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California Institute of the Arts Reviews

Check out reviews left by other students or leave your own review. You could win a free scholarship.

  • 01/03/2010

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    12 out of 13 people found this review useful. 1 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Artist that live, breathe, sleep for creating and making art. Experimental artist that want to be subjected to a different stream of art.

    Tips for prospective students

    Start applying for financial aid early, and visit the school and form relationship with your prospective department. CalArts is a very hard school to get into and you need to find out what is going to set you apart from all the other applicants. Don't be afraid to contact current students and ask questions or advice, we all know what it means to want to be apart of the CalArts community.

    Bang for the buck

    CalArts is a pretty expensive school, and still is lacking on some basic thing. However, the network of alumni and the invaluable people you connect with more than compensate for the lack of services and facilities.

    Am enjoying being here

    I love being at CalArts. It is a balance that everyone needs to achieve when coming into the school. So much of the culture is networking, collaborating, however also living life for the moment. If you come into CalArts with an open mind for life, love, and challenge then you will soar.

    Am learning a lot

    You make CalArts what you want it to be. If you emerge yourself into the community and work interdisciplinary than you cannot go wrong. CalArts is a school for people who are true artist. Who live, breathe, sleep being an Artist. The faculty and staff at CalArts are all professionals in there fields, and they are active in them. You are not a kid when you are at CalArts, you are a professional artist and you will be treated that way.

  • 08/05/2011

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    10 out of 10 people found this review useful. 2 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    CalArts is for those who are dedicated, creative, unique, different, bold, fearless, and enjoy what they do.

    Tips for prospective students

    Apply for financial aid early! For dance, theatre, and music, you must audition to be accepted. Animation, Graphic Design, Fine Art, Film/Video, you must have a portfolio. For details: http://calarts.edu/admissions/portfolio-audition CalArts don't focus much on academics as much as they do in talent. Recommendation letters make a huge difference in acceptance. Keep a close relationship with a few of your teachers. Animation, Graphic Design, and Film/Video students, prepare yourself for many sleepless nights!

    Bang for the buck

    I have to warn you, this school is REALLY expensive. Tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year is $37,684 for full-time enrollment. It is seems as if the tuition gets more expensive every year. On top of that there are other fees and deposits, not to mention having to pay for your own art supplies. I'd highly recommend to apply for Financial Aid early. If you wait too late, funds will run out. In addition, tips for Graphic Designers: you have to buy your own computer. An imac or macbook pro is mainly used and preferred, but we do have a MacLab, which you can use and is up to date with all design softwares. I'd recommend Graphic Designers to purchase a tablet; it comes in real handy and you'll probably end up getting one anyway. I don't see how you can go four years without one. You'll also probably end up buying an SLR camera because during your first year you do have a photo/video class and photos help with inspiration, ideas, etc. I don't know how I would've been able to go here without a scholarship.

    Am enjoying being here

    CalArts has a vibe that no other school has. Everyone is friendly, helpful, talented, and not afraid to be who they are. There's no trashing new-coming students and there are no sororities or fraternities. Meeting new people and making new friends is not difficult, especially with art galleries and parties happening every Thursday night. We also have many events to allow new-coming students to make friends. (My first year, the first years and transfer students were invited to go on a trip to Santa Monica together on a bus.) Not only do you get to meet people, but you get to enjoy creative art in so many different aspects. You come across some strange things that inspire and also arouse different emotions from looking at art, listening to music, to observing dance performances. But you have to prepare yourself because this is a VERY liberal school--no one is afraid of being naked (the Chouinard dorms have a clothing-optional swimming pool, and there are people swimming or tanning naked there. We also have a Naked Gamelon. You'll find out what they are when you arrive ;) ) The parties are outrageous; our Halloween party is the craziest. I've heard that it's been ranked by Playboy to be one of the top 10 parties in America. Also, as I have mentioned before, not only is the social life here great, but the education is awesome. You learn from both your professor and your peers. Everyone is very supportive and encouraging. You also have to keep in mind that this school is relatively small compared to other universities (CalArts acceptance rate is 31%; it's relatively low.), but I think that it's an advantage because you receive more concentrated attention and critique in your work and you develop a close relationship with your professors. (Graphic designers have barbeques together and invite teachers and we all mingle and drink. It's really awesome.) The average class size is around 14 people. In my year, I had 17 other first year Graphic Designers, which were a lot compared to the other years. The graduating Graphic Design class of 2011 was only 8 people. I'm not trying to scare anyone, but it's a tough school. There are drop outs every year. The professors don't even get paid as much as other professors at different universities, but they work here because they are really dedicated in teaching their students and helping them to grow. I can't imagine being at any other school!

