Another Waitlist dilemma

<p>Hi folks - I need your help. A couple of weeks ago, D made a very thoughtful decision among her acceptances and chose Adelphi. She had lots of great reasons and has been very excited.</p>

<p>But tonight her WL came through: Brandeis called. Fortunately she wasn't home, and I took a message. They said they'd be happy to talk to her on Monday. So now she has the whole weekend to consider it again. </p>

<p>When she made her first decision, she used a great website (collegepick dot us), and Adelphi came out ahead of Brandeis, although it was close. She did not include finances because we didn't want that to influence her decision, although she is well aware that Brandeis will cost significantly more. </p>

<p>We've done a ton of research on this decision, compared curricula, gone over the BA/BFA question a million times, talked about prestige, about fish and ponds and everything else.</p>

<p>I'm asking for any comments or experiences that might help her in this last hard choice. She knows the general intellectual atmosphere at Brandeis is "higher." She fundamentally wants a BFA, but she does wonder if a degree from a top school where the arts are strong could benefit her just as well. She is a well-rounded type, isn't looking to minimize academics wherever she goes. She loves the idea of either Boston or NYC, for different reasons.</p>

<p>She has a personal relationship at Adelphi - she spent two different days there, met a lot of students and faculty. She only has a peripheral knowledge of Brandeis, doesn't have the personal experience but understands what it is like and where it is.</p>

<p>I know no one can make this choice for us, but we welcome any new information to chew on over the weekend. I want her to feel confident and happy with her decision - that's every parent's dream, of course!</p>

<p>I don't think it's just a difference in "prestige." IMO, you are talking about fundamentally different student bodies at Brandeis and Adelphi. Intellectually, academically they will be completely different worlds -- I'm not talking about how the schools are perceived, but in the experience on the campus. I'd wager, too, that Brandeis draws on students from around the country, while Adelphi is predominantly a regional school (and mostly tri-state at that), so that is another growth opportunity that Brandeis will offer. Perhaps the acting program draws on students more widely than the rest of Adelphi, I don't know. </p>

<p>I have to be perfectly honest: I let my D audition for different schools, but I don't know what I would have done if she hadn't ended up at a place that was a match for her intellectually. </p>

<p>IMO, our kids have their whole lives to train as actors, but only one shot at an outstanding undergraduate education and the opportunity to make lifelong, meaningful connections. If it were me, I'd want my daughter to be at the place where she was with her intellectual peers. </p>

<p>Sorry to be so blunt, but that's my feelings on this. </p>

<p>I guess getting off the waitlist is really a good news / bad news situation for your D.</p>

<p>EmmyBet, congrats to your D on getting off the Brandeis Wait List! I realize it creates a topsy turvy feeling when she was all set and gung ho with her original decision to attend Adelphi. I can't recall your D's order of preferences of colleges on her list but I have this vague recollection that she favored Brandeis over Adelphi BEFORE this news evolved. Do I have that right? IF that is the case, and had she learned of Brandeis' decision earlier, then it seems she has just gotten into her preferred choice (even though she was happy to attend Adelphi). So, in some ways, IF it is true that Brandeis was preferred before she knew this admissions outcome, I'd think she would take the offer even though it is a weird feeling since she had moved on to take the Adelphi offer earlier. </p>

<p>I know you said your D wanted a BFA (do I have that right?) though had many BAs on her list too (and not all were of the "safetY' variety as back ups either). So, it seems to me that your D was willing to consider BAs. But of course, this is one of the differences between these two schools. You could put their theater curriculums side by side to see just how much difference there may be or not for a theater student between them. Maybe it isn't that great (I'd have to see and don't know off hand). </p>

<p>But BFA vs. BA much does your D care in her selection of a college about the level of academic rigor and challenge and peer group? She may not care, I don't know. My kids truly cared about this. They are not happy if not sufficiently challenged (whereas some kids are fine with that) and prefer to be among similarly motivated peers. So, I don't know IF this is an important factor in your D's selection criterion. </p>

<p>But IF it is......I agree with SDonCC as to the major difference between these two schools in this is not as if they are in the same ballpark to make this a wash. I'm not talking about reputation, but about the student body and about the level of selectivity too. </p>

