USC Vs. AFI for Screenwriting


Staff member Writer
First, let me preface by saying I fully recognize how fortunate I am to be in the position of having multiple schools, let alone AFI and USC, to choose from. I can honestly say as someone who was teaching themselves how to write scripts via books, podcasts, and reading scripts while applying that I did not expect to be in this position. I was flying entirely blind and learned so much from this forum alone. Now that I've been accepted, I would LOVE advice.

As someone who wants to work in Television and progress into role of "showrunner" (Anyone into the Enneagram like I am? I'm a classic 3 so OF COURSE I want to go for the very top/boss role), which program is better suited for me? @Septopus7 sent me a FANTASTIC note about his AFI experience (thanks again!), but I'd love to group source this a bit more.

I was hoping one would give me a ton of scholarship money and make this easy, but while AFI did give a small scholarship, it wasn't enough to take USC off the table and USC hasn't mentioned financial aid yet. I've read some of the AMA threads, but feel like directly asking the group would be for the best. Going into this, I was very much USC or bust. But after interviewing with AFI and my staff interactions, I'm very much torn. I do wish I had more of a feel for USC during this process and plan to wait until their virtual accepted students day April 3 to fully commit anywhere - bless them all for having the same deadline.

So - fire away. In your opinion, USC or AFI?


New Member
Congrats on getting accepted to both! I myself got waitlisted to USC but didn't hit the AFI deadline (wish I did!). From experience, I have multiple friends who went the AFI route and I have heard nothing but amazing things from their program. My friends who have been to AFI are now working fantastic studio positions with tons of upward mobility. Now, onto financial aid. The hardest part about USC (from my experience as well as some of my other friends) is hearing back from their financial aid department. They typically don't send out your financial aid package until much later which puts many people in weird situations that might cause them to pass on other opportunities. This is a double-edged sword because on the one hand you could wait and get a much better package or it's even worse/on-par to the offers you've currently received.

This is just my opinion though based on my experiences & friend groups! Once again, congratulations on your opportunities! Both schools will give you great experiences :)

Maurizio L.

Hey, so I'm sort-of in a similar situation with UCLA and USC! I really loved interviewing with UCLA and talking with some professors but something about the illustrious "white whale" of USC keeps pulling me towards it... but I'm going to wait until the virtual admitted student day to make a final decision. Also waiting for financial aid, so that might make the decision for me 😅

I don't think I have an answer for you re AFI v USC as I don't really know much about AFI, but just wanted to sympathize with your stress, haha. Maybe we'll see each other if we both pick USC!

Latest Classifieds

Latest Applications

Latest reviews

  • Northwestern University - School of Communication
    4.00 star(s)
    Good for film theory, not so much for production
    *Please take this with a grain of salt, as I went to NU over a decade ago. While I was there: Classes in film theory and screenwriting were great...
    • Anonymous
  • Film And Television Institute of India
    4.00 star(s)
    Graduate Certificate, TV Direction
    I was enrolled in the 1-year Direction certificate course in the TV wing in the session 2018-19. Following are the pros and cons that I...
    • ValArya
  • University of Texas at Austin - Department of Radio-Television-Film
    4.00 star(s)
    Great film school outside of LA/NYC
    I would say overall UT's film school is a great choice! It is rated #11 on THR's Top Film School List in the U.S. Sure it's nowhere near LA or NY...
    • Anonymous
  • Columbia College Chicago - Cinema Directing (M.F.A.)
    5.00 star(s)
    a great decision
    Columbia College Chicago is not only one of America's best film schools it is also one of the most affordable. The program is advertised as 2...
    • Jcromwell
  • Fitchburg State University
    4.00 star(s)
    Okay School, especially for the price
    Came in as both a transfer and commuter, so my experience was really lessened by that fact. Your time and success here is really up to you...
    • Anonymous