Some final FREAKONOMICS
Call it folly, but I looked at the data in three year's of "acceptances" threads in some detail: 2009, 2010, 2011. This data may not, in fact, be any kind of representative population and therefore may be of little use in estimating the number of acceptances per audition (which was a goal that I had in looking at the data). However, the data is kind of interesting to look at.
The data is remarkably consistent (the results shown were filtered to remove all the acting-only respondents and filter out all the non-audition acceptances and acting program acceptances by MT people):
2009: 72 respondents 2.31 average acceptances per respondent
2010: 69 respondents 2.38 average acceptances per respondent
2011: 66 respondents 2.41 average acceptances per respondent
Not only were the averages within a very narrow band (less than 10% in variance), but the distribution of data was also very consistent (the numbers below show the sequence of the count of respondents with 0-1-2-3-4-5-6 acceptances for each year):
2009: 2 16 16 4 5 5 4
2010: 1 24 18 9 7 6 3
2011: 2 17 17 4 4 4 4
Hence, it MAY be of some use in predicting what an "average acceptance rate" would look like.
We know that there are at least two problems that should be considered as noted in previous posts in this thread:
1. There are likely people who are part of this population ("CC people who do BFA auditions") who received zero acceptances but did not report in this thread (the zeros in the data above are the result of deleting non-audition acceptances that were posted). Some of them, unfortunately, may have truly had zero chance of acceptance at ANY of their auditions and it would be safe to exclude them from consideration. However, there may have been some members of this population who had some chance of success in their auditions but the odds did not work in their favor and they received no acceptances.
2. There are likely people who received an early acceptance and stopped the audition process early, therefore biasing their acceptance results downward (they could have racked up more acceptances, but they were happy and retired early).
I investigated the possible impact of these problems by building a simple model using the 2010 data:
a. I added an estimate of the number of people who might be in the population and had some chance of success, but failed to receive any acceptances and did not report any results. I estimated this at 10% of the population (7 people).
b. I added an estimate of the number of people who might in the population but did not completely follow through on all their planned auditions. I estimated this at 10% and added 2 additional acceptances for each of these people (7@+2 = 14 additional acceptances total).
It turns out that estimates a and b combined basically cancel each other out and you are left with 2.35 average acceptances per person vs. the original 2010 data of 2.38. My estimates may not, in fact, reflect reality but if they are anywhere close, then adverse factors 1 and 2 cancel each other out for the most part and are not likely to bias the data up or down.
Let's suppose that the data is at least indicative and the average number of acceptances per applicant is the average of the three years, or 2.37. Now, if we could come up with the average number of auditions attempted, then we would have the "magic number" that we are looking for - the average acceptance rate. This has also been discussed in previous posts to some extent. There is no data that I can find to give any indication of this in CC threads, so it has to be based on conjecture. Here are the numbers based on several possibilities:
5 auditions per applicant on average = 47% acceptance rate
6 auditions per applicant on average = 39% acceptance rate
7 auditions per applicant on average = 34% acceptance rate
8 auditions per applicant on average = 30% acceptance rate
If we decide that maybe 6.5 (the average of the dataset above) is a good number to use, then our overall probability of success on average is 37.5%. Going back to the OP, this means that you would need 6-7 auditions to achieve a 95 percent confidence of getting at least one acceptance - if your skills are as good other CC applicants (on average) and your choice of schools is equally wise (or equally unwise, depending on your point of view). If, for example, you are able to choose more wisely than the average CC applicant, then your odds will be better than the numbers above (and so forth).
One "kicker" is that the majority of respondents in the data only received 1-2 acceptances. Hence, it might be wise to use the MEDIAN of the data and not the average (as mentioned in a previous post). This would lower the odds somewhat to maybe around 30%, and then would require 8-9 auditions, on average, to achieve a 95 percent probability of success if you are an “average CC applicant.”
Would I recommend using these numbers on any kind of absolute basis? Absolutely not (smile). But it was fun to think about the process this way and the results match up with the "generally accepted CC wisdom."
@soozievt - I completely agree with your last post (and I agree with all of your other posts, also). This was just some fun with data and applied probability to see what might drop out and perhaps result in some things to think about in developing a strategy to approach this complicated process. What I like is that the results by and large match the conventional wisdom in several ways:
1. Choose the schools on your list wisely if you want to maximize your chances of success.
2. If you choose your schools wisely, then you only need something on the order of 6-8 auditions to achieve a high degree of confidence of success (but nothing is every guaranteed).
3. If you want to "go for it" and audition at several very competitive schools, then unless you are confident that you are an uber-talent, you better add some additional, less competitive schools to your list.
The one point that I would offer that perhaps goes against some recommendations is that you can, in fact, increase your odds of success by adding "one more school." As I said in an earlier post, the question is whether or not it is worth cost (which includes the possible impact on the applicant).
I do think you came up with some data there, EmsDad, but still I think it would be important to know how many schools each of those people applied to (and we really don't know that), WHICH schools were on the list (in terms of both level of selectivity AND how balanced the list was in terms of a range of selectivity....not all lists are created equal!) and then the appropriateness of the list per applicant (some students build lists where they have SOME chance and others build quite inappropriate lists that are not in their academic and/or artistic ballpark and so the odds are already very different per person based on those factors going into it).
