right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Admissions Fears Due to Former Experience...

MacMorrighanMacMorrighan 11 replies7 threads Junior Member
Hey guys, I am working towards my Master's Degree in vocal pedagogy (that's my end-goal), but before I embark any further I have a very real concern. Each applications asks one to list any post-high school educational institution they have attended or else face dismissal from the college!

However, there are a nu,her of reasons why I am extremely scared of listing my first college experience, which was abysmal! Despite the fact that I have grown since then and even published an educational non-fiction book for adults that I am proud of!

1.) I simply wasn't emotionally ready: I wanted a year off because I was burned out after High School, but my parents and a beloved Great Aunt forced me to attend. I didn't even get to choose the college--it was chosen for me because it had been recommended to me by my aunt; so it was the only one she would pay for. It was also a time of exceptional endurance for me: I was bullied at the dorms, my dorm had been broken into and items stollen, the University would not protect my privacy, I was bashed at the end of my final year by a Neo-Nazi and told never to return by the police, and that whole year I experienced my first heart-break by my First Kiss!

2.) The program itself was sorely at fault for my failure: In general, I thought it was accredited and would mirror any other music program, but I was foolish to believe so. The program was junk! (More on that below.) In fact, because I was emotionally unavailable I was kicked out of the choir before the big trip to NYC where they would perform at the Kennedy Center, IIRC. This was because I was horribly home-sick and would spend the weekends back at home rather than attend choir performances all across the region. The founder of the program expected us to be autonomous adults and behave as if we had no families. Plus, they also expected each student to pay their own way on these trips out of town/ out of state, such as hotel room expenses and our own food, etc. I didn't have money for that! What really sucks about being kicked out of the choir was the Choir Director/ Founder of the program did so at such a time that I was unable to request a refund, so he was able to keep my money and spend it on himself! Furthermore, the Choir Director/ Founder had no degree in Choir Conduction! I was standing with my BFF at the time when she asked him, and he said, "No, but I've read several books on the subject!" Then why did all of his directions look as though he was trying to take a dump, and demonstrate he has no working knowledge of the human voice? Yet, his website at the time declares that he has a Master's Degree in Choir Conduction from a prestigious state University! If he does, then it's only honorary! The Founder of this program had a HUGE Ego!

3.) Again, the program was NOT what I had expected: The program could offer only a certificate of completion, not a degree in music of any kind. This program was so difficult that few students returned for a second year--everything about it seemed tailored for a high rate of failure. Not only was it common knowledge that the letter grade of a "C" would equate to an "E" at any other University (if I told any other college that they wouldn't believe me!), but every assignment was pass/ fail, and we were rarely given any education that might allow us to complete them. We were simply expected to figure it out on our own. For example, we were given less than 48 hours to memorize the Circle of Fifths on piano, with no instruction. If I had given such an assignment I'd have taught the students to use the following acronym to memorize the order of sharps, etc. "Father Charles Goes Down And Ends battle." Another VERY common assignment for Music Theory 1 was (understanding most students had marginal keyboard skills at best), we were handed a random piece of sheet music and expected to memorize it in every key so that we could play it in whatever key the instructor called out the day after! Do you think you could have done that after only one year of piano lessons to draw upon? A friend who's matriculated with a master's degree in music was horrified to learn this and told me it's usually a Music Theory 3-Level assignment! We were also given assignments without the prerequisite skills necessary, such as ear training. Another common assignment--given before we were allowed to take ear training classes--was we were told to record music the teacher was playing on the piano and expected to transpose it on a staff-sheet by ear.

4.) To this day, save for my brilliant Voice Teacher (who inspired me to want to teach!), I believe that almost none of the faculty members in this program had a degree in music education. The Founder, I am convinced, just established the school for his musician friends to teach at in order to supplement their incomes when not gigging. A friend of mine had arranged to give the music program an utterly new organ from a hotel in the capital city and squared everything away: the hotel would pay to have it transported and installed, and my friend even got the Community College to agree to have it installed at the campus YMCA auditorium. So, it was good to go! The only thing he had left to do was secure the approval of the Music School's Founder. The Founder rejected the offer and, according to my friend who has friends in the music department, the ONLY reason it was rejected was it hadn't been the Founder's idea, so he couldn't take credit for it. In the end, the only ones who are suffering for such decision are the students.

What I worry about is being judged poorly and not accepted into a future school for an education in which it was the program that was at fault. After all, that was 20 years ago. Had anyone else experienced crap schools/ educations like these? At that time I had no idea that some schools were better than others--I assumed they all taught the same courses in similar manners. Until, that is, I began looking into colleges as an adult and seeing how virtually different they are from the college I attended. I doubt anyone coming to such a program straight from college would have fared better than I. In fact, when I began to struggle, I searched high and low for books to help me since this program had no text books of any kind to follow along in or use. So, it wasn't for a lack of trying to find educational books in the early mid-1990s. If I had known then, what I know now due to having read/ played through many latter educational books I probably would have done much better. But, I was yearning for an eduction in the worse possible way, and I was given the worse possible education.
5 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Admissions Fears Due to Former Experience...

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2370 replies45 threads Senior Member
    You must list ALL colleges you attended, even those from which you took dual enrollment classes while in high school. There is no way around it as there is a clearinghouse colleges use to verify this.

    You can write an explanation for your poor performance, but I would blame it on your own immaturity and explain how it all happened a long time ago. Blaming the folks in the program years later won't reflect well on you. After all, you were tasked with the responsibility for doing your own research and due diligence, and the match went horribly wrong.
    · Reply · Share
  • compmomcompmom 10845 replies77 threads Senior Member
    Yes you have to list all schools and universities will be able to tell if you omitted one.

    This was all a long time ago. You don't mention what you have been doing for the last 20 years or so. That is what would make a difference here.

    You can certainly explain that you unkowingly chose a school with a substandard curriculum, and due to immaturity and lack of knowledge you stuck with the program but failed. The whole story about the choir does not reflect well on you and you may come off as making excuses.

    So keep it simple if you can. The intervening years can often make up for failures when you were so much younger. So I think it all depends on what you have done for the last 20 years.
    · Reply · Share
  • GoForthGoForth 815 replies29 threads Member
    I almost never feel that a post here on CC is "too long". But maybe this was one. I admit I did not read every word. It felt like one of those letters explaining why I should send money to the Bank of Nigeria. I say this only out of wanting to assist a fellow human (the OP). Try this classic thought on for today:

    Don't complain. Don't explain.

    I was worn out looking at these sentences and really would have been fine not knowing about all the details and hearing about your more recent work and ideas for the future. But then I feared if I would have to hear this amount of dreadful detail again, I would rather not work with you.
    · Reply · Share
  • bridgenailbridgenail 1055 replies5 threads Senior Member
    You have made similar posts in the past. And dare I say...not taken any advice. As I said last spring, here's hoping that you can let the past go....and it appears NOT yet.

    Just list the name of the institution, have faith it will work out and move on. To ruminate on the past is a fool's journey.
    · Reply · Share
  • MacMorrighanMacMorrighan 11 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Actually, I wasn't in a position to research my own school; it was chosen for me and I was going to go no matter how I felt. But, I see what you're getting at. :)
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity