance to write the most fragile of poetry (or the most offensive), edit Family Guy episodes with lofty dialogue, come up with silly sketches, or create comic books. Almost everything involves words, doesn't it? All you need is an interest in words, an open mind, and an urge to express and share ideas.


If you've always appreciated the art and story behind designing games, we've got an awesome opportunity for you. No matter what kind of games you are interested, we know this is your chance to explore the artistic side of game design and see what opportunities available at MIT in regards to gaming. With FAP you'll have the chance to both work on some games and interact with students and faculty that use games at MIT every day! If you've got a love of fun, this one's for you.


No matter what your specific interest in theater, this discipline will enthrall you. We will toss aside poor Yorick's skull and look at the world of drama in fresh new ways. We'll spend time working on each aspect of a theatrical performance and go through exercises that will allow you to explore your talent, whether you're a beginner or an expert. You'll also have a chance to hear from different members of the Theater Arts faculty and student theater groups at MIT.

Visual Arts

Whether you put Monet and Manet to shame or if you don't know how to properly hold a brush, we'll have a great time exploring the motion and emotion involved with the visual arts. We'll paint the town (or canvas, rather) red, blue, and green with graffiti, experiment with ideas of architecture like space and form, sculpt something epic, and just generally get our hands dirty with all sorts of media. We'll meet with some amazing MIT faculty who are involved in the arts, get to know our fellow freshmen better, and find ways to stay actively involved in the arts at MIT.

FAP Specifics

  • Dates: Tuesday, August 21 - Sunday, August 26
  • Place: Freshmen will be housed in their assigned dormitory.
  • Available Spaces: 30
  • Cost: $200. The cost includes all meals and supplies.