Documentary film on the college experience
August 13, 2015 5:00 AM   Subscribe

Do you know of a documentary on college students' lives? I'm really interested in the transition from adolescence to adulthood as well as what students learn at the college level.

Most docs about education are focused on exploring a dysfunctional system, underserved student populations. These are important but not what I'm searching for.

Has anyone tried to follow "ordinary" students over time without a political emphasis?

I think coming of age stories would be fascinating to tell but I'd like to see it attempted if that exists.
posted by brynnwood to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It's focused on high school rather than college, but there was a show that originally ran on Fox, was cancelled, and then picked up by PBS called American High. It tracked a high school film class, and it's a combination of footage shot by a camera crew and the video diaries the students made themselves. I thought it was fantastic. And it looks like some good soul has posted it online.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:37 AM on August 13, 2015

I don't know how good it is, but MTV's True Life documentary series did one called I'm a College Freshman in 2009.
posted by vegartanipla at 7:58 AM on August 13, 2015

This isn't exactly what you specify, but given that you say I'm really interested in the transition from adolescence to adulthood you might find it interesting: Have you seen the 21 Up segment of Michael Apted's 7 Up documentary series?
posted by flourpot at 10:14 AM on August 13, 2015

It's not a film, but Alexandra Robbins's book The Overachievers follows about 10 students and alumni of a suburban Maryland high school for three semesters, focusing on their transition between their high-pressure high school and college. It's definitely focused on a specific type of student (privileged, upper-middle class, suburban overachievers), but it's a good read and gets into lots of the type of thing you're looking for. There is some discussion of No Child Left Behind and the flaws of the college admissions system, but it's much more about the students and their journeys. Robbins's book Pledged is in a similar vein, but about sorority women.
posted by lemonadeheretic at 1:42 PM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know if it's too specific for you, but TransGeneration covers this period for a group of trans students and is excellent.
posted by thetortoise at 3:06 PM on August 13, 2015

Have a look at At Berkeley from 2013.
posted by persona au gratin at 1:11 AM on August 14, 2015

Seconding persona au gratin. Frederick Wiseman might just be your man, though he doesn't intend to be devoid of political emphasis, and At Berkeley isn't intended to focus mainly on the transition from adolescence to adulthood rather than UC Berkeley as a whole.
posted by pos at 7:42 AM on August 17, 2015

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