First-Year Students

Welcome to California College of the Arts!

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

Review the First Year Program (FYP) to guide you in your course selections and connect you to time-saving resources.

Start connecting with the community.

Your colleagues, faculty, and friends can become a part of your life-long network.

The First Year Program exposes you to inspirational activities and challenges alike that are inherent in your first year at college. We hope that your outcomes will be unique and rewarding.

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.

Step 2: 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 3: 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, August 25
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Nahl Hall, 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 4: Determine Portfolio Review Eligibility

Students who have earned specific test scores or completed extensive college-level studio coursework may be eligible to waive Core Studio. Only students who can demonstrate proficiency in equivalent coursework may receive a waiver.

If you wish to seek additional course substitutions or course waivers for Core Studio Requirements (Drawing 1, 2D, 3D, 4D), you will need to submit your portfolio in a digital format through Vault

Core Portfolio Review

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 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.

Note: 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 all graduate 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: Login to Workday for On-Campus Jobs & Register for CCA Works for Off-Campus Jobs and Internships

For on-campus work-study positions, login to Workday using your CCA user ID and password to search for and apply for jobs on-campus. The Work-Study Program affords students the opportunity for part-time employment to help defray educational costs. For off-campus local part-time positions and internships register for the CCA Works job board - exclusively for CCA students. 

he job board contains Work-Study and local area part-time positions and internships, exclusively for CCA students. 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.

Workday (on-campus jobs)
CCA Works Job Board (off-campus jobs and internships)

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