Janet Anne Gaillard, 21, a student at Howard University, was found shot to death early Sunday in front of her residence in Northeast Washington.

Police and her family reported she had left the duplex apartment, which she shared with two other young women, to get something from her car.

Miss Gaillard was found dead about 1:30 a.m., lying in front of the door to the apartment. She had been shot in the right temple.

Police said the shooting probably occurred during an attempted robbery. They said there were no witnesses and no suspects have been taken into custody.

Miss Gaillard was an honor student at Howard and was in her senior year. She was majoring in art and recently had been awarded a Ford Foundation grant.

She planned to enter the field of commercial art, her family said, and at the time of her death was designing an album cover for a recording studio.

Born in Washington, Miss Gaillard moved to Columbia, Md., with her family. She graduated in 1974 from Wilde Lake High SchooL. She was active in art, fashion and poetry groups.

She is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Gaillard, and a sister, Kathryn Margaret, all of the home in Columbia, and her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Gaillard, of Tuskegee, Ala., and M. M. Coleman, of Minden, La.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to a scholarship fund in her name in care of the art department at Howard University.