Accepts 70%
24% of those admitted are from the top 10% of their HS class
Average GPA of accepted students: 3.4
MId 50% range of accepted students on the SAT CR/M combined: 980-1180
Make up of student body:
29% male, 71% female
17% are age 25 and older
8% are from out of state
2.8% are international</p>


<p>Accepts 40%
79% of those admitted are from the top 10% of their HS class
Average GPA of accepted students: 3.8
Mid 50% range of accepted students on the SAT CR/M combined: 1260-1460
Make up of student body:
43% male, 56% female
0% are age 25 and older
74% are from out of state
9.6% are international</p>

<p>Getting admitted to Brandeis is a LOT harder than getting into Adelphi academically speaking. Academic level aside, the make up of the student bodies are very different whereby one school is almost all in-state students and one school has the majority from out of state. One school has more international students than the other. Adelphi has a significant number of students over 25 and Brandeis has none. The ratio of male to female is much more unbalanced at Adelphi than at Brandeis. Thus the experience of student life and the peer groups at these two schools differ quite significantly. NOTHING wrong with Adelphi at all. But the EXPERIENCE and the peers will simply be very different at the two schools in this way and I don't know to what degree your D cares about these factors. </p>

<p>So, she should compare the theater aspects but also compare all the other aspects of attending each of these colleges. Compare them with one another but ALSO with what it is she cares about most in picking a college.</p>

<p>It is hard as she seems to have spent more time at Adelphi. Have you visited Brandeis? How long will they give you for a response? Is there time to make a quick revisit? Can they line up some theater students for her to chat with on the phone? </p>

<p>Again, I don't know which of the two schools she preferred before the decisions came down. If it had been Brandeis, then this decision will be easier as she just got the word that her preferred choice came through. If that was not the case weeks ago, then she should go through the same decision making process she did when she chose Adelphi over her other options. </p>

<p>No right answer. Whatever makes her happier. But these are very different schools/options and so in some ways, the decision may be easier than if they were similar schools. </p>

<p>Congrats once again. I know it is hard when you think things are all set and you have moved on but in other ways, it is a nice "problem" to have. :)</p>

<p>One more thing.....while I realize Adelphi is a BFA and Brandeis is a BA......Brandeis' theater program is considered to be a very strong one among BA schools. I admit that I had never heard of Adlephi's theater program until you mentioned it on these forums. I am not into using "prestige" to select a college, but by the same token, I would explore why it is that Brandeis' theater program is widely well regarded. Adelphi made great sense on your D's college list because she wanted an "easier odds" BFA program just in case she preferred a BFA and didn't get into the more selective ones, and she can have that at Adelphi, and she got into the Honors College there that would maybe mitigate the less academically selective aspect at Adelphi. But even though Brandeis is a BA, and not a BFA, its theater program may be stronger than Adlephi's as there has to be a reason it is widely recognized for being strong. In your D's case, the fact that she has many BAs on her list indicates to me that she was willing to consider attending BA schools, and not merely as back up options (she had some tough ones on her list like Northwestern, Vassar and even Bard).</p>

<p>Congratulations to your daughter Emmybet. Now things have really gotten complicated! soozie's contrasting analysis does a great job of encapsulating the differences between the 2 schools. Knowing that your daughter has given great priority to studio type training and the opportunity to perform, I agree that it would be very beneficial to line the required curricula up side by side, add in the opportunities for electives, and determine which school offers the training opportunities your daughter seeks and whether there is a material difference between the two. Also look at the past productionseason at each school and determine if there is a material difference in the performing opportunities. In regard to this, what impact does Brandeis' offering of an MFA have on the training and performing opportunities for BA students. Your daughter at this point also really needs to make a decision of whether she gives more weight to the academic rigor and liberal arts education available at Brandeis or to obtaining a BFA and whether the Honors program at Adelphi would satisfy her desires for academics.</p>

