How many schools to apply to?

This is causing me more problems than anything. For one, these things aren't cheap! I'm also worried about overloading my references. On the other hand, it's impossible to tell where I'll be accepted to and what kind of funding I'll receive(if any).

I'm looking at documentary/experimental programs. I like interdisciplinary programs with academic opportunities outside of production. Also into small class sizes. I currently like the idea of schools outside of major cities, but I can't guarantee I won't change my mind. Alright, so here's the list:
  1. Duke
  2. Stanford
  3. Northwestern
  4. Syracuse
  5. Columbia
  6. U of T at Austin
  7. NYU
  8. UCLA(already applied but out for the running for schools I'd actually attend)
I'd like to cut it down but they're all such unique programs it's a tough call. Stanford is one I'm most on the fence about. It's one of the most expensive applications and I'm afraid it's a long shot(but it's also one of my favorites). I'm not that into NYU's program, but of course it's one of the best and I think it's one I'm likely to get accepted to.

Alright so am I crazy? What are your lists?
 

1. USC
2. UT Austin
3. LMU
4. Chapman
5. AFI
6. Columbia

These aren't in any particular order. Austin is ideal cost and location wise. (especially michener) USC was always the dream. LMU's writing and producing program feels like a great fit for me. The other three are also schools i'd be happy to go to. I'm personally stressed and feel like I'm getting stretched thin with all these applications due close together, while finishing up this semester in under grad. I'm taking the GRE tomorrow as well... I already decided against applying for nyu and ucla due to time and I'm just crossing my fingers that at least one school will take me in.

Good luck with your applications! I live in NC by the way, currently attending UNC Chapel Hill. The communications department here is big on film production and has documentary classes in under grad. It might be worth looking in to for grad school because I was honestly surprised with how involved they were, and i'm not sure if duke can compare.

And I also feel bad for my references... I sent three schools out to them two weeks ago and will send the last three this week. They all seem okay with it since email submission is fairly easy. Just dont send one at a time. lol
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
1. USC
2. UT Austin
3. LMU
4. Chapman
5. AFI
6. Columbia

These aren't in any particular order. Austin is ideal cost and location wise. (especially michener) USC was always the dream. LMU's writing and producing program feels like a great fit for me. The other three are also schools i'd be happy to go to. I'm personally stressed and feel like I'm getting stretched thin with all these applications due close together, while finishing up this semester in under grad. I'm taking the GRE tomorrow as well... I already decided against applying for nyu and ucla due to time and I'm just crossing my fingers that at least one school will take me in.

Good luck with your applications! I live in NC by the way, currently attending UNC Chapel Hill. The communications department here is big on film production and has documentary classes in under grad. It might be worth looking in to for grad school because I was honestly surprised with how involved they were, and i'm not sure if duke can compare.

And I also feel bad for my references... I sent three schools out to them two weeks ago and will send the last three this week. They all seem okay with it since email submission is fairly easy. Just dont send one at a time. lol
I'm looking at USC, AFI, LMU, and Chapman personally. Which is a huge step up from the last two years, where USC was the only school I applied for. I really wanted to apply to UCLA (my #2 choice), but damn submission was way too early for my liking. I also would love to apply to UT Austin, but that stupid GRE is stopping me. It's the only program that requires taking the GRE. And with only a few weeks until deadline, not sure it's worth the cost/effort. Plus, I haven't even studied, and cramming the whole thing in like a week seems foolish. Ugh. How much prep did you give it @WriterK90?

And I agree with you @Shannon M Riley -- cost is a huge deal. Putting half a grand just on applications is kind of nuts, especially since you can only chose one school, at the end of the day.

I'm also at a point where I'm not even sure I should apply to the other schools, like the last few years. My hope's have always been on USC, but UCLA and UT Austin were my #2 and #3 choice respectively. Well I would love to get into the other schools, would a part of me regret taking the first one offered to me, without even trying for the other schools I REALLY want to go too? Then again, considering my last application luck, I am very much putting the cart before the horse. Chances are none or them will want me anyways. so whole thing is moot.

Anyways, this was another Stream of Consciousness Diatribe with Septopus 7. Thanks for tuning in!
 
@WriterK90 Good luck on the GRE tomorrow! The best advice I have is to take the easy test first and then go back for the hard questions, because I totally forgot to do that and got stuck in questions and wasted a lot of valuable time!

Duke actually has a fantastic Documentary program, it's experimental and gets pretty artsy, but I'm into that. I like their faculty a lot of well, very diverse and experienced.

I'm about to ax Columbia if they don't stop associating themselves with that bastardization of documentary filmmaking Making a Murder. Every time I visit their site it's there glaring at me. Actually their doc program isn't that strong to begin with. Well alright then, Columbia is out!
 
