The Best Film Schools in the USA - Top 25 List

Top 25 film schools
May 21, 2024
8 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/21/24

Interested in attending film school? Keep reading to explore some of the best film schools in the US. 

Starting a career in film takes hard work, as it's a competitive field. To make it as a filmmaker, you need lots of experience and connections. But, despite the challenges, it's an exciting career with lots of opportunities for creativity in areas like writing, directing, and cinematography.

One way to get started in this field is by going to a great film school. There, you'll learn about both the technical and theoretical aspects of filmmaking. You'll also get to create a portfolio and make connections that can help you in your career. Going to film school is an investment in your future that can help you succeed.

Luckily, if you're a high school student in the US interested in filmmaking, there are many great film schools to choose from. In this article, we'll introduce you to the country’s top film schools and what they have to offer.

Top 25 Film Schools in the US

Film schools come in different forms, like those at universities, art schools, or schools that only teach film. Each type has its advantages and can help you become a successful filmmaker.

Before choosing a film school, it's important to consider your preferences. What aspect of filmmaking interests you the most? Where would you like to go to school? How much money can you spend? Taking the time to think about these questions will help you find a film school that suits you.

Without further ado, here are some of the best film colleges in the US! These schools are great for undergraduate study, but many of them also offer some of the best film graduate programs you’ll find.

Film School Acceptance Rate Tuition Fee
USC Cinematic Arts 3% $69,904
NYU Tisch ~15% $68,978
American Film Institute 3% $66,469
UCLA School of Film, Theater, and TV 1-7% $15,154
Columbia School of the Arts ~10% $71,918
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts 8% $32,290
CalArts 29% $56,074
LMU School of Film and TV ~20% Varies by program
Wesleyan University ~20% $66,716
Emerson College 41% $31,456
UT Austin ~25% $5,815 per semester
Stanford University 3.9% $20,577 per quarter
DePaul University 70% $41,154

Film School Acceptance Rate Tuition Fee
Boston University 14% $66,670
Ringling College of Design 65% $52,600
Savannah College of Art and Design 82% $41,130
Rhode Island School of Design 19% $61,564
Columbia College Chicago 95% $32,520
Florida State University 25% $5,616
ArtCenter College of Design 63% $26,543
Brooklyn College N/A $10,567
UNC School of the Arts 32% $6,497
Ithaca College 70% $50,510
Syracuse University 52% $61,310
Hofstra University 62% $53,310

Want to know more details about each of these schools? Let’s get started! 

USC Cinematic Arts

USC Cinematic Arts, located in sunny Los Angeles, is considered one of the best film schools in the country. It’s a part of the University of Southern California and offers students a unique approach to filmmaking education. Students can choose from seven disciplines, ranging from Animation and Digital Art to Writing for Screen and Television. 

Each program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts is taught by faculty members who have direct experience in the film industry, including prominent filmmakers, game designers, media makers, and scholars. They have won numerous awards, including Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, and the Humanitas Prize.

USC Cinematic Arts boasts world-class facilities that offer state-of-the-art equipment. Students can delve into post-production:

  • Avid editing bays
  • Color correction suites
  • Sound mixing rooms
  • Visual effects studios
  • ADR
  • Foley stages 

In addition to being a stellar film school, USC is also home to the Thornton School of Music, one of the best music schools out there! Artists and creatives of all kinds can find a home at USC. 

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $69,904 per year (undergraduate), $2,386 per unit (graduate)

Notable Alumni: John Carpenter, Ryan Coogler, Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Scott Gimple, George Lucas, Matt Reeves, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Selleck, John Wayne, Forest Whitaker

NYU Tisch School Of The Arts

New York University offers the Tisch School of the Arts, a multifaceted school with performing, cinematic, and media arts programs. The Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television operates within the Tisch School of the Arts and is regarded as a pioneer in film, new media, and related technologies.

Students can pursue an undergraduate degree in Film and Television, a graduate film program, BFA and MFA programs in Dramatic Writing, or engage in Cinema Studies. The Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television is known for fusing technical and theoretical skills into each program. 

