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Is this possible? Rice University/Shepherd SOM question - cross post

HoggirlHoggirl Registered User Posts: 1,494 Senior Member
edited August 2012 in Music Major
I posted this on the Rice University forum as well.

I hope this isn't a dumb question.

My ds is a pianist who may or may not want to major in music performance. I understand that one is admitted directly into Shepherd as a musis student. But, what if he were not good enough to be admitted into the conservatory but felt like Rice might be a good choice if he were to choose NOT to major in music?

The pressure to know about music so early on is particularly exacerbated because ds is a grade skip. Although I realize that Rice, in general, is a big reach for everyone, he has stats which are in range (test scores, grades, academic rigor, etc.).

Is there some way to apply as a general student/admit alongside (for lack of a better term) as a music student? Piano is SO competitive, and he is still unsure about this as a major.

Post edited by Hoggirl on

Replies to: Is this possible? Rice University/Shepherd SOM question - cross post

  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 4,068 Senior Member
    For Rice if you do not apply to Shepherd you are not in the music program. If you apply to Shepherd and are not accepted you are not in Rice. There is no middle ground where you can be not accepted in Shepherd but can still be in Rice or get accepted to Rice and get into music without the audition. Rice has no minor in music and the BA is not open to general admission. If not sure about the major, understand he would be competing with very dedicated people.

    There are however a number of courses for non-majors and many of the students in those are quite good. They are like your DS in that the interest and skill are high, but performance is not a focus. There may be opportunities to connect with professors through these courses for expanded opportunities. Students can also take private lessons for credit if they can arrange it. Even though these would not be with the main studio professors, the associates, adjuncts and grad students are also excellent.

    There are many students that are musically inclined and not in Shepherd and there are also opportunities to be engaged in music outside of Shepherd. Most that I have seen are not geared for piano, but the best place to find out about opportunities is through the Shepherd admission office. They are quite helpful and friendly.
  • HoggirlHoggirl Registered User Posts: 1,494 Senior Member
    Thank you for this reply. This is what I was afraid of. Are many schools like this in that there is no middle ground? I thought the more common procedure was to be accepted into the university/college first and THEN into the school of music. But maybe the "Rice" way is more common than I realize.

    Ds wil be a junior this fall, so he still has some time to make decisions. At this point, we are trying to keep music as well as non-music options all open.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 9,849 Senior Member
    Wait, I am assuming your son could apply to both Rice (general admission) and Shepherd at the same time. Singersmom didn't cover that option- I don't think. Is that what you were asking?

    Then, if he did not get into Shepherd but did get into Rice, he could go to Rice and do the options for music described above. Is that right, or does someone know otherwise?

    I think that since kids develop and change a lot in these years, that it is smart to pursue all options until the last minute. My daughter decided on BA versus BM on April 30th of her senior year, with a deadline of May 1st!

    There are many schools that your son could consider. Why Rice, specifically? He could apply to a few conservatories/music schools and a few colleges/universities, and throw in Oberlin or Bard, where a student can do double degrees too.

    People on here can give you more information for your son as time goes by. Sounds like a great kid. Good luck!
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 4,068 Senior Member
    When you apply to Rice you can only select one academic school. If you apply to Shepherd you cannot apply to another academic school. http://futureowls.rice.edu/uploadedFiles/Future_Owls/FreshmanSupplement.pdf Item 15. I believe Rice is unusual in this sense. There is no combination option. From their Q&A:

    3. Do I need to apply to one of the six specific academic divisions? Can I change my mind?
    Yes, in your application to Rice you must specify which one of our six academic divisions is your primary division of interest. The six divisions are architecture, engineering, humanities, music, natural sciences, or social sciences. Although this is not a binding choice, the decision should not be made lightly. We are looking for a thoughtful response to this question. Our academic divisions are looking for different strengths and qualities in applicants, so you will need to choose the division in which you feel the most confident of your abilities and interest. If your application is denied, you cannot be reconsidered under a different division.

    Yes, if admitted to Rice, you can change your mind as to your division of study. Enrolled students do not declare a major until the second semester of sophomore year. And you may change your major or division at any time. In fact, many students double major across academic divisions and still graduate in four years. The exception to the rule is music and architecture–you must be admitted to the music or architecture divisions either as an entering student or as a current Rice student who applies and is accepted for the major.
  • HoggirlHoggirl Registered User Posts: 1,494 Senior Member

    I was looking at Rice because ds has specifically asked me to find some smaller schools that might not be on his radar.

    For better or worse, ds does not want to attend school somewhere that is cold. Meaning, an occasional bit of snow that lasts a few days would be fine, but not a place where snow happens often and stays on the ground long periods of time! This rules out many, many places regardless of whether he pursues music or not! Places like Oberlin, Eastman, Bard, etc are out on weather alone. Pretty much anything north of VA would be out. That basically leaves the southeast, Texas, and California. I would like him to find a place that has a quality music program as well as other academic areas he might be interested in. This might include engineering. He *thinks* this is another area he might have an interest in. He is a strong math student. In reality, he'd like Division I football as well! He visited Vanderbilt last summer, and really liked it, though he doesn't remember that much about it. He always seems to like the place he has visited most recently. ;) We have also visited Belmont. Because of summer programs he has been on Duke's campus and now Stanford's, both of which are crap shoots at best. The fact that he thinks he might want engineering rules out liberal arts colleges.

