Katt - My son also thought that NYU/Tisch was his "dream" school, from seventh grade onward. He did not even apply there, ultimately, for a variety of reasons. The attributes that made it attractive are also available a a huge array of schools, with a range of acceptance rates: DePaul, Emerson, Carnegie-Mellon, BU, UArts, Point Park, CCPA/Roosevelt, Marymount Manhattan, Pace, UMinnesota-Guthrie, Columbia College Chicago, and Cornish are all located in cities with vibrant arts and theater scenes. Many, many other colleges have excellent theater programs, with opportunities available in top-notch regional theater scenes. If your academic record is rocky, it is even more important to cast a wide net instead of setting your heart too intently on one school. Are you currently involved in any community theater groups? Is it possible for you to register for some classes at a community college? I think it's crucial for you to demonstrate commitment and desire to grow artistically and academically at this point. Schools are willing to forgive some bumps in the road, if you appear to be moving forward. If you don't have many theatrical opportunities, consider taking some writing classes. There are some very good ones available on-line, that could help you develop confidence for the essays and applications that carry extra weight for students with non-traditional secondary educations.