Various courses are available to non-majors, such as documentary traditions, film marketing and distribution, television production, and script analysis. Students can also pursue their love of film via the Climate Script Pitch Booth, where they can pitch ideas for scripts, stage plays, or episodic series addressing climate change.

Acceptance Rate: ~15%

Average SAT Score: 1470-1570 (middle 50%)

Tuition: $68,978 per year (undergraduate)

Notable Alumni: Joel Coen, Lady Gaga, Vince Gilligan, Donald Glover, Charlie Kaufman, Ang Lee, Spike Lee, Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Sandler, M. Night Shyamalan, Martin Scorsese, Miles Teller, etc.

American Film Institute

The AFI Conservatory, which operates within the American Film Institute (AFI), is the #1 ranked film school in the US. As a non-profit organization in Los Angeles, AFI is dedicated to preserving the history of American motion picture arts by educating future filmmakers. It is funded through public membership dues and private financing.

Students can pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in six areas:

  • Cinematography
  • Directing
  • Editing
  • Producing
  • Production design
  • Screenwriting 

Graduates can receive either a Master of Fine Arts degree or a Certificate of Completion. AFI encourages students to collaborate to write, produce, design, direct, shoot, and edit four to ten films over the course of two years.

With small class sizes and an average 3:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students receive individualized attention from faculty members with years of expertise directing films from screenplay to screen.

Students can explore the world of film through the AFI Fest and AFI Docs, where they can submit documentary, fiction, experimental, and animated short films. They can delve into creative workshops and connect with film experts and industry leaders. 

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $66,469 per year

Notable Alumni: Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Ari Aster, Scott Frank, Patty Jenkins, Wally Pfister, Robert Richardson

The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television

At the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, students can study film through an interdisciplinary curriculum that encourages a comprehensive understanding of the art of film. They also have the opportunity to specialize in various aspects of filmmaking. 

UCLA offers various programs, such as Film, TV and Digital Media, Costume Design, and Theatre. Students can also learn about Social Impact Television, Special Programs, and study methods from a celebrated faculty. 

Students can also learn about film through events, festivals, and screenings that UCLA hosts. For example, the UCLA Festival of Preservation showcases the restoration of vintage films. The Billy Wilder Theater allows students to explore moving images in their original formats, such as silent films and new-age digital media. 

Acceptance Rate: 1-7%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $15,154 per year (California resident), $49,345 (non-residents)

Notable Alumni: Jack Black, Carol Burnett, Francis Ford Coppola, James Dean, Steve Martin, Paul Schrader, Ben Stiller, George Takei

Columbia University

One of the top film schools in the US is located at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Students can study various mediums within filmmaking, such as media studies, visual arts and sound art, writing, and digital storytelling. 

The Columbia College and the School of General Studies offer Bachelor's degrees in the arts with concentrations in creative writing, film and media studies, and visual arts. Students also have an opportunity to take a joint program, such as the MFA Sound Art and Literary Translation program. 

Columbia boasts a vibrant community of forward-thinking artists worldwide and acclaimed faculty made up of film and theater directors, poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, playwrights, producers, critics, and academics.

A variety of resources and opportunities are available to students. They can hone their craft and learn at events and festivals like the Columbia University Film Festival. Students involved in the Film MFA Program have the opportunity to showcase their thesis work. 

Acceptance Rate: ~10%

Average SAT Score: 1520

Tuition: $71,918 per year 

Notable Alumni: Kathryn Bigelow, Deborah Chow, James Franco, Olivia Newman

Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

Chapman University, located in Orange, California, is home to the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. 

This film school offers ​​a BFA in Film & Television Production that prepares students for a successful career in the film and television industry. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in directing, cinematography, editing, sound design, production design, or writing and production.

Dodge College also provides students with a liberal arts education to ensure they’re well-rounded artists. Your final year will culminate with a thesis film, which can be added to your portfolio and used in your future job search. It’s important to note that students have the rights to all projects they create during their studies. 

They also have the opportunity to participate in various interactive events and student-run organizations. There are many ways to get involved in campus life, learn about film, and make valuable connections. 

Acceptance Rate: 8% for Film & Television Production, 30-40% for all other programs

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $32,290 (undergraduate)

Notable Alumni: The Duffer Brothers, Justin Simien, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Parker Finn

California Institute of the Arts

California Institute of the Arts, commonly called CalArts, is located in Santa Clarita and is one of the best film schools in California. It’s a world-renowned institution offering education in art, critical studies, dance, film and video, music, and theater. 

Students interested in the world of film can choose from various courses, such as Film Directing, Lighting Design, Scene Design, Producing, and many more. CalArts offers an interdisciplinary approach to arts education and over 70-degree visual, performing media, and literary arts programs.

These courses are taught by world-class instructors who provide students with the knowledge they need to utilize state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. It’s also one of the best schools for animation, as their notable alumni list is stacked with skilled and accomplished animators. 

CalArts also offers international engagement opportunities, including residencies, internships, student exchanges, short faculty-led curricular or co-curricular projects, and independent extracurricular projects. Initiatives like the Emerging Artist Resources help students expand their professional horizons and become job-ready.  

Acceptance Rate: 29%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $56,074 per year 

Notable Alumni: Brad Bird, Tim Burton, Brenda Chapman, Sean Daniel, Pete Docter, Ralph Eggleston, Alex Hirsch, John Lasseter

LMU School of Film and Television

Located in Los Angeles, the LMU School of Film and Television offers both undergraduate and graduate programs that provide students with the skills needed to succeed in the film industry. It’s well known as one of the country’s leading film schools.

LMU’s personalized curriculum combines small class sizes and a collaborative, hands-on approach that integrates a general liberal arts education with specialized courses. 

Under the direction of an experienced faculty, students learn about filmmaking's creative and practical elements. LMU’s deep connections in the industry also allow more than 70% of students to participate in internships and gain a competitive edge in the job market. 

Students also have ample opportunity to learn outside the classroom. LMU hosts a range of programs, events, and screenings. Industry insiders and guest speakers often stop by LMU to give special talks and connect with students.  

Acceptance Rate: ~20%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: ~$27,648 (varies depending on year & program)

Notable Alumni: Melissa Blake, Matthew Cullen, Effie Brown, Francis Lawrence, Sean McNamara

Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University is a private liberal arts university in Middletown, Connecticut, that offers a film studies program called the College of Film and the Moving Image (CFILM). 

This program comprises the Department of Film Studies, the Jeanine Basinger Center for Film Studies, and the Ogden and Mary Louise Reid Cinema Archives. Each department focuses on familiarizing students with the theory and practice behind the film industry. 

Students can choose to take either a film studies major or a minor. The minor offers students a level of flexibility by accommodating their different course clusters. Both options offer students the opportunity to gain an appreciation for television and film as art mediums.

CFILM hosts a variety of events, screenings, and initiatives for students to enjoy and learn. The student-run Wesleyan Film Series provides programming four nights a week, and the Rick Nicita Gallery offers eclectic and educational exhibits. 

Acceptance Rate: ~20%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $66,716 per year (undergraduate)

Notable Alumni: Jordan Belfi, Beanie Feldstein, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Emerson College

The Department of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College offers the Global Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Art and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage and Screen Design/Technology

Emerson also offers MFA programs in film, notably the Master of Fine Arts in Film & Media Art and the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Film and Television. Each program trains students in the fundamentals of liberal arts and offers experiential learning opportunities to facilitate hands-on skills. 

Along with a diverse selection of courses, Emerson provides students with a range of exciting opportunities. Such as the Emerson Film Festival and It’s All True Festival, which both celebrate student film work.

Acceptance Rate: 41%

Average SAT Score: 1280-1410

Tuition: $31,456 per year (undergraduate)

Notable Alumni: Shane Hurlbut, Bavand Karim, Michael W. King, Michael McCusker, Alicyn Packard, Brittany Martin Porter, Michael Grant Terry, Harris Wittels

The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in various areas of film. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio, Television, and Film or choose from several advanced degrees, such as:

  • MFA in Film and Media Production
  • MFA in Screenwriting
  • MA in Media Studies
  • Ph.D. in Media Studies

In addition to a range of film courses, students can supplement their education with educational conferences, workshops, and various initiatives. The RTF Student Showcase, for example, turns the spotlight on student-run productions. Events such as the Flow Conference and Global Fusion promote learning outside of the classroom. 

Acceptance Rate: ~25%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $5,815 per semester (Texas resident), $21,631 per semester (non-resident)

Notable Alumni: Wes Anderson, Diana Alvarez, Farrah Fawcett, Matthew McConaughey, Trevante Rhodes, Robert Rodriguez, Owen Wilson, Renee Zellweger

Stanford University

Stanford University, situated in beautiful Stanford, California, offers students a BA in Film & Media Studies that takes an interdisciplinary approach to film studies. You can learn about film aesthetics, cinematic traditions, documentary films, and experimental films. 

If you’re interested in pursuing advanced studies at Stanford, you can also take graduate-level Cinema and Media Studies courses through its Art History Ph.D. program. Stanford’s well-rounded curriculum and experienced faculty make it one of the best schools to study film. 

Student groups like the Stanford Film Society, Stanford Storyboard Club, and 

Golden Spikes Studios help students thrive and connect. Programs such as the Stanford Storytelling Project foster creativity and offer a variety of courses, workshops, and grants. 

Acceptance Rate: 3.9%

Average SAT Score: 1500-1550

Tuition: $20,577 per quarter (undergraduate), $12,720 per quarter for 8-10 units (graduate)

Notable Alumni: Jennifer Connelly, Ted Danson, Issa Rae Diop, Sam Ellison, Mason Flink, Jonathan Green, Kira Snyder, John Steinbeck

DePaul University

The School of Cinematic Arts at DePaul University offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in comedy filmmaking in conjunction with The Second City

DePaul University is a private Catholic University located in Chicago. The Second City is an improvisational comedy company and the first improvisational theatre company to have its permanent home in Chicago.

The School of Cinematic Arts offers both undergraduate and graduate programs focused on film studies. Students can delve into animation, film, television, creative producing, directing, documentary film, and screenwriting, and make the most of state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology. 

Acceptance Rate: 70%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $41,154 per year (undergraduate)

Notable Alumni: Vera Drew, Zoe Lubeck, Daniel Willis, Michel Kreisel Vaisberg, Art O’Leary

Boston University

Students at Boston University gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Film and Television. Depending on your interests, you can also choose to specialize in production, screenwriting, film and television studies, or management and producing.

Boston University is all about offering students the chance to pursue their interests. They can gain hands-on experience by working at a student-operated station, butv10, and a student-run agency - Real World Productions.

Students learn from a multifaceted faculty with experience in both academia and the film industry. They’ve written, directed, and produced feature films and national television series, such as Toy Story, Queer Eye, and Uncut Gems. Faculty are also published in both academic and public press. 

Acceptance Rate: 14%

Average SAT Score: 1360-1520

Tuition: $66,670 per year

Notable Alumni: Bonnie Arnold, Orlando Bagwell, Nancy Dubuc, Scott Rosenberg, Josh & Benny Safdie

Ringling College of Art and Design

The Ringling College of Art and Design, situated in Sarasota, Florida, has a Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab program for aspiring filmmakers. It guides students through all facets of the film industry, including cinematography, production design, editing, sound design, screenwriting, post-production, directing, and producing. 

Students can choose from two areas of focus - narrative film or branded entertainment. The former offers insight into the nuances of the film production process, and the latter focuses on teaching students how to craft film and video content with a brand image in mind. 

Ringling College offers valuable, hands-on experience. Students create 3-5 films annually, with full access to professional facilities and cutting-edge equipment. There are also opportunities to network with alumni who have gone on to work for ​​Netflix, Disney, Comedy Central, MTV, NBC, and ABC.  

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $52,600 per year

Notable Alumni: Jeff Fowler, Brandon Oldenburg, Patrick Osborne, Nick Pitera

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has campuses located in both Atlanta and Savannah. It offers BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Film and Television. The BFA and MA programs can be completed in just four years, and a BFA and MFA in as few as five years.

