First-Year Students

First-Year Student Orientation Dates: Tues.-Fri., August 26-29, 2014, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Oakland & San Francisco campuses)
Check-in begins 1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 26, at the Oakland campus

Welcome to California College of the Arts!

This is it -- you are officially in your first year of college!

And you can relax now knowing the First Year Program (FYP) will guide you in your courses and connect you to the many resources throughout the college. Now is a unique time; entering college life is about creating your individual path.

And it also is an ideal time to make the connections that often last a lifetime. Your colleagues, faculty, and friends can become a part of your life-long network.

The First Year Program expects you will be open to the fun and challenges alike that are inherent in the first-year college experience. We hope that your outcomes will be unique and even more rewarding than you expect.

Use the following checklist to ensure you start orientation on the right foot.

Ten Steps to a Successful Orientation

Step 1: Read the Enrollment Guide

The Enrollment Guide contains comprehensive information regarding financial aid, academic advising, health insurance and more. Within the guide there is a new student checklist that provides instructions leading up to new student orientation.

Download the Enrollment Guide »

Step 2: Take the English Placement Exam

All incoming undergraduate students must take the English Placement Exam, or confirm that they are eligible to waive the exam requirement.

The English Placement Exam for orientation will be held:

Tuesday, January 14
3 p.m.-5 p.m.
B-Building Room 4, Oakland campus

Be sure to visit WebAdvisor to see if your credit has been transferred by either completing the equivalent of CCA's English 1 or provided the college with official standardized test results.

If you have questions about your current English placement, please contact Student Records at 415.703.9579 (SF) and 510.594.3651 (Oak).

Step 3: Prepare for Advising and Portfolio Review

Students who have completed extensive college-level studio coursework may be eligible to waive Core Studio and major courses. Faculty will be available to review portfolios for placement in advanced courses. Only students who can demonstrate proficiency in equivalent coursework may receive a waiver.

Please bring a copy of your portfolio and present work that may be equivalent to the required courses you wish to waive.

Accepted formats:

  • Digital disks (with images saved in a universal format such as JPG, AIF, MOV, PDF)
  • Digital works on your own laptop
  • Original works (beyond sketchbooks)

Note: Students must submit their official AP scores to Enrollment Services. First Year students that have completed AP Drawing and received a score of three or better will receive 3 credits for Drawing 1.

These students do not need a portfolio review and should not enroll in Core Studio: Drawing 1.

Step 4: Activate your CCA email and WebAdvisor account

Once you have made a deposit, you should set up your CCA email address. If you have any issues with your account, Educational Technology Services can assist you.

With your deposit made and your CCA email activated, you will now have full access to WebAdvisor, a web-based tool that allows you to review your academic and financial information, search for courses, emergency contact, and update your address.

Your emergency contacts must be filled out prior to attending orientation.

Visit WebAdvisor, use the “Students Menu” and select “User Account.” An “Emergency Contacts” link is located at the top left-hand corner of the page.

CCA email

Step 5: Read CCA Laptop Initiative & Recommendations

The Student Computing Recommendations and Requirements outlines the Educational Technology Services department’s computing recommendations for all incoming students.

However, Graphic Design, and Architecture students are required to comply with the CCA Laptop Initiative. Retail and discount opportunities are also available online at CCA Computer Store.

CCA Laptop Initiative
CCA Computer Store

Step 6: Determine Health Insurance Eligibility

All students who are registered in 12 or more units per semester (9 units per semester for Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies students) are considered full-time students and therefore required to have health insurance coverage.

The college has secured a group health insurance policy (a Kaiser Permanente HMO) that provides year-round coverage. Part-time students are ineligible for CCA student health insurance.

See Health Insurance for more information.

See also Health Insurance Eligibility »

Important: Health Insurance Waiver

You may waive CCA's coverage by submitting an online waiver application before the end of the add/drop period. A student's own health insurance must meet minimum coverage requirement to qualify for an approved waiver.

For more information and for the direct link to the waiver application, please refer to the online waiver FAQ:

Health Insurance Waiver Application & FAQ

Step 7: Register at the job board at CCA Works for Work-Study Positions

The Federal Work-Study Program affords students the opportunity for part-time employment to help defray educational costs. Funds are awarded on a need basis to students applying for financial aid.

Student job listings are posted on CCA's job board at CCA Works.

Federal Work-Study Program
CCA's job board at CCA Works

Step 8: Read the Student Handbook

The Student Handbook serves as a guide to the programs, policies, procedures, requirements, and resources of CCA. Students are expected to read the entire handbook.

Read CCA's Student Handbook »

Step 9: Join Chimera Council on Facebook

Chimera leaders are fellow students who play an integral role in helping students transition to college life. Add Chimera Council to your Facebook page and get connected with other current CCA students.

Chimera Council

Step 10: Take the Pre-Orientation Survey

Share what you know about CCA so we can improve orientation! Students who complete the pre- and post-surveys will receive a gift and an opportunity enter a drawing!

Take the Pre-Orientation Survey »

Fall New Student Orientation Only

Here's an additional step to take during fall new student orientation:

Step 11: Exhibit in the Annual New Student Exhibition

All incoming undergraduates are invited to participate in the annual New Student Exhibition. This exhibition is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your work to our talented and diverse community -- which includes other new and returning students, as well as faculty and staff.

We hope you will participate, as the exhibition is a fun and welcoming way to start showing your work at the CCA campus galleries.

New Student Exhibition participation form