contemporary dancer


No other school like Perpich exists in Minnesota. We are a public, tuition-free, residential, arts high school that is open to every junior and senior in the state.

You’ve heard about Perpich Arts High School. You’re curious. Could this be the right place for you to complete your high school career?

We offer a full arts program that includes media arts, visual arts, and literary arts as well as the performing arts of dance, theater (including a musical theater track), and music. We provide a community focused on learning, exploring, and creating. We are open to possibilities. We seek originality. We expect the unexpected. We don’t settle for the usual.

We respect one another and assume we are all serious about pursuing excellence in our art and scholarship for the two years we are together.

Sharing our art with the broader community is a key component of our work here. Being able to explain our art—through both speech and writing—is critical. Understanding ourselves as artists is foundational. We understand that art is a pursuit that will open us to our fullest potential, whether as painters or dancers or writers or surgeons or entrepreneurs or engineers.

If you are passionate about your art, if you want to study with others who are passionate about their art, if the idea of spending three hours every day pursuing your art sounds like a dream come true, Perpich may be exactly where you belong. Because everyone who is here belongs.

To come to Perpich, you must complete a competitive admissions process. This can sound intimidating. You might think the only students accepted are bound to be “better” than you. But this isn’t true. We have terrifically talented students. Some come with years of training; others come with a guitar and song lyrics on a piece of scrap paper. Some went to art camp every summer and others worked summer jobs.


They have what everyone who is accepted here has, three indispensable qualities: Passion. Potential. Open-minded curiosity to step beyond their current knowledge into new worlds.

Is that you?

Please reach out to Anne Johnson, Admissions, or more information, or contact Admissions by phone 763-279-4195 or email.

Admissions Process

Application priority deadline is Feb. 1 of each calendar year. The application and admission process takes place over a three-month period. Admission reviews take place during March and admission decisions are made in early April. If space remains in any of the arts areas, a second round of applications may be accepted.

We have a complete Admissions FAQ below to help you foresee, plan, and prepare.

You may decide to come to an information session, shadow a current Perpich student, or take a separate tour with members of your family before applying. These activities can give you a glimpse of the high school, dormitory, classes, and social life at Perpich.

Admissions Faq

In this section, you will find frequently asked questions (and their answers) regarding Perpich Arts High School’s application process, on everything from applying to admissions reviews.

NOTE ABOUT ADMISSION REVIEWS: Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled admission review time.

How can I find more about Perpich Arts High School?

When you consider applying to Perpich, you have several ways to find out more about the school:

  • Explore our website and social media.
  • Attend an Information Session. These are held several times throughout the fall and winter. Check the calendar to see if they have been scheduled for the coming year.
  • Arrange to shadow a current student in the arts area of our choosing. We accept shadows who are 9th graders and older.
  • Arrange for a tour of the school.
How do I apply to Perpich?

Fill out the Application form along with the Academic Recommendation form and send them to the Admissions office.

What do I need to apply?

The application consists of the following required elements:

  1. The application form
  2. Short Answer Questions
  3. Academic recommendation
  4. Transcript, grade 9 to present, with current class schedule
  5. Attendance report, grade 9 to present
  6. Release of Information
May I apply in more than one arts area?

You should choose only one arts area in which to apply. If you are struggling to choose, you may shadow at Perpich in those areas you are considering to help you determine which one is the best fit for you. Appeals to this rule may be made but are discouraged. You may not mark two areas without permission and must note that permission was granted on your application. Contact Admissions for permission. Under no circumstances may more than two areas be marked.

What is the deadline to apply?

The first deadline for applications each year is February 1st.

Late applications will be reviewed on a space-available basis. Please reach out to Anne Johnson, Admissions, for more information. If you are a sophomore or junior during the current school year who is a legal resident of Minnesota, you are eligible to apply to Perpich Arts High School.

What do I need to do to be accepted?

To be accepted into Perpich you need to:

  • Complete your application form and the additional requirements for application (essay, recommendation, transcript)
  • Have a grade-point-average of 2.0 or better. This is recommended for juniors and is required for incoming seniors. Circumstances leading to a lower than 2.0 GPA for an incoming junior will be considered, either by attaching a letter of explanation to the transcript or during admission review interviews.
  • Have satisfactorily completed algebra 1 and geometry. We prefer and advise students to complete physical education and health courses before applying to Perpich. If you do not have the physical education requirements for graduation completed, you should be aware that Perpich offers only yoga as a course satisfying state P.E. credit and, if repeated, health credit.
  • Have at least 10 completed classes as an incoming junior and 19 completed classes as an incoming senior. You must be on track to graduate (using State of Minnesota guidelines) in terms of having completed required coursework appropriate to an incoming junior or senior.
  • Be invited and complete an admission review in which you successfully audition or a have your portfolio of work assessed. Without successful completion of all of these elements, you will not be accepted to attend.
Should I send my portfolio or DVDs/CDs with the application?

No, if you are accepted for the next step of application, the admission review, you will receive instructions about bringing/submitting samples of your work/performances.