Students have access to talent and resources at the forefront of the film industry. They learn from world-renowned professors and have the opportunity to build valuable industry connections. At SCAD, students can work on real sets and hone their craft on student-produced films. 

If you choose to major in film and television, you’ll have the chance to broaden your horizons and develop your creative potential thanks to the availability of programs, including animation, television production, sound design, performing arts, and more. 

SCADFilm offers eclectic programming surrounding film, television, animation, video production, and more. With screenings, master classes, and presentations, students can learn and connect with industry leaders. 

Acceptance Rate: 82%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $41,130 per year (undergraduate), $42,120 (graduate)

Notable Alumni: Austin Bonang, Amelia Brooke, Colin Levy, Adam Wagner

The Rhode Island School of Design

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has a Film, Animation, and Video program where students can explore the art of film, animation, installations, and interactive media. 

Students can choose from various courses and graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts (BFA), such as directing film, video installation, film practices, etc. The goal behind the BFA program is to encourage students to foster a unique voice and experiment while learning about the intricacies of film. 

RISD has an assortment of leading-edge equipment and tools for students to use on their projects and assignments, and skilled faculty are there every step of the way to lend their expertise as they develop their craft. 

Acceptance Rate: 19%

Average SAT Score: 1350-1490

Tuition: $61,564

Notable Alumni: Ilene Chaiken, Michael Dante DiMartino, Dan Golden, Bryan Koneitzko, Seth McFarlane, Robert Richardson, Daniel Sousa, Gus Van Sant

Columbia College Chicago

Students can immerse themselves in Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College. A selection of undergraduate, minors, and graduate degrees are available, including a BA and BFA in Film and Television and an MFA in Cinema and Television Directing. 

At Chicago College, students learn from the very best. Professors have experience in everything from filming documentaries to directing and producing motion pictures. They teach students how to be well-rounded professionals by exposing them to the many facets of the film industry. 

Columbia College also incorporates team building into its film program by encouraging collaboration and communication. Meet and greets and opportunities like the Chicago Feminist Film Festival, DocYourWorld, and FrameWork Interviews help students connect and learn from one another. 

Acceptance Rate: 95%

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $32,520 per year

Notable Alumni: Mauro Fiore, Jeffrey Jur, Janusz Kaminski, Annie Tighe, Lena Waithe

Florida State University

The College of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University exposes students to the multifaceted world of film. They graduate equipped for the film industry with hands-on skills, extensive knowledge, and deep connections. 

Students can choose to take a BFA in Motion Picture Arts, focusing on production or animation and digital arts. Florida State also offers graduate programs in production and writing and a film studies minor. Each program is designed to guide students through the art of storytelling and encourage them to craft their own films. 

The FSU Film School​​ has a production facility dedicated solely to studying motion pictures. It is a professional production studio, including everything from writers' rooms and sound stages to post-production studios, animation labs, and screening rooms.

Acceptance Rate: 25%

Average SAT Score: 1370-1480

Tuition: $5,616 (undergraduate Florida residents), $18,746 (non-residents)

Notable Alumni: Alan Ball, Wes Ball, Kat Candler, Steven Conrad, Barry Jenkins, Christine Lahti, David Robert Mitchell 

ArtCenter College of Design

Budding filmmakers can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Degree at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. Students can choose to focus on cinematography, editing, or directing.

They’ll learn film history and business fundamentals, gain experience in different facets of filmmaking, and take multidisciplinary courses. As an art school, ArtCenter allows students to explore other mediums and methods, such as advertising, interaction design, writing, and more.  

Students can create, shoot, edit, and produce films using top-notch tools and deep connections in the film industry. Along with an experienced faculty, ArtCenter also provides students with mentorship opportunities with expert writers and directors.  

Acceptance Rate: 63%

Average SAT Score: 1296

Tuition: $26,543 (undergraduate), $28,052 (graduate)

Notable Alumni: Roger Avary, Don Burgess, Michael Bay, Tarsem Singh, Zack Snyder

Brooklyn College

The Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College in New York opened in 2015. Staff and faculty members are largely working professionals in the film, media, and music industries who are eager to engage with students. You’ll have plenty of specialization options, including directing, cinematography, and screenwriting. 

