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Applying to Otis

It’s Easy!

Otis College of Art and Design


5 Steps to a Bright Future Applying to college can seem intimidating. Our counselors make it easy. Visit. Call. E-mail. We are here to help you through this process.



Check us out

Look at our website. Visit the campus. See us at National Portfolio Day ( Our counselors can answer all of your questions. We want to be your first choice.

Apply Be first in line for scholarships, housing, and all the other important stuff. The earlier you apply, the more we can help you! Put in a valid e-mail address that you check. We will contact you using that address.

Turn in your stuff Using the link we provide, upload your essay and portfolio. Don’t forget to send us transcripts and test scores. You will receive a list of items that you need to submit once you apply.


Paying for College

Our financial aid office will help you put together a package of grants, scholarships, loans, and/or work-study to bridge the gap between your resources and the cost of tuition and fees. Be sure to apply for financial aid at (U.S. citizens and permanent residents). This year, Otis will award $10.4 million in scholarship funds.


May 1 is the day to tell us you will attend. It’s all about fit and we hope you choose Otis!

Choose your school

Otis accepts undergraduate applications for the fall and spring semesters. Students can apply for entrance in the fall at Foundation, sophomore or junior level standing. The spring semester is available for Foundation students, second-semester sophomores, and the Architecture/Landscape/ Interiors “Jump Start� program.

Fall Applications open: October 1 Priority Date: February 15

Applying is Easy To apply for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, please submit these items: Online Application

Apply online at

$60 (U.S.) application fee

This is a non-refundable fee. Pay over the phone by credit card, or send a check or money order.


10-20 pieces (see portfolio guidelines)


Submit a one-page essay describing a significant person or experience that has influenced your decision to become an artist or designer.


Official transcripts showing all completed work to date. High school students must submit a final high school transcript after graduation. Transfer Students: Transfer students are required to submit final high school transcripts with the graduation date, and official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

Spring Applications open: September 1 Priority Date: November 15

International Students: Official transcripts from all high schools and universities/ colleges attended. These records must clearly state the date of completion and the level of education received. All transcripts must be official copies. If your transcripts are not in English, please submit an official translation by a notary public or a recognized evaluation service, and submit both the translated records and the original documents.

Test Scores

Submit either an SAT or ACT score if you are in high school. Transfer students are not required to submit standardized test scores. International Students: If you live in a country where English is not the official language, you should take one of the three tests recognized by Otis: the TOEFL; the IELTS; or the Pearson Test of English (SAT/ACT scores not required). For minimum scores, please refer to the International Student section on page 6. However, if you are in high school and live in a country where English is the official language, please submit either the SAT or ACT scores.

Mailing in application materials? Please send to: Otis College of Art and Design Attn: Admissions Office 9045 Lincoln Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90045

* * Otis Admissions Counselors are happy to meet to review your portfolio and/or transcripts. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Admissions Office at (310) 665-6820 or

*Please make sure to write your name and date of birth on everything.


Portfolio Requirements How do I submit my portfolio? Digital portfolios are preferred. After you apply online, you will receive a url to upload your files. We also accept DVDs and CDs. Please include an index with your name, name of project, medium, approximate dimensions, and date.

1 Apply online

2 Otis will send you the url for the digital portfolio site

3 Follow directions to upload images of your work

*Note - We do not accept physical art pieces.

Foundation Level

10-20 examples of your best and most recent work. Any medium, including but not limited to: drawings, illustration, painting, photography, two-dimensional design, sculpture, drafting, three-dimensional design, and time-based projects. Timebased projects should be no longer than two-minute excerpts. Your work should show your technical skills and creativity.

I’m a transfer Student. What do I submit in my portfolio?

Below are guidelines arranged by level of entry: *Please note – Fashion Design majors must include life drawing in their portfolios.

Sophomore Level

Approach A 10-20 examples or artwork Include work that mirrors our Foundation program. This would include life drawing, observational drawing, 2-D and 3-D design. Also, include personal work that expresses your interests and creativity. It does not have to include work from the major you wish to study.

