Applying to school as an international student can be a daunting task, so don’t ever hesitate to ask questions!
Below you will find answers to some of our most common questions. Remember, we are also available by email. For general questions about the school or Admissions process, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have already applied and been accepted, click here to contact our DSO at email@example.com for assistance.
APPLYING TO SCHOOL
Q. How can I see the school?
A. If you are in Los Angeles, you may join us for a tour of the campus, Monday through Friday, from 11:30AM to 2:30PM (PST). We also have a once-a-month All-Access Studio Tour, which is an open house event for people to come see the campus, take a look at our gear and meet some faculty members. Email our Admissions Agents if you are interested in taking one of these tours. You can also explore some of our campus highlights using our 360° virtual tour here.
Q. Who can apply to The Los Angeles Film School?
Q. What educational level must I have completed for admission to the school?
A. Prospective students seeking admission to The Los Angeles Film School must have one of the following: a high school diploma, passing score on the GED Exam or high school certificate of proficiency.
Q. How do I apply to The Los Angeles Film School?
A. You can apply online by clicking here.
Q. How do I pay the $75.00 Application Fee?
A. You can pay your Application Fee online by clicking here.
Q. What happens after I am accepted to a program?
A. You will receive provisional acceptance via a congratulations email with detailed information on what documentation you will need to provide to move forward through the Admissions process.
Q. Who should I contact if I have questions about your school or programs?
A. You can speak with one of our Admission Agents live, during regular business hours, by clicking the Live Chat icon in the upper right corner of our website or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Admission Agents are also available to schedule phone and Skype calls, if you’d prefer.
PAYING FOR SCHOOL
Q. Can I get Financial Aid?
A. International students do not qualify for Financial Aid from the U.S. government. Please check with your government to see if they offer aid for you to study abroad.
Q. Can I get a loan?
Q. Do you offer scholarships?
A. Yes, The Los Angeles Film School offers two scholarships that international students may be eligible for. Contact our Financial Aid office for details and eligibility requirements.
Q. What are some things I can do to reduce the cost?
A. You can provide your own laptop and software, consider applying for admission to one of our school’s online educational programs (Note: not all of our programs are available online) or submit previously-earned college credits to see if any of your credits are transferable.
Q. When is my first payment due?
A. You first tuition payment and TechKit fee are due 30 days before your classes start.
Q. Do I have to pay for the whole program up front?
A. No, once you have been accepted our International Financial Agent will provide you with payment plan options. Only your TechKit fee, which covers your laptop and software, and the first installment of your tuition are required upfront.
• We bill by semester, which is equivalent to 4 months. Students have the option of paying the fee per academic year, which would require 1 large payment every 8 months, or per semester, which requires 1 smaller payment every 4 months. Extended payment plans may be available to those who qualify.
• Because our students take a new course every month for the duration of their program, students attend and pay for 3 semesters (1½ academic years) per year. This means, your first payment, which includes the TechKit fee, is the largest while your final payment, which covers a partial academic year, is the lowest.
Q. Do I have to buy my laptop and software from you?
A. No, you do not have to purchase a computer or software through us if your computer and software meets our requirements for a waiver.
• To obtain a laptop/software waiver you will need to bring your laptop/software to Registration to verify it meets all of our technology requirements.
• You do not have to pay the TechKit fee until you know what can and cannot be waived. You can subtract the TechKit total from your initial payment and settle any balance at Registration.
Q. Are there additional charges or fees for payment plans?
A. There are no upfront fees. However, payments not made within 5 business days will be automatically charged a $25 late fee on the 6th business day, with no exceptions. All student privileges (access to campus, equipment, etc.) will be suspended if payments are not made immediately following the due date. You also agree to pay the school any collection expenses it may incur as a result of nonpayment, including legal fees and court costs.
Getting an I-20
Q. What is an I-20?
A. An I-20 is a Certificate of Eligibility for non-immigrant student status that lets the United States government know you have been accepted and are in good standing with the school.
Q. Why do I need the I-20?
A. You will need an I-20 to pay your SEVIS fee, apply for and obtain an F-1 Student Visa, to enter the United States and to apply for certain certifications or authorizations (e.g. a driver’s license) while in the country.
Q. Do I need an I-20 if I am taking an online program?
A. International students enrolled in one of our online programs do not need an I-20. If they are not studying in the United States, they do not need to apply for an F-1 Student Visa.
Q. What types of documentation is needed to receive an I-20 from The Los Angeles Film School?
• A completed, program-specific I-20 Information Form
• Bank statement or certified bank letter proving minimum financial ability to meet tuition and living expenses
• A high school diploma, passing score on the GED or high school Certificate of Proficiency
• An academic evaluation (using a service like SpanTran) of your high school certificate if your high school was located outside of the U.S.
• Proof of English proficiency
• Copy of your valid and current passport
Read more about the I-20 requirements on our page here.