I'm looking at USC, AFI, LMU, and Chapman personally. Which is a huge step up from the last two years, where USC was the only school I applied for. I really wanted to apply to UCLA (my #2 choice), but damn submission was way too early for my liking. I also would love to apply to UT Austin, but that stupid GRE is stopping me. It's the only program that requires taking the GRE. And with only a few weeks until deadline, not sure it's worth the cost/effort. Plus, I haven't even studied, and cramming the whole thing in like a week seems foolish. Ugh. How much prep did you give it @WriterK90?

And I agree with you @Shannon M Riley -- cost is a huge deal. Putting half a grand just on applications is kind of nuts, especially since you can only chose one school, at the end of the day.

I'm also at a point where I'm not even sure I should apply to the other schools, like the last few years. My hope's have always been on USC, but UCLA and UT Austin were my #2 and #3 choice respectively. Well I would love to get into the other schools, would a part of me regret taking the first one offered to me, without even trying for the other schools I REALLY want to go too? Then again, considering my last application luck, I am very much putting the cart before the horse. Chances are none or them will want me anyways. so whole thing is moot.

Anyways, this was another Stream of Consciousness Diatribe with Septopus 7. Thanks for tuning in!
I was able to get an application fee waiver from every school on my list except Columbia. I had to email Chapman, LMU and AFI because they had nothing on their website to indicate it can be waived and I didn't think it'd hurt to ask. I simply asked if they waived the fee for low income applicants and they granted it in their reply. Email them with the email you used to start your application. This saved me SO much money and I would have gotten half off for the gre if I didn't register last minute. Now if only my transcripts didn't cost up to 18 bucks a pop...

I would say I barely studied at all for the Gre... But Michener stated on their website that it's simply something to check off on their list since the college requires it. They base very little of their decision on the gre. I'm holding them to that and hoping I at least get average scores. The program in the Radio department may be a little more strict on the gre, I'm not sure. You can find the average gre scores of admitted applicants on their webiste and the averages were... average except for a decently high verbal score.

@Shannon M Riley Thanks! That's the plan. Get through the easy questions and if time is running out, a bit of educated guessing for the hard ones. lol

Also, that's awesome about Duke. It's nice to know that these rigerous schools care about the visual arts. I really like the vibe Columbia gives off and honestly, I'm all for a 3 year program. Columbia is one of the few with them. I'm not excited to live in New York though, so they are lower on my list unless I get some sort of funding.
 
Hi everyone, I'm currently looking into UCLA, Chapman, Columbia and NYU. This is my first year applying and it has really been a hassle.
What I would recommend is to apply to the schools that really interest you and that you feel you could take the opportunity if being accepted. There's no use for me to apply to CalArts just to have a 5th choice.

Regarding the recommendation letters, I would say that my recommenders have masters or PhD's and they have gone through these processes. Even if they are self-taught, they have had to apply for tax incentives, grants and what-not. Don't send them everything at the last moment, and warn them in advance. There is a big chance that they will do some copy paste and just tailor a couple of paragraphs for each application.

I hope we all make it and we see each other at school or film festivals, best of luck.

*note: UCLA only grants application waivers for US-citizens. This may be helpful to someone.
 
This is causing me more problems than anything. For one, these things aren't cheap! I'm also worried about overloading my references. On the other hand, it's impossible to tell where I'll be accepted to and what kind of funding I'll receive(if any).

I'm looking at documentary/experimental programs. I like interdisciplinary programs with academic opportunities outside of production. Also into small class sizes. I currently like the idea of schools outside of major cities, but I can't guarantee I won't change my mind. Alright, so here's the list:
  1. Duke
  2. Stanford
  3. Northwestern
  4. Syracuse
  5. Columbia
  6. U of T at Austin
  7. NYU
  8. UCLA(already applied but out for the running for schools I'd actually attend)
I'd like to cut it down but they're all such unique programs it's a tough call. Stanford is one I'm most on the fence about. It's one of the most expensive applications and I'm afraid it's a long shot(but it's also one of my favorites). I'm not that into NYU's program, but of course it's one of the best and I think it's one I'm likely to get accepted to.

Alright so am I crazy? What are your lists?
Apply to any program you might go to. Statistically speaking, it will leave you with the most options at the end, plus with the largest variety of scholarship options, as it is very hard to predict how much schools may or may not offer you to attend.

The application fees should be seen more or less as irrelevant, as they are peanuts compared to what you will spend later, and the investment is a wise one, as it is an investment in options. Once you get in, you can always visit the schools more at length before you take your decision.
 

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