Any advice from accepted students?

I am waiting to hear back from two universities and judging by some of the threads here mentioning how they've been accepted, I think I can safely assume that I will not be going to grad school for my MFA this upcoming semester.

That being said, I was wondering if anyone is willing to share their admitted profiles/what they think got them into their desired program or any advice at all really because I am at a loss at what I should do next or where exactly I went wrong.

I went into this thinking I had a chance because I have a pretty strong gpa, had my SoP reviewed by my professors, made sure to put all my better work in my portfolio and etc. and it still was not enough. I come from a small town, went to school in a small town so it isn't like there are a lot (if any) film opportunities to gain experience aside from maybe doing some production assistant work here and there and not like there's any postbacc positions to gain experience in like the STEM kids get to do. After I graduated from undergrad I was not able to find a permanent job in film so I am currently stuck doing a corporate job that has no relation to film that I absolutely hate going to every day.

So what were your SoP's like? What were your GPAs like? What were your resumes like? What were your portfolios like?

Any advice or constructive criticism would be wholly welcome. I am completely devastated to say the least and just don't know what to do or to say to my recommenders who wasted their time writing letters for me and mentioning they have always had their students accepted to grad school. And I know a lot of people mean well when they say "rejection is not a reflection of you or your work" and etc. but I don't buy that because clearly it is. I worked really hard in undergrad, thought I did everything right, and it still wasn't enough. I just want to know what I am missing that everyone else has.

But anyway, congrats to everyone that got in and best of luck to you in your careers. I really appreciate anyone that took the time to read this.
 
It takes people a lot of tries to get in sometimes so don't give up!

Our application database has a ton of successful applications and data if you want to check it out:


It's all filterable and searchable. :)
 
It takes people a lot of tries to get in sometimes so don't give up!

Our application database has a ton of successful applications and data if you want to check it out:


It's all filterable and searchable. :)
Thanks! I am new to this site and didn't even know all these resources existed until a few days ago. I wish I had taken the time to look before I applied.
 
Can I ask your age and your area of interest?
I am 24, turning 25 at the beginning of what most schools consider the fall semester. I actually have a few areas of interest: directing, producing, screenwriting, and editing. A lot of the schools I applied to (which weren't that many really) did not have like a focused track which is what attracted me to them. But I would really love the chance to focus on any that I mentioned above since that is what I focused on during my undergrad.
 
This is just my opinion based on learning more about the programs and my application/interview processes-- I think these MFA programs are small, competitive, and they’re looking to elevate the work prospective students are already doing. They want to know after leaving their program, the applicants they select are going to go on to do great things and make them look good, making their program more desirable. Not all schools are going to be impressed by the same applicants. To ensure a diverse cohort with different backgrounds, perspectives and stories to tell, they probably only take one or two students like you (who are 24, working outside of the industry, etc.) so even if they admit 20 students, you’re really competing for a handful of slots.

It sounds like you have a lot of different interests. I am only interested in screenwriting so when selecting programs to apply to, I chose only ones that are completely focused on writing. I didn’t apply to programs like AFI, Chapman, or any program that also focused on producing, directing or making short films. I did a lot of research and knew which programs would be a good fit for me. Then I set out to prove it in my essays, etc.

Chris is right and you should apply again. I’m not sure where you applied and to which programs, but I would recommend making sure you’re applying to the types of programs that offer a well-rounded film school experience since that’s what it seems like you’re after. If you’re more interested in an MFA in just of those areas, like screenwriting, I would suggest spending the next 7-8 months completely focused on writing. Read books on screenwriting. Take a Zoom class (UCLA extension?). Create a mini Masterclass of your own. Knock out an amazing sample. And then apply again in the fall.

Sorry you had a disappointing experience. Wishing you luck on the next go-round!
 
This is just my opinion based on learning more about the programs and my application/interview processes-- I think these MFA programs are small, competitive, and they’re looking to elevate the work prospective students are already doing. They want to know after leaving their program, the applicants they select are going to go on to do great things and make them look good, making their program more desirable. Not all schools are going to be impressed by the same applicants. To ensure a diverse cohort with different backgrounds, perspectives and stories to tell, they probably only take one or two students like you (who are 24, working outside of the industry, etc.) so even if they admit 20 students, you’re really competing for a handful of slots.

It sounds like you have a lot of different interests. I am only interested in screenwriting so when selecting programs to apply to, I chose only ones that are completely focused on writing. I didn’t apply to programs like AFI, Chapman, or any program that also focused on producing, directing or making short films. I did a lot of research and knew which programs would be a good fit for me. Then I set out to prove it in my essays, etc.

Chris is right and you should apply again. I’m not sure where you applied and to which programs, but I would recommend making sure you’re applying to the types of programs that offer a well-rounded film school experience since that’s what it seems like you’re after. If you’re more interested in an MFA in just of those areas, like screenwriting, I would suggest spending the next 7-8 months completely focused on writing. Read books on screenwriting. Take a Zoom class (UCLA extension?). Create a mini Masterclass of your own. Knock out an amazing sample. And then apply again in the fall.

Sorry you had a disappointing experience. Wishing you luck on the next go-round!
Thank you so much for your input, I really appreciate it!

A lot of thoughtful things to think about as I try to figure out what I can do to make my portfolio/resume look better. Although, I am not sure I understand what you mean by my demographics impacting the amount of slots I would be competing for. My bachelor's degree was for Film and I have experience through student projects, I only work outside the industry as a day job because I do not live in proximity to the industry. I was also under the impression that MFA applicants went for an MFA so they could get the connections/opening to work in the industry. But if you have to have industry experience for a better chance at getting an MFA--this feels like a Catch 22 situation that I am not sure how to tackle.

Looking back at my SoP's I think part of my problem was committing the cardinal sin of telling, not showing, how passionate I was about film. I wonder if any of my weaker qualifications would have been overlooked if I was more specific in my essays. And just really disappointed in myself for possibly wasting another year of my life just because of a rushed mediocre essay.

Thank you again for the advice and the perspective. Makes me feel a little grounded instead of wanting to give up on my dreams.
 
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