The College of Design is one of the smallest colleges within the University of Minnesota, and each apparel design graduating class ranges from 10-18 students. Because of this small size, you really get to know not only your classmates, but also your professors, on a personal level. The professors all know your name and really care about you as a student, and as an aspiring designer. The relationships you build with your classmates is also extremely helpful as a designer, because having people to bounce ideas off of in the development process is vital to the design as a whole.
As an apparel design pre-major/major, you will spend a lot of time outside of class working on your projects in studio. The University of Minnesota has two wonderful clothing design studios, these rooms house sewing machines, sergers, mannequins, large cutting tables, etc. Bonding with your classmates early is a great way to make your studio time more enjoyable. Having "studio parties" is a common activity for me on the weekends, where a group of my friends and I all go into studio to work on our projects together. Building close professional and personal relationships with your classmates and professors is something that is unique to the University of Minnesota's College of Design, and is a huge asset.