New Student Orientation 20-21

Congratulations on your admission to Curtis! Every member of our campus community—the faculty, staff, and a team of student peers—looks forward to welcoming you to the Curtis family. The Office of Student Life helps students make this transition with a week-long Orientation program that introduces students to both academic and non-curricular life at Curtis.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please check this page frequently for updates. We anticipate needing to follow social distancing protocols in the Fall due to COVID-19. Portions of New Student Orientation may be moved online for the health and safety of all participants. Always check your email, and be in touch with dean Meredith Tarditi with any questions that you might have.

Over the Summer

Complete all forms and submit online to dean Meredith Tarditi by June 1, 2020.

Complete your medical preparation prior to arrival at Curtis.             

  • Know your medical history. Obtain your medical records to bring with you and keep on hand.
  • If you are allergic to a drug, know the name and how the allergy manifests.
  • If you take medication, bring an extra prescription or have one filled to last you until you have established a relationship with a local physician and pharmacy.
  • Write down your vision prescription so you’ll have it if/when you purchase new eyewear.
  • Bring a thermometer and learn how to know if you have a fever.
  • Choose your health insurance -- either covered by your parents' or enrolled in the Curtis student health plan.
  • Be up to date on your vaccines. Two doses of the meningitis vaccine are routinely administered in high school, but anyone who did not should definitely get it before starting college. All students enrolled at Curtis are required to have the meningitis vaccine. The tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster, given to adolescents and adults, protects against whooping cough, another relatively common infection among college students. Flu vaccines are administered at no cost to students in the fall semester on Wellness Day.

Learn about life at Lenfest Hall.

Getting to Know Philadelphia

Philadelphia is recognized as a city of global distinction and is proud to join a prestigious network of 300 World Heritage Cities around the world. This 28-minute documentary gives a wonderful introduction to the city you will soon call home! Philadelphia: America's First World Heritage City is written and narrated by University of Pennsylvania Professor of History of Art, David B. Brownlee, Ph.D., FSAH, and produced and directed by filmmaker Sam Katz.



Read more about Philadelphia's arts and cultural offerings for Curtis students here.

Admitted Student FAQs

Yes. All incoming students need to attend and complete Orientation in order to register for classes. Schedules are announced at the end of Orientation week. All meals are provided by Parkhurst Dining Services throughout Orientation week. Meal plans begin Friday, August 30 with breakfast.

Guidelines for your ID photo are below.

  • In color
  • In JPG format, with good resolution
  • Recent to reflect your current appearance
  • Eyes open
  • Full face visible
  • No sunglasses or dark glasses that obscure the eyes
  • Eyeglasses are OK as long as there is no glare or shadow that obscures the eyes
  • Remember to smile!

Email your photo as a JPG file attached to an email by June 1, 2019 to Nan Alderson.

All new students are scheduled for a pre-set advising appointment on Wednesday, August 28 to discuss curriculum, classes, and schedule.

Whether or not you have taken any college courses for credit or AP courses, SATs, TOEFLs etc., all records, test scores, official transcripts should be sent to:

Office of the Registrar
Curtis Institute of Music
1726 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

All incoming students take the Musical Studies placement exam, which will take place on Monday, August 26. The results of these exams determine which level of Harmony, Counterpoint, and Solfège best suits your needs and abilities.

The Musical Studies placement exam determines your knowledge of music theory and includes the identification of intervals, scales, chords, and keys, as well as progressively more difficult harmony and counterpoint exercises. There will also be a placement “interview” with members of the Musical Studies faculty to determine your proficiency in solfège, sight-signing, clef reading, interval recognition, and piano skills. If you have studied piano, please be prepared to play an excerpt from a piece you’ve recently learned.

If you are entering the Bachelor of Music degree program, you may need to take the English Literature placement exam. The results of the exam determine your level of preparedness for Liberal Arts courses. If you need to take this exam, it will be on Monday, August 26.

Yes, parents and guardians are always invited to attend an orientation program in order to speak with administrators, tour facilities, ask questions, and assist their student with move-in and adjustment. Given current circumstances with COVID-19, we anticipate having both online and virtual Orientation options. Please check both your email and this website frequently for updates throughout the summer.

New incoming students living at Lenfest Hall are encouraged to find local accommodations. Some hotels in the vicinity of Curtis provide special discount rates should you need accommodations during your visit. Please mention the Curtis Institute of Music when making your reservations. If you mention “college campus visit rate” when making your reservation, you may receive a discounted rate.

Club Quarters Philadelphia, 1628 Chestnut Street, (215) 282-5100 

Warwick Hotel Rittenhouse Square, 1701 Locust Street, (800) 333-3333 (toll-free) 

Incoming students who were born on or after September 1, 1997 and will hold a high school diploma by September 1, 2019 are required to live in Lenfest Hall during their first two years of study at Curtis. For those student who are not required to live in Lenfest Hall for 2019-20, it is important to consider living options for next year.

The Academic Calendar for 2019-20 provides information including fall and spring semester through graduation. Requests to be released in advance of break, OR after start of classes because of pre-purchased airline tickets will be denied.

Parkhurst Dining Services provides exceptional culinary experiences and dining services at Curtis. Parkhurst is known in the educational dining industry for serving a variety of fresh, healthy, and great tasting food. Menu items are rotated weekly, freshly composed salads are featured on the salad bar, and premium late night options are always offered. Students also enjoy special event catering. From Local Food Dinners to highly acclaimed Guest Chefs series, Parkhurst chefs provide a culinary "education" as they describe the fresh ingredients and local agriculture used to prepare the selections, and will also make recommendations if guests ask for complimentary flavors.

Meal plan programs give students the flexibility to eat when they want to, all while promoting dining services as a destination to live and learn. Meal plans for 2019-20 are available for Lenfest Hall residents and students living off campus as well. Read more about meal plan options.

Visit the Curtis Store to browse everything from t-shirts to totes and more. For a shortcut, scroll down to the website footer and click on "Shop".

Carefully read over the F1 visa document listed above in the Over the Summer section. Send all necessary documents to dean Tarditi by June 1, 2020. Visit the Study in the States website for additional information and resources students studying in the U.S. with F1 status. You can choose from among many languages to access the website.

Curtis students have the opportunity to perform in chamber groups, opera performances, orchestra and chamber group tours, solo performances, and auditions within the United States and around the world. All students should possess a valid passport at all times.  Every student must submit a copy of their passport on the Student and Parent/Guardian Information Form. Any questions related to passports may be directed to dean Tarditi.

There are a few cross-cultural insights you need to know to help with your adjustment to the American grading structures and traditions. We invite you to familiarize yourself with Cross-Cultural Insights on course work, writing papers, paraphrasing, understanding the letter system for grading, study groups, library resources, English as a Second Language and more.