Question about applying as freshman to undergrad

Hello. Been lurking for a decade, but finally made an account to make my first post.

I am hoping to apply to production program (BFA) in 2020 as a freshman (from what I know, BFA is for freshman only).

The problem is... I was enrolled in a university last decade. I completed first semester, but withdrew during 2nd semester.

Would this make me a transfer student? I am aware that universities have different rules as to who is considered a freshman (fewer than 2 terms of studies, fewer than 12 credits, etc). Has anyone switched major like me, and applied to a different university as freshman?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
BU
Been lurking for a decade, but finally made an account to make my first post.
A decade? Woah. Thanks for joining.

Since it was in Canada and you only completed one semester you might still be able to apply as a freshman. But unfortunately I'm not sure as this is a rare situation.

Maybe call the admissions office?
 
A decade? Woah. Thanks for joining.

Since it was in Canada and you only completed one semester you might still be able to apply as a freshman. But unfortunately I'm not sure as this is a rare situation.

Maybe call the admissions office?
Thanks for your reply.

Since this is a very unique and complicated matter, I decided it would be best that I speak to someone in person. Unfortunately, I have personal matters to deal with for the next couple of months. So I decided to look for answers on the internet myself

UCLA and NYU blatantly state that any enrollment in post-secondary institutions would make me a transfer student... LMU website states any grades earned at university would make me a transfer student. I already started working on a submission film, which deals with my own experience with my parents in a "surreal" way. I have some work experiences as film crew.
 
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Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
BU
I would be considered a transfer at Emerson and Chapman as well... This isn't looking good for me
Yes looks like a transfer. Maybe take some more courses and transfer in as a junior. Aren't most transfers are as a junior?
 
Yes looks like a transfer. Maybe take some more courses and transfer in as a junior. Aren't most transfers are as a junior?
I've been out of uni more than a decade, so I wanted a fresh start. Furthermore my grades are bad...

Other than that, I was hoping to get into BFA. :(

I will wait for some others to chime in. Has anyone petitioned to apply as a freshman?
 
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BuddernScotch

Active Member
AFI
Chapman
UCLA
I agree with Chris. This is a very personal opinion but I think you may get more out of an MFA. Especially if you're thinking of living and working in the States ater graduating, an MFA will help your case more when applying for certain visas after your study.

And it's just more intensive. It's designed for more mature students and seems like it will benefit job-hunting more. The environment will also be filled with students of a similar age. I know that even at my ripe old age of 23 I would not be able to work as well with 18/19 yr olds as those my age and older. This is going to sound ageist... If I were even a bit younger I might still mesh well with them but as of now I would need a more serious, mature cohort that are absolutely certain of dedicating their lives to this career. An undergrad was my time (and many others) to figure things out. Now I have it figured out, in terms of career goals, and I would want my fellow students to be sure they want to dedicate themselves 100% into our work.

And I'm so sorry to hear about your situation with your undergrad. I so feel you. I'm from Toronto and there was definitely pushback from my (singular) parent but she eventually understood. Lots of long repetitive discussions and getting kicked outs later :)
 
Thanks for your inputs. I really appreciate it.

My end goal in my academic life is to do MFA... And I don't want to study anything else other than films. It is my desire to study as many film-related courses as possible. Furthermore, I want to be surrounded by people who share the same passion as mine for more time.

This might sound childish and immature, but for once I want to do something I want. It was all about my parents' interests before, but now I am free. I was emotionally, verbally and physically abused from childhood to early adulthood so my parents can have their A++ student. As a result I'm dealing with ptsd, ocd, low self-esteem, poor social skills, anxiety disorder, depression, etc at the moment. After all things I've been through, for the first time in my life, I just want things to go my way. And I deserve it. I might sound stubborn in pursuing my application to a film school as a freshman, but I want everyone to understand where I'm coming from

Also, this would mean a new beginning for me. Away from everything and everyone. Starting a life I always desired but couldn't have. Changing myself - confident, positive, etc. You know, all that stuff that is portrayed in movies. You might say I can do all that here. Well, I already am. But going to film school would mean rebirth for me.

Reading through what I wrote above, I guess I really am immature. So I would blend in pretty well with 18 year olds. I look extremely young too! :). I still have 1 year and 8 months to figure things out.
 
