Pre-College Summer Program

Pre-College Summer Program

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Registration begins February 1, 2023

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 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.

2023 Dates & Sessions

The two-week sessions meet Monday – Friday from 9:00am to 3:30pm 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. Scheduled for the first Friday of each session is a group cookout luncheon.

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 19th – 23rd + June 26th – 30th, Monday – Friday, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm

Session A

Introduction to Graphic Design
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 individual and collaborative projects that include posters, typographic images, beginning animation, and package design using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Introduction to Architecture & Interior Design
This course is an introduction to the interior design profession and a foundation for the appreciation and enjoyment of design for the built environment.  Students will learn to use drawing as communication and will produce multi-view and perspective drawings.

In addition, we’ll explore the professional life of graphic and interior designers and visit interdisciplinary design studios.

Session B

Digital Fashion Photography
Explore the potential for making your own powerful photographic images. Students will create a fashion portfolio using clothing from second-hand and upcycled materials. Using our state-of-the art black box photography studio, students will learn how to use lighting and take images with digital cameras and create a digital portfolio of their work. A great start for students considering a professional career in photography.

Creating Artists Books
In this course, students will explore the medium of the artist’s book. Participants will learn how to construct various book forms and structures while creating content both individually and collaboratively using digital and traditional mediums.

Session C

Intro to Motion Graphics & Animation
This experience introduces students to the theories and mechanics of creating motion graphics
and animations using professional software and tools in our digital studio.

3D Rendering and Printing
Create your own inventions in our state-of-the art maker space, exploring 3D rendering
and printing capabilities, laser die-cutting, and fabrication tools.

One-Day Portfolio Development Workshop

Saturday, July 1st, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

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!

There will be a non-refundable late registration fee of $15 for registrations submitted beyond these dates:

  • Two-Week Courses – June 5
  • Workshop – June 15

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.


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 a complete course descriptions and online registration, visit


For Further Information

Maryville University Design & Visual Art
Office 314.529.9381 or email