SERIOUSLY ENTERTAINING; STUDENT'S LIFE ALL A STAGE AT CALARTS.
Their classrooms are dance studios, rehearsal halls, theater stages, editing bays and art galleries, which will all bustle with students today as the California Institute of the Arts begins its new school year.
Because registration closed Friday and some latecomers are expected to sign up this week, campus officials don't yet have exact enrollment figures available. Estimates are that this year's student body will number about 1,140 graduate and undergraduate students, equivalent to the September 1997 figures, said Ken Young, CalArts director of admissions.
As a testament to CalArts' continuing appeal, more than 2,400 prospective students applied for admission, and the college had enough openings to accept only about one-sixth of them, Young said. Last year, the college fielded about 2,200 applications for the same number of openings.
That level of interest is particularly notable because 1998-99 tuition, $18,120, is $870 higher than last year's. Room and board increased $310 from 1997, the campus registrar, Nancy Whittemore, said.
CalArts continues to draw interest internationally, and about 10 percent of the school's enrollment this year comes from Pacific Rim nations, especially Korea and Japan, and European countries, including Germany and Great Britain.
Female students remain outnumbered. About 60 percent of the students are men. ``We get a lot of male applicants; I don't know why,'' Young said.
The ratio breaks down to about 35 percent graduate students and 65 percent undergraduates, Young added. As in past years, about 70 percent of the students qualify for financial aid.
CalArts marked its 28th commencement last May, awarding bachelor's and master's degrees to 315 men and women, Whittemore said. In the 1998-99 student body, about 30 percent will be enrolled in the film and video school, 23 percent in the art department, 20 percent each in the music and theater departments, and 7 percent in the school of dance.
Young said CalArts continues to receive most of its applications from Californians. New Yorkers are second-most numerous. He said there also is high interest in Texas, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Among those admitted for 1998-99, the largest contingency is from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts on the California State University, Los Angeles, campus, Young said.
CalArts also attracts graduates of Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts in Riverside County, the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, the Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City, Mich., and Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas. Local Hart High School is among the top-10 schools sending alumni to CalArts, Young said.
Other high schools whose graduates most often gravitate to CalArts include the Minnesota Center for the Arts, Santa Barbara High School, the Chicago Academy for the Arts and the Las Vegas Academy for International Studies and Visual and Performing Arts, Young said.
Prospective CalArts students must apply to a specific department for admission. ``Each of them have different amounts of openings every year. Some of them have as few as nine openings,'' Young said. ``That's unusual. At most universities, they can come in undeclared.''
PHOTO (Color) Sondra Allen, a fourth-year art student, registers last week at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where classes start today.
Hans Gutknecht/Daily News