northwestern screenwriting MFA or wait for next application cycle for UCLA and UT austin?


Hi everyone,

Need some guidance.. So due to personal reasons, I wasn't able to apply to UCLA and UT Austin during this cycle.

I've been researching Northwestern and it looks like the screenwriting program at Northwestern is amazing. The only thing is I never really imagined myself in Chicago and I don't like cold winters. But still, considering it because it seems like a great program, they have TAship opportunities, a really awesome womens filmmakers alliance, so it is still appealing...maybe I can cope with the cold for a few years..?

My question is what are the pros and cons of waiting for the next cycle? Is it worth it to wait.. or should I just apply to the schools with open applications and accept my fate? lol

My main goal was definitely UCLA, USC or UT Austin. It just sucks that I would have to wait a whole year and a half to start grad school.


Well-Known Member
Perhaps I can spare my two cents on this issue.

As a Southern California native who has braved the winters in Chicago for four years, it's not terribly bad. Just be ready to pack on the Vitamin D supplements and make sure you're active in some way, shape, or form. The wind-chilled winters pale in comparison to how vibrant and diverse the city is.

Chicago by far is one of the greatest cities in the US due to its affordability, accessibility, and opportunities. Being at Northwestern, you're in Evanston, which sits just north of the city limits. It's a pretty suburb, and I mean, clean and pristine! Quite nouveau riche if you ask me, but certain pockets of Chicago are like that. Getting downtown and beyond from Evanston is simply a purple line ride away. The subway is your best friend.

The Northwestern screenwriting program is underrated compared to its Los Angeles and New York peers. It is the birthplace of so many comedians and thespians. So if comedy and/or theatre are your thing, it's best to start in this pond before swimming downstream. In regard to TV and film, I'd reckon it's easier to find opportunities in other places. However, the beginnings of a small exodus of filmmakers coming to Chicago due to low costs, etc. have been taking root. For instance, Jordan Peele filmed his upcoming movie, Candyman, in Chicago. As a city, it has a lot of potential to grow into a film hub.

Chicago has a place in my heart and it has so much to offer that is often overlooked and misunderstood. Anyway, in concern to your "bigger" question of whether or not you should wait, there's never a wrong or right way to go about it. If you don't feel close to the program, bid your time elsewhere while you wait for the new cycle. If you do like it, give it a go, and see what opportunities they can provide you. Nothing lost, nothing gained is the worst case scenario. I'm always a strong believer of doing things you feel are right and purposeful in your life.
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