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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 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 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 must 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 arts education. You may request a recommendation from a teacher or counselor from within the online application. Letter must be received directly from the recommender.
  4. OPTIONAL: Submit ACT/SAT scores. 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 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. You may, however, create an account at and submit your work using that site. 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:

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

Important Dates

June 15, 2020
StART online begins

July 1, 2020
Deadline to sign-up for the 10-month tuition payment plan

July 6, 2020
Roommate matching forms due for students living on-campus

August 3, 2020
ID photos due

August 17, 2020
First day of school!

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 1 : 
Regular decision

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

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

June 1: 
Regular decision deadline for transfer students  

Spring Application Deadlines
(Transfer Only)

November 15: 
Regular decision deadline