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Schools in the USA

Choosing a Film School

Choosing a film school or program can be a difficult and time-consuming choice. At first you will need to make many decisions: whether you wish to pursue a 4-year or 2-year degree or a diploma or certificate; study on a full-time or part-time basis; what area of specialization interests you; how important special features such as industry internship and study abroad options are to you; and the importance of cost, location and school size. Once you have decided on these, you will still need to undertake a significant exploration and consultation to focus in on the right choice of a film school.

Here is a step-by-step process to help you evaluate each school or program:

  • Visit the school's website. Most film schools provide detailed information about their programs -- degrees/diplomas/certificates offered, amount of tuition and fees, admission requirements, portfolio specifics, intake times, student demographics, faculty qualifications, student film showing opportunities and more! Often the school's website will provide a "Q&A" or FAQ page which will answer the most common questions.


  • Visit the school. Many film schools also have "open days" where high school students are invited to tour the campus for a day. Campus visits allow you to learn things about the institution that might not be obvious from its marketing materials, such as facilities, campus lay-out, transportation and how it feels to be on campus. If the university, college or institute is in your home-town or nearby, you can always take an informal tour on your own and visit the admissions or program office to ask questions. Even if the institution nearest you isn't the one you're considering, an information-gathering visit can help you get a sense of what you are comparing your other choices to.


  • Speak with an admissions counselor or academic advisor: they have a thorough knowledge of the curriculum and study programs that can lend a perspective to your decisions, and sometimes lead you in new directions.


  • Research other sources of information. There is a wealth of things that you can do here:
    • If you know past graduates of the school, talk with them about their experiences while a student.

    • Confirm which organizations (like film studios or production companies) have hired graduates in the past and contact them or their human resources departments to determine their satisfaction with the school's graduates and programs and whether they value them over others on a regular basis.

    • Search the Internet for information on awards and achievements bestowed on specific film schools -- competitions won, faculty film credits, grants, etc.

    • Search for notable alumni in order to see where past graduates have ended up in the industry.

    • Consult Facebook and other social networking sites that may provide testimonials and other student comments on specific film schools and the programs they offer.
    Then match these facts and figures against the film schools and programs you are evaluating.

    Schools

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