Story Time: I Applied to College
January 18, 2019
My experience applying to colleges was much more challenging than expected. At first, I thought that I would have to write an essay or two, describing myself or responding to a creative prompt provided to me. I knew I had to answer a few questions, do paperwork for the FAFSA, and fill out some personal information. I have a more uncommon career track than most, as I aspire to be screenwriter and journalist, however it turns those chosen majors would make the application process a bit more tedious. If you’re applying to college for any kind of film major, most colleges require a separate film application that includes screenplays that you’ve written, poems, short stories, even short films you may have starred in or directed. Being a writer, I have poems and short stories at hand, but I did not have any screenplays or Sundance award-winning films lying around. I don’t see why I would have any of those just lying around, as I thought I’d be going to college to learn how to properly screenwrite and do that sort of thing. I was completely baffled when I was asked to submit some samples of those.
Florida State University had asked me to submit a screenplay with no dialogue, so basically not only do I not know how to properly write a screenplay, but my characters cannot speak. They also even asked me to submit a “film resume” which I guess is different from a college resume or resume resume, and just lists my experience within the film industry. So when thinking, “how could any college possibly expect me to do the things I’m going to their college to learn how to do?” I began to think that maybe I should have already known how to write a screenplay, that maybe I should’ve already starred in a couple short films, and directed them, and have been an assistive producer to Steven Spielberg, and have had a few awards by now. I thought about how convenient it would’ve been if my school catered to these needs, and offered classes like “Introduction to Screenwriting”, or something like that, because if you want to go to school for acting, then you take drama or American musical theater in high school, and if you want to go to school for graphic design, then you’d take digital media, and if you want to go to school for fashion design, then you’d take a fashion class, if you plan on playing sports all through college, then you’d play in high school, and if you want to go to school for journalism, then you’d take journalism obviously. All classes available at my high school. Another local school, Viera High School, offers a whole dental program. Community college also offers similar programs, and I checked , there’s no screenwriting courses there also. High Schools don’t really offer classes for me to learn about my decided major. Every once in a while I get an email from the New York Film Academy inviting me to sign up for one of their workshops, and of course I look into that because I can use all the practice and experience I can get, but it is so expensive to apply to just an 8-week workshop, that they consider the payment type “tuition”.
However I’ve been fortunate in the journalism aspect, since there is a journalism class at my school, and I am obviously in it. So my journalism applications have been pretty solid, I talk about why I want to be a journalist, and I get asked to submit a few of my best articles, and I do. But imagine how different that would be for students who attend high schools that don’t offer a journalism class? What are they suppose to do? Who just writes an article for no reason? If I wasn’t in this class I wouldn’t be writing articles, even if I did plan on going to college for it. I’m not trying to make excuses for my lack of short films and screenplays, but I’m just simply demonstrating how incredibly unprepared I was to apply to college, and how that could’ve been helped, but it’s completely fine. I submitted the silent film to Florida State University, and I submitted my poems and short stories and I hope they’re good enough for me to get in. So why did I write this? It’s also incredibly ironic that I’m writing an article about this, being that I want to be a journalist, and I kinda hope colleges see this too. I feel like no one talks about the process of applying to colleges and gets personal about their majors, supplements, and experiences, which should definitely be some sort of conversation.
I also asked some seniors who’ve applied to colleges how they felt the application process went for them.