Portfolio Plus Program

Work by Jacqueline Au, Drawing course, Portfolio Plus Program, 2020.

Art & Design
3 weeks | July 11–31, 2021

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.

This program will be held online again in summer 2021, and is for rising juniors and seniors in high school. Upon successful completion, you'll earn 3 college credits.

Check out the online exhibition of student work from the 2020 Portfolio Plus Program>>


Work from the Portfolio Plus Program, 2020, by Catherine Chung for the Studio Art concentration (left) and Owen Rokous for the Fashion Design concentration (right).

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.

Course work is also complemented by additional events and activities, including:

- 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.


Senior lecturer John Early is the faculty director for the 2021 Portfolio Plus Program. Updates about additional faculty will be posted here>>


Students apply online via SlideRoom for the Portfolio Plus Program; we are no longer accepting applications for summer 2021. 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 courtney.cushard@wustl.edu.

For summer 2021, 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. For special eligibility criteria for international students for summer 2021, click here>>

Application Deadlines:
Scholarship application deadline: March 15, 2021
Early application deadline: March 15, 2021
Regular application deadline: Extended to May 1, 2021

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

Download the scholarship application form>>

International Students

International students are welcome to participate in our Architecture Discovery 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 Architecture Discovery 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 courtney.cushard@wustl.edu.


For more information about the Portfolio Plus Program or application process, please contact:

Courtney Cushard, Coordinator of Special Programs, courtney.cushard@wustl.edu
Rachel Youn, Admissions Counselor, youn@wustl.edu