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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 first-year student. We admit first-year students 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 1.

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, please follow the application procedures and criteria below.

  1. Complete and submit the online application. It is free to apply! We recommend that you apply early, and work with our admissions counselors who can answer questions and review your work to help you create a successful application.
  2. Arrange to have your high school deliver your official transcript to the Office of Admissions. All incoming students must provide proof of high school graduation or GED equivalent. Students who have not yet graduated at the time of application should provide the most up-to-date high school transcripts available. Transcript must be sent directly from the school.
  3. Have one letter of recommendation forwarded 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 education in art and design. You may request a recommendation from a teacher or counselor from within the online application. The letter of recommendation must be received directly from the recommender.
  4. OPTIONAL: Submit ACT/SAT scores. The Cleveland Institute of Art allows applicants to decide whether to include scores from standardized tests when applying for admission. Students who do not elect to provide standardized testing will not face penalty in their evaluation for admission and/or scholarship. Official scores should be sent from the College Board/SAT (CIA's code is 1152) or the ACT (CIA's code is 3243). CIA will only consider scores sent directly from the testing agency.
  5. Submit your portfolio of artwork. We highly recommend that you submit your work through our online application. Your portfolio should consist of no fewer than 12 and no more than 20 pieces of work. Please carefully follow all of our portfolio guidelines.

Any printed application materials should be sent to:

Office of Admissions
Cleveland Institute of Art
11610 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

For more information:

216.421.7418 | Contact

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 students who qualify for advanced standing with at least 9 college studio credits are eligible for spring admission.

CIA alumni, employees share Nunes memories

May 16, 2022

CIA alumni, employees share Nunes memories


Fall Application Deadlines
(Freshman and Transfer)

December 1 
Early action 1 deadline 

March 1 
Regular decision 

May 1
Intention to register deadline and tuition deposit
Housing application deadline  

Spring Application Deadlines
(Transfer Only)

November 15
Regular decision deadline