Rising Senior applying for Fall 2021

Hey! I'm currently a rising senior in high school who is looking to apply to film colleges for Fall of 2021. I was wondering if anyone could give me advice/share their experiences with applying to and attending film colleges for a BA/BFA. Colleges don't seem to want to share their points of weakness, only strengths, making it difficult for me to compile a definite college list.

Colleges I'm currently looking into are Chapman, LMU, Syracuse, Pratt, USC, NYU, Columbia, and possibly Wesleyan and Vassar.
I'm still looking so if anyone has suggestions for film colleges I should look in to feel free to let me know as well.



So I finished my undergrad last year at the University of Rochester, and, in the fall, I'll start my masters at UCLA's Production/Directing program. I graduated with a BA in Economics and Film/Media Studies, and I am so glad I went to Rochester!

When I was in high school, I also applied to UC-Berkeley, University of Chicago, Rice, Carnegie Mellon, USC, and NYU (probably a couple more, but I don't remember haha). If I could go back, I really wish I trimmed down my list of schools. The Common App was easy compared to ALL of the supplemental essays/projects/etc. that I needed to submit.

If you take a look at my list, I applied to schools with either smaller film programs (Rochester, Rice, Carnegie-Mellon, Chicago) or amazing film programs (Berkeley, NYU, USC). While the smaller programs may not have as much as the bigger ones, they had INCREDIBLE networking opportunities. You can have all of the knowledge in the world about RED cameras, but no one will care unless if you know someone.

That being said, I think you have a great list! All of those schools have amazing alumni networks, and many of them are in big cities. I would maybe consider more NYC/LA/Atlanta-based schools (maybe Houston/Austin) since the Film/TV industries thrive there. Also, take a look at the University of Rochester's curriculum! If you have a curious mind, UofR offers one of the most flexible graduation requirements that allow for double or triple majors. There are plenty of great opportunities to intern and work. Personally, one of the coolest things about Rochester is its rich and underrated film history via the George Eastman House.

Anyways, hope this helped! Good luck and stay safe


Hey! I was in the same boat as you a year ago! I think you have a great list of film schools! If I were you I would start working on your applications as soon as possible. I remember Chapman had a very early deadline compared to the other schools on your list! Keep in mind that A LOT of schools like Chapman, UCLA, and LMU have an immense amount of supplements that are very crucial to your application! Don't procrastinate but also don't rush! ALWAYS proofread! I asked my AP Lit teacher and Arts teacher to critique my essays and supplements! However, make sure that your voice and personality still shines through your essays.

I personally narrowed my choices to film schools (focused on HANDS-ON PRODUCTION, not studies) in California. If you are looking for other film schools to add to your list I HIGHLY recommend adding CSU Northridge, San Diego State University, and Long Beach State University (currently attending this upcoming fall 2020) onto your list! While these schools don't have a "prestigious" and "highly ranked" reputation as other schools as on your list, Northridge and Long Beach State have a VERY underrated film program! Let me know if you're interested in Long Beach State's film program! I'd love to give you more information as a rising freshman!

My outlook as a senior last year was to receive "a great education for the best value". It didn't make sense for me to go to a private and highly ranked school and spend $80,000 per year for only an undergraduate degree. Although I did apply and get into many private schools, the amount of debt I would carry as an undergraduate wasn't worth it. If your interested in the pricing and expected scholarships/grants of each school, google "insert college" net price calculator! This can help you narrow your college list if money is an issue! College is really what you make out of it. Don't ignore the price of a college simply because of it's "notable name". I would rather save that money for graduate school (if your still interested) or your own personal film projects. Trust me, I have a lot of older family members who wish that they could have gone to a cal state or community college and get the same education for the fraction of the cost.

Like many other seniors, I fell into this unhealthy mindset that ONLY attending X college will help me thrive in the film industry. Which is not true! Don't overthink the application process! TRUST your gut and find what MAKES YOU UNIQUE! What can YOU offer to X college and HOW? As cliche as this sounds, everything happens for a reason! Decisions are always UNPREDICTABLE and your worth shouldn't be reflected in the colleges you get into, but rather what you do in college! I hope this helps!! You are going to do amazing!!
Justin, thank you for your advice (and encouragement). You bring up many excellent points that I will undoubtedly keep in mind during the application process. If your offer still stands, it'd be great to hear more about Long Beach State's film program from a rising Freshman's POV.
Again, thank you!

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