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Advice welcomed: LACs with active performing arts communities, theater and film major available

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Replies to: Advice welcomed: LACs with active performing arts communities, theater and film major available

  • sn189144sn189144 86 replies7 threads Junior Member
    SATs number two came in. His scores were 660 and 710 in Math for a 1370 total. Nice increase. He is not taking them again.

    So. Stats to consider are 3.5 and change for a weighted GPA. and the 1370 SAT. Lots of activities, including president of the class for 3 years, lead in non musical, theater, choir, improv, lots of service, Eagle scout, part time job waiting tables for the last year and a half.

    As he has gotten serious about looking, he now is undecided about his major. He is still strongly leaning toward a BA in theater arts plus another major. Now he is considering other options, but definitely wants to continue involvement at least in theater.

    So now criteria for school:
    Undecided major although still leaning toward wanting to include theater arts.
    Extracurricular interests: Theater, improv, intramural sports, outdoors club, student government, service
    prefers 1500 to 5000 students ( seems to look at up to 10,000) 20,000 at JMU was too big after visiting. Likes a positive vibe, outlook, pride in school, etc on campus. High engagement.
    Cost is a big consideration as we are in that spot of making too much to qualify for any needs based aid, but too little to make 70,000 per year comfortable...almost impossible without debt which we are not willing to incur.

    So far he has toured in person the following, once.
    Ursinus, positive initial impression Would qualify for merit here that would bring it to an affordable range for us.

    Muhlenberg, positive impression. not sure about finances yet

    Franklin and Marshall. very positive impression, but unless I've missed something, would be too expensive at 72000 for us. But I will examine farther to see if possibly our calculations are not correct.

    Drew: Negative impression due primarily to rundown interiors of class room buildings and negative impression of freshman housing, and the few people outside of admissions that we saw since it was right after spring semester had dismissed.

    Elizabethtown: Eliminated theater arts program although it was still on their website. Nixed.

    James Madison: Liked much about it. However, he said the size(20,000) is just too big for his taste.

    West Chester State: Nixed. Not sure exactly why. "just not for me" most likely too big at 17000

    Temple: Despite the size he is going to apply because of the combination program of theater arts/second major and teaching degree in 5 years that he may be interested in but not sure and plethora of other academic programs. And he really appreciates the diversity in terms of not only race, but interest ("both preppy jocks and blue haired, nose ringed artists at the same place" ) and income level.

    He has a list of 45 schools that he is perusing on line and doing virtual tours. We have times set aside for tours of the ones he is most interested in. He may end up applying to a few with just virtual tour/seminar experience. If he is accepted he will not attend until after an in person visit.

    I think he conflicted by his preference for a small, intimate environment with small classes, relationships with professors and ability to create your own major, or similar, not having to declare a major until sophomore year, with his preference for diversity in student population and less of a solid white often entitled vibe of some smaller private schools. He goes to a public school in a relatively diverse district in terms of race, religion, income and education levels ....(Lawyers, doctors, professors in the same mile, and neighborhood as trades people ) and loves it.

    Thank you for all advice and I still welcome more, but will start a new thread since now theater arts as a major is not necessarily the driving factor.

    To a couple of contributors here: We ARE including a visit to CNU on our trip to visit family. And Elon is on the radar, but possibly too far and a bit too many confederate flags in the surrounding area.












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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43076 replies470 threads Senior Member
    What about Allegheny? Everybody double majors :)
    https://sites.allegheny.edu/comart/
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  • sn189144sn189144 86 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Myos1634, thanks for the reminder re Allegheny . Was going to stop there on the way to oHio.
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  • TS0104TS0104 1362 replies31 threads Senior Member
    @sn189144 , my D is pursuing her Theater BA at LMU in LA...so too far for your son. Incidentally we live about 45 min from Denison and D was in a couple of student productions there. I would say that their film dept seems relatively strong for schools around here, but I dont' know much about their theater dept. Denison is well regarded here, but not sure how he would stack up on merit aid.
    Elon is laser focused on "engaged learning" and seems to tick all of your son's wish list. ..except diversity. They say it's at 18%, and are working to improve, but it just does not look like a diverse student body (however, I don't know what NE/PA/OH LACs look like for diversity...except for Denison which we've been to per above which I would also say looks very not-diverse). Elon size is 6700 I believe. I heard good things about Elon's Theater Dept when D was looking, but she wanted CA.
    Then DS ended up at Elon for totally non-theater related major. As for confederate flags, all I can say on that is that my good high school friend, raised in Ohio as I was, has lived in Raleigh for about 15 years and when I asked her about that kind of thing, she stated that she thinks "her area" of NC isn't as "southern" as say AL and GA ("her area" meaning Raleigh, which is one hour east of Elon) and so far my experiences there agree with her assessment. For what it's worth! Elon also had a lower sticker price than most of DS' other schools. Looks like their Acting is a BFA, and they have a Drama and Theater BA.
    And finally, back to my D and her BA...she has added one minor so far and is working to add another major. BA was always the right decision for her and it is proving more so over time.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 6860 replies30 threads Senior Member
    Elon has a really nice theater program for what it's worth.
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  • sn189144sn189144 86 replies7 threads Junior Member
    TS0104, thanks for your input. Yes CA is too far for son.

