Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Auditioned MT: U. Arts, Ithaca, Syracuse, Indiana, NYU, Pace, BOCO, CMU
Accepted MT: U. Arts, NYU (NSB), Indiana, Pace
Auditioned VP: Ithaca, Syracuse, CMU
Decision: Pace, MT
I recall a poster some time ago discussing the value of participating in an extended audition process—that what is learned over the course of planning, performing, and processing multiple presentations is critical to ultimately understanding “fit” with specific programs. My D was a perfect example of this. She ended up finishing her search in a much different place than where she began, and made a choice which was quite rational to her given her own set of priorities.
D graduated from a very small public HS (just 48 in her class) that is located near a large city. While we are thrilled with the general education she received (and I have become a huge supporter of small HS as a result) school opportunities in the PA were limited. To gain performance experience, she participated in regional theatre, as well as in all of the school shows, took voice and dance lessons, and attended summer programs (OCU and Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory). Though she always seemed to compare well with her peers in these situations, we were never quite sure if it she represented a “big fish in a small pond,” or if she was, indeed, competitive for admission to these hyper-competitive programs in MT. Given that her strength is her voice, and with the encouragement of her classical voice teacher, she decided to hedge her bets a little by applying to both MT and VP programs.
In the end, her experiences led her to a decision that she really wanted to stay with MT, and that Pace would provide the experiences she felt she needed in a context in which she would feel connected.
Her final choices from which she made her decision were CMU (VP); and Indiana, NYU, and Pace (MT).
CMU. Admittedly, Dad’s favorite. Perhaps more than any other university that we visited, CMU is a school for the 21st century. Not many places combine such excellence in the sciences with the performing and fine arts, and even fewer match their genuine commitment to interdisciplinary study. Great student body representing a huge array of interests and talents coupled with the opportunity to develop as a Steeler fan. D liked the school a lot and was thrilled with her VP acceptance. Small program (12 freshmen), excellent FA package, requirements and opportunities in acting and dance, an interest in maintaining a relevant curriculum, and communication with her indicating that they really wanted her there were huge drawing points. Negatives: Had been rejected by MT and was afraid that she would always want to be across the yard in the Theatre building. Also, by this time she had decided that she really wanted MT.
Indiana. Probably the best audition system of all. D felt as though she had been genuinely “looked at” in a comprehensive way. Program director was articulate and very clear with program direction and personally called her with admission offer the day after the audition. Relationships with the music school were positive. Had extensive opportunities to talk with current students and was impressed with their level of satisfaction with their program. Small program, young, but with drive. Very attractive in many ways, but also very expensive for OSS (would have actually been more expensive than NYU after financial aid was considered).
NYU. D applied only to NSB and was very excited when admitted. Financial aid package was not great, so attending would have been a struggle. In spite of this, she was committed to the program initially as it has a great reputation, deep resources (especially in terms of alums working in so many MT-related areas), challenging academics and attracted talented students. Negatives were financial aid and the more complex feeling of it just not being the right “fit “ for her that emerged after attending an accepted student presentation.
Pace. Enjoyed audition. Liked the follow-up feedback that she got from the director and was also attracted to the program size. Was able to come to the school, sit in on classes, talk with faculty, and students, and have a detailed conversation with the director in regard to what the program entails over all four years. Like Indiana, a fairly young program, but one with a lot of energy behind it and with clear direction. Financial aid package was very good and, of course, it was in NY. Downsides included being less well-known that other institutions and (from her perspective, anyway) a bit too much encouragement to accept professional performance opportunities as a student.
In the end, of course, she chose Pace. In the words of a frequent poster whose advice I greatly respect, every program has “glitches; none are perfect.” You just have to decide what “glitches” you can tolerate.
The whole process is long, hectic, stressful, and sometimes disappointing. But it is also one great big gigantic exquisite learning moment. Only after going through it do you understand where you are.