As the sole criterion for admission to the Curtis Institute of Music is artistic promise, there is no minimum age required for enrollment. Any student aged 17 or younger would be classified as a younger student and will be given additional support from the associate dean of student life and international student affairs. Younger students are required to simultaneously enroll in primary or secondary school, per state law, while pursuing studies at Curtis. These responsibilities are significant and Curtis provides additional resources for these students accordingly.
Curtis requires any younger student to reside with a parent or guardian. Students are not eligible to reside in Lenfest Hall until they reach 17 years of age AND have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent, such as a GED. A 16-year-old high school graduate would still need to reside with a parent or guardian. A 17-year-old in the final year of high school would also need to reside with a parent or guardian. This rule protects the health and safety of younger students.
We recommend that younger students and their parent(s) or guardian(s) secure housing in center city Philadelphia to be in proximity to Curtis buildings. It is not uncommon for lessons, coachings, rehearsals, recordings, recitals, or performances to occur in the evenings after dark. The director of student financial assistance and the associate dean of student life and international student affairs can advise on nearby rental properties. Shortly after a younger student is accepted to Curtis, the director of student financial assistance will contact the student and their family to discuss financial aid that can be used towards housing costs.
Younger students are required to simultaneously enroll in primary or secondary school, per state law, while pursuing studies at Curtis. Students have the option of enrolling in their district public school, enrolling in a private school, enrolling in a cyber or online school, or being homeschooled.
Families residing in Philadelphia can identify their assigned public school through the Philadelphia Department of Education School Finder: https://webapps1.philasd.org/school_finder/
Families residing outside of Philadelphia County can identify their assigned public school through their township office or county office. Some younger students have found the daily schedule of public school to be incompatible with the additional responsibilities of Curtis classes and instrument practice, so the options below are more common. Each student and their family is able to decide what option is best, in consultation with Curtis administrators.
Curtis has had a successful relationship with The City School, a Philadelphia private school which offers Curtis students a flexible daily schedule. Many Curtis students attending The City School take their primary or secondary school classes in the morning and conclude shortly after noon each day, leaving the afternoon and evening available for Curtis obligations and practice. The City School has a primary school campus and a separate secondary school campus, both located in short distance to Curtis. Public transportation is available to these locations as are ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. It is about 15 minutes by car or 2 miles distance. The City School website is https://cityschool.org/
Philadelphia is home to many other independent schools, including girls-only, boys-only, and religiously-affiliated schools. A useful directory can be found through the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, https://www.paispa.org/.
Younger students wishing to pursue primary or secondary school through a cyber or online school must meet with the dean and designated administrators. Each such request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Any cyber or online school must be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. A list of accrediting agencies can be found at https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
Students should be prepared to share the curriculum and academic plan and the contact information of a parent, guardian, guidance counselor, or academic coordinator with whom Curtis may communicate about the student’s academic progress.
A student wishing to be homeschooled for primary or secondary study must follow all Pennsylvania Homeschool Laws. The full text of these Laws can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website and the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website listed below:
In summary, to homeschool a student in Pennsylvania:
- The teacher must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).
- The family must file a notarized affidavit with the local superintendent by August 1. The affidavit must include:
- Name of parent/teacher, name and age of child/children, address and phone number
- Assurance that subjects are taught in English
- Outline of proposed education objectives by subject area
- Evidence of required immunizations
- Evidence of medical services required by law
- Certification that the home education program will comply with state laws
- Certification of criminal background check
- The family must provide the required days and hours of instruction, and teach the required subjects
- The family must maintain a portfolio of student work, including required testing
- The family must have the child evaluated each year by a qualified evaluator
Further details about the affidavit, required subjects, and a directory of qualified evaluators can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website listed above.
The primary or secondary school plans for each younger student must be approved by the deans and documented at the beginning of each academic year.
Curtis must keep record of the name and location of the school or a copy of the homeschool affidavit. Students will be asked to submit transcripts or grade reports at the conclusion of each term. Students must maintain satisfactory grades in all outside schooling or their status at Curtis may be in jeopardy. Satisfactory grades are a 2.0 cumulative gpa on a 4-point gpa scale, or a 3.0 cumulative gpa on a 5-point gpa scale.
Other resources for families of K-12 students in the state of Pennsylvania, including mental health, vaccinations, and food assistance, can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
Younger Student Employment
Any student under the age of 18 is considered a minor per Pennsylvania state and United States federal law. Students under the age of 18 are subject to Child Labor Laws which regulate the types and amount of employment in which a minor may participate. These laws are articulated in the Financial Aid Handbook and also summarized here:
- Students under age 18 who have graduated from high school are permitted to work on-campus.
- Students under age 18 who have not graduated from high school are not permitted to engage in any work on-campus, except on a purely volunteer basis.
- Volunteer basis assumes that the activity is such that no person ever gets pay for doing it. For example, filing papers in the Business Office is a work-study job that a typical student gets paid to do. If a student were to engage in this work, but simply refuse payment, this would still be considered work in the eye of the law. True volunteer work is an activity that no one ever gets pay to do.
- Students under age 18 who have not graduated from high school must file paperwork with the Business Office in order to perform on-campus (Lab, Opera Orchestra, etc.)
- Students under age 18 who have not graduated from high school are not permitted to engage in any work off-campus, including private concerts or performances. Exceptions to this policy are considered on a case-by-case basis, and are reviewed by the dean.