    Elon is also farther away than he'd like, but does have a lot that appeals to him too. Maybe. And your right about the sticker price.

    Good to hear that the area around may not be as I had heard from another parent. Something like that has to really be checked out in an in person visit I think. I will say, when I was 16 and on vacation with a best friend's family, we went to the NC shoreline and then Raleigh to visit her cousins and grandparents. I was told by my friend's mom not to mention that I was Catholic to the grandfather because she was afraid that he would be rude to me! But that was just one crabby old man and almost 40 years ago already. Sheesh, I am getting old!
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  • sn189144sn189144 86 replies7 threads Junior Member
    correction: you're, not your! It is a pet peeve that I wish I was able to go back and edit!! Also, TS0104, he was indeed looking at Denison, but also Wooster and Wittenberg. As an Ohioan, are you familiar with these two ?

    And best wishes to your daughter. I think there is value in a Theater arts BA and that skills learned can be transferred to many other areas of life and to a variety of careers, if performance does not manage to provide an adequate living. I believe in following your true dreams and interests and that by doing so, your vocation will eventually make itself apparent. My son loves to be a part of theater productions. He did have the lead in the school 11th grade non musical, and that experience really reinforced the desire to act. He is not 100 percent certain though about majoring in the performing arts and is interested in many other things as well. He IS certain that he wants to remain involved in some capacity, however.

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  • TS0104TS0104 1362 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I've never been to Wooster or Wittenberg, but both also have good reputations around here. Wooster I think I would put in a higher category academic/selectivity wise. I know happy students at each.
    I will add to my Elon geographical area comments that the area immediately surrounding Elon and outward is very, very small town, and I can't really speak to the culture of them. The town of Elon itself and its tiny size was a concern after our first visit; there's a thread of mine in the Elon forum about that. As for my son, I'm pretty sure he's going to mostly stick to campus, and if he ventures out, we have Raleigh Durham to the East one hour and Winston Salem to the West one hour, both decent sized cities and I would hope, more modern day cultures and attitudes. He's also doing outdoor stuff like whitewater rafting...so adding in the raves we heard from Elon students about staying busy and happy there, the small-town surrounding atmosphere I kind of think won't be much of a factor in his college experience.
    Agree with you on theater studies, passion and career prospects, whether in the industry or not!
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4140 replies27 threads Senior Member
    I thought I had already seconded Denison, but apparently had not. So, yes, Denison! Strong theater department with amazing new Eisner Center for the performing arts, a separate film department, lots of students double major. Strong culture of faculty engagement and mentoring, with small classes. By small liberal arts college standards, it is more diverse than many, about 65% white, about 20% low income, 20% international, 20% first gen, and 20% minority (several of those categories overlap). My kid went to a very diverse public urban high school, was looking for a non-"siloed" college experience, and has found that at Denison. More economically diverse than many LACs because it uses merit money to bring in middle/upper middle class families -- unlike some schools where there are many wealthy students and then low income students, but few in between.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4140 replies27 threads Senior Member
    correcting myself on some of those student body percentages at Denison -- 18% first gen, 22% students of color, 14% international.
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  • sn189144sn189144 86 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Thanks. If I am remembering correctly the scattergam showed my son's stats as higher than 40 percent of admitted students at both Denison, and Wooster, so he'd have a shot. He likes much that he sees on line about them, especially Denison's theater. A trip to Ohio is in our future. I have to check the map, but I would think we could fit in Juniata and Allegheny perhaps on the way? I wish my son would have gotten more serious about his studies in 9th and 10th grade. This would all be much easier!
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  • CTMom21CTMom21 605 replies2 threads Member
    @sn189144, FWIW, we recently visited OH (first time ever), and my son loved Wooster. We visited Denison on our own as well and it’s beautiful, and the town is lovely, but we couldn’t do a tour and info session. My sense is Woosternis very strong in music, but umm not sure about theater. In terms of travel, Wooster was an easy 55 minute drive from the Cleveland airport, and Denison was another 1.5 hours from Wooster (country roads). We plan to go back and hopefully check out OWU and do a real visit to Denison.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4140 replies27 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    To travel directly to Denison, it's a 25 minutes from Columbus airport, all highway until the exit into Granville, which is a lovely village. 29% acceptance rate for the current first years, over 8800 applications last year, mid 50% test scores is 28-31. As with any LAC, "fit" matters, and Denison seems to look for students who value and will contribute to the diverse community it builds. Denison students tend to be "do-ers" -- very involved in lots of activities.
    edited September 2019
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  • sn189144sn189144 86 replies7 threads Junior Member
    CTMom21, maybe we will see you out there! Thanks for the information on travel accessibility.
    . My son just received a large pamphlet style ad from the College of Wooster and read it yesterday. Literally, every single highlighted point of their ad caught his interest. We will definitely be looking, and I believe he said he was signing up for a local alumni interview for Wooster in October. While theater arts is now a "potential major" rather than for sure for this undecided student, it IS a non negotiable extracurricular. I believe he said that he read that about 30 percent of Wooster students are active in some aspect of theater. ( not necessarily majors) I believe it mentioned that many students are involved in sports too. My son is also looking for an active intramural sports community. So perhaps this is a nice match. I predict he will be asking for bagpipe lessons soon.



