Interlochen Arts Academy is one of two academic divisions of the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts. Founded in 1962, it is America’s first independent boarding school for the arts and remains the leading institution of its kind. Students who attend Interlochen Arts Academy receive a state-mandated high school education with heavy emphasis on the arts. Core classes with subjects outside of the arts—math, science, history—are taught in a manner that encourages creativity.
Interlochen Arts Academy covers grades 9-12, also offering a post-graduate year for students who desire further college preparation. Students can attend the school for all four or five years, or transfer in at any level. The school offers seven major areas of study: comparative arts, creative writing, dance, motion picture arts, music (including instrumental, vocal, composition, and singer-songwriter), theatre arts (including performance, design, and production), and visual arts. Admission to the school requires an extensive application process, including an essay, multiple recommendation letters, and an audition/portfolio submission. Around 500 students attend the academy annually.
The Academy is a private boarding school. Students attend class from morning until evening, spend time on campus, eat in a local cafeteria hall, and stay in the residence halls. However, local attendees can save costs by opting to be day students. The school is LGBT-inclusive and also includes international students in its roster.
Students from Interlochen Arts Academy find success in several fields. The school has produced 43 Presidential Scholars—more than any other high school in the country. Graduates from the Academy have matriculated in prestigious universities and artistic institutes, from the New England Conservatory of Music to New York University. Famous alumni throughout the years include singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, Oscar-winning actress Linda Hunt, and thespian David Burtka.