Skip to content

Portfolio Plus Program

The Portfolio Plus Program invites high school students to take college-level art and design courses. You will spend your mornings learning the fundamentals of drawing and your afternoons pursuing a studio concentration of your choice: communication design, fashion design, or studio art. With guidance from Sam Fox School faculty, you will work throughout our intensive three-week program to develop strong portfolios for college admission. Studio work is rounded out by field trips, tours, and lectures from local artists and designers, as well as a workshop on college admissions.

Student Work


Each weekday morning, you will take part in a Drawing course, where you will use a variety of wet and dry media to learn the fundamentals of line, composition, form, space, and modeling. Demonstrations and illustrated lectures supplement studio sessions. You’ll build a solid body of work that showcases essential skills for incoming college students.

During the afternoon session, you will pursue your choice of one of three concentrations, which reflect the degree paths offered through the Sam Fox School’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program:

Communication Design: Positioned at the intersection of graphic design, illustration, and interaction design, Communication Design will introduce you to visual problem solving using elements of two-dimensional design, such as visual hierarchy, composition, typography, color, and image making. The course explores both traditional and digital tools, with studio assignments supported by workshops to develop computer skills.

Fashion Design: Fashion Design focuses on the relationship between clothing and contemporary culture. You’ll begin by learning to conceptualize and illustrate your designs two-dimensionally. Sketches translate into wearable artworks, with a focus on construction, proportion, and form. Your work culminates in a final garment constructed from alternative materials.

Studio Art: Studio Art explores techniques and strategies for working across disciplines in visual art. With an emphasis on experimentation and thinking through making, the course will expand your base of technical skills and equip you with a greater understanding of how the interrelation of form, content, materials, and process give work its meaning.



We’ll take field trips to some of the best museums, galleries, and historic sites in the city and explore the dynamic art + design scene in St. Louis. Past visits include: - Professional artists’ studios - Saint Louis Art Museum - Gateway Arch National Park - Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis - Pulitzer Arts Foundation - Laumeier Sculpture Park - City Museum

PLUS movies in the park, bowling night, and more!

Additional Events and Activities

Guest lectures by artists, designers, and curators
Artwork documentation workshop
Tours of the Sam Fox School
A final exhibition of work


Students apply for the Portfolio Plus Program online through Slate.

Admissions are rolling and early applications are encouraged. Scholarship assistance is available up to the full program cost, and awards are based on financial need and academic merit.

Requirements include:
- Essay
- 1 letter of recommendation
- Optional samples of your work
- $35 application fee

If the application fee presents financial hardship, students may request a fee waiver by contacting

Dec 1, 2023

Applications Open

Mar 30, 2024

Application Deadline

Mar 30, 2024

Scholarship Application Deadline

Tuition and Scholarships

The estimated cost of the 2024 Portfolio Plus Program is $6,091. The Program Fee covers tuition, supplies, housing on campus, a meal plan for the duration of the program, and field trips. Upon acceptance to the program, a $250 nonrefundable deposit will be required by May 1, 2024, to reserve your space in the program. If you withdraw from the program after classes begin, no portion of tuition will be refunded.

Scholarship assistance is available up to the full cost of tuition. Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need and academic merit. The program deposit is waived for students requiring scholarship assistance. The scholarship application package must be received by March 30, 2024, in order to be considered.

Scholarship application process:
- Submit scholarship application and program application by March 30, 2024 via Slate. - If eligible, our team will be in contact to schedule a phone interview with the student.
- Scholarship recipients will be notified before May 1, 2024.

International Students

International students are welcome to attend WashU’s Art & Design Pre-College Programs. Previous students have come from many countries including France, Russia, China, Mexico, and Korea. Pre-College is a wonderful way to pursue your art and design while experiencing American culture and college life.

Once you are accepted, program staff will assist in getting you an I-20, so you can apply for a US visa. You are responsible for all visa application costs. If you are an international student already attending high school in the United States, your F-1 visa allows you to study in the summer at U.S. institutions and you won’t need to get a new visa.

Student Visa If you are not a US citizen or legal permanent resident, you are considered an international student and must obtain an F-1 student visa to participate in the Pre-College program.

You may not attend the program with a tourist visa (B1/B2) or visa waiver (ESTA) because while participating in the Pre-College program you will be studying full-time.

Student Visa & I-20 Process - Apply to the Architecture Discovery or Portfolio Plus Pre-College program and be accepted for admission. Once you have been admitted, pay your program deposit.
- Once Sam Fox School receives your deposit, we will email you the forms required for I-20 application. - Complete the forms and email them to the Pre-College program coordinator, along with bank documents that show that you have sufficient funds to support your education at WashU, a copy of the photo page of your passport, and English language test scores (see below). - After the above materials have been received, reviewed, and approved, the WashU I-20 will be created. We will send the I-20 to the address you provide. - Once you receive your I-20, pay the SEVIS I-901 fee (instructions will be included with your I-20) and make a visa appointment at the US Consulate closest to where you live. - You will then take your WashU I-20, the I-901 fee receipt, the original bank statement(s), and your WashU letter of acceptance to your visa interview to obtain an F-1 student visa for entry into the United States.

English Language Proficiency International students must have strong English language skills as the program is conducted in English only.

If you are applying from a country where English is not the primary language, you must submit test scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test. A TOEFL score of 90 or higher is required, or the equivalent score on one of the other tests. Scores should be submitted with your I-20 required forms.

If you have any questions about your specific circumstances, please contact