Nicholas Filca – From Marine Photographer to BFA at UMichigan!

Tell us about yourself, Nicholas!

Hometown: Chicago, IL

What is your anticipated school and intended major? BFA in Theatre Performance: Acting, University of Michigan 2026

Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak 4 languages

What did you do in the military: Videographer and Photographer

What was the biggest benefit to using Service to School throughout the application process? Service to School illustrated the importance of the veteran community looking out for one another and upholding our promise to never leave anybody feeling like they’re alone. Service to School not only provided me with resources, but hope and confidence as well.

Without my ambassador, Steven, I would have been completely lost. Steven was not only a knowledgeable person who I stayed in contact with. He was invested in me and in my journey. He was the definition of selfless. Steven helped me with resumes, interviews, essays, and cover letters, but most importantly, he kept me grounded when I foolishly thought the sky was falling. Being a veteran applicant can be discouraging and confusing. It’s a complete life change where you’re 4-5 years older than the average applicant. You can feel like you have imposter syndrome or be tempted to get cold feet. With service to school, your mentor isn’t simply somebody who sends you a link here and there, they are somebody who’s been in your shoes, who understands what a difficult time it is, and isn’t just there to educate you, but believes in you when even you may not.

How has the transition been from the military to civilian life? The transition from military to civilian life can feel overwhelming, but most of all, it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s the beginning of the rest of your life. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

What are you most excited about in regards to starting school? What’s your favorite part about the school you chose to matriculate at? When it comes to starting school, I’m most excited about truly unlocking my potential as an artist, and bringing the veteran perspective into a career path that’s traditionally less common for veterans. Art is about representation, and we deserve to have our voice heard. Michigan has shown me they value the contributions of people from all walks of life, and an environment where so many perspectives can form one powerful vision is the embodiment of art.

Why did you decide to pursue this education path? Acting has given my life purpose since I was five years old. Art is what God put me on this Earth to do. To be able to reach so many cultures, people, and the emotions that accompany them, is the reason I want to act.

What are your goals post-graduation? My goal post graduation is to work as a TV and Film actor and set up organizations addressing mental health, as well as art scholarships and networking opportunities for both the veteran community and the first-generation American community. These groups are both integral to my life experience, and I hope to give back to both through art, which changes and shapes lives.

Nicholas’ advice for veterans who are applying to college

For any future veteran applicants, as cliché as it is, don’t give up. You are not an impostor. You are smart enough. You are talented enough. Your perspective is unique and valuable. It’s easy to get discouraged and draw back. Don’t. Schools want and need people with your experience. You just came from the most diverse work force in the world, that experience is worth it’s weight in gold. Don’t get cold feet, know your strengths, know your weaknesses, but most of all know that you can and will do it.

Congrats again Nicholas on your acceptance to the University of Michigan!

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Service to School (S2S) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides free college and grad school application counseling to military veterans and servicemembers.

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