Admissions  •  Overview


Admissions Process for Cleveland School of the Arts

Admissions Overview

Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA) opens admissions in January for students entering the 9th grade 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 the additional requirements given below 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. Review of a completed online CMSD application
2. Arts Audition
3. Interview with a CSA staff member

The following will be considered when determining acceptance of potential students:

  • Attendance
  • No more than 10 unexcused absences in 1 year
  • Standardized Test Scores
  • Most Recent 3 years of Academic Records
  • 3 Recommendation Letters (Preferred- Principal, Academic Teacher, and Arts Discipline Teacher)
  • Discipline Incident History

Application Guidelines

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. Please confirm your availability before submitting your application. Consideration for scheduling an individual audition is only given in emergencies or in unique circumstances. Approval for an individual audition is determined by the Arts Department Chair and Arts Program Director.

Audition Guidelines

In-person auditions are required for Ohio residents. Once contacted with a scheduled audition date and time, out-of-state applicants may request to submit a video audition. Video auditions must be received by the originally scheduled audition date.

Audition requirements for each discipline are detailed on the “Preparing for the Audition” tab at It is imperative that students follow the audition requirements and present a complete audition.

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. Samples of the scoring rubrics will be available at under Admissions by the end of September.

Before entering your audition, you will:

  • Check in at Audition Registration
  • Receive an audition folder for all support documents (recommendation letters, academic records, test scores, etc.)
  • 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, students check out and turn in the audition folder which must include:

  • A completed audition checklist
  • Academic Records (3 years preferable)
  • Recommendation Letters (3 preferable)
  • Standardized Test Scores

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. The admissions process varies greatly between art forms. Plan to be flexible on the day of the audition and to spend up to 6 hours at CSA.

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 audition. 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. Early application is highly suggested for students interested in transferring to CSA because of the limited space available in grades 10-12.

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 sent by March 31st. You will receive one of four notices: accepted, waitlist, deny, or callback/additional interview requested. Waitlist notice means that there is not space available in your grade and/or in your desired major. You will receive notice if/when space becomes available.

Please note, as a member of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), CSA prioritizes acceptances for students who live within the City of Cleveland. Available seats are filled by Cleveland residents who successfully complete the Admissions process first and non-residents are given consideration for any remaining seats that are open.

If you are accepted to CSA, you must return a signed CSA acceptance form within 14 school days of receiving the notice to secure your spot. If the form is not received within 14 days, you risk the potential of your seat being given to another student.

Current CMSD Students only need to submit the acceptance form for enrollment. A CSA admissions team member will update your Next Year enrollment. Your final report card should state that you will be attending CSA for the upcoming year. If it does not, please contact CSA admissions department as soon as possible to fix enrollment.

Students who are new to CMSD must enroll with a CMSD Family and Community Engagement Recruiter. Upon acceptance, you will receive a checklist of required documents, a two-sided CMSD enrollment form, and instructions for turning in paperwork. Enrollment documents may be brought to CSA by appointment with the Admissions team only.

Change of Major

Students are accepted into CSA based on their audition for a specific art form. The expectation is that students will remain in that major for four years. If you wish to change your major during your enrollment at CSA, you must audition for the new major during one of the general audition dates and turn in a completed Change of Major form.

Change of Major forms are available in CSA’s main office and must be turned into the Arts Program Director by May 1st.

Students must receive a release signature from their current major teacher and an acceptance signature from the new arts teacher. Change of major decisions will only be considered with both signatures and if their space in the desired art discipline after new student enrollment.

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: