About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts. is a Private college. Located in California, which is a city setting in California, the campus itself is Urban. The campus is home to 1,528 full time undergraduate students, and 455 full time graduate students.

The California College of the Arts Academic calendar runs on a Semester basis. In the school year the student to faculty ratio was 11:1. There are 98 full time instructional teachers. Degrees awarded at California College of the Arts include: Bachelor's Degree, Masters Degree, Post-master's certificate, Doctor's degree.

Quick Facts

Acceptance Rate64%
Application Deadline
Application Fee60
SAT Range
ACT Range

Admissions at CCA are considered Selective, with ,4% of all applicants being admitted.

In the school year, of the students who applied to the school, only 11 of those who were admitted eventually ended up enrolling.

0% of incoming freshmen are in the top half of their high school class. 0% were in the top quarter, and 0% were in the top tenth. You can apply online.


We asked, and students answered these important questions about student life at California College of the Arts.

California College of the Arts REVIEWS

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  • How would you rate on-campus housing?

    20 Students rated on-campus housing 3.4 stars. 15 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate off-campus housing?

    22 Students rated off-campus housing 3 stars. 0 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate campus food?

    24 Students rated campus food 2.8 stars. 4 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate campus facilities?

    25 Students rated campus facilities 4.2 stars. 48 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate class size?

    25 Students rated class size 4.8 stars. 76 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate school activities?

    25 Students rated school activities 3 stars. 16 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate local services?

    25 Students rated local services 4.5 stars. 64 % gave the school a 5.0.

  • How would you rate academics?

    25 Students rated academics 3.9 stars. 36 % gave the school a 5.0.

What's your overall opinion of California College of the Arts?

12 Students rated California College of the Arts

Esther - 04/23/2020

California College of the Arts is the perfect school for the student who is interested in social justice, experiencing all aspects of city life, and looking for accessible professors and provoking conversation. I was an illustration major, and speaking for that program, it is very well-attended and the professors are working professionals in the field, which gave us great access to the current temperature of the illustration industry. They would share their experiences working as freelance illustrators with art directors, going over how to properly email clients, the ins and outs of the industry, and the many options for careers we could start working towards building. This is also one of the only illustration programs that has a class specifically dedicated to the business aspects of being a freelancer — how to do your taxes, how to advertise your business, how to register for a business license, all of the taxes you will be required to report, as well as which purchases can be written off. I left CCA with very practical knowledge of how to make it as an artist professionally, and am so grateful to the program for that. The assignments that we are given are put up to be discussed and critiqued by the whole class, and in this way our art and style are constantly being discussed with the intent on making better artists and thinkers. As a CCA student, you are required to give thoughtful and researched reasons why you make your art, what story your illustration is telling, and who your audience is. Group discussion is then used to ascertain whether or not you’ve succeeded in your execution. I left CCA knowing how to talk about my work — something that has proven to be essential. The only other thing to know about CCA is that it is located on somewhat of the outskirts of San Francisco. It’s not an easy place to get to if you live off campus, and my commute would regularly be an hour to and from home and school. Campus housing is expensive, and outside housing is unreliable. Many students live outside of SF in the surrounding Bay Area, and would drive to school, but it was often the case that the cost of driving and parking (parking tickets included) would not be worth the money saved on cheaper rent outside of the city. Public transportation is available, but costs a lot in time and is also unreliable. Really what I’m trying to say is, I’ve lived on campus, off campus, had a car, didn’t have a car, did public transportation, did exclusively uber, tried every combination I could trying to make city life work for me, and in the end, I would recommend just eating the high cost of on-campus housing, because it will save you so much time and money and drama trying to get around the city. To be able to walk home and eat dinner, and then go back to campus all within an hour is no small privilege. The neighborhood is growing with a lot of construction, so it will only get better in terms of restaurants, grocery stores, and amenities. The most difficult part of CCA for me was the city aspect — constantly being surrounded by strangers, having very little personal space, the school being big for a city but small for anywhere else, the high cost of living, these were my personal trials. With that being said, the school itself and the education I received was simply stellar, as can be attested to by our alumni — thoughtful and successful artists who’s focus is to make the world a better place.

Erica - 03/28/2020

Great School! Very hands on.

M - 02/23/2020

I think it is a good college if you want to go into art but are not sure exactly what area of art. You get what you make out of the classes and professors but smaller/lesser specializations in majors often do not get classes or many classes. (example: 3D animation and modeling have many classes but classes for lighting, story, and stop motion are few in comparison). The college is in the middle of transferring its Oakland campus to the San Francisco campus, which has caused a lot of headaches for students and faculty. Overall the facilities on each campus are ok, at this point, you can tell which campus they are putting more priority into. I think something all current students can agree on is that the public safety staff needs to be increased, as well as the shuttle services to the school's current off-campus housing apartments. CCA is a good art college and I would suggest it to anyone that wanted to get a taste of what the art career field is like or get a head start for a stronger art program that you're interested in, but I would not recommend CCA if you are looking for a 4-year college.

