Academically, this school is unique. Because of a small class size, interactions and developing professional relationships with professors is easy, and they really care about their students and what they're learning. My emphasis is in game design, and my professor meets with me to help me personally work on my portfolio and coach me on developing a network. The president of the school has personally helped me with issues that I have brought to him.
However, student life is less than ideal. The units themselves are nice, but choosing roommates is an ordeal, and more often than not, you get stuck with people you can't get along with. The heads of student life are disrespectful of students and not very helpful. You also cannot move off campus until you are 23 years old.
If you're looking for a structured environment and don't mind the housing situation, then this is the school for you. If you're someone who enjoys more freedom, then this may not be the place for you.
It is a great catholic university. I like how you only have to take one year of math and science. There is no sports team and arts are the focus of everything. I like the small class size,and small campus size. The choose to go mass daily is really wonderful.
I like the school here. The people are really intelligent and talented individuals which creates a great atmosphere to learn. The teachers are very helpful and area available to help you with personal needs and to make sure you are understanding the material and advancing. The hands on experience that the school gives you helps you learn in a do kind of way, so you know not only the techniques of your craft but how to do it and how to do it well. Everyone here loves film and is passionate about creating films that are worth watching.
I am an Alumni of this university. John Paul the Great Catholic University is a school unlike any other, but in order to describe to you how it is so, I will have to break this into 4 segments.
The administration at this university, quite frankly, has no idea what it is doing. Take this from the finance department themselves, whom I recently overheard the saying, “I never know what’s going on around here, no one talks to me about anything.” A lot of this might be due to the fact that a good amount of the faculty is made up of… students, and that:
The administration prioritizes the school itself, over the students. When it comes to issues such as registration, student loans, student interests, and the like, it seems the priority is always, “what can we do to further the life of our university, and make more money?” instead of “how can we make sure our students are actually being educated and treated as adults.” This is especially ironic when within the past few quarters the top Professors at the university have all left the school, in search of better career opportunities. The large amount of evacuations from said professors have caused the shutdown and collapse of the Theology and Humanities programs, two of the biggest draws to the university (which incidentally effects a large number of students enrolled in these programs). But, not to fear, the university is still aiming to teach these classes by having alumni act as professors.
In a specific example, a class called “Marriage and Family” is being taught by a JPCatholic alumni, whom, I might add, has never been married. You kinda think that would be a basic requirement, right?
Another one of the draws of the university, is its small and close nature. One Could imagine that it might be affordable. Unfortunately this is incorrect. The cost required to attend JPCatholic is actually on par if not above the cost of state universities. To further the annoying nature of this, the school is rash with its spending. So, they charge exorbitant prices for attendance, student living, and classes, and spend all of that money on things like; new buildings which won’t be used for the next 4 years, renovating the current buildings every quarter, repaving the already fine pavement around the school, renovating offices, etc. Tuition from the diminishing number of students still barely covers these costs so they make up for that by fining students for anything and everything they can. In a recent example, a student decided to withdraw from the university at the beginning of this current quarter, and the school decided to charge this student a $2,400 withdrawal fee. A fee they have never charged before, and a fee which (I may be wrong) in my research I have never heard of from any other universities.
So, I hope you worked a part-time job the summer after homeschool.
2. Lies and Control
The school cracks down on student projects, controlling their content and the way they shoot it, forcing them to change their work, discouraging against experimentation and exploration. It gained this likeness to a regime not letting its people speak freely.
Short film with guns? Absolutely not.
Violence? No, that’s not family friendly.
Commentary on the school? Why would they let you…
Exploring Human nature and sexuality? Nice try.
Homosexuality? Better not be in one of your films.
Thinking about shooting with your drone you saved up for all summer to finally buy? Hell no, no drone shots allowed in projects.
What about shots in a car? Absolutely not.
(Yes, the school actually does tremendously frown upon homosexuality, and usually quite openly, Title IX exempt and all. There are a number of gay students who attend the school and a large portion of them can’t even be open about it)
The list goes on.
The school cracks down on student content like no other and encourages you to stick to the grain and live in their make believe perfect society of God’s Not Dead. And when students try and break through the mold and show that they aren’t afraid of the banhammer of the school, they get slapped with fines or are given hearings or student life confrontations.
In the same vein of the university cracking down on content, they also try to own your content. They force you to put their name on your films and then force you to pay them once you graduate to have the rights to your films back. They take your films and splice them up and edit them for themselves for their own social media presence and personal gain, often times even taking work that was done by students on projects completely separate from and unrelated to the school. Which the school has gotten in trouble for.