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I don't see a need to do both. Maybe finish Undergrad by doing Creative Writing? Filmmaking is storytelling afterall.
Correct me if I'm wrong... But isn't it notoriously difficult to get good grades on writing courses? Plus, I rarely watch tv, and I'm sure some of those required courses are tv writing
 

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
BU
Correct me if I'm wrong... But isn't it notoriously difficult to get good grades on writing courses? Plus, I rarely watch tv, and I'm sure some of those required courses are tv writing
Yes writing well is hard. But so is good filmmaking. There is no "easy" path. It's going to take hard work, dedication, and you'll need to be extremely conscientious to make it.

Personally I don't see a need for both an undergrad and graduate film degree. Unless they are vastly different in scope. Say a small town video school compared to a big league MFA. But that's a lot of degrees and $$$ on something that does not have a guaranteed ROI.
 
Yes writing well is hard. But so is good filmmaking. There is no "easy" path. It's going to take hard work, dedication, and you'll need to be extremely conscientious to make it.

Personally I don't see a need for both an undergrad and graduate film degree. Unless they are vastly different in scope. Say a small town video school compared to a big league MFA. But that's a lot of degrees and $$$ on something that does not have a guaranteed ROI.
Yes filmmaking and writing are hard. But in school, getting good grades should be my focus as I don't want to repeat what happened before. And I am not sure whether I can get good grades on writing courses, although I heard many times I am a very good writer... (local screenwriting circle, table reading meets, etc).
 
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BuddernScotch

Active Member
AFI
Chapman
UCLA
Yes filmmaking and writing are hard. But in school, getting good grades should be my focus as I don't want to repeat what happened in engineering. And I am not sure whether I can get good grades on writing courses, although I heard many times I am a very good writer... (local screenwriting circle, table reading meets, etc).
I identify with your past a lot and so many parts of life are truly unfair. That's why I loved stories: place where I held power and could make reality as I saw fit. But that's also why I began learning THROUGH film. I saw my first movie in English right when I came to Canada in 2001 - THE MUMMY (1999). And I became infatuated with history and mystery. I also became infatuated with learning.

In school, even in uni, I rarely studied for tests (woops). But I attended every lecture and paid attention and talked with my professors all the time. Learning was my focus in undergrad and I still got into a good mfa program despite average grades. I don't think you necessarily need amazing grades over everything else. I'd focus on becoming a sponge of everything around you - which hopefully carries over to every other learning opportunity in the future - mfa, job, new cultures, experiences, opportunities, everything.

I loved my English degree not because it made me a better writer per se but because I could better appreciate stories and storytelling. And it wasn't just the classes itself, it was a lot of my electives, psych, philosophy, history - they gave me new perspectives on every story. Film is seldom only ABOUT film - an undergrad is a great opportunity to explore things that you may want your films to be about, and perspectives of those films.

There are more ways to enrich your storytelling than pure film. And if you feel immature then perhaps take one of those routes to mature in more diverse ways? You could even do a community college degree or certificate in like 2 years. There are sooo many options, since ba in film doesn't sound super easy atm. You'll still be international at USC and accrue so much debt. Then because it was only a BA you may not get your visa extended.

And... there are other options other than USC. Look into other programs if you really want to only do film. In US, Canada, and even UK, Australia, Asia even! - wouldn't an overseas ba in film be incredible too? Australia has some great programs with Canadians that lowers tuition by A LOT. Less debt, international experiencs, and film experience.

You have several months to figure things out, so call some schools and ask about their programs, call some community career advisors, who then might give you more information and resources. Lots of options here!

If you ever have questions feel free to msg me, I will be attending UCLA this coming year. ;) gluck my friend.
 
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it was a lot of my electives, psych, philosophy, history - they gave me new perspectives on every story. Film is seldom only ABOUT film - an undergrad is a great opportunity to explore things that you may want your films to be about, and perspectives of those films.
This is what I said 10 years ago... But things are different for me now. I am almost a decade older than first year students, and by the time I finish mfa I will be the age many people consider "old." I'm starting late, so being exposed to potential emplyers is a crucial factor for me (connection, intern programs, summer jobs in the industry, alumni nights, etc). I wouldn't mind PA'ing for 14 hours per day and struggling to pay the rent if I had been 23, but not at 30.

