Dan is 18 years old and has completed A-level Economics, English Literature and Math’s at Algorithm A*. Come fall, Dan is looking forward to studying Dramatic Writing and Interactive Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, USA. His creativity and interest in storytelling and computer games have led Dan to set his sights on a career associated with game development and the surrounding industry.
What made you study in English, and take part in the UK programme?
For two years I studied in Malta and took IGCSE, so I thought this was a logical continuation of that process.
What was Malta like?
I studied in a boarding school in Malta; 8 o’clock you have to get up, and there was a clear schedule, no time for breaks, nothing. It was very strict for the first year, but for the second year, when they allowed me a whole bunch of stuff like going outside of school, it was really fun. Malta is kind of different, it’s simultaneously an old person resort, but there’s also a really good young culture there.
Speaking about Algorithm, Dan stresses the flexibility, which is a stark contrast to his Maltese school.
Here, I can discuss my schedule, I can move something if it’s uncomfortable for me, I don’t have to get up as early as I did.
Why did you decide to continue your studies in the United States?
I just always found the US really appealing. I sort of identify with the culture and have always been surrounded by the culture. And because of the opportunities US universities present, in the field of game development and all these new innovations.
What are your future education plans?
I’ve been accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, USA. I look forward to studying there, the city is really beautiful! I will major in Dramatic Writing and Interactive Design. My short-term plans are to intern at a video game studio, and my long-term career plan is to become a video game writer or creative director. I feel like this is a new, unique opportunity for me to pursue and study the field I’ve been passionate about all my life. I always found the US appealing. I identify with the culture and have always been surrounded by it.
What was the application process for US universities like?
It wasn’t that difficult, because the stuff they ask you is pretty straightforward, and everything was done through the Common Application, at least for me. The hardest thing for me, was that I had to go to the US to do exams at two of the universities. It was the most time consuming thing, but also the most fun. I saw the colleges firsthand, and just got a feel of what the country is like. I went to Los Angeles; we took a car and travelled from the West Coast to the East Coast and saw a whole bunch of universities.
In your application, how did you try to sell yourself to universities?
I think my strong point is my creative writing and my portfolio. I draw, I write, a do a lot of stuff outside of school. Over time I’ve built a very sizeable portfolio, which is probably my strongest point. I have also taken the ACT, SAT exams.
Tell us a little more about your hobbies
My favourite genre is science fiction, I usually write in that genre. I like to experiment with themes and characters, that’s my favourite thing to do. I also draw, I play video games and some sports. My favourite sport is basketball, but I don’t do it much lately.
What is your biggest strength?
I would say, my imagination, creativity. I have always nurtured it and developed it; I like to challenge my creativity by drawing, writing, and expressing myself.
What about your biggest weakness?
Lack of focus and concentration. I take a really long time to do my homework, it’s hard for me to focus on some things. Keeping to deadlines. I failed a bunch of my mocks because I couldn’t finish them in time. They appointed me with bonus sessions, where I take the exam again, individually, and I’m supposed to take as little time as possible. I think I’ve been making progress, but it’s still hard.
If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I’d be a creative director in a big game studio. That’s basically what I’m striving for. But a writer in that industry would be great as well. I’m not really good at coding and the technical stuff, but I like the artistic part of game development.
Thinking ahead to the future, Dan sees himself firmly in a creative career, either as a writer in a game studio, or a screenwriter in a movie studio, continuing to work with what he loves most.