California College of the Arts
San Francisco, CA, USA

Reviews

California College of the Arts
3.56 Average Rating

Matthew from Oakland, CA

a current student here
17 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I am deeply passionate about art. I have been drawing since i was a baby, and my love for creating has only grown since then. My technical skills were sub par prior to attending CCA. In my first semester i learned how to draw, how to REALLY draw. it was amazing. my drawing teacher taught me how to get proportions right, use simultanious contrast of value, render accurate shadows, and how to draw faces. I learned how to use every kind of tool known to man for drawing. I even learned how to draw with ink. In my 2d class my teacher pushed me on how to incorporate these concepts that she could tell i had into my work, therefore really pushing my credibility as an artist. Thanks to art history I can name almost any piece of widely known art work created since the cave paintings at lascaux. I had never done any photography work, but in the first hour of my photography class I fully understood how a camera worked, knew how to load film, and was shooting. By the end of the semester I knew almost everything there was to know about black and white photography. I could print fiber prints larger than 16 by 20, I could shoot medium format, and I could tone with sepia. It was incredible. I cant wait for my color film class next semester. Last but not least was english. I have never been a fan of english class. I hated writing essays, and i wasnt a huge fan of reading. My teacher had me writing essays for FUN in a week. In my class we did analysis of music, and were writing 10 page essays by the end of the semester.
Am enjoying being here
Oakland is an amazing place. The amount of art and music you are exposed to (which is very important to me) is tremendous. I cant even count how many gallery openings i went to in the first month of school, and how many famous artists I met. The amount of things to do in the bay area is almost overwhelming. I would be impressed if you could manage to have a boring day or night. The people are really nice and welcoming. The campus is very friendly. all of the people are willing to help you out. I have heard alot of people say that the people at art school are hard to get along with. I had 6 really good friends before the sun set on my first day.
Bang for the buck
Yeah, the school is very expensive, but you get what you pay for. you will learn so much, and be turned on to alot of amazing resources. I have already had gallery offerings, and internships with top notch artists because of my school
Tips for prospective students
you get out as much as you put in. work alot and just be psyched on it. You will learn as much as you want to.
Great for these types of students
WORK WORK WORK. This school will bring you lots of success, and you will learn more than you could imagine. but you have to be willing to put in the time and the effort. If your not supposed to be here, you wont be, the work will take over you and swallow you whole if you are not cut out for it.
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Brittney from Hillside, IL

a current student here
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I am a second year now, and i have learned soooo much. I came into the school not knowing any art terms or artist names and stuff like that. I was self taught until I came to CCA, and it was a good choice!
I have learned so much history and technique, with both traditional and digital medium.
Also I am an animation major and the program is great. It teaches animation techniques, story telling, story boarding, concept art, special effects, etc, etc.
Am enjoying being here
I have met many many amazing people in and out of class. Most of my friends are out of major and they tend to be the ones that help me the most with ideas. Because they aren't animation majors they tend to think about things in a different way that offend helpful. Also don't hide away in your dorm room! work is important but you need to be social as well.
Bang for the buck
This school costs a lot. But you learn a lot, and it's enjoyable. So it does level out somewhat. Just stay focus so you don't fail any classes 'cuz that's money you won't be seeing again.
Tips for prospective students
Be confident! Prepare your best portfolio and have faith it's strong enough. Once you are excepted don't be afraid to call the school if you have questions about billing, registering for classes, etc. When I was incoming my enrollment counselor was on my speed dial. They are happy to help.
Great for these types of students
This school is great for people who love art and are willing to take artistic risks, get dirty, and have fun.
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Xavier from Tallulah, LA

a past student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
California College of the Arts is a diverse and integrated school that really cares about community and individual growth. At CCA I spent four wonderful years discovering new things, immersing myself in art culture, and meeting like-minded passionate people who care about art and their community. I would highly recommend CCA to any art student who wants to learn from industry professionals and is looking for a memorable experience.
Tips for prospective students


I would recommend going on tours, and absorbing as much information as possible. Also, getting involved with the school is a great way to meet people and learn from your fellow peers. Lastly, I would try selecting electives that you would normally never choose because you never know what you might fall in love with. To make the most of your school experience try saying no less and yes to everything, you would be surprised.
Academic Rigor

