Admissions  •  Overview

Overview

Admissions Process for Cleveland School of the Arts

About CSA

Nestled in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood, Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) is connected to countless opportunities of world-renowned museums, prestigious universities, nationally recognized hospitals, eclectic restaurants, beautiful parks and cozy spaces. It is here that you'll find one of the most beautiful high school campuses in the city – and we're not just saying that!

Established in 1981, CSA is the region’s only comprehensive performing, visual and creative arts, and college preparatory public high school where passionate artist scholars receive the training, education and support to EXCEL TODAY and every day in their coursework that will allow each student to PERFORM FOREVER in their chosen arts discipline to go beyond this place to a better tomorrow.

CSA offers five major artistic departments: Creative Writing, Dance/Theater, Integrated Arts, Music and Visual Arts.

We welcome students from across the District and Northeast Ohio, and provide free RTA transportation. Our admissions application and acceptance process includes an audition and interview for students desiring to enter grades 9–12.

Admissions & Recruitment Process

Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) opens admissions in February for students entering grades 9-12 for the upcoming school year. Students are only able to start at CSA at the beginning of the academic year.

Current high school students who are interested in transferring must follow the below guidelines and any additional requirements for transfer students.

Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) strives to prepare students for success in post-secondary institutions upon completion of their high school course of study. Studying the Arts requires additional time, work, and dedication outside of the general requirements for high school graduation; therefore, CSA requires students to show discipline and commitment to their Arts and Academic studies through a multistep Admissions process including:

  1. A completed ChooseCMSD.org Portal Application
  2. Complete a personal essay (250 word max. Topic: Why would you like to attend a CMSD Criteria School?
    • Include in your essay:
    • Your goals and accomplishments
    • What are your favorite subjects in school?
    • Are you involved in any extracurricular activities
    • Arts Audition (refer to Audition Requirements by Discipline)
  3. Arts Audition (refer to Audition Requirements by Discipline)
  4. Academic Interview

The following will also be considered:

  • Attendance – No more than ten unexcused absences in one year
  • Standardized Test Scores (non-CMSD students will be required to upload most recent scores)
  • Academic Records (non-CMSD students will be required to upload most recent report card. Current high school students will need the report card and transcript)
  • Comments/Reflections from two Recommenders (contact information is required at the time of application submission)

Applciation Deadlines

  • Applications are only accepted online, there are no paper applications available and applications cannot be emailed. Only students who have completed an online application will be scheduled for an audition.
  • By completing the application, you are indicating that you are available for an audition. Audition dates are posted on the CSA website admissions page.
  • Consideration for scheduling an individual audition is only given in emergencies or in unique circumstances. Approval for an individual audition is determined by the Dean of Admissions and Arts Department Chair.

Audition Guidelines

  • In-person auditions are required for all students.
  • Audition requirements for each discipline are detailed on the CSA website admissions page.
  • Arrive at least 15-20 minutes of your scheduled audition time.
  • Walk-up participants, will check-in and will be seen on a first come first serve basis pending availability.
  • During the auditions, CSA arts faculty and professional artists are judging a student’s talent, potential, passion, and willingness to learn and grow through the audition process.

Day of Audition Procedures:

  • Check in at Audition Registration.
  • Be assigned an audition number.
  • Have an audition photo taken.
  • A CSA student or volunteer will escort students throughout the admissions process: to registration, the audition space, interview rooms, and to check out.
  • After the audition, student will return to the Registration station to check out.

Family members are welcome to accompany a student to CSA on the day of the audition but will not be permitted in the audition room. It is not required that a family member stay on the premises for the duration of the audition. On average, the audition/interview process should take about 2 hours.

For any walk-up applicants, a computer station and staff member will be available for families needing assistance to complete the portal application.

Transfer Students


  • Due to the rigorous nature of CSA’s Arts and Academic curriculum, CSA has limited support available to students who may need credit recovery.
  • A complete transcript including all high school coursework is required at the time of the application. The transcript will be reviewed by our guidance team to determine if a student will be able to successfully complete their course of study at CSA before acceptance is determined.
  • Transfer students must follow the same Admissions Process as incoming freshmen.
  • Official OST (Ohio State Tests) scores, including standard scores for any student transferring from a middle or high school in Ohio, must be submitted for admission. Tests required are as follows:
  • Student entering grade 10: Grade 9 test scores – Algebra 1, English 1
  • Student entering grade 11: Grade 10 test scores – Geometry, Biology, American History, English 2, and all grade 9 tests
  • Student entering grade 12: American Government and all grade 9 and 10 test scores.

Enrollment Process

  • Admission decisions will be communicated through your ChooseCMSD.org Portal account (scheduled for Monday, April 1, 2019).
  • If you received an offer to attend a school for the 2019–20 school year, you must log in to the School Choice Portal and accept or decline the offer as soon as possible.
  • If you do not accept the offer by the deadline, you risk losing your seat. If your child currently attends CMSD, you still must accept the school choice offer in the portal, but you do not need to do anything else at that time.
  • If your student does not currently attend CMSD, you need to complete a CMSD Enrollment Form and register your student. You must provide additional registration documents, including your child’s birth certificate, immunization records and proof of residency.

CMSD Inclusion Policy

Schools are prohibited from using an applicant’s national origin or English proficiency to exclude or deny otherwise qualified applicants from participation in their program. The evaluation of a student’s application materials for admission to any District school, including but not limited to any tests, written or verbal essays, interviews, and teacher recommendations, will measure the student’s ability to meet the specific program requirements and not the student’s English language skills. All individuals and entities responsible for enrollment at any school that maintains enrollment criteria is responsible to ensure that the criteria for enrollment do not directly or indirectly deny or exclude students on the basis of their national origin or their need for English language services. Interpreters are available to facilitate the application and enrollment process by contacting the Multilingual Office at 216-838-6972 or email: multilingual@clevelandmetroschools.org.