Feirstein School is the only film school located on a working film lot, giving students the opportunity to fully experience the world of cinema. Members of their advisory council include notable names such as Darren Aronofsky, Ethan Hawke, Steven Soderbergh, and John Turturro. 

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Average SAT Score: N/A

Tuition: $10,567 per semester (NY residents), $15,282 per semester (non-residents)

Notable Alumni: María Hererra López

University of North Carolina School of the Arts 

The UNC School of the Arts boasts a hands-on curriculum, allowing students to direct and shoot plenty of digital projects before they choose a concentration to specialize in. You’ll have the opportunity to submit your short films to festivals around the world! 

You’ll also have plenty of chances to network with industry professionals and learn from tier expertise. Every spring, UNCSA also co-hosts the RiverRun International Film Festival, and in your senior year, you’ll be able to travel to LA with faculty mentors to screen your films for executives in the industry!

Acceptance Rate: 32%

Average SAT Score: 1100-1360

Tuition: $6,497 per year (for NC residents), $24,231 (non-residents) 

Notable Alumni: Danny McBride, Matt “Smokey” Cloud, Zoe White, Vera Herbert, Zene Baker

Ithaca College

Ithaca College offers a BFA in Film, Photography, and Visual Arts through their Roy H. Park School of Communications, making it an ideal program for filmmakers with an interest in being behind the camera. 

The program provides opportunities for students to engage with multiple forms of media and participate in internships at film studios and production companies. 

Acceptance Rate: 70%

Average SAT Score: 1210-1360

Tuition: $50,510 per year

Notable Alumni: David Boreanaz, Bill Carraro, Liz Tigelaar, Dan Heffner, Rodrigo Bellott, Juan Augustin Marquez

Syracuse University

Syracuse’s film BFA aims to teach students about every aspect of the film industry, creating well-rounded filmmakers. Students have opportunities to work with faculty members who have premiered films at numerous notable film festivals and learn from guest speakers who include Academy Award-nominated individuals. 

Students will also have the chance to study filmmaking abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, or Bologna, Italy! 

Acceptance Rate: 52%

Average SAT Score: 1260-1410

Tuition: $61,310

Notable Alumni: Craig Borten, Jim Morris, Chris Renaud, Aaron Sorkin

Hofstra University

Students at Hofstra University can choose between four different degrees: a BA in Film Studies and Production, a BFA in Filmmaking, a BFA in Writing for the Screen, and a BS in Television and Film. Each degree focuses on a different aspect of filmmaking, allowing students to pursue their specific film-related passions. 

Hofstra boasts many prestigious internships for their students, including Paramount Pictures, HBO, Marvel Studios, Sundance Film Festival, and the Walt Disney Company, among others. 

Acceptance Rate: 62%

Average SAT Score: 1230-1410

Tuition: $53,310

Notable Alumni: Avi Arad, Francis Ford Coppola, Francis Kenny, Frederic Lebow

Tips on How to Get Into Film Schools

Film school can be very selective, as well as very subjective. This makes it difficult to learn how to get accepted. 

But don’t worry -- here are some top tips to help you get into the film school of your dreams: 

  • Research the school well: Getting into film school starts by applying to the right one. Look into the locations, programs, community life, and internship opportunities of different schools. From there, zero in on the ones that really speak to you. 
  • Be a well-rounded applicant: It’s natural to want to focus on your creative portfolio, but don’t forget about your grades and other application materials! 
  • Let your authentic voice shine through: Art is all about self-expression, so don’t be shy! Let your application and portfolio demonstrate your true passions and personality. Don’t get caught up in creating something that you think will impress the admissions committee. 
  • Highlight your unique perspective: Film schools value diversity and fresh perspectives. Use your application materials to show the admissions committee how you can bring a new point of view to the world of film. 
  • Show dedication: Film schools want to know that their applicants are truly passionate about and dedicated to the art of filmmaking. You need to really love film in order to develop an impactful career. So, choose extracurricular activities that show this dedication! 