Q. Where do I get these forms and will anyone help me with them?
A. Your congratulations email will include links and/or attachments to any forms you will need. One of our International Admissions Agents will be available to assist you through the entire process.
Q. When should I submit my I-20 documentation?
A. It is ideal to have all documents submitted 30 days prior to your start. Please email the documents as you receive them, rather than waiting and sending them all at once.
Q. What if I have questions about whether my document fulfills a requirement or not?
A. Email it to us at email@example.com and we’ll let you know.
Q. How does my sponsor sign the I-20 Information form?
A. After you submit the form with your own signature, you will be emailed a PDF version of the document. Print the PDF, have it signed by your sponsor, scan and email it back us. Another option is to have your sponsor email their sponsor letter directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Why do I have to get a high school evaluation?
It lets us know the curriculum and requirements needed to obtain a high school diploma from your high school are equal to the curriculum and requirements of an accredited high school in the United States.
• Students applying for admission in the Entertainment Business Completer program will additionally need to evidence an education level not less than the equivalent of a U.S. Associate Degree and order an additional document evaluation for proof of Associate or higher degree if their college or university was not located in the United States.
• Students looking to receive transfer credits for college-level courses taken outside of the United States must provide a course-by-course evaluation of their college transcripts.
Q. If I graduated from an American school, do I still need to order an evaluation?
• No, if your school was physically located in the United States.
• Yes, if your school was physically located outside of the United States.
Q. Can I submit my college/university diploma/transcript instead of my high school diploma/transcript for the evaluation?
A. No, you must submit your high school diploma or transcript for the evaluation.
• Students applying for admission in the Entertainment Business Completer program will additionally need to evidence an education level not less than the equivalent of a US Associate Degree and order an additional document evaluation for proof of Associate or Bachelor’s degree if their college or university was not located in the United States.
• Students looking to receive transfer credits for college-level courses taken outside of the United States must provide a course-by-course evaluation of their college transcripts.
Q. Do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS?
A. All students are required to prove English proficiency. A score of 61 on the TOEFL (6.0 IELTS) is required to enroll in our Associate and Bachelor’s degree programs, whereas a score of 79 on the TOEFL (6.5 IELTS) is required to enroll in a Bachelor’s Completer program.
You DO NOT need to take the TOEFL/IELTS if one of the following applies to you:
• English is your country’s official language of instruction
• You have attended one or more years at a high school or college in the United States
• You have successfully met the minimum-level requirement from ELS (Level 110 for Associate and Bachelor’s degrees and Level 112 for a Bachelor’s Completer program.)
• You have successfully completed another college-level English as a second language program from an approved ESL school.
Q. If I need to take English classes, can you help me find a school?
A. Yes, we recommend you learn English at ELS (English Learning Services). ELS is a private entity, which provides English language training. In most cases, you can study with them in your country or here in the United States. Please visit their website at www.els.edu for more information.
F-1 STUDENT VISA
Q. How do I get an F-1 Student Visa?
A. After you have been accepted and have received your I-20, you can apply for an F-1 Student Visa from the United States government at your local U.S. Embassy.
• The general process includes paying a SEVIS fee, completing an online visa application (DS-160 Form) and successfully completing a visa interview. Read a more detailed description of each of these steps on our F-1 Student Visa Requirements page
• For specific information on how to obtain a student visa from your country, please check with your local U.S. Embassy
Q. How much is the SEVIS fee and how do I pay it?
A. The fee is currently $350. You may pay your SEVIS fee here.
Q. How long does it take to get my passport/visa back once it is approved?
A. It generally takes about a week to receive your passport/visa back after it has been approved.
Q. What’s the earliest I can enter the United States once I receive my passport and visa?
A. You may enter the United States 30 days prior to the start date indicated on your I-20 Form.
Q. What if I am attending school in the U.S. and already have a valid F-1 Student Visa?
A. Once you have satisfied our I-20 requirements, you will need to have your SEVIS file transferred to us from your current school.
Q. What if I am in the U.S. on a different type of visa, can I still attend school?
A. Each visa has different regulations regarding whether you are authorized to attend school. Please contact one of our International Admissions Agents for assistance.
Q. What happens if my F-1 Student Visa expires?
A. Nothing. As long as you do not leave the United States, you are allowed to stay here and study as long as you have a valid I-20. If you leave the country with an expired visa, you will need to set an appointment and re-apply for a new visa before you will be allowed to re-enter the country.
Q. How do I know what I am allowed to do while in the U.S. on an F-1 Student Visa?
A. During registration, our DSO will review common visa regulations with you. They are also listed below. Please refer to the U.S. government’s visa policies or an immigration lawyer for specific information on visa laws.
• Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) by attaining a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 and completing at least 67% of credits attempted. Satisfactory academic progress is checked at the end of each semester.
