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Just Back from CMU

ugadog99ugadog99 Posts: 486Registered User Member
edited December 2012 in Theater/Drama Majors
We returned home a few hours ago from the CMU Sleeping Bag Weekend and my D's interview/portfolio review. We were also able to see "Seven Guitars" done by Point Park. Oh my goodness, it was really, really good!

We love Pittsburgh. What a super cool city it is! The visit went very well. I do have one gripe with them, but I guess it's a minor thing in the grand scheme of things. My D loved, loved, loved the theatre department. She was told her interview would be one on one with a D&P professor. Imagine her surprise when there NINE!! This was her first review, so the nerves were high yesterday morning. She calmed down once the interview started. She felt it went really well. Today she sat in on a class and the professor remembered her from yesterday. It's nice to have that first one behind us, but it's going to be hard to keep her focused on other schools since she totally fell in love with CMU.

On Thursday we leave for Winston-Salem and UNCSA.

If you have any questions, I'd be glad to answer.
Post edited by ugadog99 on
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Replies to: Just Back from CMU

  • Times3Times3 Posts: 1,234Registered User Senior Member
    So glad to hear she had a great interview--that can only help her confidence! Thanks for posting this, ugadog! By the way, we loved Pittsburgh too. Keeping all fingers crossed for your daughter. :)
  • 5boys5boys Posts: 1,756Registered User Senior Member
    udog... would love to here more about your visit...as my DS is a rising theater applicant. I have heard mixed reviews about CMU.. the university as a whole.. not the theater dept. What did she like the most about it? Did she like the kids? I am trying to decide whether to take a train from Philly when we do some college visits this spring. Did it seem like a big school or small? I would LOVE more details. Really glad your daughter had such a positive experience and I am pulling for her in the upcoming month!!
  • MarbleheaderMarbleheader Posts: 635Registered User Member
    Wow - nine people, and she still kept her cool! That is wonderful, and can only help her as she goes forward.

    Hope it turns out well for her - I think it is exceptionally hard for these kids to wait for an acceptance/rejection from their dream school, all the while prepping for auditions for schools that they hope they don't have to audition for! LOL! Or in your D's case, go through the interview/portfolio process.

    At this point, I am hoping for EVERYONE to be able to have a great Winter break - meaning a break from all of this. ED folks will have heard by them, and depending on the results, will celebrate, or take some time to process the outcome. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving break is right before the Dec. audition month, so I'm sure there will be "to be, or not to be" practice going on right at the Thanksgiving Day table!
  • ActingDadActingDad Posts: 665Registered User Member
    Happy to hear your daughter had a great experience. My daughter is doing the sleeping bag weekend for her audition Jan 20 even though she already spent 6 weeks there last summer! Wish you the best in this process.

    5Boys -- what were the mixed reviews you heard? My daughter loved it there. I think its tough to draw a complete comparison between a summer experience and a college experience. She liked just about all the acting kids over the summer but felt many of the MT kids were a little over full of themselves but then there were about 90 of them and it generally was not the really talented ones with any realistic chance of getting in that were over full of themselves. But I can say that her experiences and interaction with the theater department felt like a small school and I suspect the regular school year is even less of a big school feel because the summer had a lot more kids there than the regular school year.
  • theater momtheater mom Posts: 535Registered User Member
    The DTP group is very tight (as I imagine acting and MT are too) so your child's feelings will depend to some extent on how he or she feels about the other DTP students. Some make an attempt to make connections outside the group (with freshman roommates, fraternities/sororities) but most do not. They are their own fraternity/sorority. My daughter takes only one or two classes a semester outside the theater school and many of these are lecture courses so she doesn't get much interaction there either. But this sort of clannishness is encouraged. Your fellow students will be your network, after all, once you graduate.

    My daughter went to precollege first and it was not the same. But this was because everyone knew some students would be accepted into the program and, in my daughter's view, anyway, the whole experience was unnecessarily competitive. I say "unnecessarily" because the faculty seemed to accept or reject on a individual basis. They weren't looking for the top five or ten. The actual school experience has been much more fun and friendly.
  • ugadog99ugadog99 Posts: 486Registered User Member
    CMU is a lovely school with a kind of odd student body dynamic, I think. There are some very, very intelligent, nerdy type kids at CMU. In fact, my older D (Emory) loved it and kind of wishes she had applied four years ago. The campus reminds me of a combination of Emory main campus and Oglethorpe. It isn't as large as Emory but not as small as Oglethorpe. From an outsider's view, I could see two distinct groups of students: the academic ones and the art ones. My D, obviously, fits the latter. The only time she felt "uncomfortable" or out of her element was for a portion of the spend night evening. She was matched with a computer science major who dabbles in Scotch and Soda (the theatre group for non theatre majors). They all started talking "smart" talk as my D says, and she felt very isolated. However, as soon as she got back with her "kind," all was well. The theatre kids she met all made it clear that the theatre kids hang together. They are their own group, and that is exactly what she wants. She loved the facilities, loved the faculty she met, loved the current theatre students, loved the campus, loved the city, just all in all thinks it is exactly what she wants.

