Current Chapman (Dodge) Parent--happy to answer questions!

I got asked some questions in another thread so I wanted to start a new post to avoid hijacking that one!

Here are the questions from the other thread…

  1. Given that Chapman is outside of LA (but close to Irvine), we are wondering about the availability of quality internships for students?

So…I have a freshman and a senior in Dodge College, so my answers speak to that. My senior has had some amazing internships–which are vital to succeed in the competitive film industry–it’s about who you know and connections all the way. BUT you have to be willing (for the most part) to do the commute to the LA area. My daughter started off at a summer internship she got through her upper class mentor (shes a creative producing major) after her sophomore year. She worked at Mosaic Entertainment which is a production and management company that reps people like Will Farrell, Christina Hendricks and Judd Apatow. She has gotten bigger internships each semester moving up the ladder to Nina Jacobsen’s company Color Force (The Hunger Games & Crazy Rich Asians) and Ivan Reitman’s company Montecito Picture Company (she was there while they were in pre produciton for the new Ghostbusters movie coming out next year). This semester she was at Amazon in their comedy development department and she was just hired at Sony Drama television for the Spring semester. All her internships after Mosaic were paid. So…yeah, high quality stuff. The internships in Orange county proper are plentiful, but for the film industry, not as career building. One a lot of kids do is working at Children’s Hospital of Orange County which is terrific, but wasn’t a good fit for my daughter.

  1. Do you know anything about the Honors program? Pros and Cons?

I have no direct experience as my kids are not involved–it is very liberal arts/socratic method and the courses sound super interesting, but my kids are more hand-on practical people. My daughter’s sophomore roommate was in it and she loved it. You can look at the courses they offer on the public class search here–

Just choose Spring 2020 search for Honors in the subject line.

  1. School size: Do kids feel like it’s too small over time or do they feel like they have plenty of academic and social options?

My kids come from a high school of 200 so we aren’t probably the best to answer, but they are perfectly content.

  1. Do your kids find the school academically challeging?

Again, my kids are practical kids–they like project based hands on learning which is what Dodge Film school gives them…and it requires a LOT of the kids, they work a lot of hours for their class projects and working on film sets of their own or for upper class students on the weekends. So for them it’s very challenging in the field they want to be challenged in…but that isn’t the same as academically challenging I don’t believe. That isn’t something my kids sought out. They wanted to learn boots on the ground style–they now know how to hang lights, build a C Stand and all these other film set things I know nothing about…but it’s almost like a trade school that way. They didn’t want academically challenging. they wanted a BFA in an art that was practical. So I don’t know about other fields and opportunities.

  1. How is the Greek system? My daughter may be interested in a sorority (I wasn’t in one myself, and candidly, am battling with some negative stereotypes which I’m told are oudated);

I was right where you are and, whether it is this way at other schools, I can agree with the idea that it is outdated at least at Chapman. My daughter did rush and joined a sorority and does more work for philanthrophy than she parties. She had a mentor in her major from her sorority and that is how she got her first internship. She has a good network of graduates from her sorority that she is leveraging into jobs for after graduation as well. The greek life has no houses, so that limits both the competition (they are all one big family really) and the parties.

  1. Lastly, not being from CA, what kind of reputation does the school have? I’m a little concerned that Chapman ranks considerably below other “peer” schools like Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara (in USNews rankings). I’m wondering if the local reputation (i.e., with prospective employers) is one of turning out academically strong students ready for the work force.

Again–my kids are in the film school, and there the reputation Chapman has is second to none (well maybe USC–but only if you are top of the class at USC because not everyone gets the opportunities at USC, only the top students do). LMU students are not as competitive in the film industry–my daughter has worked with interns from there who are struggling to catch up. That said, the reputation Chapman has in CA is that it is the “safety school” for the people applying to Ivies and a local school for good but not great students from Orange County with a lot of money.

Hope that helps!

@jss9395, this is SO helpful. I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful repsonse. Chapman is one of my daughter’s top choices. She didn’t apply to Dodge, but is interested in taking classes in journalism/digital media/communications. Chapman offers a seemingly perfect blend of a liberal arts foundation and a hands-on, pre-professional curriculum.

Your kids’ internships sound absolutely amazing! Very good to hear! My D also loves the campus and location of Chapman and, like your kids, is coming from a small HS, so I think she wants a bigger–but not too big!–college experience. Again, Chapman seems perfect in that regard. It’s good to hear that your D’s experience with sororities has been so positive.

I’ve had the sense that Chapman’s reputation is on the rise locally and regionally (and nationally, for that matter). If you are looking for a mid-sized private university in CA with broad offerings, it definitely rises to the top of the list. Our college counselor said that since there aren’t many “hidden gems” in CA, all of the schools in this category (Chapman, Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara, etc.) are seeing a spike in their applicant pool and reputation. Ultimately, more than rankings and prestige, I want my daughter to thrive and to be set up for her next step as a young, indepedent adult. I think she would blossom at Chapman.

My guess is that we’ll be seeing you and your family at Chapman next fall! Thanks again for the wonderful feedback.

If I may ask (although Cliche), what made your kids choose Chapman over schools like UCLA, USC, LMU, NYU?

