Note: Due to our deadline falling on a weekend this year, we have decided to allow our applicants to submit their completed application by midnight on February 3, 2014.
A complete CCA undergraduate application must contain the following five components:
- Application ($60 nonrefundable fee required) Apply online »
- Personal essay
- Two letters of recommendations
Fee waivers are accepted for domestic students with limited financial resources that meet the NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) fee-waiver guidelines. Download the requirements for consideration»
Be sure to review Deadlines to review all application deadlines and notification dates.
CCA recommends you participate in interviews, or National Portfolio Days as well as the submission of your SAT, ACT, or AP test scores for placement exam waivers.
The following categories of applicants have additional application requirements:
We encourage all applicants to apply online using the Common Application or CCA online application. No preference is given to the use of either application.
Alternatively, you may download the printable application form (PDF).
You must submit the completed application, including the nonrefundable $60 application fee, to the Enrollment Services Office.
CCA honors the College Board Application Fee Waiver Form.
An untimed writing sample or essay of at least 250 words must accompany the application. The essay is considered part of your portfolio. It allows us to learn more about you and is your opportunity to help us complete the picture of you, in addition to your grades, portfolio, test scores, and recommendations.
Your essay should address the major influences on your decision to pursue art, architecture, design, or writing. It should also address how you see yourself contributing to the CCA community, specifically with respect to the college’s values, summarized below.
CCA understands the important role of artists, designers, architects, and writers in solving social, cultural, environmental, and economic problems. The educational experience we provide supports the following values:
- cultivating intellectual curiosity, risk taking, collaboration, innovation, compassion, and integrity
- fostering social justice and community engagement
- promoting diversity on our campuses
- advocating sustainability and environmental responsibility
You must submit an official transcript from your high school or college. High school transcripts must show proof of graduation or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Official, sealed transcripts from your institution must be sent from the school directly to the Enrollment Services Office.
If you have attended college or received college credit while in high school, please submit official transcripts from the college(s) attended.
All transcripts must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation of the original.
Home-schooled applicants should submit detailed syllabi of courses (equivalent to grades 10–12) and details of curriculum you are pursuing through any public or private agency (including community college transcripts, if applicable).
Two letters of recommendation are required, with a minimum of one letter from an academic teacher or school-based counselor. We highly recommend that you take advantage of our electronic recommendation process. This will ensure we receive your recommendations in a timely fashion, and it is convenient for your recommenders.
When submitting your electronic application, you can provide the email address for your recommenders. Your recommenders will receive the recommendation form electronically and then return it electronically to CCA.
Mailed letters, including the completed recommendation form, should be sent in sealed envelopes directly to CCA or mailed with your application.
(Note: The online application requires use of the online recommendation form in order to submit your application. If you are intending to mail your letters of recommendation, you will be required to add the email addresses and names of your recommenders, even if they do not intend to complete the form.)
A portfolio representing your art experience must be submitted to the Enrollment Services Office. The portfolio allows the admissions committee to gain an understanding of your interests, experience, and creative potential.
CCA recognizes that students enter college with diverse artistic backgrounds; therefore, portfolios are evaluated on an individual basis, keeping in mind the specific educational background and experiences of each applicant.
Applicants may submit their portfolio for review using SlideRoom. The digital platform allows you to create an inventory of your best work, which includes title, date, medium, dimensions, and notes. Both still and video works can be uploaded.
Applicants can upload images to SlideRoom, then view and rearrange their work until the final submission is made. Each portfolio submission has a $10 fee.
CCA asks for a portfolio to consist of 10-20 digital images (20 is the maximum number of images allowed). You are neither required to submit the maximum 20 images, nor penalized for submitting fewer than 20 images.
See also Portfolio Preparation »
While an interview is not required, prospective students are invited to meet with an admissions representative at National Portfolio Days, college-sponsored events, or a scheduled appointment on either campus throughout the year.
SAT I or ACT scores are highly recommended for first-year students only. You may also submit your AP and IB exam scores. SAT, ACT, AP, and IB exam scores may be used in waiving placement exams upon entering CCA.
See also Transfer Credit »
Fall Priority Deadlines for Scholarship Consideration
Fall Priority Deadline
Fall Deadline for International Applicants
Spring Priority Deadline
Mailing Address: Enrollment Services Office, California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco, CA 94107-2247
Create Your Portfolio
Download CCA's Create Your Portfolio as pdf
- International Students
- Admitted Undergraduates
- Admitted Graduates
- Financial Aid
- Tuition & Fees
- Why CCA
- Plan a Visit
- Admissions Events
- Tips for Educators
- Enrollment Counselors
- Parent/Guardian Advice
- Facts & Figures