Pre-major Admissions


Lisa Ochs, Pre-major Advisor

id students

Pre-major Admissions: Entrance Portfolio

The Industrial Design program requires students to submit an entrance portfolio. In order to declare as a pre-major in Industrial Design the program must accept the portfolio.

Students apply to the Industrial Design program after acceptance to the university.  A portfolio is a collection of an applicant's best creative work, revealing the applicant's creative skills and presented as professionally as possible. This initial screening process helps to determine a candidate's potential for success within the program. In order to maintain academic program quality in relation to faculty, staff and facilities, the program limits the number of applicants admitted. The school reserves the right to be the sole judge of who shall be accepted into the program. 

On average, the program accepts 22 pre-majors annually.  Historically, 80-110 students apply every year. 

Included here are portfolio instructions, tips, instructions, and examples. 

When should I apply?

Portfolios will be reviewed by an Industrial Design committee three times per year; once per quarter. Students should submit their portfolio the quarter before they plan to start at WWU.  For example, for incoming Freshman their first opportunity to apply will be during spring quarter or the April deadline of their senior year in high school.

Students who have not heard from WWU Admissions regarding university acceptance should still submit an Entrance Portfolio by the due date below. Please indicate on your ID application that you have applied and are waiting for a determination.

If applicants do not qualify for acceptance one quarter, they may reapply for a following quarter after improving the content of their portfolio. 

Complete the application above and include your portfolio.  

Students will be notified of the faculty decisions within two weeks of the deadline posted above.  Decisions will be emailed to the address listed on the student's application. 

Due dates

Fall quarter start: apply in the spring

April 6, 2024 by 11:59pm

Winter quarter start: apply in the fall

October 22, 2024 by 11:59pm

Spring quarter start: apply in the winter

January 22, 2025 by 11:59pm

How to make a portfolio

Entrance Portfolio 


To minimize bias in the selection process, the ID program is making a few changes to the portfolio format.  Eliminating identifying images or words will allow the portfolio reviewers to make selections objectively.  The changes are highlighted in bold below.  

Portfolios must be a PDF file.  Website portfolios are no longer an acceptable format. The PDF file should be named with the applicant's initials at the start of the file name, such as "ABportfolio.pdf".  The PDF must be less than 16 MB in size.  Video, animation or other time-based materials may be sent on a flash drive or a linked web address.  Each piece is to be clearly marked title of the project, medium (or software/materials) used, size, date of completion, and optionally, and a brief story behind the piece. In the case of professional or group projects, applicants should indicate their personal contributions/responsibilities.  Do not include your name or images of yourself in your portfolio.  A maximum of twelve original pieces (or 18 total pages) are allowed. A piece may be allotted more than one page. 

Required content

Sketching Exercise

The WWU ID program values hand sketching and drawing as a key skill for industrial design. Please complete this exercise to exhibit your drawing skills at this point in time.

Paper: standard 8.5 x 11 white paper.  No digital apps. 

Media: Black ink or ball point pen only.  No marker shading. 

Tools: Freehand. No straight edge, rulers or templates. 

Include in your portfolio:

  • Print your name and date at the bottom right corner.  
  • Scan or photograph with a photoscanning app such as Google PhotoScan. 
  • Include in your portfolio as one full page.  


Time: 60 minutes maximum for all 5 objects. This is a sketching exercise, which is a quick drawing for communication of ideas, not works of art. 

Draw each of these objects in perspective. A view that shows their height, width, and depth.   

Compose all 5 objects onto one page in your portfolio.  The position and composition is up to you. You should look at real objects as a reference.  No tracing. 

5 Objects:  

  1. a rectangular shoe box
  2. a cylindrical soda can
  3. scissors  
  4. a coffee mug  
  5. a shoe  

Suggested content

An Entrance Portfolio is a collection of an applicant's best creative work, revealing the applicant's creative skills and presented as professionally as possible. Examples of previously accepted portfolios are in a link below.  Applicants are encouraged to include work from as many of the following areas as possible:

  • Sketching in addition to the required sketches above-examples of hand drawings that demonstrate an ability to draw or express ideas, and creative problem solving) 
  • 2D design examples of page layout, composition, color, etc. as demonstrated in an illustration, advertisement, website, painting, photography, or other 2-dimensional work
  • 3D design examples of form development, construction, and craftsmanship as demonstrated in a 3-dimensional piece such as a model, sculpture, structure, woodworking, clothing, jewelry, etc.
  • Computer skills examples of drawing/image editing software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or equivalent. Or examples of computer-aided drafting [CAD], Solidworks, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Blender, etc.
  • Do not include imitations of photographs or other artist's work.  Do not include any work that would be considered copyright infringement.

Tips and suggestions from faculty

Show diversity in media, flat work, 3D, digital and analog. Show creativity with original work
Display evidence of solid problem solving skills in projects Exhibit strong sketching and drawings skills (command of perspective, line quality, composition)
Fine art work should be well crafted, photographed and composed. Exhibit good sense of form development in 3D work (sculpture, furniture, ceramics, jewelry, fashion apparel...)
Show good use of color in 2D work Use short descriptions of each piece
Use a simple and well-designed portfolio (graphic presentation and layout) Take excellent photography or scanning of work (lighting, print quality, descriptive views)
Be selective about what you include. Get help from a design professional to edit and identify your best work.  


Entrance portfolio examples

Take a look at the examples in the link below. These are examples of  previously accepted Entrance Portfolios.  These examples are an indication of the competitive level of the applicants.  It is strongly recommended to have at least one example from each of the four categories of content in the portfolio.  Strength in one or more area is common.