Admissions . Apply . For Freshman Students
For Freshman Students
If you have no previous college experience (excluding advanced credits earned during high school), you are a first-time freshman. We admit freshmen into degree-seeking status for the fall semester only.
As a freshman candidate, you will be considered automatically for portfolio grants and scholarships as long as you submit all of your application materials by March 2. Read more about admission deadlines on the Apply page.
Freshman Application Checklist
Freshman candidates are accepted at CIA based upon artistic and academic qualifications as well as available space. To be considered for admission, you must follow the application procedures and criteria below.
- Complete the application. You may apply online or fill out an application form and mail it to our Office of Admissions. Please note that we must have your signature at the bottom of the form.
- Attach the $40 application fee. Make checks payable to the Cleveland Institute of Art.
- Complete a personal statement, in which you describe your purpose for attending a college of art and design, what led you to this decision, and why you have chosen to apply at CIA. You may either fill out the personal statement prompt outlined in Section 6 of the application form or include a typed statement. If you send a typed statement, please sign the bottom of the personal statement form in the application. This glossary of art terminology may help you in crafting your statement.
- Arrange to have your high school transcript sent to the Office of Admissions. If you have successfully completed 24 college credits and attended a regionally accredited college or university full time for a year or more, you do not need to submit a high school transcript.
- Forward one letter of recommendation to CIA. We suggest this letter be from an art teacher. We also will accept this letter from a counselor or someone who understands your desire to pursue an arts education.
- Request that SAT or ACT test results be sent to CIA. Our identification numbers are SAT-1152 and ACT-3243. International students whose first language is not English must submit the TOEFL with a minimum score of 550 PBT (paper-based test) or equivalent 213 CBT (computer-based test) or 79 IBT (Internet-based test). We also accept a band score of at least 6.0 on the IELTS or completion of Level 112 of ESL coursework.
- Submit your portfolio of artwork. All work can be submitted online (cia.slideroom.com) or in CD or DVD form. Your portfolio should consist of no fewer than 12 and no more than 20 pieces of work. Please carefully follow all our portfolio guidelines.
Send all application materials to:
The Office of Admissions
Cleveland Institute of Art
11141 East Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44106
Portfolio Success Stories
Portfolio Success Stories
Watch current students discuss their portfolios and how they have evolved over their career at CIA.
We strongly encourage you to meet the following deadlines to ensure admission to CIA and eligibility for the highest amounts of portfolio scholarships and institutional financial aid. However, you may submit an application for admission any time before the first day of classes on a “rolling basis” and will be considered as long as space is available. Please note that only transfer student who qualify for advanced standing with at least 9 college studio credits are eligible for spring admission.
Fall Application Deadlines
(Freshman and Transfer)
Early action 1 deadline
Early action 2 deadline
March 2 :
Priority deadline for need-based financial aid applications
Intention to register deadline and tuition deposit
Housing application deadline
Regular decision deadline for transfer students
Spring Application Deadlines
Regular decision deadline