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On Campus vs Unifieds

laylamomlaylamom Registered User Posts: 288 Junior Member
I've been reading lots on here and enjoying following the journeys of all. My D is a Junior and we are working with MTCA.
My question is this (It's likely been covered before ) but...
Unifieds sound like a blast for a certain kind of kid. My daughter is an actor/dancer/singer in that order. She will be auditioning for Acting BFA's and MT's as well but she is the kind of person who likes space and paces herself and though saving money will be an issue I worry that it sounds a bit chaotic and stressful. If most of your schools are a drivable distance is it better to do on Campus? I know it depends on the kid but do you think the faculty feel more at home on their own turf??
I guess I am asking is there an advantage to either ? Aside from saving money and hitting more schools. Might the auditors feel more relaxed and less bombarded in an on Campus audition?
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Replies to: On Campus vs Unifieds

  • EmsDadEmsDad Registered User Posts: 1,473 Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    Here is a past thread on this topic:

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/musical-theater-major/1657602-unified-or-audition-at-the-school.html

    IMHO, there is no advantage in terms of likelihood of admission to either Unifieds or on-campus auditions. There are way too many variables in an inherently subjective process for location to end up making an overall difference. You should pick the option for each audition that seems to be the best fit for your student in terms of schedule, finances, least likelihood of stress, etc. I will point out that on-campus auditions are not necessarily less stressful than Unifieds - travel problems may arise, some schools are not that well organized, some schools can be pretty intimidating, at some on-campus auditions there will might be hundreds of students auditioning simultaneously for many different majors (such as Belmont) or the theatre program might be so large that there are 200 or more students at the audition, etc.

    As one college faculty member pointed out:
    Auditioning for college programs is extremely stressful and students and parents are always trying to strategize, get inside the audition panel’s head, and attempt to take control of the situation in any way they can. A lot of time and energy is spent trying to control things that cannot be controlled. Time that would be better spent on practicing, taking musicianship classes, and improving one’s skill sets.
  • toowonderfultoowonderful Registered User Posts: 3,947 Senior Member
    @laylamom - my D is also someone who can get overwhelmed. We went to Chicago unifieds- but chose NOT to stay at the Palmer house. This began b/c 3 of her auditions weren't at the Palmer, and b/c H could get us a free rooms at the other hotel- but we found it also really nice to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the venue. Perfect for adding a layer of calm
  • GSOMTMomGSOMTMom Registered User Posts: 1,705 Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    So, my daughter transferred from her first BFA program. She did mostly unified auditions the first go 'round. The second year I suggested that since fit was an issue the first time that she do all on campus auditions to get a sense of the environment. I think that really helped her. She ruled out one school because the fit was off.
  • owensfolksowensfolks Registered User Posts: 658 Member
    @laylamom I will have a more educated answer for you once we get thru redirections & acceptances; but your D sounds exactly like mine. We (she) did both. Pros to both; even for a student who likes space & calm. Like @toowonderful said, it sounds like if you do go to Chicago Unifieds, you would want to get a room at a hotel other than Palmer House, as my D had. I would focus first on making a good schools list; and then worry about the logistics of auditions. BAL!
  • actorparentactorparent Registered User Posts: 263 Junior Member
    My daughter is a junior, so she'll be auditioning next year, but she's already told me she would prefer to avoid Unifieds - she feels it will be to chaotic and overwhelming. She says she would prefer to audition on-campus so she can focus on one audition at a time, and also to see the schools. We're lucky in that we live in New York and most of her choices are East Coast, so they are drivable. So we'll be mostly doing on-campus, with just one or two at Unifieds that are too far to drive.
  • artskidsartskids Registered User Posts: 1,410 Senior Member
    I have said this before - my S (MT - 2018) did all but one of his auditions on campus. He really wanted to get to the schools and get a feel for them. My D (Acting - 2020) did all but two of her auditions at Chicago Unifieds. Her theory - she'd visit the schools where received an offer (or waitlist, as it turned out). Both ended up with offers and very nice choices. It really didn't matter where the auditions took place. Unifieds is hectic and stressful but very efficient. The on-campus auditions were certainly not stress-free but they do allow your student to focus. The downside of course is falling in love with a campus/program based on the on-campus audition and then being re-directed!
  • laylamomlaylamom Registered User Posts: 288 Junior Member
    Thank you all for the great feedback. @actorparent perhaps we will meet in our travels next year. We are two hours out of NY but go in quite often and will be doing a lot of driving and East Coast Schools. Yes artskids, that is my fear. The falling in love with only to be redirected. That is part of the process for all kids going forward at this stage but, whoa....these lovely theatre kids really put themselves out there. It is such a formative age to shoulder multiple disappointments. I think my D is very dreamy eyed about it. I explain the odds but so far that has not deterred her. I've been marveling at all the gusto on the sharing and venting thread. My heart aches for kids I don't even know so I can only imagine what next year will be like. My eyeballs are twirling! I feel like any teen who is brave enough to prepare for this process and see it through deserves a place in the theatre. I've found lots of the stories here compelling and I am grateful for all the info. Break legs to all your kids...whatever stage they are at and kudos to you all for the loving support you give. Also the schlepping !!! This stuff is hard core!
  • vvnstarvvnstar Registered User Posts: 1,647 Senior Member
    Every person is different, so know your child when making this decision. Our D found many of the on campus audition days long and draining. She did not like going to class or taking campus tours at the same time as she was auditioning. She would have rather focused on her auditions and then seen the campus on another day once she received an acceptance. At Unifieds, she felt the opportunity to audition multiple times in a short period allowed her material to improve and get stronger throughout the week. And she was energized by the pace and environment. She was accepted to schools from both experiences so I do not feel location had a bearing on acceptances/rejections.
  • mylovesmyloves Registered User Posts: 852 Member
    edited February 2017
    My D also loved Unifieds--Chicago a bit more than NY, though. NY's were more crowded because of the space, so they seemed more intense. In fact, she liked the Unified experience so much that, for months, she claimed she was going to miss them the following year! Her coach laughed at that and said she'd be so immersed in her program that she wouldn't care. Her coach was right, of course.

