Several students said they think the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television misled applicants about its admissions process this year.
John Caldwell, vice chair of undergraduate studies in the film, television and digital media department, said department officials decided they would no longer accept applications from internal transfer students for the Film, Television and Digital Media, or FTVDM, major beginning next academic year.
“Students can always submit petitions, but faculty decided this year the goal is to create a situation where petitioners aren’t admitted as a general policy,” Caldwell said.
Elliott Desai, a second-year undeclared student, whose petition to switch to the FTVDM major was denied in April, said he thinks the school failed to properly inform students about its new policies. He said he thinks the school allowed students to apply, yet did not intend to accept any internal transfers, or UCLA students who plan to switch from other majors.
In 2014, the FTVDM major began admitting first-year students to allow them to distribute the course load over four years. Students previously took many courses during their last two years at UCLA to complete their degrees on time, Caldwell said.
He added the process of accepting internal transfers has become more competitive because the film school now admits freshmen in addition to transfer students. This year, the school admitted 15 third-years to the FTVDM major, from a pool of both community college transfers and internal UCLA transfers.
Caldwell said each application was carefully reviewed, in case the school could accept internal transfer students after accepting freshmen and external transfers. He added he could not comment on how many internal transfer students were accepted into the major this year.
Other UCLA students who petitioned to switch into the major also said they think department officials rejected all internal transfer petitions this year.
Sabrina Tan, a second-year economics student, said she was shocked when she learned she, and several of her friends, had been rejected. Tan is one of hundreds of students who applied as an internal transfer to the film school for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Desai said a number of internal transfer students from the applicant pool received emails about interviews for the major in the past. Desai said he compiled a list of 12 other petitioners who were rejected, none of whom had been offered an interview.
He added he met with Rich Moushegian, an FTVDM counselor, four times during fall quarter to discuss his internal transfer application.
“At some point they must have decided that none of us would be admitted into the school,” Desai said. “They let us all believe we still had a chance.”
He added he thinks the school’s lack of transparency in its admission process is disheartening.
“My first reaction after receiving the rejection email is that a door has been closed,” Desai said. “Fortunately, all the same opportunities in life are still available to me, but I spent an entire year thinking about, preparing for and applying to the film school.”