The Semester in Los Angeles program welcomes students with a broad spectrum of backgrounds and experiences. Enrollment in the program is limited to 45 students each semester.
Before you apply:
- Review the program eligibility requirements and the Frequently Asked Questions section on this page;
- Attend an information session;
- Strongly suggested: visit your academic advisor to discuss your plans for participation in the program and determine the best semester to participate, as you will be asked to rank your preferences for intended semester of participation.
Students from other universities should consult their academic advisor and Registrar’s Office to review credit transfer policies based on their plans to attend the program.
- Verification of contact information;
- Essay Prompt A: How does your participation in the Semester in Los Angeles program relate to your academic, professional and personal goals? Be specific and provide examples. (Maximum length: 250 words)
- Essay Prompt B: Regarding your internship, please describe the area (or areas) of the media and entertainment industry that interest you most and describe what you hope to learn as a result of this experience. For example, are you interested in film production, television production, advertising, marketing, music, casting, or something else? If you are interested in certain companies, be sure to mention them, and include the types of careers/positions you would like to explore, for example, “screenwriter,” “director,” etc. (Maximum length: 250 words).
- Résumé uploaded to the system (.doc, .docx or PDF formats are acceptable).
Non-UT students ONLY must also submit the following items:
- Official transcript from home institution (PDF format);
- Semester in Los Angeles Program Disciplinary Clearance Form (Download this form now) The Disciplinary Clearance Form must be completed by the Dean of Students, a Judicial Affairs Officer or by another appropriate official at your home institution. You will be required to scan both these documents, upload a PDF version to the online application, and mail originals to the UTLA Center. All materials must be received by the closing deadline, or your application will be considered incomplete.
The online application requires login with a UT EID. Non-UT students may request a UT EID online. The application will pull relevant information from your permanent student record. You may log in and return to the application at any time before the deadline to edit, update and/or upload documents.
Your application must be complete by 12 noon on the closing deadline. For non-UT students, this also means that hard copies of your supplemental materials also have to be received by the UTLA Center by the closing deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed and will be automatically disqualified.
An admission committee composed of faculty and staff will review applications, applicant's disciplinary records will be checked, and acceptance decisions will be sent to students via email. All applicants are notified via email, and students must log in to the application system to view their status. All decisions are final and may not be appealed.
When students log in to the system, the system will display their status: they will have an offer to participate, they will be waitlisted, or will be denied admission.
Students who are notified of an offer to participate will have to confirm or cancel their intent to participate in the program. In some cases, students may receive an offer to participate in their second or third preference semester. In these cases, their name is automatically placed on a waitlist for their preferred semester. These students will also be asked to confirm or decline the option to remain on the waitlist. Students must respond to the offers by a stipulated deadline in order to reserve a seat in the program.
Once students confirm their intent to participate, they must meet a series of requirements before they can finalize their acceptance to the program:
- Confirm their intent to participate in the program by clicking on a link in the online system, which will allow them to review information on program policies and requirements that pertain to participation in the program;
- Meet all payment deadlines, including the initial deadline to pay a non-refundable program fee deposit. Failure to meet the payment deadlines will result in withdrawal from the program;
- Complete all pre-departure requirements by the stipulated deadlines;
- Successfully complete RTF305, or equivalent, prior to the semester of participation;
- Maintain a minimum UT GPA of 2.25 by the semester of participation;
- Continue to make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree;
- Complete a mandatory pre-departure orientation.
Further details are included with notification of acceptance. Failure to meet deadlines or complete requirements, or any changes in a student's status that violate the eligibility requirements prior to participation in the program will result in withdrawal of the offer, and may result in financial penalties.
Students who are waitlisted must indicate if they wish to remain on the waitlist, or if they would like to be removed from the waitlist. This decision is considered final. Students who choose to remain on the waitlist may be notified via email if and when a seat becomes available, and will have five business days to respond to the offer and pay the non-refundable deposit to secure their seat (the non-refundable deposit is applied to the program fee). All waitlisted students will retain their seat on the waitlist until approximately 60 days before the program check-in date.
Students who are denied admission will be referred to the program eligibility criteria, and will be encouraged to re-apply for a later semester based on their ability to meet the eligibility criteria at that time.
What factors are taken into consideration during the admission process?
The Semester in Los Angeles Program application review involves a multi-factorial approach. Applicants are ranked according to a number of factors, including GPA, total number of hours, and essay/resume review scores. While a student’s GPA is important, it is not the most important factor. Application essays and resumes are reviewed carefully for content as well as form. Applicants who can clearly articulate their personal interests and goals for a Semester in Los Angeles experience in relation to their current studies, extra-curricular and/or work experience, and career exploration objectives fare better than applicants who may take a more general, inconsistent or vague approach. However, a strong application also depends on details that speak to a student’s sense of professionalism. Applicants who pay close attention to writing clearly, using simple and professional document formatting, check spelling, grammar and punctuation will improve their chances of receiving an offer to participate.
What can I do to prepare a strong application?
There are a number of things you can do. Begin by attending an information session and asking questions that are specific to your interests and priorities. Read the information on the UTLA Center’s website and become familiar with what the program has to offer; this will show through in your essays. Have another person you trust with a professional opinion review drafts of your essays, and consider asking for assistance from the UT Writing Center. Refer to the Semester in LA Cover Letter and Resume Guide prepared by Phil Nemy, Executive Director of the UTLA Center, for tips on preparing a great resume (please note that a cover letter is not required for the UTLA application-- you will need a cover letter when you prepare to contact potential employers after acceptance to the program). Visit Communication Career Services for help with resume preparation, and don’t forget to review the Resume Writing Guide. Read industry publications in your area of interest on a regular basis. And last, but not least, be sure to begin preparing your essays and resume early, so that you can devote the time and attention required to produce a winning application!