Second-Semester Sophomore (Spring Only) & Junior Level (Fall Only) 10-20 examples of artwork Highlight discipline-specific skills to show that you are ready to enter at the second-semester sophomore, or junior level. Junior level students are expected to have professional level artwork and to be ready for internships and advanced coursework.


Sophomore Level

Approach B 10-20 examples of artwork You may submit work that shows advanced skill in your major. Remember that the portfolio should demonstrate that you have the skills to be successful at the sophomore level.

Transfer Students

To apply for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, please follow these guidelines: Taking the right classes before transferring is an important step in a smooth transition into Otis’ art and design programs. If your portfolio of artwork demonstrates the necessary welldeveloped drawing, design, and creative thinking skills, you will succeed in being admitted at the sophomore or junior level. You must also have completed general education requirements such as English, social sciences, and art history.

Sophomore Transfer (Fall admission only)

To enter Otis at the sophomore level, you must have completed a minimum of 18 semester units of studio art. It is also advisable that you complete at least 15 general education units. Please refer to the chart on page 4, and contact the Admissions Office for more information on which general education courses to take.

Jump Start Program for Architecture/Landscape/Interiors (Spring admission only) Transfer students interested in the Architecture/Landscape/ Interiors (A/L/I) program have a unique opportunity to “jump start” as a first semester sophomore in the spring semester. In the Jump Start Program, you complete the first semester of the sophomore year in the spring, and then immediately complete the second semester of the sophomore year during the summer, allowing you to be a junior in the fall. In order to stay on track and graduate on time, both spring and summer semesters must be completed!

Second-Semester Sophomore (Spring admission only)

Transfer applicants with at least 27 semester units of studio art and design may apply for second-semester sophomore status in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Communication Arts, Digital Media, Fine Arts, and Product Design.

Junior Transfer (Fall admission only)


Transfer students are required to submit final high school transcripts with the graduation date, and official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

Junior-level transfer applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Between 36–40 semesters units of studio art are generally required. You may have the transferable units, but you may not have a junior-level portfolio (or vice versa). Otis recommends that all prospective junior-level applicants meet with an Admissions Counselor for evaluation. Otis does not accept junior level transfers in Fashion Design .

Studio Credit/Portfolio

Transfer credit for studio courses in art and design will be granted upon presentation of both official transcripts and a proficient portfolio of artwork. Studio credit will not be granted based on a transcript or portfolio alone. Please refer to the portfolio requirements on page 2.


Students must have earned a grade of “C” or better in each class in order to receive credit. All units must be earned at a regionally accredited institution.


California Students

California community colleges use the IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) to prepare students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities. The IGETC alone is not effective in preparing a student to transfer to Otis because the curriculum does not include the art and design studio (drawing, figure drawing, and 2D and 3 D design) classes taken during Otis’ Foundation (freshman) Year.

General education credits are accepted on a classby-class basis. Transfer students are not required to complete all of the Foundation Year general education classes before entering, but any missing courses must be completed during their education at Otis. Transfer credit is awarded after admission to Otis, and is based on an evaluation of transcripts submitted as part of the application process.

(i.e., Psychology, Sociology, Cultural Anthropology)

Art History

Any survey of Western or Non-Western art (i.e., Cave Paintings-Early Renaissance, High renaissance-Mid. 19th Century) Modern (specifically 19th-century-1945)

semester units

Critical Analysis and Semiotics


Sophomore English

semester units

Freshman Level

Composition and Critical Thought

Freshman Level

Junior Liberal Studies Elective Math (College Level) Trigonometry One Social Science/Cultural Studies

Freshman Level

One Social Science Child Psychology

*Subject to results from the Otis English Placement Assessment (EPA) or alternative demonstration of English proficiency. Contact for more information.

One Natural Science Anatomy and Ergonomics Economics and Product Market Intro to Visual Culture

Capstone and Integrated Learning

Please keep in mind that all students, regardless of academic background, must take Integrated Learning and Capstone Courses.