    Am learning a lot

    CalArts is an internationally renown school with many highly recognized faculty and a very interesting history. (For more info: http://calarts.edu/about/history) From day one, the professors expect a certain level of work/ talent from you. Unlike many other schools, CalArts offers studios or own cubicle desks for Graphic Design students and Animation students, which allows you to learn from not only your teachers, but from your peers. Having your own working space really allows you to concentrate and do your work. There is a different vibe here; everyone wants to do their best so the work they create is exceptional, and yet the high level of competition doesn't hinder people from helping each other. With different majors all mingling in one huge building, you can get inspired by not only your major, but from the galleries you visit and the beautiful dance or music performances. Knowing people from different majors is also a business advantage. From meeting people in music, I did a paid job to design album covers, and from meeting actors, I was paid to design a poster for a play.

  • 09/29/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    4 out of 4 people found this review useful. 3 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    CalArts is a very small campus with security patrol 24/7. I have never felt unsafe at this school and appreciate the security.

    Greek Life

    No Fraternities or Sororities here

    Clubs and Activities

    There's a club for just about everything. On registration day you will find booths set up with tons of club options.

    Great for these types of students

    Perfect for driven, artistic, innovative people. CalArts offers the opportunity to grow as an artist and encourages the student to try new types of art. However, you have to make sure that you are self-motivated enough to get the work done because it can be easy to fall behind.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Known for the best annual Halloween party in Los Angeles! No matter where I am in LA, I always here, Oh, you go to CalArts? That's the school with the crazy Halloween party!!!. I also hear a lot of, Didn't Tim Burton graduate from that school? which he did.

    Bang for the buck

    It's a really expensive school, so look for scholarships and really take advantage of the classes, guest seminars, and performances the school has to offer. That said, the faculty, students, and guests are amazing and you are exposed to a lot of possibilities at CalArts that you would never see at other colleges.

    What to do for fun

    There are many campus events on a regular basis. CalArts is an art conservatory, so you can expect to find concerts, performances, exhibits, and many other displays of student, faculty, and guest work every day.

    Food and Dining

    Very good food for a school cafeteria and school cafe. The main cafeteria provides many options for vegetarians. Keep in mind that the school only accepts cash, so get used to that.

    Dorm Life

    Living in the dorms is a very popular decision at CalArts. Many students enjoy living in the dorms and act like a family of neighbors.

    Academic Rigor

    Students are encouraged to be full-time, which can mean a heavy workload. Each class is different, but overall you can expect to be required to put in some effort. The classes aren't easy, but they are typically fun and interesting.

    Tips for prospective students

    Start early with applying for scholarships! This school is possible for anyone interested but you will need financial help if you're not from a wealthy family. I have almost no money at all to put toward college, but after scholarships, grants and loans, I've made it work!

    In three sentences

    CalArts is a wonderful choice for any student looking to stretch their artistic abilities. The faculty are very nurturing and helpful. The classes can be difficult, but it's worth the great education.

  • 02/22/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review useful. 4 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    great, and great to work with

    Bang for the buck

    this school is very expensive, but a good way to look at it is a down payment on the rest of your life.

    What to do for fun

    hiking, sleeping, talking with friends, sleeping, finding inspiration through other students works, sleeping...did i mention sleeping?

    Food and Dining

    nice, but can get old from time to time

    Dorm Life

    great, an easy place to meet up with friends.

    Academic Rigor

    the teachers are supportive and love creativity when it comes to animation.

    Tips for prospective students

    apply yourself, but don't overwork yourself. try to set times to sleep, everyone needs sleep, and i can tell you from experience how much it sucks to go days with very little of it.

    In three sentences

    this college is amazing. a lot of hard work, but plenty of friendly faces. i'm so glad i cam to this school

  • 03/25/2013

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review useful. 5 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    Self-driven.

    Bang for the buck

    Again, this depends on how much you're willing to put into it yourself. Personally, as a filmmaker, I've already made such huge leaps and bounds in terms of both personal growth as a filmmaker and understanding of how to navigate the film industry after graduation, so it's been really valuable.