I can tell you that in my kid's year, she has quite a number of extremely talented MT friends from around the country that she knew from her summers at a theater program who applied to the most selective types of MT programs and most of these kids got into quite a significant percentage of their college list (but not every program). Their collective results would not be the same for a less talented bunch, or a bunch who applied to less selective schools, or had lower academic qualifications (these kids all had pretty strong ones), etc.
And another thing that has not even been mentioned yet is if the candidates are boys or girls. HUGE difference in MT! The odds are much better for boys! Also, when it comes to MT, type is a big part (that you can't control) and one's odds getting in differ on that alone. And then you've got kids who audition who have NO dance background and some who have quite a lot and that skews their results too, even if they are very good singers.
For me, I'd have to compare two pretty equally qualified kids who had two fairly equal college lists in terms of range of selectivity and number of schools on the list.
Again, WHICH schools are on the list is such a HUGE factor, more so than the NUMBER OF SCHOOLS on the list, in my opinion. I'd hate to see prospective students weighing the number so heavily and the issue is much more having appropriate schools on the list that match their qualifications and criteria and then how balanced the list is in terms of odds. The best number to apply to will differ per applicant based on a myriad of factors, in my view. That is why every student I work with does not apply to the same number of colleges. However, roughly, most fall into a wide range from about 8 schools up to 14 schools. But I would not pinpoint a number to recommend to everyone. A range, yes, but a number, no. That would have to come down to individualization and many factors in building the right list for the student.
EDIT....OOPS, I POSTED THIS POST WHEN YOU WERE POSTING THE ONE ABOVE IT AND I AM NOT RESPONDING TO THAT POST AS WE CROSSED AND I HAVEN'T READ YOUR LATEST POST YET, EMSDAD, SORRY (BUT I WILL).
OK, I read it now. I agree that you can increase the odds by adding more schools to a point. But where I disagree is once you get much beyond 12 auditions, adding more is not going to help and is not necessary if you have the right list for yourself in the first place. So, I don't recommend HUGE long lists and feel that it is more about the right list for the person. But, I agree that for a highly competitive process like BFAs in MT, that trying for 9 rather than 6, likely does increase the odds a bit.
@emsdad. You are amazing! Bravo for brightening my day!
Oh, we forgot!! Boys have a better chance. They probably need to be less talented to get in a better school... just yanking your chain. But I have a boy and I'm counting on it!
Oh Soozievt- I see you mentioned the boy thing while I was writing- bravo!
^^Yep, your kid's "percentage" odds just went up....yay!! LOL
(but it's really true!!......though I have girls)
Wow - mind taffy! Enjoy!
This has been such a fun thread to follow, and it's helpful (maybe because of the slightly tongue-in-cheek perspective)! Thank you so much!
I've had more fun reading this thread than practically any other in my history here at CC! I'll admit I don't necessarily buy all of numbers because so many of the suppositions needed to be "estimated" rather than based on hard data but it's interesting to see the "conventional wisdom" borne out! (And justifies the fact that, like an addict we can't seem to resist adding in "just one more" school!)
OK, I just have to say that Emsdad and the rest of ya'll have a very different idea of what "fun" is than I do! :) But I do appreciate the effort at trying to make sense of this.
Great stuff, and insightful for those of us in the "straight acting" world... What I find most valuable here is EmsDad's introduction of the idea of diminishing returns. As one now deeply involved in the BFA acting auditions thing (planning on perhaps nine auditions, most in very competitive programs; not counting BA safties...) there is a very tangible reality to diminishing returns, not to mention opportunity costs!
Had we hired a consultant my d's chances would have increased I presume. Fortunately, we stumbled on a couple with very strong music departments because my d had no dance training to speak of. That particular year the faculty was looking for candidates with strong musicianship but the following year my d told me that, had she applied the following year she might not have been admitted to her BFA program because the dance faculty was requesting stronger dancers from the admitting faculty. It all turned out well and a match was found but we were pretty lucky in our ignorance. My d was a vp transfer and has been slowly but steadily improving her dance abilities over the last few years.
I am fairly new to this board, as my daughter is just a freshman in hs. I have loved reading this thread, even when I haven't been able to quite follow all the math details. I love having lots and lots of information, and trying to crunch that information into meaningful patterns, and totally appreciate, Emsdad, that you would do this, that you would do it for fun, and that you would make it public here!
We are not yet making lists of schools, but I appreciate knowing what's out there, and having all this data rumbling around on the back burner will be immensely helpful in a couple of years. And I know we are starting early, but I am so glad we have done so. Last summer we were doing college tours back east for my son (a junior, planning to major in music), and since we were there, we took a look at a couple of MT programs for my daughter (for instance, we were at NYU for my son, so tacked on the theatre dept visit). It gave her such a sense of her possible future and of what she needed to do to get where she wants to be. All of a sudden, she started focusing on her homework instead of singing all the time (because the Tisch folks told her acceptance is 50% academics), and she realized she needed to start taking dance seriously -- all when it's early enough to make a difference.
So, in the same way, I appreciate all this info and all the data-crunching, even though it's early. I feel that, when it's time to start making decisions about where to apply, I will be ready to help my daughter make those decisions. So thanks, Emsdad, and thanks to all who post here regularly!
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