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  • Swati Chopra

Chapman University

This is a series of posts on campuses I've visited. At times I've had the chance to meet up with admission officers and have included specific majors and data here. Please keep the date of my visit in mind as admission requirements and freshmen profiles change annually and updating these posts will not always be possible. To see other schools' profiles, please visit my website.

February 2023 - Counselor Tour

Founded in 1861, Chapman University is the 3rd oldest school in California. It's also the 3rd largest private university in the state offering Division III athletics and serving just over 10,000 undergraduates and graduate students.

Campus Feel and Surrounding Areas

Chapman University is conveniently located in the heart of Orange County. Disneyland is a short ride away and the beach can be reached in 30 minutes. The downtown area of Orange is within walking distance and has a true college town feel to it offering a vibrant local community with an array of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. The campus is an idyllic blend of historic charm and modern facilities with its beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and lush green spaces, The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is three blocks away from the main campus and close to downtown. Getting around the area is easy without a car.

The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

One of the standout features of Chapman University is the prestigious Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Recognized as one of the top film schools in the United States, Dodge College offers comprehensive programs in film production, screenwriting, animation, television, and digital arts. Students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities, industry-standard equipment, and a hands-on approach to learning that prepares them for successful careers in the dynamic world of entertainment.

Dodge College's close proximity to Hollywood and its extensive network of alumni and industry connections provide invaluable opportunities for internships, collaborations, and career advancement. The annual "Chapman Filmed Entertainment Industry Night" allows students to showcase their work to industry professionals, opening doors to potential employment and mentorship.

Less than 30 students are admitted to Film and TV Production annually. making admission to Dodge less than 8%.

Student Body and Social Life

The student body at Chapman is somewhat diverse; 49% of the students are persons of color. Out of approximately 7,700 undergraduates, Hispanics are 18%, Whites 49%, Asians 16%, and other minorities and mixed races fill up the rest. Approximately 37% are from Orange County and the greater Los Angeles area and 23% from Northern California.

Chapman University has both national and local Greek organizations, each with its own unique history, values, and membership requirements and a total of 190 student organizations to choose from. These organizations often hold recruitment or rush events at the beginning of each academic year for interested students to learn more about their chapters and potentially join. Greek life at Chapman University, as in many other universities, typically involves participating in a variety of activities such as social events, philanthropy initiatives, community service projects, and leadership development programs. At the time of my visit, about 30% of students were participating in the Greek system.

The Cross Cultural Center provides an inclusive, multi-purpose safe space on campus. And lastly, first-year Chapman students live in Living-Learning Communities: residence halls with students from their major's school/college. this helps students live and learn alongside others who share their interests and passions.

Academics, Athletics, and Study Abroad

Academics are strong at Chapman. While Chapman is known for film and art, there's much more to this private research university than most families realize. Chapman offers over 150 undergraduate degrees and programs. With a low student-to-faculty ratio (12:1), students have the opportunity to engage in personalized and interactive learning experiences, fostering intellectual growth and critical thinking skills. Film Production, Television Writing and Production, and Performing Arts are some of the more popular majors along with Business Administration, Communication Studies, Biology, and Health Sciences.

Chapman is a NCAA Division III school with 500+ student athletes, 21 intercollegiate teams, and four club sports. The Zee Allred Aquatic Center features a 4,000 square foot recreational center plus an Olympic sized swimming pool.

The university offers study abroad programs in 40 countries, enabling students to immerse themselves in different cultures, broaden their horizons, and gain a deeper understanding of the global community. 53% of students study abroad, either one semester or one full year. International scholarships are offered in seven of those countries.


Chapman uses the Common App and offers ED as well as EA. Close to 400 applications came in via ED last year out of which 150 students were admitted. In the EA round - 8,000 students applied and 4,500 students were admitted. Students applying to the Dodge College or any talent based majors are required to submit a creative supplement. Chapman is test optional and 72% of first year applicants applied without test scores and 71% of those applicants were admitted.

The most popular majors students apply to are Business Administration, Psychology, Biological Sciences, Health Sciences, and Undecided. Chapman puts emphasis on rigor, GPA, and transcript when looking at applications. For non-academic activities, character and personal qualities are very important whereas religious affiliation and legacy is not considered at all. 90% of applicants admitted are from the top half of their respective high schools. Demonstrated interest is considered so be aware of mailing lists and other ways you can interact with them.


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