Emily - 12/26/2019

The California College of the Arts is a great school. The professors are nice, who is patient to help you to go through your problems by their profession. Also, they are always concern about the students. The academic resources are very abundant. The advantage is students can freely use the studio to do their work. Even though they are graduating from the school, they can still make an appointment with the studio to use a specific machine. The disadvantage is the safety of the campus and the dorm conditions. Regarding to the area, the student needs to walk in group.

California College of the Arts FAQS

  1. What is the Acceptance Rate at California College of the Arts?

    The fall 2020 acceptance rate for California College of the Arts is 64%. That means, out of _____ applications received in 2020 , _____ students were offered admission. The number of males who applied was _____ vs the number of females which was _____.

  2. What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

    I have learned many things since beggining college in 2007. One thing I have learned the most is to attend class and participate. I realized that when I was in high school i never did either of these things. It hindered me when i first began college but i am beggining to grasp it as i hopefully head on to a 4 year university next fall. It has been valuable to attend because if i wasnt in school, i would be completely unhappy. It has given me many more oppurtunities already and will continue to do so.

    Read all  20 answers
  3. Describe the students at your school.

    Everyone there eats, sleeps and breathes their art.

    Read all  12 answers
  4. What are the most popular student activities/groups?

    All of the students here share a passion for art. Students go to local gallery shows, and theaters. Students who enjoy some partying go up to Berkeley or other students' homes. A lot hop on BART and head over (under) the bay into SF and enjoy what it has to offer too.

    Read all  12 answers
  5. What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

    I attend an art school and there are two stereotypes that come to mind, the design students and the artsy-fartsy students. Design students are thought of as up-tight, rigid, and elitist. While artsy-fartsy students are flaky, pseudo intellectuals, and also elitist. These two stereotypes can be subdivided by majors or departments as well but those are just more refined versions of the two branches of art students.

    Read all  10 answers
  6. What is your overall opinion of this school?

    Coming to CCA has been the best thing to happen to me so fat in my life. It feels great to be around people that are like you and to be in a creative environment. We are a smaller college and we benefit with smaller class sizes and a close community. The faculty as well is nothing less than fantastic. I have a lot of pride in CCA, especially the Illustration department.

    Read all  10 answers
  7. What are the academics like at your school?

    What's great here is that all the teachers are working professionals. You know that you are being taught by people who are successful in the industry. As an Illustration student and I find the faculty to be incredible. They know their stuff and really help you develop technical and conceptual skills. You really develop a relationship with your teachers and it feels good to know that they still care about you after having them as instructors.

    Read all  9 answers
  8. What do you brag about most when you tell your friends about your school?

    I love to brag about how small our classes are and how easy it is to connect with our professors. Eventhough it may seem weird the professors here are easy to befriend and in a way it's a great connection in the future. I also brag about how awesome the people are here, everyone is unique in their own way. Many of them were outcasts back at their school and yet they were given this amazing talent! 100 words can not discribe how amazing my first year was at this school! Too much to brag about!

    Read all  6 answers
  9. What do you consider the worst thing about your school? Why?

    California College of the Arts is far too expensive. The cost of tuition may scare away true artistic souls. It certainly scared me away initially.

    Read all  5 answers
  10. What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about freshman year?

    I wish i had taken required classes such as math and science at a community college so that i could take classes at CCA that focus on my major

    Read all  5 answers
  11. What's unique about your campus?

    The art studios, which are equpiied with all sorts of different types of supplies and high tech equiptment for whatever specefic type of art you are interested in.

    Read all  5 answers
  12. Describe your favorite campus traditions.

    My favorite campus tradition is probably the annual mascot design competition! Our school has a really unique mascot – a chimera (a mythological creature with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and a snake for a tail). Every year, students are given the opportunity to redesign the face of the mascot! The winner of the competition has their design on all the school merchandise for a whole year! It's pretty great! Being an art school, I think it's great to be able to allow the student community to harness their creativity in all kinds of different ways! This is a pretty fun & unique tradition the school has! Another tradition that I quite enjoy is the annual Chimeratopia fair, where there's just a bunch of great people, food and fun! There's also a taco truck that comes by every year and we get free tacos at Chimeratopia which is so great!

    Read all  4 answers
  13. What are your classes like?

    Most of my classes are pretty small - especially my studio classes. There are 15-20 students in each of my classes. It's really great cos' we get lots of one-on-one time with the professors to review our work and give us individual critiques. It's also nice, cos' in each class, we become like a mini family, and it's always nice working with other students and bouncing ideas of of each other. It's a really great environment to be a part of since we all support and help pull each other through, which in turn makes us all individually stronger designers.

