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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 virtual tours and lectures from local artists and designers, as well as workshops on portfolio development and college admissions.


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.

Additional Events & Activities

Guest lectures by artists, designers, and curators.
Artwork documentation workshop.
Presentations on topics such as research, portfolio preparation, and the college admission process.
Virtual tours of the Sam Fox School and WashU campus, as well as local artists' and designers' studios.
A final online exhibition of work.

Student Work

One-page black and white comic about a person encountering a spider in their bed at night and hiding from it in the bathroom, losing sleep.

All-Nighter, 2020

Grid of four views of a window with colored paper in the panes, lit with differently colored light, with a person's silhouette shown inside.

Art-in-Place, 2020

Studio Art
Collage of dozens of twisty, spiky objects converging towards a reddish circle in the bottom left corner.

Anxiety, 2020

Studio Art
One-page black and white comic showing the protagonist interacting with a dark cloud following them, a metaphor for depression.

Narrative, 2020

Collage of horizontal strips of color in warm, desert-like tones.

Mixed-Media Collage, 2020

Studio Art
Poster broken into segments with work samples and factoids about Ikko Tanaka, a Japanese designer.

Ikko Tanaka, 2020

Communication Design
Poster showing a black and white bust of Milton Glaser with circular, colorful graphics behind his head showing examples of his work and factoids about his life.

Milton Glaser, 2020

Communication Design
Model wearing a pink tanktop and white skirt with streaks of pink, yellow, and blue dye. Overtop is a clear plastic coat.

Fashion Cares About | Education for Our Future, 2020

Fashion Design
Mannequin wearing a long-sleeved dress buttoned all the way down the front. The poofy sleeves are made of yellow hand-dyed fabric; the left half of the dress is orange with black painted seam lines; the right half of the dress is pale pink with a black hand-painted pattern reminiscent of breasts.

Fashion Design


Students apply for the Portfolio Plus Program online through SlideRoom; please check back in fall 2021 for the summer 2022 application.

Requirements include:
- Essay
- 1 letter of recommendation
- Optional test scores
- Optional samples of your work
- Application fee of $35 (for early bird applicants) and $45 (for regular applicants)

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

All participating students must reside within one of the following time zones for the duration of the program: Eastern Time (GMT-4), Central Time (GMT-5), Mountain Time (GMT-6), or Pacific Time (GMT-7). We will not be able to host students on the WashU campus in summer 2021. Special eligibility criteria for international students for summer 2021 are outlined below.

Mar 15, 2022

Scholarship Application Deadline

Mar 15, 2022

Early Application Deadline

Apr 15, 2022

Regular Application Deadline

Tuition & Scholarships

The estimated cost of the 2021 Portfolio Plus Program is $4,305. Estimated tuition includes a complete supply packet mailed to each student. Upon acceptance to the program, a $250 nonrefundable deposit will be required by May 1, 2021, 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 15, 2021, in order to be considered.

Scholarship application process:
- Submit scholarship application and program application by March 15, 2021.
- If eligible, our team will be in contact to schedule a phone interview with the student.
- Scholarship recipients will be notified before May 1, 2021.

International Students

International students are welcome to participate in our 2021 Portfolio Plus program, but only under specific circumstances because of the current U.S. consulate and visa policies, as well as the nature of our virtual program. Please read below to identify which category you fall into.

You CAN participate if you are…
1. An international student already attending high school in the United States. You can participate because your F-1 visa allows you to study in the summer at U.S. institutions. You must still be living in the United States during the program. You can travel home at the end of spring term and then return to the United States for the program in the summer.
2. An international student who lives within one of the four time zones of the contiguous United States (Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific). You can participate from home; no visa or I-20 is required. This includes the following countries: Canada, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bahamas, Haiti, Cuba, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, and all Central American countries.

You CAN’T participate if you are…
An international student living outside of the time zones of the contiguous United States and not currently studying in the United States. Unfortunately you are unable to participate in our summer 2021 Portfolio Plus Program because the current visa and I-20 requirements stipulate that at least one class must be taken in person (for new students), and we are not offering in-person classes for summer 2021.

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