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“I’ve been doing this a long time,” admits Mark Fetherston. Fetherston, Executive Director of Information Management at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, has been reviewing high school student portfolios for over 20 years. “My best guess is that I’ve seen over ten thousand portfolios. That means roughly 150,000 pieces of student work over the years. When I think about it that way, it’s kind of staggering.”

But remembering his own high school portfolio, still tucked behind his office door, has kept him humble.  “The work isn’t great, not by any stretch, but it shows potential. I had a lot more potential than the work itself shows. When I work with students, I never forget that. All portfolios are about potential.”

It is with this spirit of potential that MIAD’s pre-college program will be offering The Scholarship Portfolio for high school seniors, taught by Fetherston and Will Swenson. And this year there’s an added incentive of a $2,500 scholarship to MIAD.

“The idea’s pretty simple. You take this class, you show up, you work hard, and your portfolio is going to improve. Dramatically. And as a little reward, you get this scholarship to come here in Fall 2014.” The scholarship is also renewable for up to four years, totaling a potential $10,000. In addition, this scholarship will be added to any other scholarships or grants a student receives to attend MIAD.

And the class is not just for the strongest visual arts students. “It’s for everyone who wants to attend MIAD next fall. If your portfolio isn’t ready to be accepted, we’ll work together to get you there. If you’re a candidate for a small scholarship, we’ll work towards a bigger one. It’ll be fun, it’ll be intense, and in the end you’ll have new, exciting work to add to your final portfolio. It’s a no-lose scenario.”

The 12-session class begins September 21, and goes through December 14 on Saturdays.