Tips on How to Choose the Right Film School for You

Narrowing down your options between so many incredible film schools can be difficult! Follow our tips below to ensure you attend the school that’s right for you. 

Consider Location

Location always matters when choosing a college, but it’s particularly important for choosing between film schools. You want to attend a film school that’s part of a filmmaking hub--that’s why so many film schools are in California or New York. 

Location can make all the difference because it can open up doors and opportunities that wouldn’t be available to you otherwise. However, there are other factors that go into choosing location -- weather, proximity to home, and state tuition, just to name a few. Choose your school’s location wisely! 

Participate in Workshops

Experience is the best teacher! Making a decision is much easier if you can experience life at the schools you’re interested in. Many schools offer workshops or courses that high school students can participate in to get a sense of what the culture is like. This can be a very valuable resource in your decision-making process! 

Doing a summer program is a great way to get hands-on experience at a school. Our directory allows you to explore tons of pre-college summer programs, sorting them by factors like cost, location, field, and more! 

Research Faculty-to-Student Ratio

Having close mentors at film school can be extremely valuable. If you want to connect with your professors on a personal level, you might be better off at a school with a low student-to-faculty ratio. That way, you can learn techniques from the best of the best and get their feedback on your work. 

However, at bigger schools, there are also plenty of opportunities to network with industry professionals. It often comes down to preference, but be sure that you research this at the schools you’re interested in to give you a better idea of what to expect. 

Pay Attention to Notable Faculty or Alumni

While prestige isn’t everything, it can be a reliable stamp of approval. It’s safe to assume that schools that have turned out notable alumni or boast classes or workshops from well-known faculty have high-quality programs. Notable members of the community can be proof that a school fosters creativity and produces successful graduates. 

Know Your Specialization 

The term “film school” is very broad, since there are so many different aspects of film! Before you decide on a school, you should have an idea of what you want to study related to film, as different schools have different specializations. 

Do you want to be a screenwriter? A director? A cinematographer? Narrow down your goals before you decide! 

If you’re still having trouble with your decision, we can help! Our college selection quiz considers plenty of different factors to help you make an informed choice on which school to attend. 

FAQs: Best Schools For Film

Keep reading if you have any more questions about the top film schools in the US.

1. What University Has the Best Film Program?

UCLA has the best film program, known as the School of Theater, Film, and Television.

2. What Is the #1 Film School in America?

The American Film Institute in Los Angeles is the best film school in the United States. 

3. Are Film Schools Worth It?

Attending film school is absolutely worth it. It’s a valuable investment in your future that provides a well-rounded education, valuable connections, access to professional equipment, and much more. 

4. What Major Is Best for the Film Industry?

The major you choose depends on what area of the film industry you’re particularly interested in. However, choosing film studies as a major is a great choice as it offers a comprehensive overview of the film industry. 

5. What Are the Most Affordable Film Schools? 

The most affordable film schools on this list are UNC School of the Arts, Florida State University, UT Austin, and Brooklyn College. However, the cost of attending film school depends on a number of factors, including state residency, meal plans, and housing.

Final Thoughts

After exploring these 20 fabulous film schools, you hopefully have a good understanding of what they each have to offer. Any of the schools mentioned in this guide can provide the resources and experience you need to thrive in the film industry. If you’re going to attend film school, consider one of the best film schools. 

Choose a film school that suits your needs and make the most of its facilities, equipment, and knowledgeable faculty. Along with providing a comprehensive education on film, attending film school also offers the opportunity to build a portfolio and foster industry connections. It exposes you to the exciting and multifaceted world of film. 

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Thanks ! You're now subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get A Free Consultation

Speak to a college admissions expert about how we can help you get into your dream school
Schedule a Call

You May Also Like

Before you go, here are a few facts about us!
The Quad Factor: Working with us can increase your chances of admission by 11x!

The Best of the Best: Our team comprises of only 99th percentile tutors and admissions counselors from top-ranking universities, meaning you work with only the most experienced, talented experts.

The Free Consultation: Our experts would love to get to know you, your background, goals, and needs. From there, they match you with a best-fit consultant who will create a detailed project plan and application strategy focused on your success.