Join Date: Sep 2009
Unique situation: A (somewhat) accomplished music producer’s chance at top colleges
Hi, I am just in the beginning the process of looking at these schools, so if I sound a bit uneducated please excuse me. Location is a very large factor with these schools as I need to be somewhat close to NYC, LA, Chicago, or Boston. The main schools I am considering at this early point are: Columbia, Cornell, Univeristy of Chicago, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, Boston Univeristy and Boston College.
So here’s my basic story: I was home schooled until the 10th grade and in 11th and 12th grade I began taking freshman and sophomore level classes at a four year university and maintained a 3.75 GPA(college GPA plus home schooled high school GPA is around 3.85). I scored a 35(.25 away from a perfect score) on the ACT but never took any SAT IIs as I never planned to go to an upper level school. I dropped out of my four year college after two years(12th grade) to pursue music. If the music thing didn’t work out after two years, I planned to go back and finish up my degree and graduate at the normal age of 22. Now, during the past year that I took off(I still have a year left), I have been pretty successful within the music business (I produce music). I have worked with many big name pop, rap, and pop-rock artists and currently have a few records that are slotted for release within the next year, including two possible singles(although with the way the industry is, these songs can be swapped out at any time.) I have also produced music for TV shows, nation-wide TV commercials, and plan to do free work for a democratic senator and two democratic representatives in the 2010 campaign.
Now, although my success in music has been great, it has also been extremely stressful and the income is extremely inconsistent. Because of this, I have been looking at the possibility of going back to school at an upper-tier college(if this is possible). I imagine I could do well very well on the SAT IIs as I have actually continued to study in my off time as I pursue music; so I shouldn’t have lost much of my edge. I would also be able to produce a recommendation letter from one of the most famous artists/businessmen in all of music and I imagine my essays would be fairly strong if I could write about my success and struggle within the music industry. My main issue would be letter recommendations from teachers, as it has been a year since I was last in class. At the large college I attended, I am not sure if any of the professors would even remember me(I was also fairly quite since I was the youngest in all my classes). Another issue would be my area of study; I am hoping to pursue a degree in business or economics, not music where my strong background exists (although running a production company is very similar to running a small one person business - not only did I have to produce music, I was also the company‘s traveling salesman, accountant, etc.).
So, basically, my questions to college confidential are:
1. Will my lack of, or weak recommendation letters from professors kill any chances I have of attending a top school. Or, if I explain my sitiatuon to these schools will they be understanding?
2. Will a fairly strong recommendation letter from an extremely famous artist and businessman help my chances even if I am I not famous. (Its not like I am Emma Watson or Shia LaBeouf or anything)
3. Will any of the top colleges care about my musical background if it is not classical? I can play the guitar, bass, drums, and piano, but I not extremely gifted on any of them. My main talent is in writing, arranging, and mixing pop/rap/pop-rock songs.
4. If I were to send in samples of my music would it help or likely hurt me. Some of the music I have produced for TV is classical, but the arrangements are fairly simple (similar to The Apprentice or Hard Knocks background music.) Other than that, my music really spans all genres. I have some that sounds like Coldplay, U2, and One Republic, and other that sound like Common, Jay-Z, and Kanye West(Although the music is a lot more complex then normal rap music, with live bass, guitars, drums, etc.) and really everything else in-between. If I sent in a sample of this music, would the colleges admissions officers simply listen with a horrified look on their face, or would they actually understand that it takes talent to write, record, and play every instrument in these songs?
5. Will the two years I have taken off hurt my chance of admission at top schools? Or since I have accomplished something during this time will it not hurt me?
Also, just incase this information is needed: I am white male, and will be the first in my family to attend college (I am an only child and my parents went to a technical college - I am not sure if this counts at top schools, but at my old school it qualified me as a first to attend). My parents are divorced, one makes around $80,000 and the one I spend most of my time with makes $40,000. Other then music, my ECs are not that great. I worked at my Dad's business about 20 hours a week from the 9th to 12th grade, and also spent a ton of time on music although I did not have any success during this time. Other than donating music to a few causes, I do not have much of a charitable background as it tough to have a set schedule since I have to travel all over the country(most times within a days notice)
Thanks for any help you can give on this issue. I honestly have no idea whether my chance for admission at any top school is likely or if it is simply 0%. So if anyone could tell me where they think I stand it would be great. Thanks.