    Two tiny things we noticed, and please don't get angry with me about this one. We noticed throughout the entire weekend that there really is something true about that Southern hospitality thing. We're from Georgia and are just accustomed to everyone speaking and smiling, saying thank you, yes sir and no sir. The people we met were nice but not warm, friendly, and welcoming like home. It isn't a bad thing; it's just something we have to adjust to. I had always heard that but wasn't sure how true it was. The second thing, and this is kind of silly, but serious to some of us in the South: no sweet tea! GASP!! My D will have to take her tea maker and get it good and sweet. :)

    She really did love it, and it feels great to now be in the audition phase and not the fill out applications phase. Good luck to all beginning this part!
  • mountainhikermountainhiker Posts: 802Registered User Member
    Does anyone else have any insight into the dynamics between "arts" and "non-arts" kids at CMU? DD is looking for a school where it is "cool to be smart" and there is an opportunity for interaction with kids from other majors outside of Theatre. CMU has been on her list because it does have the reputation of attracting intelligent kids, but if there is a pretty clear divide between arts/not-arts students, it may not be a good fit.
  • ActingDadActingDad Posts: 665Registered User Member
    Mountainhiker -- if your daughter is planning to pursue a BFA, I don't think it matters much where they end up going to school. Interaction is almost going to be exclusively with the theater kids. I think its just a product of how many hours they spend together. I suspect its probably quite different in a BA program.
  • mountainhikermountainhiker Posts: 802Registered User Member
    She's a junior, and is just beginning to put together a preliminary list. It will most likely include BFA and BA, auditioned and non-auditioned programs.

    I know there are lots of great "BA versus BFA" threads on this forum, and they've been really helpful. I have the impression that "not all BFA programs are equal," in that some function totally as a conservatory, even if they're within a large university, with very minimal interaction with the "outside world," while others promote a fairly high level of interaction with students outside the major.
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Posts: 2,970Registered User Senior Member
    Boston University School of Theatre is a place where it is "cool to be smart." It is possible for students who chose the Theatre Arts track of the BFA performance program to receive Acting training that is on a par with that of the Acting track students, but at the same time have the flexibility to take a significant number of classes outside the College of Fine Arts, if they want to.

    I'd classify NYU as another "cool to be smart" BFA program. Drama BFA students there have studio days and non-studio days each week. On the non-studio days they take academic courses.
  • pennmompennmom Posts: 78Registered User Junior Member
    I have a son who graduated from CMU in 2011. I would say there is not a lot of interaction between the arts and non-arts kids, especially in the theater department, since the program is so involving. I do know of a couple of kids who joined fraternities and interacted outside of the theater department that way, and a couple who minored in something else.
    In general, though, the students at CMU are very smart, and most are passionate about what they are learning, whether they want to act on stage or build a robot. There are not many undeclared majors freshman year, and that makes for a different vibe than many other colleges. It is not a party school, it attracts students who are serious about their studies.
  • megpmommegpmom Posts: 2,696Registered User Senior Member
    ugadog - I understand your feelings about the lack of Southern hospitality. I grew up in Arkansas and Texas and when I went to school in Chicago in the 80's, I called home in tears because the people just weren't "friendly" especially service workers like waiters and salespeople. I adjusted. But I was sure glad to move back to Texas twelve years later. My D, currently in Washington, DC says the same thing.
  • ugadog99ugadog99 Posts: 486Registered User Member
    megpmom, it's so funny you mentioned service people. The waiters and waitresses were really what stood out to us. I'm so used to having a little conversation with a waitress and always saying thank you, etc. to them. No conversation at all and when I said thank you, I got the strangest looks. LOL! I know it's just something she will have to adjust to if she ends up outside the south.
  • MarbleheaderMarbleheader Posts: 635Registered User Member
    Even though I grew up in New England (and we do get a bad rap about the whole "unfriendly" thing - we are wicked friendly!), I understand what you are saying about the hospitality of southerners, in particular the service folks. We took a train down to Florida for a vacation (in Oct. 2001 - no way we would fly that year), and all the folks who worked on the train were from Georgia. The train ride itself was horrible (28hrs), but the staff made the whole experience bearable. They could not do enough for the passengers! We really appreciated that.
  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP Posts: 986- Member
    Once when I was living in Chicago, I took a trip to Memphis to participate in some unified auditions.

    Now when I walked down the streets of Chicago, strangers would constantly come up to me and ask me for money. That's what Chicago is like.

    And when I went "Walking in Memphis", I noticed strangers would constantly come up to me as well. It took me some time to figure out that these folks were not asking me for money, they really were just saying "Hello".

    KEVP
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