Academics can be very challenging at time and seem to consume a lot of your time and social life. Don't let that get in the way of exploring the city or taking some time for yourself and friends. Making a schedule for yourself is a great way to balance the challenges you will face. Art school rigor is no joke, at CCA the professors will challenge you and you will gain a lot from it if you are up for the challenge. I learned a lot from the Humanities and Science classes at CCA, which really helped shape my perspective on life and how initiate some change starting with my actions.
Dorm Life

I had the pleasure of living in the dorms all four years at CCA and they were some of the best times of my life. My first year was the best because it was the first group of friends and people I met at CCA. We all instantly bonded, and became like a little family and hung out together in the lounge and had work parties late at night. The wonderful thing was it didn't feel like work with all those people in there working with you and the time would fly by. Not only do you meet great people in the dorm, but you are also get to meet people from so many different disciplines like Illustration, Fashion, Animation, Design, Architecture, Writing, and Jewelry to name a few. The best thing about the dorm is the community you build, which is really helpful when you are new. You tend to feel closer to school than those who live off campus, and already you know people on day one.
Food and Dining

The A-2 food is not bad for the price you pay and you get a variety of food ranging from pizza, sandwiches, pastries, coffee, soda, and even soup. My favorite would be the breakfast treats, I would order myself a coffee with a bagel and cream cheese, or if I was feeling fancy I would purchase a mushroom bagel with egg and cheese and some fruit on the side. The best part of having your school located in the bay area is the variety of food you have at your disposal. If you are in the mood for Asian cuisine, Mexican food, Mediterranean, or some burgers all you have to do is walk and your there. I enjoyed walking around and trying different food whenever I could, I would make it into a food adventure. There is a little something for everyone and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
What to do for fun

What isn't there to do for fun, it's the bay area. For starters there are so many fun places to visit like China Town, Japan Town, Union Square in San Francisco, the Wharf, museums and the list goes on. You could spend countless hours in any of the places I mentioned but my all time favorite is Art Murmur. Art Murmur is an event hosted ever first Friday of the month where artist sale their work, musicians play their music, eat great food, and stroll around telegraph enjoying all the different venues and great atmosphere. My other favorite part of the bay area is all the museums you can visit such as the SF Moma, Dey Young, Asian Art Museum, the Jewish Museum, and even the Walt Disney Museum. If you are feeling like taking in the sights you can even take the Bart Berkeley, and San Francisco and simply walk around. Taking public transportation makes it fun and affordable to move about the city.
Bang for the buck

China Town has great affordable food and pastries that I would recommend if you were on a budget, not only for eating out but also groceries too. The best place to go for groceries if you live in Oakland would be Smart and Final, they sell in bulk but for the most part you save a lot. The great thing about the city is that there is very affordable and filling food. My favorite food chain is Pizza Man, which was right down the street from Webster Dorm. Their pizza is three dollars a slice for pepperoni and the slice is usually the size of your face. Another great eatery next to the dorm sold 10 pieces of Louisiana style fried chicken for five dollars, plus you would get fries with that, oh yea. If you are like me and like to stretch your dollar you would be happy living in downtown Oakland like I did.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus

As far as unusual traditions go the animators had plenty. Every year for the Animation show the animators would make an intro for the show, which consisted of a different theme each year. Last year was a Rocky theme that had several remade Rocky moments starring the Animation students and other art students as extras. Along with that tradition is showing Animations on a large movie theatre sized projector but not before you eat lots of gourmet pizza and drink. The Animation show was my favorite event of the year, not only because of the food but also the Animations shown which demonstrated everyoneâ??s hard work. CCA would always have some type of food event or BBQ that would bring students together and helped cultivate a tight knit student body.
Great for these types of students

Simply put the school is great for anyone who is looking taking away a memorable experience, to be challenged, to grow, and to most importantly have fun and meet amazing people.
Clubs and Activities

