Summer Registration FAQ

Summer Registration—Frequently Asked Questions

When can I register for a workshop?
Summer registration begins on January 8. Fall and Spring registration begins in mid-June as soon as workshop descriptions are posted on our website.

When does summer registration begin and when is the deadline to apply?
If applying as a full pay regular student, registration begins on January 8 at 9 AM EST. Once registration is open, you may send an application either from our catalog or the website. We enroll students on a first come, first served basis throughout the fall, spring, and summer. Check our website for lists of open workshops.

If you are applying as a scholarship applicant, the scholarship application will be available in Slideroom on January 1. Applications for scholarships (including studio assistants) must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on February 17.

Why is it so hard to get into a Penland workshop?
Actually, it’s not. Most applicants are enrolled in their first choice workshop. Some of our workshops are so popular that they have very long waiting lists and people who only give us one workshop choice have a hard time getting into a workshop if they pick one of the most popular workshops. People who give us three or more workshop choices almost always get into a workshop. We keep an updated list of unfilled workshops on our website; we get cancellations all year long, so it’s worth checking regularly.

How can I increase my chances of getting into a summer workshop at Penland?
Be flexible and apply for more than one workshop. Last summer, out of ninety-eight workshops offered, thirty-one were filled through the lottery. However, applicants who listed more than one workshop choice were almost always accepted into one of their choices. It has been our experience that at least one person cancels prior to the beginning of almost every workshop. When this happens, we go to the next person on the waiting list to fill the available slot. Again, being flexible about workshops and sessions increases your chance of getting into one of the workshops that interest you. Many workshops are still open in April and May and even into the summer—you are welcome to call at any time to inquire about open workshops.

There is only one workshop I really want to take. Do I have to put a second choice on my application?
We encourage applicants to list more than one workshop choice to increase their chances of getting into a workshop. But don’t list a workshop as a second or third choice unless you’d really like to take it.

How do I know if I have enough skill to take a workshop at Penland?
Most of our workshops are open to students of all skill levels, including beginners. If a workshop says “all levels” at the end of the course description, this means that the instructor is willing to work with students regardless of their prior experience. Bear in mind, however, that Penland workshops can be very intense and you will be expected to work hard and to push yourself, whether you are a beginning or an experienced student. We often have workshops where beginners work side by side with people who have years of experience or may even be making their living from their craft. In most cases, everyone benefits from this contact. An experienced student might be able to help a beginner; less experienced students often bring great energy to a workshop and may have fewer preconceptions about what they are doing. 

Some of our workshops require or recommend some prior experience. This information is stated at the end of the course description. Very few workshops ask you to send a letter of intent or images of your work so the instructor can select the students.

If I am enrolled in one of my alternate choices of workshop, will I remain on the waiting list for my first choice?
Yes, if you are enrolled in one of your other workshop choices we will keep you on the waiting list for your first choice. If a space opens, and you are next on the waiting list, we will be sure and call you. We always try to give people their first choice.

How do I get on the waiting list for a workshop that is full?
You need to fill out an application and either fax it (to 828-765-7389) or mail it to the registrar. You may also submit an online application. However, if you apply and you are placed on a waiting list, your application fee and deposit will not be processed unless you are enrolled.

If a class is full do I have to pay the $50 nonrefundable processing fee to be on a waiting list?
If the workshop is full, no processing fee will be collected unless we are able to enroll you into a workshop.

I want to attend Penland with my spouse/partner, can you guarantee that we both get into a workshop during the same session?
We do not give couples/partners priority. Again, being flexible is good. If you are both interested in workshops offered in First and Second Sessions, for example, and you are not both enrolled, you can choose to switch to a session that has workshop spaces for both of you, or one person can remain on the waiting list, with fingers crossed.

When will I be notified whether I got into a workshop?
You will receive notification of your application status with 7 business day of your application submission via the mailing address you indicate on your application.  For international students, correspondence will will arrive via email.

If I am notified that I am on the waiting list, what are my chances of getting in the workshop(s) I want?
There is no way of predicting this, but we often have cancellations in workshops that are full. Once a spot becomes available, we start calling people on the waiting list until we fill the spot. Again, the more flexible you are, the better your chances of getting into a workshop.