    I am just trying to come up with some good places for piano, as well other academic strengthts. He thinks he wants to double major. I don't think he will ever believe *me* when I say a double degree in performance and engineering will just not work. He is going to have to learn that for himself.
  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager Registered User Posts: 2,819 Senior Member
    He should look seriously at USC (California)- I know a student there majoring in Engineering & minoring in Music (jazz sax.). He might also want to look at Arizona State- I don't know about engineering there but they've got an Honor's College & some great profs on some instruments (although I don't know anything about piano in particular.) Not a small school, of course! What about University of Miami - do they have engineering?
  • HoggirlHoggirl Registered User Posts: 1,494 Senior Member
    Miami has been on ds's radar for awhile. Maybe I am goofy, but USC's location just kind of scares me. My college roommate now lives in Southern California, and she says it is in an absolutely horrible part of town. Another friend has been to every division I school in the country (yes, all of them - it's his hobby to personally collect penants from each and every one),and he said that USC was the one place he truly felt he was not safe. We may take a look at Miami.

    However,, I am sure that both USC and Miami are not easy admits for music either. Not to mention the cost!!! The thought of spending close to $60,000 per year (tuition, fees, room/board, books, lessons, travel to and from) for college is just, well, overwhelming. Ds is our only one, and we should have the means for him to do it. However, there are some schools (Baylor and Alabama as examples) where he would receive some pretty decent merit money. Just straight merit money awarded solely on grades (assuming he keeps them up) and test scores (which he has already achieved). Guess those test score requirements could always go up.

    Thanks for the ideas. The challenge is that he really doesn't know what he wants to study and both of those disciplines (engineering and music) pretty much require KNOWING that is what you want to do as soon as you hit the door. Before then for music as everyone here knows so well. I think he thinks engineering is a good option because he is good at math. Not sure that is the best reason to pick a major.

    He is a good pianist, but it is really hard to assess if he is good "enough," or at what schools he would be "good enough."
  • HoggirlHoggirl Registered User Posts: 1,494 Senior Member
    @spiritmanager: ds doesn't necessarily want a small school per se. In fact, he thinks he would like a large school. But, he knows I know more than he does about smaller schools. That was why he asked me to suggests some. The size of the school isn't nearly as important as the weather requirement. :)

    I think Furman would be a nice choice, but not with engineering as a choice he wants to have.
  • prefectprefect Registered User Posts: 1,281 Senior Member
    What about Vanderbilt?
  • HoggirlHoggirl Registered User Posts: 1,494 Senior Member
    @prefect: Honestly? Vanderbilt would be one of my top choices for him. I kind of wish we would have visited later rather than sooner. Maybe we should go back. :)
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 9,849 Senior Member
    Singersmom, glad you clarified: I didn't get it at all!

    Hoggirl, here is an essay from the Peabody Institute website about double degree versus double major, if that is helpful.
  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager Registered User Posts: 2,819 Senior Member
    I would not be frightened off by USC's neighborhood. Yes, it is not a safe part of LA - but USC itself is safe. If your son has the academics and scores for Rice, then he will most likely qualify for academic merit scholarships at USC - for instance National Merit Finalists get a half tuition scholarship automatically, and can qualify for up to full tuition. I don't think a minor in music at USC requires the same level of audition - but I could be wrong.... A double degree would be another matter.

    Vanderbilt does seem to have everything he's looking for. Blair, the school of music. is as competitive as the others we're mentioning.
  • showgirlsmamashowgirlsmama Registered User Posts: 115 Junior Member
    My D applied to Shepherd last year and did not get an audition. She called the school to see whether she would be considered for Rice still and they said (as pointed out above), "no." BUT because the deadline for the Rice application had not passed, they allowed her to amend her application and apply to Rice instead. She just had to change the school applied to on the app and write, I believe, one small short answer about why Rice (since before she had answered why Shepherd). She was accepted to Rice (but is not going there).

    It may seem odd to do this but in the flurry of the application and audition process, especially if you are interested in both great academics and great music, there is no guessing where you will get in (and where you won't) and whether, when it comes right down to it, if you are given the choice of great academics or only so-so music performance (or even no music performance) you might in fact go for the great academics. It was in the spirit of not knowing what might happen and wanting as many choices as possible that she went ahead and applied to Rice.
  • HoggirlHoggirl Registered User Posts: 1,494 Senior Member
    ^very interesting.

    How early on did she know that she was not going to be granted an audition?

    I suppose this is only a remote possibility with no audition. If one got an audition but didn't get into Shepherd this wouldn't fly.

    Thanks for the insights.
  • BassDadBassDad Registered User Posts: 5,381 Senior Member
    Rice requires pre-screening recordings by Dec 1 for singers and accepts general applications for admission until January 1. Thus it is possible, and even likely that those who do not get past the pre-screening round will know in time to be able to change their application to a different school within Rice University. I would not call this a remote possibility because a lot of applicants do not make it past the pre-screening round. Particularly if they happen to be sopranos.

    From the Shepherd School website, it appears that the piano department does not use a pre-screening process. You submit an audition profile form and then receive a link to schedule an audition that takes place somewhere from late January through mid-February. Now, I suppose it is possible that they may request a recording or even refuse a live audition after receiving the form if your responses make you appear much less prepared than the typical applicant. For reasonably-qualified applicants on piano or other instruments that do not prescreen, however, it is far less likely that you would get an adverse decision soon enough to be able to change direction.
This discussion has been closed.