Do I need to submit a cover letter with my resume?
No, they are not required. In fact, cover letters are discouraged.
Are applicants interviewed?
Are applicants who don't know exactly what type of internship work they will be seeking at a disadvantage during the application review process?
No, not all applicants know what they would like to do in this respect, but use their participation in the program to hone their interests and determine if they would like to pursue a career in LA after graduation. Applicants must be able to use the essays to communicate their thoughts and plans for this process of exploration in a clear, concise, manner.
I have been waitlisted. What are my chances of participating in the program?
Students who are waitlisted will remain on the waitlist until approximately two months before the move-in date for the intended semester of participation. The highest-ranked applicants on the waitlist will be given priority if and when should a seat become available. Because of the competitive nature of the selection process, it is difficult to predict how enrollment will shift over the course of a semester.
Is it possible to defer my acceptance to a semester of the following academic year?
No, it is not possible. You must re-apply during the next application cycle for the following year.
I was offered a seat in the program, and now I am planning to graduate before my intended semester of participation. Can I still participate?
No. Participants must be degree-seeking students at the time of participation in the program. Consult your academic advisor about your options.
I confirmed my participation in the program, and now I can no longer go. How can I withdraw from the program?
If you have already confirmed your intent to participate (on the online system), you must contact the program admin, in writing, to request withdrawal from the program, and to avoid possible financial penalties. Please refer to the timeline for your intended semester of participation to review financial deadlines (this information can be found in the "Before you Go" section of the website). Please include your UT EID and the semester you intend to withdraw from in your email.
If you have NOT confirmed your intent to participate (on the online system), simply log in to the system and decline the offer.
I received an offer to participate in the program, and for various reasons, I now want to change to a different semester.
If you are offered a seat in the program you will also be waitlisted for other semesters (as long as you indicated alternate semesters as an option on your application, and based on your preferences). As you know, waitlisted students cannot be guaranteed a seat in the program. So, you have two choices. You can A) cancel your participation for the semester you were offered, and wait to see if you are offered a seat in a waitlisted semester, or B) you can confirm your participation for the semester you were offered, and also maintain your place on the waitlist for your new semester.
If you decide to go with option B, please note that you will be expected to meet all payment deadlines and pre-departure requirements for your confirmed semester. Should you fail to meet your payment deadlines, the UTLA Center has the right to rescind your acceptance and offer your seat to another student. Be sure to review the financial responsibility policy information found in the pre-departure section of the system very carefully, so that you can make an informed decision and be aware of potential withdrawal penalties.
In the event that a seat becomes available to you for your waitlisted semester, you will be notified, and will have five business days to confirm the switch. At that point, you will be required to resubmit some of the pre-departure documents to reflect the dates of your new semester, and any payments made to date will be applied to your new semester of participation, but you may also have to pay an additional non-refundable fee of $500 when you are offered a seat (please see below). No transfer requests will be considered past the final refund deadline for the semester the student is confirmed to participate.
What if I haven't taken RTF 305, my GPA drops below the required GPA, or my disciplinary record changes before my semester of participation?
Eligibility checks are run for all accepted students up until the semester of participation. If you think you will not be able to meet the eligibility requirements the semester prior to participation (when the payment schedule kicks in), or if your status at the university changes for any reason (enrollment, disciplinary, or otherwise) contact the UTLA Center immediately. Do not wait for your acceptance to be rescinded, or you may incurr financial penalties based on your date of withdrawal. No exceptions will be made.
When would I be subject to paying an additional $500 fee?
If you have been offered a seat in the program (and you have paid the initial non-refundable deposit), and you are also waitlisted for another semester, you will not be billed an additional $500 fee if a seat becomes available to you for your waitlisted semester.
If you did not receive an initial offer to participate in the program, but were waitlisted and elected to remain on a waitlist, you will not be billed the additional $500 fee (beyond the initial deposit required to secure your seat in the program) if a seat becomes available to you for your waitlisted semester.
If you submit a request to be placed on a waitlist for an alternate semester that was not indicated on your initial application, and your request is submitted after the confirmation deadline for your application cycle, you will be billed a $500 fee if and when a seat becomes available to you for your waitlisted semester.
Spring and Summer 2013: The application for these semesters closed on February 29, 2012, and students who completed an application have been notified of their status.
UT Austin students must meet the following requirements:
- Min. 60 hours by semester of participation;
- Min. GPA of 2.25 by semester of participation;
- Successful completion of RTF 305 (Intro to Media Studies") or equivalent by semester of participation
- Graduate students of UT-Austin must hold a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Non-UT students must meet above requirements, and are only eligible to apply for summer semester.
All applicants must be currently enrolled degree-seeking students in good standing at an accredited U.S. college or university.
Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance to the Semester in Los Angeles Program. An applicant's total educational and disciplinary record, educational objective, professional attitude, level of preparedness and interpersonal maturity, special talents, personal preparation and personal achievements may be considered in the selection process. The University reserves the right to interview the student during the application process, to deny acceptance, and to rescind acceptance to any applicant for any reason the University determines to be material to the applicant's qualifications.