USC vs LMU Film and Television MFA (1 Viewer)

mattyberger

New Member
I have been admitted to USC for film and television production but without any current financial aid or scholarships. I haven't heard from LMU yet but expect to get accepted and hopefully with scholarship. I was wondering if anyone had thoughts on my situation and which I should choose. Is USC worth the hype and name to go into ~$120k worth of debt or would choosing LMU with a scholarship be a wiser choice?

Thanks in advance!
 

prikemice

New Member
Supporter+
Take this with a huge grain of salt, as I have attended neither program, but I have spent 15 years working in media fields in Los Angeles and have heard a lot of anecdotal takes on this. My understanding is that they are both good programs and would provide a high-quality MFA education. If you fancy yourself more of a super-driven, self-starting type with your sights set on Hollywood success, you might gain more from a USC type program and the network and name recognition it offers. If you are looking for more support, perhaps a more collaborative atmosphere, LMU could be a better choice. FWIW, I know I wanted to learn first moreso than get that professional edge, so I skipped AFI and USC altogether in my application process. My career experience has seemed to suggest that the work you do at each level is far more important in creating professional opportunities than any degree you might have received.

The money question is one that is very individually tailored, but as someone who did get into a LOT of undergrad debt, I think it matters. The difference between $120k and $40k in loans will feel a lot different in 5 years than it does now. I did feel like there were a lot of opportunities that I passed up because I was desperately trying to make enough money to stay afloat in Los Angeles (a city that's only getting more and more expensive). HOWEVER, the real question is how much are you going to feel that extra $80k? It's different for everybody, and if you have the support system to shoulder it and still be able to spend years taking low-paying gigs that may be great opportunities to learn or build connections, then I say go wherever you think you'll get the opportunities you value most. If that money is the difference between starving or living comfortably and without crippling financial anxiety, then I think that needs to factor into your long term plan re: taking on debt.
 

Abbey Normal

Well-Known Member
Supporter+
Congrats on getting accepted to USC and hopefully LMU. Any chance you can reach out to USC to ask for some financial assistance? I know folks in other threads have asked and received some scholarship so it doesn't hurt to ask. I guess it depends how much LMU gives you. Either way, you'll probably be in debt, right? Personally, I'd pick USC in a heartbeat because of the name recognition and strong network in the industry. Everyone knows USC. The Trojan mafia is real. But damn it's hella expensive lol. Being $120k in debt is hard to swallow. Keep in mind when you graduate you'll most likely get a job as a low-level assistant at a production company or studio, which is not much especially in LA. I'd say go with your gut. But wait to see what LMU offers. If possible, reach out to alums from both programs and weigh the pros/cons.

Good luck!
 

tls

Well-Known Member
I almost posted this same Q! In a similar boat with USC and will hopefully get off the waitlist for one of the much cheaper schools I applied to.....it's such a hard decision because if money didn't matter I'd go to USC of course.... But I've stayed out of debt this far and am so hesitant to take on so much.
 

tls

Well-Known Member
@mattyberger congrats on getting in! Did you get that big fat scholarship to LMU?

If money weren't a thing, which program would you choose and why?
 

mattyberger

New Member
So just to update everyone. I am going to accept the offer from USC! I didn't really get enough to justify choosing LMU over USC. Although LMU is an amazing school and has some amazing opportunities, I can't give up to attend one of the, if not the top rated film school in the US. Thanks to everyone for the replies and help along the way! Excited to start my journey as a Trojan!
 
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