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College “Fit” Suggestions Needed

Spirit5Spirit5 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
I’m new to the forum and am looking for advice for my D20 who is interested in the performing arts and creative writing. More specifically she is interested in writing for live performance (playwriting) with a growing interest in screenwriting. She is a relatively high stat kid - 34 ACT, National Merit Commended, AP Scholar with Distinction, but her UW GPA is 3.7, and she is an unhooked applicant. Her ECs are all in line with her interests with a spike in producing her first 1 hour 1 Act play at her high school in her junior year, but most of her awards and recognition are through her local school, state and/or regional performance - nothing national, and all performance based. Her dream schools are Northwestern and Emory, but she realistically understands the low odds of acceptance and financial feasibility. Her struggle is finding other schools that offer both challenging academics and engaging arts-based majors. She is not looking for ivy’s, but rather, mid-size universities or larger LACs that offer the above with the possibility of merit scholarships. She will be applying to her in-state schools, but would prefer to move anywhere north, northeast or central where there is a more active theater scene. She’s not interested in west-coast schools. Does anyone have any recommendation that could help her build her list? Preferably with NPCs that would be in the $25K range after merit and/or financial aid considerations?
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Replies to: College “Fit” Suggestions Needed

  • Spirit5Spirit5 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Again, being new here, I'm not sure if I'm not asking my question clearly, or if no responses mean that no one has suggestions? If there is a thread on this site somewhere that addresses mid-size performing arts and writing schools for high to mixed-stats students that aren't just those listed on the typical rankings, I would greatly appreciate a reference. Thank you!
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29579 replies172 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There is a sub-forum for theater majors inside the college majors forum. That would be a place to re-post your question. Put the information about her specific interest in playwriting in the title so that people who know about that will spot it.

    Happykid was a theater tech/design (lighting) major at Towson U in Maryland. It would fit your description for size and good connections with professional theater in the north and east - especially in the lively Baltimore-DC region. I don't know about merit aid or playwriting, but all that will be right on the Towson website.
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  • bobo44bobo44 227 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    One of my former students found her happy theater place at Illinois Wesleyan. With your daughter's stats I would think merit money would be offered.
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2109 replies100 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    edited September 10
    Reaches: Wesleyan (in Connecticut), Vassar

    Connecticut College, Skidmore, Bard, Sarah Lawrence, Muhlenberg, Kenyon (for the creative writing)

    Here is a somewhat similar thread:
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/2153145-advice-welcomed-lacs-with-active-performing-arts-communities-theater-and-film-major-available.html#latest
    edited September 10
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  • joecollege44joecollege44 84 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Sounds like a good skidmore fit- which by the way moved up in the latest US news rankings.
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  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers 3339 replies75 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Because you're looking for merit, you would want to avoid (sadly because otherwise they are great schools for your daughter) Barnard and Vassar. Wesleyan U in CT is great for theater but I'm not sure that it gives merit very often.

    You may want to consider Bryn Mawr -- it has a great theater program, is top-notch for academics, is part of a consortium with Swarthmore, Haverford, UPenn, and it gives merit. If she prefers a co-ed campus she should consider Haverford. They are almost twin campuses and if you attend one, you also almost by default attend the other. Merit at BrynMawr is good though.

    I echo Muhlenberg for you, for good theater and for good merit.

    On Staten Island Wagner College is known for its theater and they would offer merit.

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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3367 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Wesleyan U in CT is great for theater but I'm not sure that it gives merit very often.

    They don't. They have about a bakers dozen of highly focused scholarships including the Hamilton Prize for best pre-frosh literary submission. The rest target applicants from specific Asian countries.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9131 replies492 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Wesleyan is a high reach for almost all students.

