Pre-College Programs

Portfolio Prep

Summer Pre-College Studio for grades 9-11

Portfolio Prep is a two-week residential studio for current high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Through integrative studio classes, students will gain firsthand knowledge about the college admission process and learn about the advantages of earning an art and design degree at a world-class university. Under the guidance of Stamps faculty and staff, students will focus on curating a competitive portfolio for their college application.

Students live on the historic U-M campus, make work in their own studio, and have access to state-of-the-art facilities. Our multi-disciplinary studio classes challenge participants to explore a range of techniques and media during the residency. Studio experiences will be enhanced through field trips to University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, and the Detroit Institute of Art.

Portfolio Prep students will gain a more sophisticated understanding of creative practice and develop a more diverse portfolio. To conclude the program, participants mount an exhibition of their work and host a reception for friends and family.


Portfolio Prep is an intensive residential program focused on portfolio development. This program combines the rigor of the first year undergraduate experience at Stamps with the expert guidance of the Stamps Admission team. Portfolio Prep students participate in four studio classes; Portfolio Studio, Drawing Studio, 3D Studio, and 4D Studio.

Portfolio Studio: a studio course that focuses on building a competitive portfolio for college admission. Coursework introduces students to effective visual communication techniques and is structured around exercises in photo documentation, preparing artist statements and written descriptions, portfolio curation and much more.

Drawing Studio: a studio course that introduces students to the fundamentals of drawing and visual thinking through the act of drawing. This class focuses on the practice of drawing as a core component of visual expression as well as a platform for artistic inquiry and communication.

3D Studio: a studio course that focuses on basic three-dimensional composition. Students gain technical skills and knowledge through a series of projects emphasizing the manipulation, organization and analysis of form and structure in space.

4D Studio: a studio course that focuses on developing the basic concepts, tools, vocabulary, and principles used by artists and designers in time-based creative practices. Students have an opportunity to develop technical and aesthetic skills as well as a critical understanding of work that utilizes time as an essential element, including studies in audio, video, and animation, as well as live installation or performance.

Our curriculum is further enhanced through:

  • Presentations on portfolio preparation and the college admissions process
  • Portfolio reviews with Stamps admissions team
  • Tours of Central and North Campus
  • Field trips to cultural institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), the Heidelberg Project, the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) and the Stamps Gallery
  • An exhibition of work produced during the program

July 26 - August 8, 2020


Apply now →

Application Available: February 1, 2020
Early Action Deadline: March 1, 2020
Application Deadline: April 1, 2020

The following materials are required:

  • A portfolio of 5-8 images of your work
  • A 250 word personal statement
  • High school transcript
  • One letter of recommendation from an art teacher, academic teacher, counselor or mentor
  • A recent photo following MCard Photo Policy (below).
  • Photos should resemble a passport photo.
  • The photo must be in color.
  • The individual must be looking into the camera (both eyes visible).
  • Hats, sunglasses or otherwise visually obstructive items may not be worn. Religious headwear is permitted.
  • There may not be any words on the photo (this is a common problem with senior photos).
  • The individual’s entire face must be seen (a common problem with close up webcam photos).
  • The photo must be in JPEG (.jpeg) format.

Portfolio Prep 2020 costs $3250 and includes tuition, room, board (3 meals a day), supplies and field trips. Students are encouraged to bring extra spending money for snacks, laundry, entertainment and souvenirs.

Housing & Dining

Portfolio Prep participants live just a short distance away from Stamps in Bursley Hall. Located on North Campus, Bursley Hall is a mixed-gender residence hall featuring laundry facilities, floor lounges, a computer lab complete with printers and scanners, and music practice rooms.

Bursley Hall is also the primary dining facility for Portfolio Prep. Learn more about the delicious and nutritious offerings at Bursley here.


Scholarships are available to select students who have been accepted into the program. Students seeking financial assistance for Stamps Pre-College Studios must complete the “Financial Assistance” section of the SlideRoom application with the help of a parent/guardian and provide all required materials. A limited number of full and partial awards will be provided to students who demonstrate financial need and academic merit..

If the application fee presents financial hardship, students may request a fee waiver by emailing us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Michigan residents may also apply for the Watson A. Young Scholarship, an initiative supported by the University of Michigan’s Center for Educational Outreach. The Watson A. Young scholarship was established to support middle and high school students’ participation in summer opportunities at U-M that seek to develop students’ interests and abilities in academic disciplines and expose students to the experiences and possibilities provided by higher education.


Contact us with any questions about our Pre-College programs.