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  • MAmom111MAmom111 290 replies14 threads Member
    My D has similar stats (3.7 and 30 on ACT). She has very different t interests than your S but is also interested in a variety of things as she is unsure on a major. We visited College of Wooster, Denison, and Ohio Wesleyan on one trip. She loved Wooster and OWU but didn’t care for Denison. She thought Granville was really cute but too small and just too “perfect”. She didn’t like the hilly campus at Denison, it just felt disjointed to her. We were there for an open house and she just felt the whole thing felt too marketed and polished, the admit rates seem like they have really dropped anyways so it would have been a total reach for her. She loved the open house at Wooster and the tour and interview at Ohio Wesleyan. Both of those towns and campuses were a bit grittier but they felt more authentic to her. OWU gives great merit money so it may be worth looking at as safety.

    Two others she loved were Ursinus and Susquehanna which also both have great merit $$ for her stats. She didn’t like Dickinson and is on the fence about Gettysburg. She also doesn’t want the total rich kid, white suburban vibe although that is basically what she is growing up in.

    Roanoke College may be another one to look at that gives really good merit. My D didn’t love it when we visited but I thought it would have been a great fit for her.
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  • sn189144sn189144 86 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for your review, MAmom111. Ursinus is on my son's list to apply. He also loved an initial visit there, he will likely qualify for merit, and it is 45 minutes from home. He will be sitting in on a class , and I think having lunch with a student within the next month. Also, we will be looking at Susquehanna and Juniata in PA, and maybe Dickinson too, although I think it is a reach and if he does get in would be too expensive. We have to research and screen it a bit more before taking the time to tour. No need to risk falling for one that will very likely end up being financially out of range. We already have F and M fitting that category! Sounds like my S and your D may meet up on the same campus some day! Good luck to your D!
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13236 replies247 threads Senior Member
    Denison, but also Wooster and Wittenberg.

    Love Wooster and Denison. not such a big fan of Witt. Wooster is known for music, not theater so much. The senior capstone is a big draw for many. I know many happy students at both.

    I know several who transferred from Witt and no one locally seems to choose OWU.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43076 replies470 threads Senior Member
    ^any reasons why OWU gets no love locally?
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  • sn189144sn189144 86 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Do you by chance know the reason for the transfers from Wittenberg? And why do locals not choose OWU?
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4140 replies27 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    Regarding cost and Franklin & Marshall -- F&M switched to a need-based model of aid only, no merit aid. If I understood correctly that this family needs merit aid to make the finances work, as they are not eligible for financial aid, then F&M would not be a school to keep on the list because it will never be affordable.
    edited September 2019
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