I know studying in film school doesn't guarantee anything. Heck, I worked with people fresh out of mfa who just couldn't direct or lead the crew. But one undeniable thing is that these people were making movies for studios... And I want to get there quicker and, well, easier. And the conclusion I arrived at was going to film school

I am not sure how my age will play out when trying to get a job in the industry, let alone getting my projects approved.

thank you so much for your insight. I really appreciate it
 
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Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member+
AFI
USC
@CineMike I understand your frustrations, and why you are putting so much of yourself into going into USC. Trust me, I do. But I'm going to be honest here: this is a brutal process. I know your hopes are to go in as an undergrad student, but do you know how low the acceptance rate is for undergrad USC students at SCA? It's less than 4% -- that's one of the reasons I (and I'm sure many others) went for the MFA program instead: though still very tough to get into (I applied three times before I got in), it's certainly less daunting. Because to get into the B.A program at USC, you need amazing grades, amazing extracurriculars, amazing leadership experiences, etc. You just do. You'll be competing with thousands and thousands of talented kids from around the world, all those over-achieving bastards (no offense to any over-achieving bastards who might be reading this, of course!) I really don't want to be a jerk here, but you probably shouldn't think about whether or not you can logistically get into USC's undergrad program -- it's more about whether they will even accept you even if you could. And for everyone odds are slim. For someone who is decades out of high school, didn't have great grades (as you said), and doesn't fit the traditional profile of an "undergrad" student, even more so.

I'm not saying you have no hope here, though. From what you've written it's clear you have a lot of passion, and a great story, and the urge to tell many more of them. That will get you far, especially if you do pursue an MFA track (from my experience, graduate school really does not care about your academic record: it's all about whether you can tell stories for them, at the end of the day.) And you might even have better luck as a transfer student, from what I've heard about USC. And there's absolutely no shame in doing that -- you still take the same classes, meet the same people, and get the same degree. It has all the perks, at the fraction of the cost, and a far higher likelihood of getting in. Still, I won't sugar coat it: this is hard. It took years of mental strength out of me, to apply year after year and get crushed every time. And, after all that, and finally getting accepted into the school, I probably won't even be attending USC!

The film industry is a wild ride. Getting into the film industry, even more so. I'm not saying give up, because you clearly have talent and passion, and that (in theory -- I'm talking out of my ass here, for the most part) should get you far. But you have to explore other avenues here than the one that you want the most. You just do.

Also

Correct me if I'm wrong... But isn't it notoriously difficult to get good grades on writing courses? Plus, I rarely watch tv, and I'm sure some of those required courses are tv writing
I'm sorry but this made me laugh to myself. Maybe it's because I'm a writer by trade, or because I got extremely lucky with my teachers, but all the writing courses I took in undergrad were STUNNINGLY easy to pass. Pretty much all of them are pass/fail at that stage, because no professor can/will grade someone poorly because they didn't like what they wrote. It's not like math or engineering or something where if you can't do the process or get the wrong answer, you fail. As long as you do the work (which, admittedly, can be a bit tough when the brain does not want to be creative, and you have a due date coming up), and participate in class (most writing classes are workshop style, which means you all read each others work and provide feedback), it's really hard not to get an A. At least, once again, in my biased experience.
 
@CineMike I understand your frustrations, and why you are putting so much of yourself into going into. Trust me, I do. But I'm going to be honest here: this is a brutal process. I know your hopes are to go in as an undergrad student, but do you know how low the acceptance rate is for undergrad USC students at SCA? It's less than 4% -- that's one of the reasons I (and I'm sure many others) went for the MFA program instead: though still very tough to get into (I applied three times before I got in), it's certainly less daunting. Because to get into the B.A program at USC, you need amazing grades, amazing extracurriculars, amazing leadership experiences, etc. You just do. You'll be competing with thousands and thousands of talented kids from around the world, all those over-achieving bastards (no offense to any over-achieving bastards who might be reading this, of course!) I really don't want to be a jerk here, but you probably shouldn't think about whether or not you can logistically get into USC's undergrad program -- it's more about whether they will even accept you even if you could. And for everyone odds are slim. For someone who is decades out of high school, didn't have great grades (as you said), and doesn't fit the traditional profile of an "undergrad" student, even more so.

