ART CENTER: How difficult is it to get in??

Hey all…

I’m moving to LA in a few months and have my heart set on going to Art Center. But I’m worried that it may be pretty difficult to get in if its one of the best schools around (as voted by people in this forum)

I’d like some advice from people who have applied and either gotten in or not.

What types of things will I need in a portfolio? Previous college grades? Experience?

Also, what about Otis? I think I’ll apply there too just to be safe…although I havent heard great things about it. Any opinions?

Thanks so much and see you in LA (or Pasadena) soon!


I worked with someone from Otis who was very knowledgeable and had nothing but good things to say about her education… but she studies “Toy Design” specifically- not ID.

Good Luck!

When you move out you should call admissions and get a tour. They are pretty good about meeting with prospective students and reviewing their work to give you an indication if you are all set or if you need more work.

If you still dont have a portfolio try to enroll with the night class program. They’ll help you build one or add to what you already have. Its a 7-12 wk program. Most classes have no pre-requisites…


when i was first looking at id schools, i contacted art center and spoke with an admissions counselor. he was really nice and spent a lot of time answering all my questions. i’m not sure how familiar you are with their program, but their id program is very intense and advanced. the couselor said that most people entering are at the level of an entering 2nd/3rd year student at any other school studying id. he said a lot of people who don’t have the experience take classes through the art center at night program to build up a strong portfolio and then apply for admission. i think if you have your heart set on going, you can definitely manage it, because at the very least you could take classes there and work towards getting in as a full-time student.

i would recommend calling them if you have specific questions.
hope this helps. good luck!!!

i do have a portfolio…im just wondering what they may be looking for in terms of stlye or skill level.

are any of you students there??

If you don’t have time to talk to admissions, one thing you can do is talk to someone during one of the National Portfolio Days When I spoke to the rep. from Art Center, she gave me this packet of info about what they’re looking for as well as some samples of entry portfolio work.

Also, check out the application. The portfolio requirements for Product Design says you need like 3 or 4 designed products with iterations of the design (showing the evolution of it), including perspective and I believe at least one of the designs you have to show you’ve done research (ie, what’s out there now, the application, etc, etc.). Just so you know, the application may say you only need 3 or 4 product designs, but the packet I got at Portfolio day said I needed 6.

So yeah…go check Art Center’s website as well as all the other schools you’re looking at, and also try to get in touch with admissions people and department instructors/heads, and just talk to them.

The counselor can review your portfolio and suggest if you are ready for the full time program or take Night Classes first.

An organized portfolio with fresh ideas is importat. Show a lot of sketches and thought processes. Drawings dont have to look pretty.

i am heading out there in about a week and want to take a tour (still need to call about that) I was going to bring a small (about 12 pieces plus a few sketches) just to have them review and see what I needed before i submitted a 20 piece portfolio.

Do I need to bring in original work? I was hoping i could just throw everything on a disc to show them since a vast majority of my work is digital.

anyone know their feelings on this?

You dont need to bring originals if its not going to be your final submission. If they think you’re not ready they would just recommend you take night classes to give your portfolio a boost.

Well, define digital work…do you mean drawings that have been scanned in, or just like, 3d renderings/photo shop and stuff? Because one thing you have to remember is that ArtCenter does not have any foundation years…you’re expected to know already how to draw in perspective and understand light and shadow (Hence the reason why the average entry age of students is in their twenties).

Either way tho, go and show them what you have, they’ll let you know what you need to add.

yea, I meant digital as in photoshop/Painter work. a few scanned large paintings as well. I talked with them this morning and since this is not a final portfolio i am turning in but rather just talking with a counselor then it is ok to bring in my stuff on a CD.

oh yea! get to tour the place next week. now I just have to figure out how to afford it if I get accepted. Although a couple schools in Ohio look nice too.

how was it?? what did they think of your portfolio? i cant wait! i have a tour lined up for september

ps. what program are you applying to? product design?

I had some friends that took ID classes out there during a summer…they also said many students that need to prep to get into AC, take classes at Pasadena Community College as well
They mentioned at the time, some of the professors that were teaching Art Center at Night classes also taught at PCC and it was much more cost effective.
Just something to look into. Best of luck.

So I talked with a counselor and while she said my art was really good it wasn’t geared towards Product/Industrial Design. (which is what I expected cause it’s only been a short while that i’ve found this field of work was something I was very interested in. I was previouslty building a portfolio towards illiustration/Concept Art) She recommended that I take a few foundation classes at the Pasadena Community College to get ready. (infact she wrote down the classes to take, I will post them when I get unpacked) She also said they are looking more at hand drawing skills rather than computer drawing skills. She wants to see more use of marker shading (I bought a 12-pack of Prismacolor markers in grey the next day!)

State colleges out there are expensive unless you have California citizenship which takes about a year of living out there to obtain. I would absolutly LOVE to do this but since I am married with a child I do not think my wife would want to spend the next 8 years helping me out with my education. If I were single I would move out there as soon as I could. Oh well.

I am now looking more and more at some schools in Ohio because they have the foundation classes as part of the degrees they offer. although its a 4 year degree instead of the AC’s 3 years.

I would’ve really liked to have gone to AC, but it looks like it won’t be happening for me :frowning:

thanks that was really helpful

i do mostly computer generated work so i guess ill have to let it be for a while and pick up some pencils and markers…

there are supposed to be some good schools in ohio though, uc?

yea, UC is supposed to be good, im looking at Cleveland Institue of Art and Columbus Center for Art and Design. It’s been 10 years since high school for me and I think I did more art on my notes than note taking so my GPS is barely over 2.4 which means UC would read my GPA scores and promtly place my letter and portfolio in the paper shredder