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Story: Aug 27, 2014

New residence hall welcomes first-year students in comfort, ...

View details 2014 Faculty Exhibition

CIA Exhibition: Aug 28, 2014

2014 Faculty Exhibition

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Story: Aug 18, 2014

2014 grad to design whimsical playgrounds for Colorado compa...

View details Lunch On Fridays: Kasumi

Events: Sep 05, 2014

Lunch On Fridays: Kasumi

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Social: 2 days ago via Facebook

We love to hear the excited reactions from our incoming class, who are the first to live in CIA's new Uptown Residence Hall. One student, Emily Linville, sai...

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Story: Aug 18, 2014

CIA again named to "Best in the Midwest" list

View details Mizoguchi's Greatest Decade

Events: Sep 06, 2014

Mizoguchi's Greatest Decade

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Story: Aug 13, 2014

Biomedical grad wins award for animation on stuttering

View details Filmmaker and author John Waters to present one-man show

Events: Sep 27, 2014

Filmmaker and author John Waters to present one-man show

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Blog: Aug 26, 2014

8/28-31: Finding Vivian Maier, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors & more!

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Story: Aug 11, 2014

Student-designed app teaches embryology, improves scores

View details Fall 2014 Open House

Events: Nov 15, 2014

Fall 2014 Open House

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 3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Attach the $40 application fee. Make checks payable to the Cleveland Institute of Art.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Application Timeline

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)

December 1: 
Early action 1 deadline 

January 15: 
Early action 2 deadline

March 2 : 
Regular decision

March 15: 
Priority deadline for need-based financial aid applications

May 1: 
Intention to register deadline and tuition deposit

June 1: 
Housing application deadline
Regular decision deadline for transfer students  

Spring Application Deadlines
(Transfer Only)

November 15: 
Regular decision deadline

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Community Works

Visiting artists, exhibitions, conference and symposia exploring socially engaged art.

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Support CIA

Show the world creativity matters: make a gift to the annual fund.

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Cores + Connections

Learn more about CIA's proven method for academic and professional excellence.