Pre-College Summer Program

Pre-College Summer Program

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Registration begins February 15, 2024

About the Program

This program provides a unique opportunity for developing designers and artists to build their portfolios while working with university faculty in a highly creative and enriching design and visual art school environment. The program offers valuable foundation coursework to students interested in digital imaging, graphic + interactive design, architecture + interior design, photography, illustration and animation, model making, and more. Students who have completed the program in a prior year are assigned advanced projects.

Our program provides high school students with a unique opportunity to:

  • Acquire essential design and art foundation concepts and skills
  • Use exciting professional technology and develop digital media skills
  • Produce projects suitable for college admission portfolios
  • Learn about professional disciplines in Design and Visual Art
  • Experience working with digital, 2D and 3D space and form
  • Develop confidence in your work
  • Meet new people and have some fun

Courses are paired to complement each other. We recommend selecting paired options A, B, or C.

2024 Dates & Sessions

The two-week sessions meet Monday – Friday from 9:00am to 3:00pm in the Design + Visual Art building on main campus. Students have 45 minutes for lunch and should plan to bring their own lunch with them each day. In addition, the campus coffee shop and dining hall are available. A kitchen is available for storing cold lunches.

The session will conclude with a final exhibition and reception in the Student Gallery on the last Friday from 1:30pm to 3:00pm. Friends and family are welcome to attend!


June 17th – 21st and June 24th – 28th, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Session A

Intro to Graphic Design, and Interior Design + Design Thinking
In the Graphic Design course, students experience the world of visual communication and begin to see and think like a designer. Learn how to create a strong visual message while exploring projects that include posters, logos, animations and package design using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. The Interior Design + Design Thinking course is a foundation for the appreciation and enjoyment of design for the built environment. Students will learn to navigate the process from problem seeking through problem solving and will communicate solutions visually by producing multi-view and perspective drawings.

Session B

Fundamentals of Game Design, and 3D Rendering & Printing
This session will focus on teaching fundamentals of game design using a variety of microgame frameworks offered by Unity3D. Students will complete a selection of creative mods to tweak the project and add their own levels, modify player abilities, define enemies, and even apply custom sound effects – all while learning the basics of Unity 3D. In 3D Rendering & Printing, you’ll create your own inventions in our state-of-the-art maker space exploring 3D rendering and printing capabilities, laser die-cutting and fabrication tools.

Session C

Music Video Production, and Architecture and Landscape Photography
Create conceptual video content to a song of your choosing while learning about lighting techniques and manipulating cameras to create artistic imagery – an exciting hands-on experience for anyone who has a passion for music and artistic creativity through visual media. In Exploration Photography you’ll create stunning photos of some of St. Louis’ hidden natural and architectural gems, meet professional local photographers and visit a photography exhibit at a local gallery. This session is great for anyone who loves to explore and wants to learn more about digital photography.
One-Day Portfolio Workshop
Saturday, June 29th, 9am-3pm

For students interested in pursuing a career in all areas of design and visual art. Working directly with faculty, students will learn how to develop a strong digital and print portfolio presentation for college, art or design school applications.

Program Costs

The cost is $500 per student for the two-week session (each two-week session includes two course options).
The cost of the 1-day workshop is $65 per student.
Space is limited, so please register early!

Eligibility & Registration

Students who have completed the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grades are invited to attend. While prior art classes or experiences are helpful, they are not necessary for participation.

Registration Now

Class sizes are small to allow each student access to equipment and instructor time, and students are accepted on a first-come basis. Students are accepted on a first-come basis. A portfolio review is not required. A letter of recommendation from an art teacher, school counselor or specialty teacher is required for each student.

For Further Information

Maryville University Design & Visual Art
Office 314.529.9381 or email