Is there a fee for canceling if I drop my workshop after I am enrolled?
Yes. This is our cancellation and refund policy for summer workshops: If you cancel any time up to 45 days before the beginning of the workshop, you will receive a full refund minus $100 cancellation fee and the $50 nonrefundable processing fee. If you cancel later than 45 days before the beginning of the workshop, there is no refund. For our fall or spring concentration: If you cancel any time of to 45 days before the beginning of the workshop, you will receive a full refund minus $250 cancellation fee and the $50 nonrefundable processing fee.

How many workshops can I take at the same time?
One. To take a workshop at Penland is to immerse oneself in one studio and one workshop. Each workshop is structured by the instructor, but most workshops are a mix of demonstrations, lectures, individual studio work and field trips. Most workshops start around 10 AM and go into the evening. You are welcome, of course, to visit other studios and observe the work being done there.

Can I bring my pet?
No. Students are not permitted to have pets with them at Penland.

What is the housing like on campus?
Penland housing is quite simple. Buildings are not air-conditioned—the climate is moderate and it is often cooler at night. Furnishing is basic: a bed and a place to put your clothes. Dormitories are housing units with between four and 13 beds per room (no bunks). We do our best to match students with the type of housing they request and with students of similar age, but this is not always possible. Housing assignments are made shortly before the session begins.

If I have a friend or spouse come with me, but they do not take a workshop, can they stay on campus with me?
No. Penland has limited housing so we can only house students enrolled in workshops. We can provide a local accommodations list upon request.

How do I apply if I want to take more than one workshop in a summer?
When filling out your application indicate first choice by each workshop you wish to attend and include a $250 deposit for each first choice workshop.

May I attend several classes in the same summer with a scholarship?
No. Our goal is for our scholarships to benefit as many people as possible, and we get many more scholarship applications than we can accommodate. For this reason, we can only award one scholarship per student per summer. However, you are welcome to apply for up to five workshops, which may be in different sessions. The more choices you give us, the greater the likelihood that we will be able to award you a scholarship.

Occasionally, scholarship students cancel during the summer and their spaces are filled by scholarship students who are already here and are willing to stay for another session, but this happens only after we have tried to award that scholarship to all available alternate candidates from the scholarship selection process.

If I want to apply for a work-study scholarship, where should my two letters of recommendation come from?
We suggest you get letters from either teachers or employers, or one from each. We look at your interest in the workshop you are applying for and your commitment to the work you will do in the studio (i.e., are you a good student?) and we want to know that you will work hard for the school as part of your scholarship (i.e., will you show up on time and wash pots and pans on your work-study shift?). Your letters should be from people who best speak to these qualities.

If I apply for a scholarship and do not receive one, may I then apply as a full-paying student?
Yes. If you are not awarded a scholarship you may then apply as a full paying student (bearing in mind that the workshop you are interested in may be full by then). You cannot, however, apply simultaneously for both a scholarship and as a full-paying student. You can only apply as a full paying student once you are notified that you did not receive a scholarship. We generally get about 350 more scholarship applications than the number of scholarships available, so it is important that people applying for these scholarships really need them.

Who should I address my scholarship application letter to?
The “scholarship selection committee” is fine.

Can I apply for a work-study scholarship if I am not a citizen or resident of the United States?
State Department regulations do not permit us to accept or sponsor foreign students for work-study scholarships or studio assistantships. We have been clearly informed that we are not permitted to allow foreign students to work in exchange for reduced tuition, room and board. Foreign students can, however, apply for the full scholarships which do not have a work requirement and, of course, they may apply as regular/full-paying students. This restriction does not apply to foreign citizens who are already permitted to work in the United States (i.e. residents with green cards).

May I select a meal plan?
Students who are staying off campus can select a meal plan. Students who are staying on campus pay for meals as part of the room and board charge.

Can I take just one week of a two-week workshop?
While we can’t stop anyone from leaving early, our instructors carefully plan their workshop based on their allotted duration. We don’t offer the option of enrolling in only a portion of a workshop.