    What to do for fun

    There are lots of parties. But if you want any sort of city life at all, you'll find yourself heading to LA often.

    Food and Dining

    I personally really like the dining hall. It's good around 80% of the time, and when it's not it's a good excuse to vary up your meals anyway.

    Dorm Life

    I've really enjoyed my on-campus apartment so far. My only complaint is that facilities are old, so things constantly need fixing.

    Academic Rigor

    This is a tricky question, because it's entirely self-driven. The HP/P/LP/NP system seem to encourage students to not care about class, but the more effort you put into your classes the more you'll personally get out of them as artists. This is supported by the fact that most programs allow you to pick and choose most of your classes after your first year, or even within your first year.

    Tips for prospective students

    Be yourself. Recruiters are much more looking for unique voices than they are people who are trying to impress.

    In three sentences

    Really awesome if you know what you want. This university is all about the business, you don't want to muck around waiting for someone to tell you what you're going to do.

  • 12/17/2010

    Reviewer is Researching this school. Reviewer has not been to campus.

    1 out of 9 people found this review useful. 6 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Great for these types of students

    I think this university would be a good choice for who want to pursue a degree in the field of arts.

    Tips for prospective students

    I am a prospective student I don't have any tips.

    Bang for the buck

    Unknown at this time.

    Will enjoy being here

    I enjoy being in California. I think I will enjoy attending this university I look forward to learning animations and earning my Bachelor's in that field.

    Will learn a lot

    I'm hoping to learn about computer and character animations.

  • 01/24/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    1 out of 1 people found this review useful. 7 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    good

    Bang for the buck

    excellent if you're not lazy and seek out what you want.

    Food and Dining

    very good.

    Academic Rigor

    more results oriented than grade oriented.

    Tips for prospective students

    it's expensive! read faculty bios and get to know the ones who do what you want to. they are very open and supportive.

    In three sentences

    this is the best music school on the planet for serious musicians/artists. the faculty are working professionals (as opposed to academics) with successful careers. it's about quality, creativity and innovation, not amassing meaningless units.

  • 03/20/2012

    Reviewer is Accepted here and planning to attend soon. Reviewer has not been to campus.

    0 out of 6 people found this review useful. 8 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    haven't attended yet. plan to go in Fall 2012

    Greek Life

    haven't attended yet. plan to go in Fall 2012

    Clubs and Activities

    haven't attended yet. plan to go in Fall 2012

    Great for these types of students

    Artists

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    haven't attended yet. plan to go in Fall 2012

    Bang for the buck

    haven't attended yet. plan to go in Fall 2012

    What to do for fun

    little free time, you will be very busy

    Food and Dining

    haven't attended yet. plan to go in Fall 2012

    Dorm Life

    haven't attended yet. plan to go in Fall 2012

    Academic Rigor

    haven't attended yet. plan to go in Fall 2012

    Tips for prospective students

    Apply for financial aid and scholarships early. Do your best and you cannot go wrong here.

    In three sentences

    A must to go here. Amazing faculty and environment. Expensive but totally worth it.

  • 03/24/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    9 of 15

    Categories Comments
    What to do for fun

    Malls and shopping all within walking distance

    Food and Dining

    Pretty good

    Dorm Life

    great space and ok facilities

    Academic Rigor

    It's like you are on project runaway

    Tips for prospective students

    Work hard!

    In three sentences

    Best place in the world where dorks and geeks come to change the world.

  • 09/17/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    10 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    Safe

    Greek Life

    None

    What to do for fun

    Not much going on in Valencia but lots of people have parties.

    Tips for prospective students

    Probably need a car.

    In three sentences

    Very challenging courses. Small student to teacher ratio which is excellent. Very expensive.

  • 12/07/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    11 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    It's getting better and more strict.

    Clubs and Activities

    soccer, tennis, swimming, political, film, music,dance.

    Great for these types of students

    fun, creative, imaginative, hard working.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    Calarts has a clothing optional pool and a smoking hill.

    Bang for the buck

    School can be very unorganized. One thing very important is time management. it is one crucial key for surviving at this school

    What to do for fun

    Not much in the city of Valencia, but you own a car, it's only 30 minutes up north from LA.

    Food and Dining

    food sucks at Calarts!

    Dorm Life

    Best memories I have had. meeting new people, make a lot of friends. the RAs are very nice.

    Academic Rigor

    A lot of paper writings.

