Film major for the academically average student?

Hi there,

Is getting into a college’s Film School more or less difficult than getting into the college itself, on average? (E.g. I know getting into a college’s engineering school is typically always harder than getting into the college itself).

I’m trying to research good Film School options for the academically average student. 3.1 GPA, 1150 SAT. Extensive experience in acting, but not much experience with film making. Interested in film production. Currently has no portfolio, but working on it. Excellent creative writing skills.

Student is enamored with the top 25 film schools, but I’m guessing we’re going to have to go much further down the list to find a good match! So far, I’m thinking Temple, Drexel, U of Arizona, Arizona State, UC Boulder, Montclair State. Would love to find a southern California or Florida school that would work, but not sure one exists for these stats?

Thanks for your advice!

Run the NPC on UNC Wilmington, Goucher (video essay for application), and colleges in Atlanta (booming film industry) such as Oglethorpe and Georgia State, as a reach Spelman if girl/Morehouse if boy (Spelman and Morehouse are HBCUs but they admit qualified applicants from all ethnic groups).

Look at these majors/minors/concentrations:



Have you looked into schools like UNCSA? Those schools are portfolio admission only. My experience is primarily from acting programs with my older S but there are limited schools that have BFA programs where grades are as important as the portfolio and interview. For acting the main one is NYU which is a big one for film also.
Emerson is listed in the top 25 for film and his stats are within their middle 50%, syracuse also.


Also run the NPC on

and Ithaca

They have an extensive network in the NYC/Philadelphia area.


In SoCal, outside of the highly-ranked ones like USC, Chapman, LMU, etc, you have Film Prod programs in the Cal State system. One that sometimes gets into top 25 national rankings, depending on whose rankings you like, is CSUN. Campus-wise, 3.1 GPA may be okay for admit purposes, but the Film program is impacted, so that makes it tougher. I can’t find the GPA data I had for this, but I think 3.1 is just in range. No portfolio required of Freshman applicants into the provisional major, but is required by end of Sophomore year.

The other CSUs in SoCal with good Film Prod programs are CSULB and SDSU, but those campuses are fully impacted, and a 3.1 GPA may be tough.

A possible SoCal option is University of La Verne. They have a Film and Television concentration within their Digital Media major.


I think that the UNC-Wilmington and the Atlanta school suggestions are really good ideas. You may want to look into Biola, California Lutheran and Mount Saint Mary’s (women’s college) in California and Lynn, Palm Beach Atlantic, and U. of Tampa in Florida.


We liked Drexel. S21 applied to Westphal. Was told that essays were very important and scores weren’t important. Temple was ok but you’re fighting for resources because of size. Do your own due diligence about campus safety.

Pratt in NYC. UTampa. DePaul would be a possibility. They didn’t require a portfolio. Emerson was his favorite but too expensive even with merit.

S21 is at FSU for digital media. Didn’t get into film school but liked their DM program. Sports and documentaries are the focus. He interacts with film school kids. It’s kind of an organic environment and artsy type kids tend to gravitate.

For film programs it’s tough to factor GPA/SAT. Portfolio can either play a huge role or none. Find a couple safeties and then shoot your shot.

The good news is that you don’t have to be in film school to get into the business. Just get on a set and learn. If he likes acting he’ll have an in for student films. They’re always looking.


CSU’s are a great idea if this student has a 3.4 CSU calculated 10th+11th GPA and all A-G requirements. Run the NPC bc there’s no financial aid for OOS applicants.

Biola is conservative, evangelical Christian, so review the statement below, which students and faculty must sign before they join.

U LaVerne, if affordable, would even be a safety for a 3.1 student with reasonable rigor, so run the NPC, and if it’s affordable, it may be a sleeper hit!


Thanks for the additional info on Biola. I can look and see how popular/big a major is at a school, but there are lots of contextual aspects that I don’t know. Biola would definitely be a fit school based upon that theological position.

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And it isn’t in SoCal or FL, but don’t forget UW Milwaukee.

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CU Denver, College of Arts and Media, Film and Television major.

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CalArts is a top film program and does not look at grades.