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The New School
Choosing the right film school for graduate study is not an easy set of decisions. Most of the great film schools are difficult to get into, very expensive, centralized in a few specific locations, very time consuming and take three years or more to complete. Out of the different top film schools some have come to the top of the list simply from legacy, such as University of Southern California and New York University. Likewise, some of the newcomers in the film graduate program world have begun to match their educational success and bring something to the table that was not thought of before. Loyola Marymount University, Florida State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Texas - Austin have all broken through this mold to prove that they can begin developing film professionals outside of the "old boys club" set forward by some of the best known film schools. Chapman University, as part of this new school, has proven that it can also do this by providing a conservatory format, a great deal of quality work and education, a slightly more affordable program than some, and possibly the best facilities of any film school in the country. Chapman University, on the other hand, is also one of the most difficult of the top film school's to get into. Here are a few tips for those looking to apply to Chapman University's Graduate Film Production program.
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Specific Application Materials
Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts has grown greatly in the last couple years and now offers a whole range of graduate film degrees such as Production Design, Screenwriting, and Film and TV Producing with either a law or business combined focus. Film Production, which is the more traditional director driven film school experience, remains both the most competitive and the most specific. Though these are somewhat different they do have similar application requirements. All materials that are needed are going to be listed on the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts film school application form. You will have to include a portfolio list, which should include a whole list of your work. This will not be checked as to it's accuracy, so make sure that it appears as impressive as possible. You must include a reel and this must only be the most impressive materials you can possibly accumulate. This is how it will be interpreted, so if there is any video piece on your DVD then you will give them the impression that the rest of your work on your portfolio list is of a lower level. You will have creative writing assignments, which is common for applying to all the top film schools, and these are fairly run of the mill but will require a fair amount of time. All of these must be as professionally presented as possible, so this means professional DVD authoring for your reel, well written documents for your assignments, and a professional form for your portfolio list.
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Forget the GRE
The GRE is not used by most of the top film schools, except for USC, and in most cases it will not be at Chapman University either. If the last sixty credits of your undergraduate degree has a GPA of 3.0 or better then GRE's are not a problem. If you are below this then instead of taking the GRE's to send in with you, which are difficult and can work against you in a low score situation, just take a few college courses to raise your GPA.
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It should go without saying that your application should be in by priority deadline. Not only is this critical for receiving financial aid, but it is also going to make them aware of you as early as possible. You need to want to get into Chapman if you are going to, and this has to be communicated to them.
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Send the Letters of Recommendation Yourself
Often times those who write your letters of recommendation can send them into the university themself. This is usually a bad idea as they can get lost and they often make your application look disorganized. This is especially true for Chapman University film school and it is best if you send in all your application materials yourself in one package, including your letters of recommendation.