One of the things I really loved about CCA is that if we did not have a club you wanted you could always make one as long as you went through the right channels and made the arrangements. I was in the Animation club, which was very helpful because it was used to go over Animation topics or for us Animators to get together and hang out outside of class. Regardless of which club you join it is a great way to get together and know your fellow peers. If you involve yourself in school activities you will find your self waving to everyone.
CCA does not have a Fraternity or Sorority and I like that. This way I feel people feel more equal and less segregated. CCA does have plenty of ways to get involved with the school such as being a Chimera Leader which is a student body representative and an R.A. which is very similar but more specific tot he dorms. I had the privilege of working at both those jobs and really enjoyed the people I met and the person it helped shape me into.
Greek Life
There are no Sororities or Fraternities at CCA, and I like it that way. I feel this way people can focus more on including everyone and becoming a closer community of artist citizens. If you want to get involved with the school you could try applying as a Chimera leader which is a student body representative or an R.A. which is a Resident Advisor with similar task but more specifically to the dorms. I had the privilege of working both positions and really enjoyed the students I met, and the person it helped shape me into. There are so many different way to get involved with the school, and making the most out of your college experience.
Campus Safety

Safety is one of the most important things at CCA. We have what is called Public Safety officers and they make sure that the school is safe during the day and night. They are also located at the dorms and can escort you to Bart or from Bart whenever you call them. Not only are they there for your protection but are also very friendly and helpful. I befriended many of the public safety officers and whenever I called them they were always very attentive toward my safety.
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Cinthia from Oakland, CA

accepted here and planning to attend soon
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
California College of the Arts has a unique and rigorous program created for the conscious modern day artist. Their curriculum and resources prepares students to combine art with the communities both around the institution and the world. Preparing alumni to face the battles of continuing to purse a career in art outside of the school.
Tips for prospective students
Some tips to offer to students looking to pursue their education at California College of the Arts would be to check out their website first and foremost for more information on the programs offered, financial aid. Also to visit both campuses in person or at least take the online tours and speak with one of their friendly advisors to answer any questions you may have that the website did not answer or you are unclear about. Apply, you will never know what possibilities can open up for you unless you help yourself to find out and try.
Academic Rigor
Offer an individualized major which is considered a type of honors program that lets you build and structure your own curriculum. However before anything the school must approve it and they offer a class that will help you structure what it is that you would like to pursue.
Dorm Life
Have never lived in the dorms at the California College of Arts campus but have heard and seen reviews from past students who have lived in the dorms that they have had an amazing experience.
Food and Dining
Oakland has an enormous range of food choices from burgers and fries to exotic cuisine.
What to do for fun
Bike friendly streets and growing population of cyclists, their are outdoor activities such as parks for hiking or exploring and of course San Francisco.
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Joshua from Oakland, CA

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
attached to art history. mostly conceptually charged teachers. design over fine arts.
Tips for prospective students
don't go if you are interested in making art and not knowing what youre doing. if you like art history and want to make art about art go there. good for design but the fine arts are somewhat lacking.
Academic Rigor
i get straight as but i've always been that student that doesn't try hard and does well anyways. people say its difficult but i think most people are lazy.
Dorm Life
i never lived in the dorms but i know people make good friends there.
Food and Dining
there is a safeway nearby and lots of little restaurants around the oakland campus.
What to do for fun
people go to the city or there is a really good music scene around here. lots of bars cus its near berkeley. a total college town
Bang for the buck
i get a lot of financial aid.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
the school is on a hill and there is a cool lookout point that overlooks the bay area.
Great for these types of students
designers, architects, printmakers, industrial design.
Clubs and Activities
there are some events around campus but im not particularly involved.
Greek Life
none
Campus Safety
good security that will walk you to your car late at night.
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Someone from San Francisco

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A place where every art interacts and mixes together. CCA encourages students to interact with other majors and strengthen connections for the future. With teachers who are currently working in the art world, students get a taste of what their lives will be like after graduation.
Academic Rigor
Instructors push you the limit, pulling every ounce of artistic talent, even if you didn't know you had any, out and into your art. Every instructor encourages individuality.
Dorm Life
Never lived in the dorms, but I've heard that it's lively. And the best part is that you get to live near people who share your interests in art.
Food and Dining
CCA doesn't have a meal plan, but the on-campus cafe and the nearby restaurants and grocery stores are perfect for a student's budget.
Bang for the buck
You get almost 24/7 access to the studios and library. You even get free entry to some of San Francisco's best museums.
Campus Safety
24/7 Public Safety. They even escort you to and from the studios, apartments, and bus stops when it gets dark.
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Alexander from Oakland, CA