    D also liked on-campus auditions, though--probably equally. She just got energized in general by the auditions no matter where they occurred.

    I think it's probably hard for most people to know exactly how the auditioner will respond to any of this before it actually happens, so it might a good idea to mix it up. That's what we did, and it worked great. And, as already mentioned, acceptances/rejections came from both.

    If someone wants to be able to get away from Unifieds in Chicago, staying on the executive level is a great option. It wasn't crowded at all, and it was quiet. I can see how staying off-site would work well for this, too, however. During our year, I was especially glad to be on-site on the executive floor because of the huge snowstorm that week! We had to go off-site for 2 auditions, and we went out to eat sometimes outside of the hotel, but the latter was under our control.
  • sopranomtmomsopranomtmom Registered User Posts: 472 Member
    We are at LA Unifieds now after spending the past week in Chicago at the Palmer House. I have to agree with those who say that the Palmer House experience is quite hectic. While I don't regret going because D had some very good audition experiences there I will say it was not always a conducive environment for a peaceful state of mind. It didn't help matters that she ended up with an allergic reaction on our last day which caused us to skip all of her auditions but the last one that day. By the time we left she was flat out overwhelmed and exhausted. But LA has rejuvenated her. First it is just nice to be back close to home in our familiar environment. But more it is just a less hectic more laid back and less frantic pace. For those planning for next year I would highly recommend LA if you can make it work. Although it seems like just one weekend some schools are here both Friday and Monday as well. There is lots of walk-in availability, even with schools that usually require prescreens like Otterbein and Penn State. As for on campus auditions we will be doing those the next three weekends so I guess I'll be better able to compare the experiences after that. I will say I'm looking forward to actually visiting several schools.
  • sopranomtmomsopranomtmom Registered User Posts: 472 Member
    One other thing I found about Unifieds is that the schools tend to abbreviate the audition requirements in the interest of time and seeing as many applicants as possible. So while the audition requirements on the web site might ask for two songs and two monologues that might be reduced to one song and one monologue or 16 bars instead of 32. While I get the need for expedience it does seem to limit the students from showing their range.
  • OnourownOnourown Registered User Posts: 130 Junior Member
    We did a mix of campus and Chicago Unifieds. My daughter is one who really likes some down time, and staying on the executive level was great for that. Our room was pretty good sized and had two bathrooms and didn't feel crowded on the floor at all. It was awesome because she could run down to auditions and come back up to the room to rest and regroup. The lounge was also a great bonus with breakfast, snacks,fresh fruit and drinks available all day, and in the evening some warm snacks which were all included with the room price. As hectic as it was, having a quiet space to rest and regroup was great! I would definately recommend getting a room on the executive levels. The on campus visits were awesome too, but very long waits. There were times I feel she lost some steam by the time an afternoon audition slot rolled around. I think that the student panels are nice for the parents, but I noticed the kids were more reserved about talking with current students about the programs because they really do know they don't want to fall in love with a place that they have no idea will want them.
  • Notmath1Notmath1 Registered User Posts: 499 Member
    edited March 2017
    @EmsDad Wow, what that college rep said was the most well put and succinct I have ever read on the topic. Thank you for sharing it! Can you tell us who said it?
  • sbcsbc Registered User Posts: 240 Junior Member
    My daughter was in this process last year. We did both. In retrospect, doing as many Unifieds as possible , plus any video submissions would have been the best way to go and then go and visit where she got in. She ended up falling in love with programs based on a visit before knowing if it was an option:). For on campus visits it was expensive and time consuming for us as we are on the West Coast and every school she applied to was, Southern, Mid West or East Coast. We were also very very new to the process, so in our case I would have had a National MT Coaching pro help with at least the college list. We were lucky in that academically she was eligible for anywhere but her priority was not the academics but the MT programs. In hindsight we would have been better off focusing more on conservatory style programs but we only know this after seeing what her focus has been once in college. Still great grades but her focus is really the MT classes. One other note, if on paper your kid has a favorite school I would try and do that sooner rather than later, i.e. the earliest Unified you can do for that school, or if they do have a November on campus, maybe do that as an on campus, get videos in early etc.
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