• Students may not work for pay while attending school
• Students must report any absences to their advisor, instructor and DSO
• Students must contact their DSO to update their contact information
• Students must attend at least 70% of their courses or receive a failing grade
• Students who have their I-20 terminated will have to leave the country within 15 days.
Q. What happens if I violate any of the F-1 Student Visa regulations?
A. We are required by law to notify the U.S. government if a student violates any F-1 Student Visa regulations. Violations can lead to your I-20 being terminated and/or your visa being revoked. This most often results in you having to leave the country and, in some cases, can result in a ban from the United States for up to 10 years.
Q. What happens if my visa gets terminated because I violated an F-1 Visa regulation?
A. You will have to leave the country within 15 calendar days.
WORKING IN THE U.S.
Q. Can I work in the United States while I study?
A. No, not while you are enrolled in school. It is in violation of your F-1 Student Visa and can result in your visa being revoked. After you graduate, you are eligible to apply for OPT. If approved for OPT, this allows you to stay and work in the U.S. for up to 1 year after graduation. Pre-completion OPT and on-campus work study are two exceptions, please see below for more information.
Q. What is OPT?
A. OPT stands for Optional Practical Training which, if approved, allows applicants to stay in the country for up to 1 year, for each level of degree you earn, to work in the field you studied.
Q. How do I learn more about OPT?
A. Our DSO will review the general process with you at Registration and will be available at the end of your program to assist when you’re eligible to apply. You can also read more about the OTP here.
Q. When can I apply for OPT?
A. You may apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before your graduation date and no later than 60 days past your graduation date. The Los Angeles Film School highly suggests you apply for post-completion OPT as soon as you are eligible.
Q. Will you help me get a job for OPT?
A. We have a Career Development Department which assists graduates in finding work in their fields of study. Professionalism and real-life application are emphasized throughout each of our degree programs. The best help we can give you is equipping you with the skills and know-how to land jobs yourself. Our staff assists with resumé building, interview skills, job recommendations, job leads and more. Employment is not guaranteed.
Q. Is there any way to be on OPT for longer than a year?
A. Students who graduate from STEM programs are eligible for up to two years of OPT. Our Bachelor in Animation program qualifies as a STEM program. Another option is to complete one of our Associate degree programs, take a year off of school for OPT then come back to take a Bachelor’s Completer program, which would make you eligible for one more year of OPT upon graduation.
Q. What is pre-completion OPT?
A. F-1 Student Visa students may apply to participate in pre-completion OPT after they have been enrolled in school for one full academic year. Students authorized to participate in pre-completion OPT must work part-time while school is in session. They may work full-time when school is not in session.
Q. Does pre-completion OPT take time away from post-completion OPT?
A. Yes. All periods of pre-completion OPT will be deducted from the available period of post-completion OPT.
Q. When do I apply for pre-completion OPT?
A. You may apply up to 90 days before you complete a full academic year, as long as you do not start OPT employment until you complete one full academic year.
Q. Do you offer on-campus work study?
A. Currently we do not, but we are in the process of making this available to our international students.
Q. Do you have dorms?
A. No. We do, however, have an on-site Housing Coordinator who will assist you with finding an apartment and/or roommate in Los Angeles. Please be aware it is difficult to secure housing in Los Angeles without being here and the majority of our international students stay at a hotel or Airbnb for their first week or two.
Q. What’s life in Hollywood like?
A. Click here to see some of the interesting highlights both Hollywood and Los Angeles have to offer.
Q. Can I travel back to my country for vacation or school breaks?
A. Yes, you are allowed to travel outside or within the United States while you maintain a full-time status during school breaks. Please consult your Student/Academic Advisor and DSO for more information.
Q. Do you offer assistance with any other types of visas?
Q. Am I allowed to take online classes/courses while at The Los Angeles Film School campus?
A. Yes, international students on an F-1 Student Visa may take a mix of on-ground and online classes. We also now offer full online degree programs that do not require an F-1 Student Visa. Please speak with a DSO for more details.
Q. Will you transfer classes I took while studying at another college?
A. In order for your previous coursework to be assessed for transfer credits, you will need to submit an official sealed transcript(s) from your previous college(s). If your college transcripts are from a country other than the United States, it is required you submit a course-by-course evaluation (using a service like SpanTran) of your college transcripts for review.
Q. Will someone pick me up from the airport when I arrive in Los Angeles?
A. No, we do not offer any type of transportation for students, but as a large city airport, LAX offers many public transportation options. There is a free shuttle bus service provided from the Metro Green Line Aviation Station, which you can read more about here. Or you may also take the Lot C Shuttle to get to the Metro Bus Center, where you can board city buses serving the Los Angeles area. Information on city bus services can be found in the baggage claim areas of each terminal or you can call (+1) 323.466.3876. There are also taxis or you can use any number of ride-sharing apps available on your smart phone, such as Lyft, to get where you need to go.
Q. My question still hasn’t been answered, what do I do?
A. If you still have questions, please email us and we’ll help you find the answers!