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Great Teachers with knowledgable staff.
Friendly learning work environment.
A great place to pursue the arts.
Tips for prospective students
Research your interests.
Apply for scholarships.
Ask many questions
What to do for fun
Go to the bay, bicycle, eat, walk to park and museums.
Great for these types of students
Arts
Design
Innovative
Clubs and Activities
Typography Club
Chimera council
Figure Drawing
Greek Life
no, but I have heard that industrial design majors have one?
Campus Safety
Very Safe, Security guards will even escort if needed.
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India from New York, NY

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
California college of the arts is a great private art school. The classes are really small and you become a tight knit community.
Tips for prospective students
Time management is everything. It will really help you to master your time during first year.
Academic Rigor
everything is one after the other. It is good to have done everything on a schedule. The instructors expect a lot from the students because of how small the classes are. There is good one on one critique time as well as class critiquing.
Dorm Life
Very fun. You become very close with the people you live with, especially if you live in Irwin dorm. it is a community and everyone becomes a family.
Food and Dining
A2 cafe is our only dining but it is the best. Both the one on the San Francisco and Oakland campuses are run by the same family. They are the best and you will grow to love seeing them everyday.
What to do for fun
Art Murmur which is every first friday is fun but most of the fun comes from going to the UC Berkeley frat parties. After 21 there are many bars to go to in downtown Oakland and free events in San Francisco. Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival is a big TO-DO in the fall semester.
Greek Life
One architecture frat. I'm not positive as to what they do.
Campus Safety
Public safety are your friends, especially when you are getting home at 11:00pm from a class.
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Jaimie from San Ramon, CA

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
CCA is a diverse college that has two campuses located in Oakland, CA and San Francisco, CA. It educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and study of the arts of architecture, writing, and design. This college prepares the students for cultivating innovation, community engagement, and having responsibility in social and environmental issues.
Tips for prospective students
Just a few tips for the future students attending this great school!

1. Use what is given to you for free - counseling, tutoring, resources, etc.
2. Know your campuses - there are maps for a reason
3. Understand the cost of the tuition - study hard and you will be able to receive scholarships to help pay for the expenses
4. Plan a visit - there are tours
5. Engage in the school - plenty of events and clubs for you to join
6. Believe in yourself - your art matters!
Academic Rigor
Since I completed only my freshman year so far, I could only talk about how rigorous my freshman year was. CCA has a CORE-program for all freshmen. It is needed to take all four CORE classes - D1, 2D, 3D, and 4D. If you already have credits for one or more of these classes, you will be excused. The professors are all fun and chill yet strict. They are there to teach us techniques, information, and skills. We must follow with their instructions yet add our own 'spark' into the assignments and projects.
Dorm Life
I have not lived in the dorms, but I hear from my colleagues that it is fun! There is a kitchen included. You will be able to meet new people and have a more enjoyable college life!
Food and Dining
A2 Cafe has - hands down - the best food ever! There's a variety of food, ranging from Asian to Italian. There's a bunch of different drinks also, from Odwalla to coconut water. You can eat anywhere around campus, but it also depends which campus you are at. Oakland has benches and a bunch of chairs where you can eat within nature. San Francisco consists mostly inside with chairs and tables.
What to do for fun
Clubs! Events! Art shows! Hang outs! Meeting artists!
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Ceramic Cemetery - where forgotten sculptures are left
Great for these types of students
Artistic! Creative! Outgoing!
Campus Safety
We got our public safety crew! Call them and they will escort you to wherever you need to go!
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Kalyn from Roxbury, MA

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
California College of the Arts is amazing,they let their students strive and want the best for them not only as students but as people as well. Also, they have an incredible diversity population, every corner you turn, you meet someone with a different background. To put it shortly, everyone should attend to CCA.
Tips for prospective students
Try your hardest not to procrastinate. Also, make sure your work is the best work you submit and even if it's not, believe that it is because once you attend CCA, they can help you.
Academic Rigor
The teachers are professionals who have worked in the business and can help you reach your goals.
Dorm Life
It's a community, everyone knows your name and you aren't just someone who lives in 214
Food and Dining
CCA doesn't provide a meal plan but cooking with different cultures is a great way to meet new people.
What to do for fun
Visit Berkley, San Francisco, all of California.
Great for these types of students
Artist.
Campus Safety
They are on call, whenever and wherever.
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