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How limiting are mediocre grades? Need help with school choices ....

2collegewego2collegewego 2615 replies95 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,710 Senior Member
edited December 2010 in Music Major
Would grades (3.0 gpa honors/a few APs, 1700 SATs, URM but I doubt that's a factor) keep a musician out of these schools? Northwestern, Oberlin, Peabody, Rochester, USC, Michigan and Carnegie Mellon.

Next, does anyone have any suggestions for music schools with generous need-based aid? I'm asuming that outside Curtis and Juilliard (not likely admits), financial aid is better at music schools in universities than free-standing conservatories, is that right? My kid is a classical percussionist who is very ADD and, in an ideal environment, would attend a conservatory and spend tons of hours a day practicing but I suspect the aid won't be there and the list will need to include conservatories within a larger university.
edited December 2010
8 replies
Post edited by 2collegewego on
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Replies to: How limiting are mediocre grades? Need help with school choices ....

  • SJTHSJTH 1843 replies50 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,893 Senior Member
    It would definitely be a factor at Northwestern and CMU. Peabody looks at grades and test scores as a deciding factor if they're on the fence about someone. Oberlin cares about grades, but for the Con only talent is more of a factor. Can't answer regarding the others.
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  • BassDadBassDad 5330 replies51 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    URM might be a factor at some schools, but those grades and SAT scores are likely to be problems at the most selective schools like Northwestern, USC, Michigan and Carnegie Mellon. At Peabody, the admission will be much more dependent on the audition and I would not expect the grades or SAT's to be a problem there unless he is borderline on the audition. At Oberlin, those grades are pretty low for the College, but will not be that much of an impediment for the Conservatory as long as the audition is very good. Rochester will probably be a similar situation to Oberlin - OK for Eastman so long as the audition passes muster but the academics would likely be at the low end for U Rochester.

    Assumptions about financial aid can be misleading. It is hard to predict what kind of package will be offered. For example, Curtis does indeed grant full tuition to all who are accepted, but not living expenses in most cases. Juilliard can be very generous to their top applicants, but not necessarily to everyone.

    At Oberlin, admission is not always need-blind (meaning that they may consider the amount of aid needed when making an admission decision) but they do meet 100% of demonstrated need with packages that are much heavier on grants and gift aid than they are on loans. The full sticker price there starts off quite high, but not all that many students wind up paying full price, so don't be scared off.

    Some schools have reputations for being on the less generous side when it comes to financial aid (New England Conservatory and Peabody are sometimes mentioned in this regard) but even those schools can come up with attractive offers for the right applicant.

    One school that has a combination of an excellent music school and low tuition/fees is the University of North Texas. The rates are very attractive for Texas residents and, for everyone else, are still about half of what many conservatories charge. He would likely be slightly above average with grades and SAT scores there, but the competition at the auditions will be pretty tough.
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  • shennieshennie 2437 replies30 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,467 Senior Member
    Grades are a consideration at Eastman, but I don't think a 3.0 would keep him out. However, Eastman is considered to be one of the most academic of the major conservatories so it helps to be a stronger student for the theory and history classes required of all students. They do provide scholarship money for all students, I believe. The stronger the audition, the greater the scholarship.
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  • flute1298flute1298 435 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 458 Member
    Have you thought of Hartt school with UHartford? Their academic standards are definately lower than the schools you mentioned, and their music program is quite good. I have heard that the financial aid is pretty generous.
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  • 2collegewego2collegewego 2615 replies95 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,710 Senior Member
    Thanks for the advice. Flute, yes, Hartt was recommended to me for other reasons but I know nothing about its percussion dept so I guess that's the next step.
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  • kmccrindlekmccrindle 1637 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,650 Senior Member
    University of Michigan's general academic cutoff for the school of music is 3.0 (much lower than the regular university's general admit gpa), so he might be invited to audition. That said, music theory in particular can be brutal at UMich and the overall average GPA of the admits each year tends to be quite high (3.8+). Since their percussion program is awesome, might be worth a shot. Who knows?
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  • coloratura_ascoloratura_as 164 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    I was accepted to Oberlin with only mediocre grades in high school.
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  • DadofclardDadofclard 35 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    D had similar stats - she passed the initial academic screen at UMich. Rutgers was concerned, but her letter to Admissions detailing the sheer amount of time devoted to music lowered their eyebrows. (And they ponied up a very nice scholarship offer.) She's at FSU (clarinet with Kowalski) and thriving. The UMich Music Theory hurdle is well known, but it's pretty much a bear everywhere. Everything covered in an entire year of HS theory was addressed in the first week-and-a-half at FSU.
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