    Read all  3 answers
  14. What's the most frustrating thing about your school?

    the cost. it's highly unrealistic to attend without rich parents.

    Read all  2 answers
  15. Tell us about your professors.

    The instructors are knowledgable, supportive, and approachable. They really know what they are talking about and you really develop a bond with them.

    Read all  2 answers
  16. Here's your chance: Say anything about your college!

    California College of The Arts was founded during the Arts and Crafts Movement; A movement where social issues influenced art. These ideals through anti-industrialized processes have remained unique and important aspects in CCA's development. Because of the individualized attention due to the small college size, each student is given the opportunity to flourish within their specified major. What is prevalent at CCA is that art studies are critical and will create the fabric of a successful and creative career.

    Read all  2 answers
  17. What kind of person should not attend this school?


    Read all  2 answers
  18. Where is the best place to get work done on campus?

    I find that the best place to get work done on the Oakland campus is on Macky Lawn, or at the library. They're both really quiet and good places to focus and concentrate and get stuff done. I prefer Macky lawn, cos' I like sitting in the grass and all the "green" around me feels really inspiring. On the San Francisco campus, the best places to get work done are either in one of the "N" classrooms in the Nave if they're not occupied, or in the lounge (living area) or library. I find that if the N classrooms aren't occupied, they're a great place to get work done because you can spread out all your stuff and really step back and look at your work.The other great place that I always like to work at is at the Graphic Design Studio workspace. It's a really great place to work where all the Graphic Design students generally work outside of class time. Since there are Graphic Design students from all levels working there, it's always a good place to get feedback from the upperclassmen, or talk about projects and receive peer feedback. I think it's nice to work alone, but it's also nice to work among people, because it's a lot less stressful, when there are many people doing the same thing and going through the same thing with you. Also, its nice to work with people because you can get tons of feedback and critique. Generally, upper class-men have normally done the same projects that you're currently doing or they have experience with similar things, and it's always good, because they have experienced it, their feedback is really valuable and helpful, and more often than not strengthens your work!

    Read all  1 answers
  19. Why did you decide to go to this school?

    I decided to go to CCA after attending the Pre-college program in 2009. I chose to go to this school, because of it's concern with sustainability and engagement with the community. I think a large part of what I want to do as a designer involves affecting positive change in society, be in environmental or community based. CCA's core values really tied in with the things that I wanted to do. I also chose CCA because I really enjoyed the pre-college program and the general culture of the school, when I was at pre-college.

    Read all  1 answers
  20. Describe your school to someone who's never heard of it.

    It's really just a great place to be! There's a diverse artistic culture and people around school and in school are really open to diverse opinions and always happy to engage in enjoyable conversations with you! CCA is the site of hustle and bustle of critiques and constant movement! People are always around and because the community isn't that large, it's a tight knit community that feels somewhat like a family. CCA is just one big very diverse but amazing family. It's an absolutely wonderful place to be and I've really enjoyed being a part of such a great school. It's been hard work but lots of fun and I've met some of the best people here!

    Read all  1 answers
  21. Describe a typical weekend.

    my typical weekend is normally a weekend of homework - lots and lots of homework! it can be tiring, but since I really enjoy the program and the work I'm doing, it's doesn't bother me that I get tied down with a lot of homework during the weekends. I actually quite enjoy doing homework during the weekends. Most of the homework I have, are normally studio projects. They're quite time consuming but they're really fun to do, and as long as you're enjoying what you're doing, why not do it during the weekends too? right? :)

    Read all  1 answers

Student Body







Total Undergrad Enrollment


Total Grad Students









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On-Campus Housing


of students living on campus

Student Diversity

% American Indian/Alaskan Native
% Asian/Pacific Islander
% Black or African-American
% Hispanic/Latino
% White or Caucasian


All students must apply yearly for financial aid. This process starts with the FAFSA. Though financial aid deadlines vary by school, it is a good idea to apply as soon as possible. For the upcoming school year, you can apply as early as October 1 for the FAFSA. Additional school aid will be dependent on the FAFSA results.

82% of students attending California College of the Arts receive some sort of financial aid. 30% were awarded federal grants. While 41% received federal loans. Many students do also need to apply for additional private student loans.

Cost Out of State


Tuition and fees(Out of state)


Books and Supplies


Room and Board


Total On Campus

Actual Cost By Income Level(W/Financial Aid)

Family Income
$0 - $30K
$30 - $48K
$48 - $75K
$75 - $110K
$110K & UP

We use student reviews and the most current publicly available data on our school pages. As such, we don't typically remove or edit college information. Sources for school statistics and data include the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Portions of college data include copyrighted material, which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. © 2009-2016 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.


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