    What about Ithaca? Pretty sure she would get some merit there. It’s pretty large for an LAC.
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  • merc81merc81 10254 replies155 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    You could look through these articles, which list schools noted for their strength in creative writing, then review potential choices for their merit scholarship opportunities and for the liveliness of their theatre programs:

    https://contently.net/2014/11/06/resources/tools/training/10-best-colleges-creative-writers/

    https://www.flavorwire.com/409437/the-25-most-literary-colleges-in-america
    edited September 11
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  • txstellatxstella 1095 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you don’t qualify for need based aid at the private’s, then getting the cost down to $25,000 will be tough.

    Maybe investigate the University of Iowa.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 633 replies61 threadsRegistered User Member
    My kids have opposite talents, so I can't help on that front. I have advice on figuring out what you can afford though.

    It's hard for anyone to know where you stand on financial aid without knowing your finances. I would suggest running NPC numbers for a few schools to get a rough idea. I did this for a bunch of schools, most of them link to the same form so once you do a couple the rest go super quick. Generally the more selective the school the better the financial aid. Harvard/Princeton tend to come out on top, and then generally as they get less selective they get less generous. NYU is an exception, they are really bad for financial aid. Also generally state schools give poor or no aid to out of state students. Although with that ACT some lower cost state flagships are probably in your price rance. (Nebraska, South Dakota, Alabama, New Mexico, etc.) Not sure if any of them will meet your criteria though, just throwing them out there.
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  • Spirit5Spirit5 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    My husband and I are self-employed so NPCs aren't reliable for us which makes it hard to know if we'll qualify for need-based aid. The University of Iowa is definitely on her list of schools she's applying to though.
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  • Spirit5Spirit5 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Our EFC corresponds with our budget (around $25-30K), but because my husband owns his own business (no employees, single owner, architect), we aren't certain how the schools will consider or value the business. Our AGI has been stable for most years but we recently changed to S-Corp status, so our AGI jumped in 2018. S-corp status helped immensely for tax purposes, but it looks like it will hurt us on financial aid. Just too hard to tell.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9131 replies492 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Trinity College in Hartford has a good creative writing program. Not sure about theater. If she branches out to the West or Midwest, she will have more choices. If merit is desired, there are some excellent colleges such as St. Olaf, Kalamazoo, Earlham, Beloit, Knox and College of Wooster. Don’t know about their strengths in theater and creative writing, but tbh, it’s very likely that most LACs will have robust offerings in both her areas of interest. On the West Coast, Whitman in Walla Walla is a much-loved choice of CC’ers. Lewis and Clark, in lovely Portland, Oregon, would most likely give her good merit.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6567 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Second Muhlenburg and Skidmore, and adding Ithaca College.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5571 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Tufts is another reach, but great academics coupled with strong theater programs (including those for non majors.).

    Take a look at Denison. It may check the box on pretty much everything. Bard has a totally different vibe but could be ideal. Both these two will be easier admits but are quality schools. Both may be slightly smaller than what she's looking for.

    Kenyon has both a strong writing and theater tradition so again, could be a match although it's smaller too.

    Even schools not known for these programs may have great opportunities. I recall at both Bates and Colby meeting kids (giving tours) who had written and produced plays. Of course, there are places like USC where screen writing is a major but you may have to do a little digging (as I am sure you have found.)
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3934 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agree to above schools. Look at Illinois Wesleyan as stated with Knox and Beloit. All will have scholarships /merit money.

    Emerson College in Boston would be an excellent school for her interests but not sure if there is much money but look into it.
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  • yauponreduxyauponredux 727 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member
    Hollins may be smaller than she wants (and then there’s the women’s college aspect), but for writing and theatre it’s worth a look.
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  • bjscheelbjscheel 516 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
  • newyorkmom2girlnewyorkmom2girl 80 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Since you're hoping to get cost in the $25,000 range I'm thinking state schools. Delaware? UMD College Park? Without financial aid, merit scholarships for those state schools could potentially bring you closer to that number. And there are many other high stats kids there. Syracuse has a very active and well-respected performing arts program and gives merit to high stats kid (with demonstrated interest.)
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