What happens after I send in my application?

It might seem like forever, but you will receive a letter in the mail approximately one month after your application deadline. For almost everyone, the letter will confirm that you are being invited to an admission review and include the date that has been set for your review.

We do mail a small number of letters each year notifying some applicants that they will not be invited for an admission review. This is usually due to student records that do not indicate improvement, a high number of absences, and/or failure in classes required for graduation in Minnesota. In those situations, we feel Perpich Arts High School will not be able to offer a student adequate academic support and assurance of graduation.

For those going forward, two weeks before your admission review date, you will receive another letter from us.

The second letter will explain the procedure for the admission review in your specific art area and it will give you an assignment to complete and bring with you to the review. This assignment will be inspired by either five words or five images sent with the letter. If you have any questions regarding the assignment, contact us immediately.

If you do not receive this assignment letter two weeks before your review date, please notify us immediately. It is important for you to have sufficient time to prepare your assignment.

What if I have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or other individualized learning plan (504s etc.)?

We regularly accept students to Perpich with IEPs and other individualized learning plans. We have special education staff who manage those plans and work closely with the students who have them. This is not an issue for acceptance.

What if I don't live in Minnesota but want to apply to Perpich?

The statutes governing Perpich Center for Arts Education and the high school dictate that eligible applicants are students who live in the state at the time of the admission review process and at the time of enrollment. This statute applies if you are living with a parent or with a legal guardian. If living with a guardian, the statute says the arrangement must be “primarily for the purpose of care and support and not for the primary purpose of receiving an education in Minnesota.”

How do I get ready for literary arts, media arts, and visual arts reviews?

If you are applying in literary arts, you will be asked to send in eight to ten pages of your writing at least one week prior to your admission review. These pages may include any recent (within the past year) creative writing you have pursued outside of class work: poetry, memoir, short story, chapter from a novel, play, or screenplay, etc.

Applicants in media arts and visual arts will bring their portfolios with them on the day of the admission review. Those portfolios may contain five to eight pieces. In media arts they may include a short (three-four minutes maximum) video or animation as well as still photos. In visual arts, sketchbooks and 3D as well as 2D works are welcomed.

How do I get ready for dance, music, and theater reviews?

Applicants in dance, music, and theater will come to the admission review with any materials needed for their audition (music, instruments, etc.) and dressed appropriately to perform their assignments and auditions.

What happens at the admissions review?

Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled admission review time.

As your assignment letters will explain, each arts area follows the same general format for an admission review, not necessarily in the order below.

  • A presentation of your five words/five images assignment.
  • An examination and discussion of your portfolio (in literary arts, media arts, and visual arts) or audition (in dance and music). Theater does not require an audition piece beyond the advance five-images assignment.
  • A spontaneous activity in which you will be asked to react to a specific request: to write, draw, construct, photograph, or perform according to specific prompts. In the studio and literary arts, the spontaneous activity is individual; in the performance arts, it will be a group activity with other applicants.
  • An interview in which you discuss your work, your academic record, areas in which you want to grow and learn, your plans for the future, and why you feel Perpich is the right school for you.

Parents may not accompany their students into the admission reviews unless serving as an accompanist in a music audition. Accompanists will leave after the audition is performed. We provide a waiting area for parents, along with refreshments.

Who sits on the admission review panels?

Each review panel has up to three people, including a Perpich arts instructor from the arts area in which you are applying and a Perpich academic teacher. There may also be an outside expert/practitioner in the arts area in which you are applying.

What is the admission review panel looking for?
  • Skill level appropriate to your background and past opportunities to study in your art
  • Potential for improvement and growth in your art and academically
  • Curiosity and willingness to step beyond the work you’ve done to date
  • An ability to articulate why your art is important to you
  • A clear idea of how attendance at Perpich, rather than your current school, will further your education in ways that will impact your future
  • Passion for your art; it has to be more than just “fun” for you. It should be integral to how you think of yourself and express yourself. It should be something you pursue on a regular basis outside of school hours or lessons.
Arts High School

Plan your Visit

Are you thinking Perpich Arts High School might be the place for you? We would welcome a visit from you to learn more! Check our schedule for Information Sessions or contact Admissions to plan a shadow day.

“Perpich is the best school for me because it provides a diverse student population, artistic environment, and academic opportunities that can't be found anywhere else in the state.”

Literary Arts Student from Plymouth

“My teachers encourage me to push myself outside of my comfort zone and to always strive to better my art, never settling for good enough.”

Theater Student from Sartell

"For 17 years I’d carried the bulk of my children’s education myself. Sending the two oldest away to Perpich was a huge step of faith and I have not been disappointed. The teachers, in particular, have been fabulous!"

Perpich Arts High School Parent

"[Perpich] was a hugely formative experience for me and I think gave me many of the tools to get to this point of doing meaningful work that I love."

Andrew Edman (Visual Arts 2005)

“From the moment I came to Perpich, it was like a college campus, with an emphasis on independence and finding your own self, with training in academics and becoming an artist.”

Trent Ramert (Theater 2020)

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