    Tips for prospective students

    be prepared to have very little sleep. Calarts gets very crazy with your own metier studies and critical studies.

    In three sentences

    It is excellent for imaginative people who come from a strong technical trained background, to explore their creative sides of their artistic forms.

  • 12/19/2012

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    12 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    There are usually no major problems on campus being that it's a smile private institution. Most of the community is tight nit and respectful of peoples belongings, backgrounds and sexual preferences.

    Greek Life

    There are no Greeks on campus at all. (insert sad face)

    Great for these types of students

    It's great for diverse and experimental students of any choice.

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    TWO THINGS! Halloween Party and the Spring Party! Every year the whole school is shut down for these two parties and the whole student body as well as people who don't attend our school. It's laced with four floors of music dance and people having great time! This definitely completes the CalArts experience.

    Bang for the buck

    The independent studies are one of the best thing about our school. It gives you the opportunity to study one on one with a faculty of your choice within your school(be it music, dance, fine art, etc.). I've done my best working while taking an independent study.

    What to do for fun

    Besides the fact that it's an art driven school that holds countless jam sessions and performances at any time of the day/nights, we also offer other activities as well. There is a soccer club, basketball pick up games as well as swimming lessons and many other clubs and activities.

    Food and Dining

    Food on campus is mediocre. It's quite good for about the first half of the semester, but soon after it gets repetitive and some days they will serve the same thing three days in a row.

    Dorm Life

    Dorm life is quite okay. After you get past the old buildings and plane white brick layered walls you'll come to realize that they aren't that bad. A plus to the life of a student living on campus is that there is no guest policy, meaning that guest are aloud in your rooms at anytime. The dorms are also co-ed and RA's provide fun and informative activities to keep the students occupied and stimulated.

    Academic Rigor

    On average, students take about 16-19 credit hours per semester. While that may seem a lot, it's quite manageable and most of the teachers are very understanding of the students and both their academic and artistic goals

    Tips for prospective students

    If you are interest in CalArts, I would advise you to come get a campus tour both by the guides that are set up by the school and by somebody in the student body that will be willing to give you an inside scoop about our institution.

    In three sentences

    My school is a great place to channel all of your artistic needs. It is a diverse institution that provides ample opportunity to explore and master your craft while allowing you to dabble into other metiers of choice. My school is undoubtedly diverse and life changing.

  • 01/23/2013

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    13 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Tips for prospective students

    Get most of you humanities at community college or so. The will transfer lots of credits and you will save a good amount of money

    In three sentences

    The overall level of education is in a high level. As far as I know the graphic design, architecture departments a really good. The teachers are pretty awesome too.

  • 04/05/2013

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    0 out of 1 people found this review useful. 14 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Campus Safety

    grat

    Greek Life

    good life

    Clubs and Activities

    graph and art and food

    Great for these types of students

    smart ones and all types

    Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

    the number is 916-803-6320

    Bang for the buck

    never give up

    What to do for fun

    draw

    Food and Dining

    good 10 out of 10

    Dorm Life

    grate

    Academic Rigor

    have fun

    Tips for prospective students

    Never give up

    In three sentences

    The Art Institute I give it a 10 out of 10.

  • 07/13/2014

    Reviewer is A current student here.

    15 of 15

    Categories Comments
    Clubs and Activities

    There are lots of clubs and activities to join and opportunities to do so. People like to post flyers outside of Student Affairs and online at the CalARTS community board.

    Bang for the buck

    It's expensive and the buildings could use some maintenance. However, the programs and professors are incredible, so it's worth the higher price.

    What to do for fun

    Meeting up with friends on campus or at the Cafe to relieve stress or brainstorm about ideas is always delightful.

    Food and Dining

    I usually bring my own lunch and snacks. However, I do munch at Tatum Coffee House occasionally..it's nice, and the view is awesome!

    Dorm Life

    I live off-campus, so I would suggest checking with Student Services to find out more about on-campus housing.

    Academic Rigor

    It's demanding- if you expect to be the best.

    Tips for prospective students

    Do your research. Try to connect with students that already go there, and also with ones that have been accepted. Be ready for intense, focused study- just because it's an art school doesn't mean it's easy, the professors (who are well respected, successful intellects) expect the very best.

    In three sentences

    As an artist, you dream of going to a place where like minded individuals share your colorful visions- and CalARTS brings students like this together. The landscape is enriching and the talent is infinite. The school is small but the opportunities grand.