Modern Art History

Freshman Level

Freshman Level

Contemporary Art History Art History Elective

Junior Level at 4 year College or University

Art History Elective

Sophomore Level

History of Photography Hist. of Graphic Design/Advertising/Illustration Hist. of Ethnic Costume Hist. of Product Design Textile Science Hist. of Toys

Junior Level at 4 year College or University

History and Theory


Toy Design

Product Design


Fine Arts (Photography)

semester units

Fine Arts (Painting/Sculpture)

Social Science


General Education Transfer Credits by Major This is meant to be a guide only. Please speak with an Admissions Counselor for more detailed information about transfer credit. Studio art credits are evaluated separately.

Fashion Design

Reading and Composition College English Critical Analysis

General Education Curriculum

Architecture/Landscape/ Interiors

College English*

Feel free to call the Admissions Office and speak with a Counselor. (310) 665-6820

Digital Media

To transfer on-track as a sophomore, you will need the following General Education credits. Any missing credits will have to be completed at Otis before graduating.

* Questions about Transferring?

Communication Arts

General Education Units

International Students Admissions Requirements

To apply for the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, please submit the items listed on page one as well as the items listed on this page. International students who live in a country where English is not the official language should take the TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language), iELTS, or the Pearson Test of English.

Test Scores

International students who live in a country where English is not the official language should take the TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language), iELTS, or the Pearson Test of English. However, if you are in high school and live in a country where English is the official language, please either submit the SAT or ACT scores.

TOEFL Computer-based exam 213 Internet-based exam (iBT) 79 Paper-based exam 550 *Institutional TOEFL scores are not accepted.

iELTS Minimum score of 6.5 overall band score

Pearson Test Minimum score of 58 of English

6.5 or above

Visa Requirements

International Students for admission who require an F-1 student visa must submit the following: A Verification form will be mailed in the acceptance packet. Students must complete the forms, including a permanent foreign address and a sponsor signature from the parent, sponsor or agency guaranteeing the student’s financial resources. Students currently studying within the US will need to get documentation of their status from their current school and have their SEVIS record released to Otis. A copy of the current passport photo page and the current I-20, I-94, and visa (if applicable). A bank statement or the other documentation from the parent’s or sponsor’s bank, or sponsoring organization, certifying that sufficient funds (approximately $54,000 USD) for support of the student’s education and living expenses are available. Communication must be in English or accompanied by certified English translation, and funds should be in U.S. dollars. Address these letters to Otis Admissions Office. When all required documents are received, an I-20 will be issued for the student. The student may take this document to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain an F-1 Student Visa.

58 or above of English

AP and IB Exams Advanced Placement

Admitted students may submit scores from Advanced Placement examinations for credit.


History, Math and Science

English and Art History

Required Score

3-5 4-5

*Due to the specialized nature of Otis’ studio programs, AP credit for studio art is not accepted.

International Baccalaureate

You are eligible to receive credit if you have completed the IB Upper Level Exams with a score of 5 or more in any of the following subject areas: Language (English) Individuals and Societies (Social Sciences) Experimental Sciences (Natural Sciences) Mathematics



If You’ve Applied Before

When will I know if I got in?


After acceptance, how do I secure a spot?

Contact for more information.

All of your application materials must be received by the Admissions Office in order for your application to be considered complete. Once you’re application is complete, the Admissions Committee will notify you of a decision in about three weeks.

Accepted students who plan to enroll are required to make a non-refundable $250 tuition deposit to confirm attendance and to reserve a place in the entering class. The Intent to Register form and tuition deposit are due within two weeks of notification of acceptance or by May 1, whichever is later. The full amount of the deposit is credited to your first semester’s tuition. After the deposit is received, you will receive registration and orientation information, as well as a housing and tuition payment information. Prior to enrolling, you must submit high school, or final college transcripts. Acceptance is final only upon receipt of these documents.

Choosing a Major

Depending on the year, some departments have a limited number of spaces available. You may have to submit your portfolio and grades for review in the second semester of Foundation. Since Otis cannot guarantee your first choice, you should identify more than one possible major.

Early Admission for High School Juniors

Occasionally, Otis admits advanced students who chose to forego their senior year in high school to study at Otis. The credits earned during the Foundation Year are accepted by the student’s high school for completion of the high school diploma. A student applying for early admission must obtain approval from the high school. Contact for more information.