I'm not saying you have no hope here, though. From what you've written it's clear you have a lot of passion, and a great story, and the urge to tell many more of them. That will get you far, especially if you do pursue an MFA track (from my experience, graduate school really does not care about your academic record: it's all about whether you can tell stories for them, at the end of the day.) And you might even have better luck as a transfer student, from what I've heard about USC. And there's absolutely no shame in doing that -- you still take the same classes, meet the same people, and get the same degree. It has all the perks, at the fraction of the cost, and a far higher likelihood of getting in. Still, I won't sugar coat it: this is hard. It took years of mental strength out of me, to apply year after year and get crushed every time. And, after all that, and finally getting accepted into the school, I probably won't even be attending USC!

The film industry is a wild ride. Getting into the film industry, even more so. I'm not saying give up, because you clearly have talent and passion, and that (in theory -- I'm talking out of my ass here, for the most part) should get you far. But you have to explore other avenues here than the one that you want the most. You just do.

Also



I'm sorry but this made me laugh to myself. Maybe it's because I'm a writer by trade, or because I got extremely lucky with my teachers, but all the writing courses I took in undergrad were STUNNINGLY easy to pass. Pretty much all of them are pass/fail at that stage, because no professor can/will grade someone poorly because they didn't like what they wrote. It's not like math or engineering or something where if you can't do the process or get the wrong answer, you fail. As long as you do the work (which, admittedly, can be a bit tough when the brain does not want to be creative, and you have a due date coming up), and participate in class (most writing classes are workshop style, which means you all read each others work and provide feedback), it's really hard not to get an A. At least, once again, in my biased experience.
Hello. Thank for your reply. I truly appreciate your input.

I already know about SCA's brutal admission figures. I like challenges, so I might as well try. I was one of those overoverover-achievers in high school (thanks mom and dad!). So, strictly going by my high school record, I definitely have a shot. Yeah, I'm ready to get rejected 3 times before looking for alternatives.

And I thought SCA accepts only several transfers into BA? Was I misinformed?

And you're not attending USC after 3 tries? What happened?

As for writing courses, it's combination of my personal experiences and what I heard. I took a writing course at high school, and I struggled to get over 90%, despite my English teacher's recommendations. And I helped with other students' essays and short stories with varying results. In uni, friends took "fun" courses like literature, philosophy, writing, etc. Many dropped like flies. So I guess my views are different.
 
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Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member+
AFI
USC
. In engineering, you get your math right...
Ah but, there we see the hard part :)

Hello. Thank for your reply. I truly appreciate your input.

I already know about SCA's brutal admission figures. I like challenges, so I might as well try. I was one of those overoverover-achievers in high school (thanks mom and dad!). So, strictly going by my high school record, I definitely have a shot. Yeah, I'm ready to get rejected 3 times before looking for alternatives.

And I thought SCA accepts only several transfers into BA? Was I misinformed?
That might be true for SCA, but getting into USC (especially at the undergrad level) is a two-step system. To even be able to get into SCA, you have to get into USC proper, which is a far easier thing to do as a transfer student, from what I've read (a lot of people who get into these "premium" schools end up dropping out a few semesters in, something the schools don't really like to advertise, but does open quite a bit of space in spring and second year admission.)

And you're not attending USC after 3 tries? What happened?
AFI, my second choice, offered me a full-tuition scholarship. So far, USC has offered me absolutely bupkis. Even after over a decade of, like you, dreaming about the possibilities that USC could give me, and the new life it could unlock...Gotta chase those dollars. Some things are more important than "the dream."

As for writing courses, it's combination of my personal experiences and what I heard. I took a writing course at high school, and I struggled to get over 90%, despite my English teacher's recommendations. And I helped with other students' essays and short stories with varying results. In uni, friends took "fun" courses like literature, philosophy, writing, etc. Many dropped like flies. So I guess my views are different. In engineering, you get your math right, you earn your grade. But in writing courses, things can get very subjective..
Like I said before, this is a very subjective, experience-heavy subject matter. But, IMHO, a teacher should not grade "art" based on whether or not they like it, because that's just unfair to the student. That was very much the philosophy of all the writing teachers I had, which I respect a lot as a student. But clearly that won't represent every teacher. All the creative writing and screenwriting courses I took in Uni (all like five of them I think) I got A's in. The science, math, and all other courses I took I barely passed, or struggled big time to get A's and B's in. But your mileage my vary! The joy of college...
 

