See what students say:


California Institute of the Arts offers both visual and performing arts including art, dance, film/video, music and theater. Indeed, CalArts has a reputation of “intensely training young artists to become working professionals.” According to students, CalArts is also “the best program in the United States for animation.” The “creative” and “extremely unique” environment here allows students “to explore themselves and hone their craft” freely. CalArts offers “many interesting classes that would never be offered at a conventional school” and plenty of “practical experience in your area of study.” In addition to all the art, students must complete a broad set of liberal arts and interdisciplinary courses. While some find many of these classes to be “simply a joke,” others agree that the breadth of curriculum makes them “well-rounded and educated.” Faculty members “have great real-world experiences,” and students appreciate that they “all have been professionals and are often currently active in the field they are teaching in.” Many professors are characterized as “ridiculously amazing,” trying “as hard as they can to help.” Others lack “a true depth of knowledge.” Facilities can be hit or miss; some students describe “incredible” theater spaces while others finding plenty of room for “improvement.” Also, “Class registration is a little prehistoric” and the administration has a tendency of “making each task more complicated than it should be.”

Student Body

“The atmosphere of CalArts is good for making art because you are surrounded by so many talented people,” says a senior. Like every art school, CalArts is home to “a diverse, collaborative student body.” “Everyone at my school is the person who wouldn’t fit in at most schools---and I love it,” explains a dance major. “Everyone is into their own thing, their own style, their own art, their own lifestyle,” agrees a theater major. “You are generally accepted no matter who you are and are expected to accept others.” With that in mind, everyone from “rebellious artists” to “celebrity children” find a place here, making it an ideal location to explore their artistic vision and potential.

Campus Life

Though CalArts is located in the nether reaches of suburban Los Angeles, students tell us that their campus is “very intellectually stimulating” with “a lot of discourse” about social issues and politics. As you might expect, art is responsible for much of the campus’ social activity. “Once a week, the school has an art opening . . . where students can gather and admire the art of other students,” notes one budding artist. Musicians also “play jazz music at lunch,” and everywhere you go you can find “dancers . . . rehearsing in the hallways.” “There is art happening all over the place, all the time,” says one student. “Parties are frequent,” but “Mostly everybody works very hard,” and “staying up late and working until your eyes turn to gravel” is common. For some students (e.g., graphic design majors), the curriculum can be “structured and rigid,” while those in other programs take part in “a barely supervised art free-for-all.” Certain majors at CalArts are “best for ‘self-motivated’ types who can stay away from the party life,” confides one student. “I spent my first year and a half waiting for someone to tell me what to do, and it never happened,” advises a film and video major. “I’m glad it never happened; I just wish I had been told sooner.”

Contact & Visit

Campus Visits Contact

Molly Ryan
Director of Admissions

24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355



Experience College Life

Most Popular Places On Campus
Modular Theater
Permanent Set
Gamelan Room
Main Gallery
Lund Dance Theater
Roy O. Disney Music Hall, Bijou Theater

Most Popular Places Off Campus
Los Angeles
The Getty Museum
Magic Mountain

Campus Tours

Campus Tours
Appointment Required: No
Dates: Year-round
Times: Monday - Friday at Noon
Average Length: 1 hour

On Campus Interview

Campus Interviews

Information Sessions
Not Available


Faculty and Coach Visits

Dates/Times Available
Academic Year

Contact Admissions Office

Advance Notice
2 weeks

Class Visits

Dates/Times Available

Contact Admissions Office

Overnight Dorm Stays

Overnight Dorm Stays
Not Available


Driving Instructions to Campus
From Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles or the Burbank Airport: drive north on Interstate 5; exit at McBean Parkway; turn right (east) on McBean; our driveway is the next right. From Santa Monica, Beverly Hills or LAX: drive north on I-405 (the San Diego Freeway) until it becomes Interstate 5 northbound; exit at McBean Parkway; turn right (east) on McBean; our driveway is the next right. From northern California: take Interstate 5 south to Valencia; exit at McBean Parkway; turn left (east) on McBean; cross the overpass; our driveway is the first right after the stop light.


Applicants: 1,186
Acceptance Rate: 33%



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