Admission is only valid for entry to the semester when it is offered. If you choose not to enroll that semester, you may request that the application be “reactivated” for a future semester. Applications and supporting materials are held for one year after submittal. New materials will be required if you request reactivation after one year.

Other Programs Special One-Year Program

If you have a prior bachelor’s degree and wish to gain further specialized education, then apply to the Special One-Year Program! You could have majored in art or design or have a bachelor’s degree in a different discipline, but you must have considerable professional art or design experience. Most of the coursework is taken at the senior level, although some flexibility in class selection allows students to devise a program that suits individual backgrounds and needs. Fashion Design does not offer this program. Students admitted to this non-matriculating program are subject to the same rules and regulations as matriculated students, and must meet the same admissions requirements as BFA applicants. You will receive an official transcript of credit earned at Otis but are not eligible to receive the BFA degree. Also, you are ineligible for financial aid.

2011-2012 Cost of Attendance The 2011-2012 undergraduate Tuition and fees are listed below. The cost is based on classes in which you are enrolled, and does not include material fees associated with a particular class.

Financial Aid

Federal School Code:


Contact the Financial Aid Office: Email: Telephone: (310) 665-6880 Fax: (310) 665-6884 Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00 pm

What Types of Aid Might I Receive? Tuition (based on 12-18 units) $34,454 Fall $17,227 Spring $17,227 Registration Fee $400 Fall $200 Spring $200 Tech and Materials Fees $250 Fall $125 Spring $125 Student Activity Fee $250 Fall $125 Spring $125 General Materials Fee $50 Fall $25 Spring $25 TOTAL* $35,404 for domestic students

*International Students are required to buy health insurance, paid for at the time of registration

Health Insurance $822 Fall $342 Spring/Summer $480


Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Academic Competitiveness Grant

2. Cal Grant (for California residents only) 3. Otis Institutional Grant 4. Federal Stafford Loans and PLUS (Parent) Loans 5. Federal and Institutional Work-Study

How Do I Apply for Financial Aid? 1.

You and your parent (if applicable) must obtain a personal identification pin at

2. Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at 2a. Enter school code: 001251 2b. Prevent delays in processing by making sure that you answer all the questions in the FAFSA completely and accurately. Make sure that you (and your parent, if applicable) sign the FAFSA.

When do I Apply?

The FAFSA is available after January 2 for the Fall 2012 semester. We recommend you complete and submit the FAFSA by March 2, 2012. California residents should submit the FAFSA and file the Cal Grant Verification form by March 2, 2012. Cal Grant Verification forms postmarked after March 2, 2012 will not be considered for the Cal Grant. If you are unable to submit the FAFSA before March 2, 2012, you can still submit the FAFSA online and be eligible for other forms of Financial Aid.

What Happens Next?

After you complete the FAFSA, Otis Financial Aid will notify you via email if any additional information is needed. Please answer immediately to avoid delays. When your Financial Aid file is complete, your eligibility for financial aid awards will be determined and finally, you will be awarded. You will receive the Financial Aid Award which will indicate specific award amounts. Awards and any missing documents can be accessed online at


Otis at a Glance Established in 1918 by the Los Angeles Times founder, Harrison Gray Otis.

Otis is a Nonprofit Institution

Otis is among the most culturally diverse colleges of art and design in the U.S.

L.A.’s first independent professional school of art


1,200 2,500 Degree Students

International Students


Advertising Design, Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Digital Media, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Product Design, Painting, Photography, Sculpture/New Genres, and Toy Design

Graduate Majors



Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing

All 314 faculty members are practicing professionals in their fields. Affiliations: Private, nonprofit institution accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Member, Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).


26 countries & 39 states

of students from outside California

Undergraduate Majors

Student/Faculty Ratio

students come from

Continuing Education Students

Otis College of Art and Design is accredited by the Accrediting Commissions for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Otis is also a member of The Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).

Admissions Office Want a tour of the Otis campus? Please give us a call. 310 665 6820 800 527 OTIS (6847)

How to Apply  

Applying to Otis