The school boasts this Hollywood professionalism with things like “learn from people who actually work in the film industry!” Even though there’s only one professor who legitimately does. Or “we have a Red (Scarlet, which is financed) that you can use for your films!” And then they never let you use the Red, for any of your student projects, ever, and get mad when you ask. However, it’s okay for the Cinematography and Lighting professor to use the Red for his own personal gigs outside of the university, even though his own Advanced Cinematography students have been trying to book the camera for months.
Okay, seriously, I’m not kidding with this one and I have to get a little mad as my bias comes out because of how ridiculous this is. The professor told his students they couldn’t use the Red for their Advanced Cinematography final (his class, and one of the premiere classes at the school) because he claimed the camera was broken. But, while said students were shooting their project (on inferior equipment) that weekend, they saw posts on Instagram of the set this professor was on and him using that Red for his own freelancing work. I digress.
So, the school presents itself as this false wonderland of knowledge about Hollywood and the film industry, even though they have no professors with legitimate experience, rarely let you use the equipment while they keep it to themselves, and boast about their students going off to join the filmmaking world!
I can count on my hands the number of alumni who have actually moved to Los Angeles and received a job. The university has no avenues for employment after school.
JPCatholic is a Catholic Media Arts university, and due to this it is only natural that a good amount of students come from homeschooling, private schooling, and sometimes generally very sheltered lives.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this. However, the school is infamous for its “Inter-Visitation Rules”, which basically prohibit a member of one sex from ever being in or around the home of a member of the opposite sex. This is not a shocking thing for a Catholic university, but I think it’s actually very detrimental to the students. Most Catholic Universities have much more relaxed versions of this rule however, the one at JPCatholic is borderline militaristic.
This forces the sexes to be apart from each other, never allowing them to fully learn how to interact with the opposite, and sometimes flat out discouraging it. It promotes a sort of, anti-growth, of the social abilities and well being of the individual. It’s no surprise that a lot of these students it primarily effects have issues socially, or are generally awkward. Which isn’t a horrific issue, but it certainly isn’t healthy for the developing adult.
The way this is gone about isn’t exactly the most fair either. These rules are enforced by student life and their RA’s, who will often conduct raids of apartments, or go on questioning witch hunts if they hear a whisper of inter-visitation happening.
It’s a toxic scenario and on a personal level I don’t think it’s helpful for young adults learning what it means to be their own person and continue a normal adult life.
There’s a myriad of other issues which I don’t spent the time going into but can quickly list, such as:
The awful and astounding amount of miscommunication or no communication at all
The utterly inept finance department (who will undoubtedly screw up your situation at least 3 times during your enrollment here)
The incredibly underpaid staff
The fear of Protestants
The cult mentality
The shunning (have colored hair or tattoos, or like wearing summer clothes? Be prepared to be shunned by administration and faculty, and often told to cover it up)
Again, there’s even more. But this covers most of the bases.
If do have one positive take-away from my experience here though, it’s that I learned a lot about life on set and filmmaking. However, I do want to emphasize that this was not from classes. Just by working on so many projects, doing so many of my own, and spending so much time on sets I became accustomed to what life on set is like, and how to handle myself on one. Being that I am one of the ones who made it to Hollywood after graduating from here and is actually working on professional sets for movies and TV shows, I can tell you the experience of set does translate really well, you just multiply the scale and the budget, and the experience is similar. I also learned a lot about storytelling from the wonderful Chris Riley, the screenwriting professor at the university.
The only part of this experience that was worth it to me are those two things. In the end, I would highly recommend you find an alternative to this university, there are a lot of places that offer the same experiences in a better location with a better price. And due to the constantly/diminishing amount of students, professors, and programs, I don’t think this school will even be around for the next 5 years.
This is your college education, do it right, and do it somewhere that will further your career and set you on the right path for success.
This is a campus that both the parent and the student can agree on for college. As an incoming freshman, the opportunities to continue growth in all areas of my life is something I am excited about.
Only a few miles from the beach, public transportation and shops walking distance-what is there not to appreciate?
I truly do enjoy attending here. As a Catholic, it has helped me take the initiative to grow in my faith, helping me to take responsibility in my spiritual life. Getting out on my own has helped me mentally, and though the heavy workload is a cause for stress, it's nothing that one can't handle, provided that they develop and apply time management skills. As it is a school for the arts (particularly film) and business, one must be ready for those two subjects to be the overall focus in concern to both academics and student life.
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