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Cia Application Essay Questions


I applied online. I interviewed at CIA (Arlington, VA) in February 2017.


Let me just say from the outset, that this review is no doubt tinged by the fact that I am disappointed that I did not get an offer. That being said, I was interviewed by another agency that was my first choice and I would give them a very positive review despite the fact that I was not given an offer. Take my review for what it's worth.

I applied about a year before I got my final rejection letter. I did not expect to get a response, but after three months, I was sent a translation test, given that I had originally applied to be a linguist (I also applied to be an analyst). I turned it in, again not expecting to hear anything, but after another four months, I got a message in the mail directing me to an online test and a questionnaire. I did both and waited. I was told that if I did not hear back in 45 days that that meant that my application was no longer being considered. 45 days passed and I assumed that I was disqualified and forgot about my application. After about another 45 days, I all of a sudden got a call telling me that they wanted to set up a phone interview. I consented and they called me back the next day.

The interview went very poorly. One of the first questions they asked me is if I had ever been in a high-pressure situation and I stumbled. Because I applied for a desk job, I assumed that they were asking about meeting deadlines, so I gave some BS response about a time I had to work on a tight deadline. The interviewer interrupted me and basically told me that I gave a bad answer (and she was correct), although she did it politely. I can hardly remember any of the other questions because I was so tripped up by this that it is all that I remember. It was an incredibly odd question to ask a 20-something single guy straight out of college with little real experience in the workplace. When I got to the end of the interview, I was informed that I was being interviewed for a completely different position (one that involved high-pressure situations) than the one that I had applied to. They had not even given me a hint that this would happen and I had instead been given the impression that I was going to be interviewed for a low-pressure desk job. This and the fact that they called me a month and a half after I had assumed that I was no longer being considered left me with little room to prepare for a better interview. No wonder I stumbled so badly.

This might not seem like much, but at one point, they even sent a letter to my previous address that I had moved out of after telling them on two occasions that I had moved. The current tenants there were kind enough to let me know that I had received a letter so I was able to respond in time.

Anyway, I felt like the entire process was completely bungled and I have to be honest and say that I was left with the impression of bureaucratic incompetence. The only thing I have left to say is that I welcome our new Russian overlords.

Interview Questions

  • Describe a high-pressure situation in the workplace that you have gone through.   1 Answer
CIA 2017-05-12 18:14 PDT

If you have no previous college experience (excluding advanced credits earned during high school), you are a first-time freshman. We admit freshmen into degree-seeking status for the fall semester only. 

As a freshman candidate, you will be considered automatically for portfolio grants and scholarships as long as you submit all of your application materials by March 1.

Freshman Application Checklist

Freshman candidates are accepted at CIA based upon artistic and academic qualifications as well as available space. To be considered for admission, you must follow the application procedures and criteria below.

  1. Complete and submit the application and $40 application fee.Fee is waived if you apply online here.
  2. Arrange to have your high school transcript sent to the Office of Admissions. All incoming students must provide proof of high school graduation or GED equivalent. Students who have not yet graduated at the time of application must provide the most up-to-date high school transcripts available.
  3. Have one letter of recommendation forwarded to CIA. We suggest this letter be from an art teacher. We also will accept this letter from a counselor or someone who understands your desire to pursue an arts education. You may request a recommendation from a teacher or counselor from within the online application.
  4. OPTIONAL: Request that SAT or ACT test results be sent to CIA. Our identification numbers are SAT-1152 and ACT-3243.
  5. Submit your portfolio of artwork. We highly recommend that you submit your work through our online application. You may, however, create an account at and submit your work using that site. Your portfolio should consist of no fewer than 12 and no more than 20 pieces of work. Please carefully follow all of our portfolio guidelines.

Any printed application materials should be sent to:

The Office of Admissions
Cleveland Institute of Art
11610 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Application Timeline

We strongly encourage you to meet the following deadlines to ensure admission to CIA and eligibility for the highest amounts of portfolio scholarships and institutional financial aid. However, you may submit an application for admission any time before the first day of classes on a “rolling basis” and will be considered as long as space is available. Please note that only transfer student who qualify for advanced standing with at least 9 college studio credits are eligible for spring admission.

Fall Application Deadlines
(Freshman and Transfer)

December 1: 
Early action 1 deadline 

January 15: 
Early action 2 deadline

March 1 : 
Regular decision

March 15: 
Priority deadline for need-based financial aid applications

May 1: 
Intention to register deadline and tuition deposit
Housing application deadline

June 1: 
Regular decision deadline for transfer students  

Spring Application Deadlines
(Transfer Only)

November 15: 
Regular decision deadline