I answered @cuppasbux in an email but will reply here too for others–

You hit the nail on the head about the hands on practical pre professional focus–with a liberal arts foundation yes, but even more so a global focus…they have GE courses that are focused on service and global understanding…more than even the classic liberal arts. Check it out here–

Journalism in general is in a HUGE state of change and flux with print media dying (I bought two subscriptions to magazines for my son and husband for Christmas only to have the magazines literally cancelled–these are decades old magazines and they ceased production on them!) and video/digital media changing forms daily. Dodge is really focused on staying on top of that and has working professionals as adjunct faculty and guest lecturers all the time…they really try to stay current in an ever changing landscape. LMU is a good school…but they are not cutting edge, honestly. If you are studying a subject that is well established in depth and breadth it might be a better fit, honestly, but if you are studying one that is trending and changing–the old “established” schools are not always on top of that. Make sure you visit and take the pulse for that. and check out all the Dodge college minors here –

Chapman does say their rep is on the rise–and their yield is evidence of that. They’ve actually had some trouble in the last few years about more people accepting their offer and having a larger freshman class than anticipated. They have also flipped just this year to where more of the students who enroll had Chapman as their first choice school than not (ie it wasn’t a safety or a backup for the majority of kids).

Well my answers will speak specifically to the film school (which based on the schools you list sounds like you might be looking at too). But I will say that with that in mind it is important to look at choosing a film school as choosing a mate–there is no best mate only the best one for you–and I feel like with art schools that is even more the case than with other majors. So here was my kids’ take…

Neither would even apply to USC despite it’s status. They had heard too many people talk about how it is a pressure cooker that fosters competition instead of collaboration, which is not their cup of tea. Not all kids get to make a thesis, they don’t own their films–USC does–and those things were also deal breakers. This letter to the editor that was just posted a couple of weeks ago addresses just that–

UCLA was also off the table for both of them. They basically have a two year film program–you do liberal arts the first two years and pick up a camera junior year. That was not the model they wanted. They wanted more of a trade school type of experience.

They both applied to LMU and it was a close second for one of mine and a more distant third or fourth for my other. It is also a more hands on BFA intensive program. But Chapman won out for a few reasons in both their minds–the facilities were newer, the courses better at staying on top of cutting edge industry trends and more working professionals on the faculty and as guests. One of mine also didn’t like the required religion courses at LMU. That one was only too happy to pull his application when he got into Chapman ED.

NYU and Emerson were his other favorites–same reasons–hands on industry training and courses focused on what he wanted, but not in the middle of the industry (LA) with the current working professionals. Though they each had some interesting specific courses/majors that appealed to him within the film department–Emerson in Comedy and NYU had a new cross discipline one he liked. But he never even finished his applications once he got into Chapman ED.

For me I liked that it was in California still (we are here though several hours drive) and better with both merit and need aid (for us middle class families who rarely get consideration) than most of the others.

Hello! I’m a freshman at the University of Washington and I’m applying to transfer to Dodge at Chapman for fall 2020. I was wondering if you know if Dodge looks at the academic information (gpa, act, etc) in addition to the creative supplement, or if they just look at the creative supplement? Have you heard anything about this from the Chapman admissions people? Thank you for the help! :slight_smile:

Chapman admission officers have to look at your gpa, common app essays, and sat and additional testing scores and accept you into Chapman before your application even reaches the film school. It is possible that scores don’t meet their minimum requirements and deny the student before the application even reaches the film school.

If your app passes Chapman’s expectations, The film school usually doesn’t look at anything on the common app unless they request to see it, otherwise they only look at the creative stuff.

Admission officers did tell me that it is more difficult to transfer as a transfer student than it is to even get in as a freshmen coming in from highschool. They said that they want their classes to grow and learn together, and adding new people half way through the program or later than freshmen year would mean that student is behind with social connections and dodge teachings (each film school teaches differently so they want their students to know their way).

I know this because I’m applying this year, have visited 5 times, went to my school visit thing, spoke to the admissions officer for dodge on the phone, and have a close family friend who has two kids in the program (one senior one freshmen). Hope this clears it up!

Hi, I just got admitted- really happy, but… Not sure if my questions relate to this thread about housing/financing. I worked hard to get into film and I think Chapman is ideal - I wanted to ask about others getting financial aid, as my family cannot pay a whole lot. Also wondering about getting an apartment and people’s experience with finding and pricing.

Did your students apply EA? And if so do you feel you got the financial merit awards you would have if your students applied RD?

All Dodge students pretty much have to apply EA for full consideration, film production is required to apply EA. One of mine even did binding early decision.

But yes, 100%. Chapman has a merit aid formula and applies it to everyone no matter how they apply and there is no wiggle room on it like many have. They have the funds to give it to all who meet the criteria for the different levels, it’s automatic, whether you get in ED, EA, RD or even off the wait list later.

@DestinyPirate Chapman is very generous with both merit and need based aid. They require housing on campus for two years and give an on campus housing grant to defray that cost to those who qualify.

Off campus apartments are easy to find but EXPENSIVE.

Did you not get your financial aid award with your admissions letter? If not you are probably missing something from your application, contact them!

Dang I’m sorry just realized this was a year ago [facepalm]