I auditioned for AADA almost exactly one year ago. I was accepted, but decided not to attend. I opted for a different conservatory that I felt would bear more fruit for me. After one year, I feel like I made the best choice possible. Speaking from my own personal experience with searching for alternative programs to college training, I would strongly recommend AADA prospectives to look elsewhere.
As I understand it, AADA was the first true drama school founded in America. And it had loads of prestige back in the day. Its golden era was in the 50's which was a different time and taught a different approach to acting that was appropriate to that era that what is done today. It took a while for AADA to accept its current program of Method influence. Most of their greatest graduates come from that time period. Because of such a long gap between then and now, I don't think you should put much worth into their long list of alumni from back then.
That being said, the question is if they offer quality training today. I am absolutely certain that the students do not recieve poor or even mediocre instruction, but for the price they ask you to pay, it is most definitely not worth it. I urge you to seek out other places unless AADA offers a big fat scholarship.
From talking to former AADA students, I gather that it is a hit or miss place in terms of how much growth they got out of the program. AADA is more forgiving when it comes to accepting less developed actors. I do not mean to speak negatively about these persons, but the prospectives to AADA are not yet at the same level as those accepted into Julliard, CMU, BU. That's OKAY, everyone has to start somewhere! It takes time to grow and develop in every endeavor.
But don't expect the reputation of the school to impress people in the industry when compared to other programs like Julliard or even conservatories like the Atlantic Theater Company. It would be more on the field of AMDA and the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. I would rank AADA at the top of those three in terms of quality.
AADA training begins with an introduction into Meisner work and then as I understand it, becomes a bit more eclectic as you progress through the upper stages of the program, and it depends on which teacher you are assigned.
If you have the money to somehow justify the costs of the school, then more power to you. But you can easily find quality schools outside of AADA in terms of time spent training and the cost of said training. The counter argument at AADA is that you will earn an AA degree, with the possibility of continuing on to a Bachelor's degree in the future at their affiliated schools. That was a nasty joke to me, as it costs almost the same amount of money to attend those schools as it does at AADA, and you will spend an additional 2 years working towards that degree. And in the industry, even an Acting BFA does not hold much weight in getting a part. It all boils down to what you can do, and that comes from the quality of your training.
Is AADA a bad school?
Is it a good school for me to study at?
If you do not have much training, you will definitely learn a lot and create a foundation of technique for yourself.
I'm going to be paying at least $28,000 per year to study here, so how does it compare to other quality programs?
You will find yourself in utter disappointment with how much you put into the school if you expect it to be at the top tier levels of other Acting/Drama/Theatre programs.
AADA's training is just not worth what it costs to attend. There are so many better alternatives in both NYC and LA.