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GPA and Conservatory Admission Advice

mrfostermrfoster Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited December 2010 in Music Major
I am currently a BM in vocal performance at Jacobs (IU) and I am looking to transfer out. I have not had much luck in performance opportunities here because most grad students are simply fabulous and that just doesn't allow too much stage time for any of us undergrads. I also really desire to be in a city so I have more chances to sing outside of school. I have applied to both MSM and Boston Conservatory because I would love to be in either city. My issue is that I began college very well, ending my first year with a 3.6. The very next year, I had a lot of personal and financial problems and my grads tanked. They are not indicative of my work ethic and capabilities, and while I know conservatories and mostly concerned with your audition, I do know that academics say a lot to admissions about the effort you will put into your time in school as well as in your career. A 2.1 GPA isn't who I am and is not the first impression I want to make. I was wondering if I should include an explanation in my essay or write a secondary statement to submit with my application, letting the admissions staff know more about my situation? Or am I toast? LOL
Post edited by mrfoster on

Replies to: GPA and Conservatory Admission Advice

  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,971 Senior Member
    Can't comment on the GPA issue (if there were extenuating circumstances, a letter might be helpful), but it seems to me that both BoCo and MSM have healthy graduate programs themselves. If you're really trying to get away from a situation where the grad students get most of the opportunities, I'm not sure those are your best choices. Maybe you should consider programs that are primarily focused on undergraduate eduation?
  • musicamusicamusicamusica Registered User Posts: 6,468 Senior Member
    agree with Stradmom. I would call programs directly and ask if they are looking for your voice type in the coming year. Plenty of good schools bring on new students(especially male students) with an eye to casting the next years opera.
  • KatMTKatMT College Rep Posts: 4,171 Senior Member
    Are you a sophomore... a junior? You may also find a direct transfer will be difficult. Many schools require a specific sequence of voice lesson levels, that you take music theory at their institution, etc... so, you may end up having to start over, or at the very least take an extra year in undergrad to complete your degree. That being said, contact the schools in which you are interested and see what they say.

    Is your 2.1 a result of your grades in major courses? Even schools that will allow music courses to transfer will generally require a C or above in the course (sometimes higher). I also believe that music conservatories will be looking at your grades in your music courses at your current program as a part of the admissions process.

    Are you interested in pursuing a graduate degree? If so, could you complete your undergraduate degree in a timely fashion and then apply to graduate programs at conservatories in cities?

    It seems important to explore all of your options. :)
  • mrfostermrfoster Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thank you all for your replies. I actually am not even looking to make the transfer as a junior. I am more than willing to transfer in as a freshman, because I know music courses don't transfer (I spoke with both admissions offices). I know that sounds insane, but I really feel like Indiana wasn't the right fit for me, and if I stay I really doubt I will remain a voice major! Seeing as this is the only thing I can see myself doing with my life, the only thing I can think of is to transfer out.
    The issue with Jacobs is also how large the school is. There isn't enough personal attention for me, I would love something a bit more intimate. I want healthy competition (so I'm not too worried about good graduate programs) but this school is just too big to break into as an undergraduate. Plus, I feel like being in a city will be more productive for me than being in the middle of Indiana. I really feel like as a performance major, it is important for me to be onstage A LOT. Whether its in school or in the community. Bloomington doesn't really have much outside of IU.
    Also, the circumstances of my slipping grades were a number of things. A family member passed, my families financial situation became very difficult and I just became very discouraged. It was a difficult time, and I wish I stayed on top of things better than I did. I just hope I can let admissions know that is not the type of student I am.
  • SnowflakeVTSnowflakeVT Registered User Posts: 2,494 Senior Member
    mrfoster, I feel for you ... college is challenging enough academically and socially, and then to have to deal with a death in the family and even more financial pressures can be daunting. Is there anyway you can get a reset at this school? Would they let you re-take the semester that you struggled due to those circumstances? I'm just wondering if that is even possible, and if it is, would that reset your feelings about Jacobs? Any college is going to have its challenges, and life is going to continue to throw you curve balls, so make sure if you do transfer that you figure out how to get your own self into a state where you have 'reserves' to be able to deal with these situations. (i.e. enough good quality sleep, excellent nutrition, regular exercise, vitamins etc.). I wish you the best in your search.
  • tenormamatenormama Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    Hi Mr. Foster. My son is a Freshman Voice Performance Major at MSM. I can understand your need to make a change in schools. However, it would be unfortunate to go from one situation in which you are unhappy into another one that is not any better, and worse, to lose two years of academic credit in the process. Although my son is happy at the school, if you are looking for lots of performance opportunities for freshman and sophomores, at least, MSM probably is not the place. Here is what there is: choir, performance class and two recitals, one each semester in which you sing 2 songs. Freshman and Sophomores are NOT permitted to audition for the operas. Juniors and Seniors can audition only with teacher permission.

    Of course, in NYC, itself, there are probably many performance opportunities, however, with the academic commitments and choir rehearsals, there is not a lot of free time. Living in NYC is great... the students we have met seem to love that aspect of it and I am sure you would like that since you seem to be feel that Bloomington, Indiana was a mistake. But, if there is any way that you could visit the conservatory and stay overnight with a student, it would probably help you to see if MSM would really be any different from IU in terms of of the musical opportunities it will offer you as an undergraduate. My guess is that it is not very different.

    Good luck. I am sure this is a difficult decision to make and I am sure you will be thinking long and hard on it.
  • SopranoroseSopranorose Registered User Posts: 134 Junior Member
    SUNY Purchase has many, many performance opportunities for undergrads.

    Surprisingly, I have heard some relatively good things about undergrads at BoCo... however, their budget is very very bad.

    Look for a school with a good teacher who can give you personal attention.

    Also.... in terms of GPA... My GPA was about a 3.1, and I got into a few good conservatories. My general understanding is that your audition/voice is most important.... grades do not really matter.
  • BreezerBreezer Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    GPA doesn't matter at all whatsoever for conservatory admissions.

    If you don't know any of the faculty, it's 90% about your audition.

    If you REALLY want to go, I'd advise you to schedule a lesson with a faculty member at MSM and BC, if they like you that will give you a tremendous advantage and you'll have a lot more time to show what you have to offer than in your audition.

    Honestly though, if I were you, I'd stay at IU, and take advantage of the university environment. When you are done with vocal training, you're probably going to want to move to New York and probably need to get a day job. You'll need skills to get said job and having appropriate college classes will be a big help.

    In the grand scheme, undergrad training doesn't matter much. IU is a respected music school. I'd say apply to Chautauqua and similar summer programs with faculty from prestigious conservatories to get your name on the map for the future.
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