The preparatory year is an extensive preparatory programme for the Bachelor's degree programme in Fine Arts and Design. It is open to students up to the age of 25, who have at least achieved a HAVO (senior general secondary education) or MBO (senior secondary vocational education) diploma at level 4 or an equivalent qualification. It involves three to four compulsory half-day sessions every week.

The group classes in fine arts, 3D and 2D design, drawing and theory teach students to reflect on the work they produce for assignments and projects over the course of 25 weeks. The theoretical part of the curriculum also includes writing assignments. After the final presentation in April, students who have passed can be directly admitted to the Basicyear of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie or proceed for admissions at another art academy.