BuddernScotch

Active Member
AFI
Chapman
UCLA
I struggled to get over 90%, despite my English teacher's recommendations. And I helped with other students' essays and short stories with varying results. In uni, friends took "fun" courses like literature, philosophy, writing, etc. Many dropped like flies. So I guess my views are different. In engineering, you get your math right, you earn your grade. But in writing courses, things can get very subjective..
Okay, but what do you need 90s for in undergrad??? If your main goal is to then do an mfa in screenwriting, especially. We know from this site's app trackers and info that people with barely 70 got into USC's mfa program.

And I second @Septopus7 on this USC idealization. I did it, sep did it, many others on this forumn do it - what voodoo magic does USC posess that beats every other program in the world? And why is that not reflected in the successful writer-director-filmmakers working and winning awards now?

If you have amazing stories to tell already then perhaps you truly don't need a ba at all - but I'd stiiil recommend doing a 1 yr or 2 yr certificate in Canada in the meantime - and then it's easier to apply for the mfa afterwards, I know for a fact that certain unis offer these exceptions when you're a mature student. Sure apply for USC's BA this year but also apply for some options that will get you to the MFA track ASAP - call advisors, call the school - I got Fido's $7 add on that makes calls to the US 1cent/minute (nosponsor lol). Call them and ask for your options - how to get to an MFA quicker because getting a BA then MFA in film is not something people straight outta high school seem to want to do - and you already said you feel like you're late to the game.

It's so much money as an international student. What if you can't financially afford an mfa after? Is a BA your endgoal??

Please take care.
 

Septopus7

Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member+
AFI
USC
Okay, but what do you need 90s for in undergrad??? If your main goal is to then do an mfa in screenwriting, especially. We know from this site's app trackers and info that people with barely 70 got into USC's mfa program.

And I second @Septopus7 on this USC idealization. I did it, sep did it, many others on this forumn do it - what voodoo magic does USC posess that beats every other program in the world? And why is that not reflected in the successful writer-director-filmmakers working and winning awards now?

If you have amazing stories to tell already then perhaps you truly don't need a ba at all - but I'd stiiil recommend doing a 1 yr or 2 yr certificate in Canada in the meantime - and then it's easier to apply for the mfa afterwards, I know for a fact that certain unis offer these exceptions when you're a mature student. Sure apply for USC's BA this year but also apply for some options that will get you to the MFA track ASAP - call advisors, call the school - I got Fido's $7 add on that makes calls to the US 1cent/minute (nosponsor lol). Call them and ask for your options - how to get to an MFA quicker because getting a BA then MFA in film is not something people straight outta high school seem to want to do - and you already said you feel like you're late to the game.

It's so much money as an international student. What if you can't financially afford an mfa after? Is a BA your endgoal??

Please take care.
This. I didn't bring up price because that's very much a "person to person" type thing, and I can't speak to @CineMike's exact situation, but the cost of getting a BFA at USC is crazy, what with it being a four year program, and costing about the same as the MFA yearly rate. That would make for a total of like $200,000 for tuition alone. Add in living costs which, if you're being thrifty/working part-time at the same time, would make for like another $100,000 of loans you would have to take out. Then to get an MFA from USC as well would be like $100,000 for the two years, and you would probably take on $50,000-$75,000 just for living expenses over those two years as well...that's pretty much looking down the barrels of about half a MILLION dollars in order to get both. And I'll speak from experience: if you think scholarships are going to swoop in and save you, unfortunately, that is not always the case. Wasn't for me, at least.

I once again don't say all this to dissuade you from what you want, but I do think it's something you better think long and hard about before you actually set up a plan. There's a lot of factors at play here that I know might be tough to consider when you are so tunnel-focused on just getting in. But you will have to come to terms with those realities eventually.
 

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