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How to Choose a Film School

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Choosing the right film school for you is an important decision for any aspiring filmmaker. For international students, there is an extra layer of choice in the many countries you can study in. Selecting a film school that will not only offer a great education, but also support your needs and nurture your talent is crucial to ensure that you have an enjoyable study abroad experience. This guide aims to outline the key considerations you may want to make when choosing where to study.

Academic Excellence and Specialisations

One of the most important aspects of choosing a film school will probably be the quality of education they offer, as well as their reputation and rankings. This can encompass the faculty members, the curriculum they follow, and if they offer any specialisations that you are interested in. Before studying at a university, you should feel confident that their degrees will allow you to grow as a filmmaker, in whatever way is important to you.

Industry Connections and Real-World Experience

The value of a film school extends beyond its curriculum. Schools with strong connections in the film industry, good options for internships, guest lecturers and real-world projects will set you up well for your future career. These can not only enrich your learning experience, but also provide opportunities for networking.

Keep in mind that small film schools and programs within larger universities might not have the facilities to provide the best extra curricular options for its students, but they will have many other positives to offer, which might suit you.

Facilities and Resources

The availability of facilities and resources is another important factor when choosing a film school. Whilst you don’t necessarily need to access the most state-of-the-art equipment to become a better filmmaker, gaining some experience with the tools you will rely on during your career is useful, and might be something you would like to prioritise when deciding where to study.

Support for International Students

As an international student, you will face unique challenges, such as potential language barriers, culture shock, and homesickness. If you do struggle with any of these issues, it can be extremely useful and comforting to have a good support system. This can include friends and course mates, but also extend to more formal support services. These might involve language assistance, cultural integration programs, international student groups, and advice for settling in to your new home. Make sure that the university you want to study at will make you feel at home and be able to support you through your transition.

READ MORE: What is culture shock and how to deal with it when studying abroad?

Financial Considerations

The tuition fees for international students is something that cannot be overlooked. Universities in other countries, particularly private universities, can have high tuition fees for international students. You should take the time to research the fees at each university you are interested in, as well as any financial aid options available, such as scholarships and grants. The universities might also offer specific financial assistance to international students.

FIND OUT MORE: Funding and Scholarships for International Students

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for top film schools can be highly competitive. Understanding the requirements made of international students can allow you to be more prepared for the process. You will likely need to prepare a creative portfolio for submission, as well as providing evidence that you meet certain language requirements, through tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. Being able to tailor your application to meet the criteria can mean that your application will stand out and be more successful.

READ MORE: English Language Testing for International Students

Visa and Legalities

Understanding the visa process for studying in your chosen country is extremely important. Obtaining a visa is often the first step once you have gained admission to a university. You need to ensure that you are well-informed about the application process and requirements, as well as the restrictions and other things that might affect your studies or post-graduation plans.

FIND OUT MORE: International Study Visas

Career Services

Post-graduation support can be an important factor in choosing a film school or university, particularly if you are planning to find work in your new home country. Schools with dedicated career services, alumni networks, and job placement programs can provide an advantage in the film industry.

READ MORE: How will studying abroad help your career prospects?

Alumni Success

The successes of the school’s alumni, particularly those with international backgrounds, can act as an inspiration for prospective students, as well as being a testament to the school’s quality of education and industry connections.

In conclusion, choosing the right film school as an international student involves research and the consideration of different factors. Students will have different priorities, so take the time to ensure any potential film school or university program will meet your needs.

By thoroughly researching and thinking about where you want to go, you can make an informed decision that sets the foundation for a successful career in filmmaking. Remember that the best school for you is the one that not only advances your technical skills and knowledge, but also supports your journey as an international student wanting to forge a career in the film industry.

Take a look at our Film Degrees and Masters Degrees in Films course pages to see your options for studying film abroad.

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