Pre-College: Game Design

Game designers need more than just a “good game idea.” They must understand all of the technical and creative aspects of the game development process so they can create the type of engaging experiences today’s players expect.


Students must have completed their sophomore, junior, or senior year* of high school in order to enroll in a Pre-College Program. See Admissions Information for more details about the additional application requirements for this course.

*Students MUST be within 18 months of their graduation date at the start of the program to be eligible for the Pre-College Program.


All Pre-College Program classes are held at DigiPen's campus in Redmond, WA (9931 Willows Road NE, Redmond WA, 98052). 

Program Details


Students in this track take the following courses:

  • Principles of Game Design (GD) introduces students to a number of game design topics, including randomness, game states, and playtesting. Students will also create, analyze, and test their own non-digital dice, card, and board games.
  • Applied Computer Science for Designers (CS) presents an overview of high-level scripting languages in game development and related topics such as data-driven technology, modular coding, function calls, and procedures.
  • Interactive Narrative and Character Creation (GAT) focuses on how to create stories and characters that integrate with gameplay. Students will study storytelling in various genres by implementing their narrative ideas into an existing game engine.
  • The Project Lab (L) portion of this track lets students apply the concepts they learn in the classroom to hands-on projects. This course culminates in a final collaborative game project.

Admissions Information

In addition to the other application materials, students applying to the Game Design track of the Pre-College Program must submit a one-to two-paragraph writing sample describing their favorite non-digital game, why it is their favorite, and one rule that they would change.

  • The online application form and a non-refundable $50 application fee.  Application fees can be submitted via check to DigiPen Institute of Technology (9931 Willows Road NE, Redmond, WA 98052) or by phone at 425-629-5007.
  • An official high school transcript that includes a list of all completed courses and grades earned. Please "Attn: ProjectFUN" on all materials mailed to DigiPen to avoid a delay in us receiving your materials. This can also be emailed to by a school official
  • A Statement of Purpose that discusses your reasons for applying to the Pre-College Program and how these reasons relate to your personal, educational, and/or professional goals.
    • Formatting Guidelines:  Electronic submissions must include the applicant’s name and the program to which he or she is applying at the top of each page, and the date of submission on the last page. The essay must be typed, double-spaced, and no longer than two pages. Please upload as a pdf. or word doc. within the online application form.
  • A one- to two-paragraph writing sample (for Game Design applicants only) that must meet the following criteria: 
    • The writing sample should describe your favorite non-digital game and explain why it is your favorite.
    • The writing sample should include one rule that you would change in your favorite game and why.
    • The writing sample should be clear, well-organized, and demonstrate excellent spelling and grammar.
  • An optional letter of recommendation from a teacher in the student’s subject area of interest. Letters of recommendation from family members or friends will not be considered.
Schedule and Tuition

Schedule for 2018

The Pre-College Program meets every Monday through Friday from June 25 to July 20, 2018. 

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. GD GD GD GD CSL
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. GAT CS GAT CS GATL
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
1:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Project Lab Project Lab Project Lab Project Lab Project Lab
  • GD: Principles of Game Design
  • CS: Applied Computer Science for Designers
  • CSL: Applied Computer Science for Designers Lab
  • GAT: Interactive Narrative and Character Creation
  • GATL: Interactive Narrative and Character Creation Lab

Times and courses subject to change.


$2,699 per four-week session, including a $50 non-refundable application fee. If admitted, students must submit a $549 non-refundable deposit within 10 business days of the date they are notified to secure their place in the program. The remaining balance of $2,100 is due by June 1, 2018.

Course materials are provided to students at no additional cost.

DigiPen's ProjectFUN offers workshops, camps and college prep courses for kids and teens. Technology courses are held in Redmond, WA (near Seattle and Bellevue), and online.