Keeping It Reel

4 Tips for Choosing the Right Film School for You

If you have read our post “7 Questions to Ask When Visiting Film School,” you know some questions to ask when touring your top schools. But can you decide where to go based only on the answers to these questions?


Choosing the school that is right for you is just as much about asking yourself questions as it is about questioning your top schools.

So instead of focusing our tips on the schools, we’ve decided to focus on you. If you follow our tips, you should be able to figure out more than just what a school has to offer; you should be able to figure out what you need from your school.

1. Establish Your Goal

One of the best things you can do when choosing a film school is decide where you want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years. If you know where you want to end up, you’ll have a better idea of how to begin your journey. There are a million different things you can do in the film industry; the school you choose and where it is located can help you in different ways.

For example, if you want to be a screenwriter, you should look into schools with extensive screenwriting programs that will allow you to grow as a writer. You should decide what you want to write (television, film) and look into how many graduates have made a name for themselves after studying in the program you are looking into. If you want to be a film director, consider what kinds of projects you will want to be a part of. Are you going to be an independent filmmaker, or do you want to work on big Hollywood productions? You will be making connections throughout your college career, so if you want to end up working in Hollywood, you should consider going to school in Hollywood.

If you aren’t entirely sure where you want to end up or what exactly you want to do, don’t worry. A lot of people begin college having no clue, and that’s totally okay. In order to pick the best school for you, focus on your passions and what you do in your spare time. See if you can establish some kind of goal no matter how vague or how small.

2. Discover Your Wants

This tip is a little less soul searchy than the previous one and honestly, it should be a piece of cake. If you want to pick the right school for you, think about what you want! Do you want a lot of creative freedom? Do you want hands-on learning? Do you want to learn from top members of the industry? Do you want to work with the best equipment?

Make a list of all of your wants and number them 1-whatever. Take your top five wants and see which schools match up with these. You might find a school that has the best equipment, but their class size is too large for you. Decide what you are willing to give up, what you will compromise on, and what you need to have no matter what.

After doing these things, you’ll find that some of your top colleges aren’t actually right for you.

3. Confirm Your Concerns

This tip isn’t all that much fun, but it will help you choose a school, and at some point it has to be done. The reality of life is that sometimes there are things barring us from the things we desire. While deciding what school you want to go to, you will have to identify problems you might face at each school. Ask yourself:

  • Is this school within my budget?
  • What is the availability of the course I wish to take?
  • How many students does this school accept?
  • What is the degree of education offered? Is it in a location that is suitable for me?
  • Do I have any specific needs and can the school fulfill these needs?

Identifying concerns can help you easily eliminate schools from your list. If every school you are looking at is $40,000 a year except one that is $60,000 a year, you may want to reconsider if the more expensive school is a viable option.

4. Research, Research, Research

Everything you do to determine what film school is right for you will require you to RESEARCH. Spend as much time as you can perusing the sites of your top schools. You may change your mind about what’s important to you or you may develop new categories for comparing your schools. You might even eliminate one of your concerns!

Research is the key to it all. You might find that a school out of your price range offers great financial aid, or the big film school you were dreaming of just doesn’t offer the kind of one-on-one training you need.

You are sure to discover new things about every film school you study!

Now you know how to choose the right film school for you, but there is one more question you have to answer: What are you going to study?! Will it be acting? Directing? Sound? Writing? Cinematography? How are you going to choose? Luckily, we can offer a little help here as well. Click below to take our Film Emphases quiz and find out which of our eight film emphases matches up with your personality and interests!

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This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.

Columbia College Hollywood is excited to announce TWO new scholarships! Receive awards of up to $5,000 for the 2021 Summer Scholarship for Storytellers and up to $18,950 for the CCH Career Accelerator Scholarship.

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