Otis College Admissions Essay Writing


“One of the best design schools in the country,” Otis College has been a mainstay of the Los Angeles education scene since 1918. This “artist’s boot camp” is considered “one of the top art schools in the US for digital media” thanks in part to being located “in the epicenter of the industry.” Professors here “are all passionate about the subjects they teach,” passion that springs from real-world working experience. Students feel confident knowing “many of our instructors (and alumni) have their names in the credits of movies and video games the world is familiar with.” In turn, those instructors nurture a group of “creative thinkers, problem solvers, and designers,” helping them to be “successful in whatever field they choose to pursue.” Some students feel the instructors are “very old school” and that what is taught “isn’t to industry standards,” but others say they “are very up-to-date” and provide students with a challenge which “prepares us for our jobs.” It is best to come here prepared to work hard. “There’s never really a time for rest,” students note, “because of the level of professionalism that needs to be reached and all the competition in the industry.”

Student Body

It should come as no surprise that “everyone here is very creative.” The “self-directed and motivated” students at Otis “all can relate to art.” They walk a delicate balance between fitting in – the school has “such an array of personalities that it isn’t so hard to find people we can connect with” – and trying to be unique. “Hey, they’re art students,” one student quipped, noting that “a lot of them will dye their hair or dress in out-of-the-ordinary ways.” But that doesn’t mean students alienate themselves from one another. This “unique, friendly, and supportive” group are “always helping each other out.” Attendees say the offbeat, open-minded nature of Otis students mean they “seem to be more accepting than the average university or college.” After all, most are focused on the same thing. Success in their field. Otis students “are dedicated and are willing to do what it takes to not merely meet the standards of the school but to achieve their own personal goals they have set for themselves.”

Campus Life

Forget about sleeping. At Otis, “it’s common to forget about eating or sleeping because so much of what we do is extremely attention-consuming.” Indeed, “most students here don’t have that large of a social life because school is the top priority” and “sleepless nights are all too common.” Students get free time, but often they will “spend their weekends and free time doing projects rather than going out.” Not that there is a lack of things to do for those who need an escape. The Los Angeles location means there are museums, music, theater, clubs, restaurants, the beach, and more. One thing not on the agenda at Otis, however, is partying. “There are parties but not the typical college parties. It’s mellow people (who) have a few beers, talk and mingle.” Students here are focused on creativity and design, and that is reflected in the way they entertain themselves. If the choice is between chugging beers or watching films, Otis students choose the latter.

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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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.

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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.


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