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What does it mean to be a first generation student?

31% of Otis College students are first generation students.

A student is considered a first generation student when neither of their parents/guardians have earned or completed a bachelor's degree. Students whose parents/guardians did not earn a bachelor's degree in the U.S. may also be consider themselves to be first-generation since their family's educational experience is different to the one which they are applying for.

Below you will find information and resources on how to undertake the application process as a first generation student at Otis.

Our Application Process

Preparing a Portfolio:

All applicants are required to submit a portfolio of their strongest artwork. You can view our Portfolio Guidelines to get instruction on how to prepare your portfolio. Taking as many art classes as you can through your school is a good start. However, if you've never taken art classes before, our Portfolio Guidelines page can guide you on specific pieces to include. You may also consider taking classes outside of school, such as a Summer Program or courses through an arts non-profit (like Ryman Arts here in LA). If you are looking for help getting started on your portfolio, we recommend attending a Portfolio Development Info Session or meeting with an Admissions Counselor. Portfolios and all required application materials must be submitted by our Priority Deadline.



Where to apply

First-Year Applicants: applicants who are interested in attending college after high school, can apply through our Common App. Transfer Applicants: applicants who have graduated high school and attended some college courses, can apply though our OTIS Application.

Our applications open August 1st for Fall/Spring applicants. 

You may qualify for a fee waiver. If you're unsure which application to complete or if you qualify for a waiver, please contact us.


When to apply

We accept applications for the Fall and Spring terms. The Priority Deadlines for our applications are: February 15th for Fall entry and November 1st for Spring entry. Applicants interested in being considered for merit scholarships should complete their application by our Priority Deadline and submit the FAFSA.

Unsure what term to apply for? Our admission counselors can assist with your decision. Most students will apply for fall entry to enter college the semester after high school graduation, but students also have the option to start in spring.


How to apply

You must submit all required application materials to be reviewed for an admissions decision. We look at all aspects of your application, with close attention to the portfolio and your unweighted cumulative GPA.

Spend some time on the Personal Statement. Tell us more about who you are as a student, artist and citizen. Your experience is unique and we want to learn more about you.

Learn more about our application requirements.