Monday, May 21

TFT criticized for lack of transparency in admissions process


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.”

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit
Enterprise Production editor

Hodges is the Enterprise Production editor. Hodges was previously a News reporter.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.

  • essbee26

    As a former FTVDM undergrad who transferred from within UCLA, I find this to be a strangely misguided policy. I appreciate making the program 4 years, but college is supposed to be a time of discovery and learning what path you want to take in life. The FTVDM administration is now saying that if you make the grades to be admitted to UCLA as a freshman, you should have figured out immediately that you want to go to film school, but if you go to school somewhere else, they’ll give you a few years to figure it out.

    Think about it – if you are currently a UCLA sophomore and decide you want to become a film major, your best solution is to transfer to another school, then transfer back to UCLA to change majors. This seems like an unfair and arbitrary policy.

    • JasonGW

      Also an FTVDM student, and agree. On the bright side, it’s another point in the “Start at a community college” column, which is not only less expensive, but in many cases can offer a better quality of classroom experience than UCLA can (obviously varying a lot depending on the class and major). If your first two years or so are going to be discovery anyway, you might as well start at a CC.

  • Jeff Hall

    I can tell you for sure, because my daughter just went to the audition for next year’s (2018) Theater majors. They are VERY CLEAR in telling everyone. You are auditioning to get into the TFT Theater program only. If you are not accepted you will not be able to move into general UCLA admission. If you are accepted, you cannot transfer to another major and no other majors can transfer into the program (PERIOD)!
    And I mean VERY CLEAR!