Otis Admissions Essay Topics

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at Otis College of Art and Design is 46%. For every 100 applicants, 46 are admitted.

This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

The average GPA at Otis College of Art and Design is 3.17.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 3.17, Otis College of Art and Design accepts below-average students. It's OK to be a B-average student, with some A's mixed in. It'd be best to avoid C's and D's, since application readers might doubt whether you can handle the stress of college academics.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.17, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to Otis College of Art and Design. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

Otis College of Art and Design SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1090 (Old: 1016)

The average SAT score composite at Otis College of Art and Design is a 1090 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1016. (According to our records, this school requires only Reading and Math, so this score is out of 1600.)

This score makes Otis College of Art and Design Competitive for SAT test scores.

Otis College of Art and Design SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 960, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1210. In other words, a 960 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1210 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile

Otis College of Art and Design SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 870, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1150. In other words, a 870 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1150 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

Otis College of Art and Design has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."

This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

Test 17003001000
Test 23007001000
Test 3300300600

Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, Otis College of Art and Design will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and Otis College of Art and Design forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1090, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.

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Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Otis College of Art and Design ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, Otis College of Art and Design likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 22

The average ACT score at Otis College of Art and Design is 22. This score makes Otis College of Art and Design Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 18, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 25.

Even though Otis College of Art and Design likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 18 or below, you'll have a very hard time getting in, unless you have something else very impressive in your application. There are so many applicants scoring 22 and above that a 18 will look academically weak.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 22 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to Otis College of Art and Design, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 22.

Studying for the ACT instead? Want to learn how to improve your ACT score by 4 points?

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

Otis College of Art and Design considers the SAT/ACT Writing section optional and may not include it as part of their admissions consideration. You don't need to worry too much about Writing for this school, but other schools you're applying to may require it.

SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that Otis College of Art and Design requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.

Greetings from the beach!
Current temp: 72 degrees and sunny. Current tide: approximately 2.8 ft. Yes, there’s traffic. Sure, there’s a little smog (although way less than there used to be!). But overall, being a top art and design school located in Los Angeles has extraordinary benefits.  Before we get into the highlights of an Otis experience, let’s talk about the admission and portfolio process.

Preparing to Apply
The admission process includes an application, transcripts from all high schools and colleges attended, standardized test scores (if applying from high school), test of English (for English as Second Language students), an essay, and a portfolio of artwork. The portfolio can feel like the most intimidating part of the process, but with a little preparation and understanding of the admission process, it’s doesn’t have to be overwhelming!

Conquer the Portfolio
Different art schools have different portfolio requirements. The portfolio requirements often reflect the personality of the school and the nature of its programs. Because first-year students at Otis enter a Foundation year program, our requirement is more generalized – 10 to 20 pieces of your best work (as opposed to specific media requirements or creative challenges).  The portfolio is designed to showcase breadth and depth. Breadth means – how much do you know? A multi-media portfolio naturally shows breadth, but a single media portfolio (for example, a portfolio made up exclusively of photography) can showcase it as well if you include variety within that media (using our example, perhaps including black-and white photos, color photos, digital AND film photos, use of digital tools to manipulate photos, art photos AND journalistic photos, etc). Depth means – how much do you know about a single facet of art and/or design? Students can demonstrate this in a variety of ways – pursuing a single subject matter, working in a series, and exploring a variety of subjects with a specific media.

The Creative Economy
Don’t be intimidated! Pursuing art as a student and later as a professional can seem daunting and myths about the “starving artist” persist. However, our student success stories smash that myth and prove that working and living as an artist or designer is extremely satisfying, and also lucrative! Professions our alumni currently represent include:  Pixar Feature Animation story artist, Creative Director of Sport Innovation and Olympics at Nike, Art Director for the New York Times, Menswear Designer at Theory, and Toy Designer at Hasbro. Read more about how creative jobs drive the economy in our annual Report.

Otis Overview

  • Students at Otis College of Art and Design receive an international education in the creative capital of the 21st
  • Alumni and faculty are Fulbright, MacArthur, and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar awardees, legendary costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, entrepreneurs, and design stars at Apple, Pixar, DreamWorks, Mattel, Nike, and Disney. Most of these companies call Los Angeles home.
  • A. has it all—diversity, industry, and culture. Otis College prides itself as a reflection of that diversity.
  • Named among the top 1% of all colleges and universities in diversity by the Chronicle of Higher Education, our student population of approximately 1200 represents 40 states and 28 countries.

If you have more questions, you can always contact us at admissions@otis.edu or by calling (800) 527–OTIS (6847).

By Brooke Randolph
Director of Admissions


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