<p>If I were in you shoes, what I would do at this point, particularly if visiting Brandeis is not in the picture, is line the curricula up side by side this weekend, line up the list of shows that have been performed at both schools this past season and then keep my daughter home from school on Monday, jointly call the head of the theatre program at Brandeis and ask every question you can think of that would help you and your daughter fully understand the nature and scope of the theatre training and performing opportunities Brandeis offers. Call first thing in the morning so that if you need to schedule a time to talk later in the day, you have plenty of time to do so. This would not only answer a lot of questions your daughter may have but could also give both of you a sense of the "feel" of the program at Brandeis by speaking to the person who sets its tone. Good luck!</p>

<p>Thank you all - very, very helpful advice.</p>

<p>We are definitely going to do all we can to research even more, particularly in talking to people at Brandeis. We do have the curricula set up and charted - have been looking at them for several weeks unless this happens. </p>

<p>You are right that it was exactly Brandeis and Adelphi that always vied for 3rd place on her list (1st two choices being BU and CMU), Brandeis for the superior academics, and Adelphi as a great BFA. </p>

<p>Now she's down to the wire, and we'll go through everything you all said and do a lot of talking, do some e-mails, get on the phone Monday and see what we can work out.</p>

<p>Going out for the morning now - will check in later.</p>

<p>It could come down to BFA or BA....the theater part of her college experience or also weighing the overall college experience. </p>

<p>One thing going for Brandeis' BA (am sure you know this) is that the theater major can focus on a "track" and Acting is one of the track options. Not all BA programs have an acting track like this. I have no idea if your D is interested in this, but they have coursework in acting for the camera, acting/singing in Musical Theater, and Auditioning, which not all BA programs offer. Of course, Adelphi's BFA program has those things too but was just saying that for a BA, Brandeis offers those areas/courses too. Actually, not sure if Adlephi offers the musical theater coursework but then again, your D may not care about that. Anyway, both programs offer some similar coursework I notice.</p>

<p>Of course one school is near NYC and one is near Boston. Adelphi is slightly farther away from the city than Brandeis is from the city, though not by a lot.</p>

<p>Soozie, your stats are a very good reference point and you characterize the schools wonderfully. The only thing I'll say is that Adelphi for a kid like my D would have a much more "charmed" atmosphere - many of those stats don't apply at all for the theatre/Honors College kids, where the geographics are much more similar to a standard LA school and the academic/artistic standards are much, much higher. Adelphi's Honors students are the equal to students anywhere, and the Honors College itself is set up as an enclave, with separate seminar classes and a comprehensive program - not just pre-selection of courses or different assignments in regular classes, as at other schools.</p>

<p>BUT the rest of Adelphi would be all around her, and she knows that, with its good and bad features. It's a lot like being at a state school, finding your "peeps" and your place, and working around the people and the atmosphere you don't relate to.</p>

<p>SDonCC - your point about this being the one time you can "go to college" is an excellent one. While many kids feel this is their one chance finally to immerse in theatre completely and "go get training," I know my D has always kept that "go to a great college" feeling, too. She's going to have to find in herself exactly what she wants most.</p>

<p>EmmyBet, yes, I think at Adelphi that your D will be part of a subset of the college between the Honors program in academics and the BFA theater program. She'll have "her people" if she goes there.</p>

<p>Your D will need to compare both theater programs.....I can't tell how much they truly differ. </p>

<p>The aspects of both these colleges outside of the theater program or outside of the classroom differs a lot between these schools, however.</p>

<p>Susan's given you a lot of information to think about so I won't repeat it, although I agree with everything she has said. I would make the effort to visit Brandeis if you haven't already. Four years at Brandeis will be a very different experience than four years at Adelphi. We visited Brandeis years ago when my D was doing her research and she loved the school, the faculty, the campus and all that Brandeis had to offer. She added it to her list gladly, although she didn't end up attending. Unless something has drastically changed in the intervening years, your D will not, by any stretch of the imagination, lack for theatre training should she choose Brandeis over Adelphi.</p>

<p>Thank you to everyone for their great perspectives and suggestions, and for the very kind PMs, also.</p>

<p>We're about ready to make a comprehensive list of questions, both for my D to consider (again in many cases, but freshly, now that the options are realities), and to ask Brandeis. </p>

<p>From detailed comparisons of the two degrees, it's clear that the BA at Brandeis - while it has excellent course selection, one of the most attractive of any BA programs she looked at - does not guarantee the same depth and focus of the Adelphi BFA. Not that there isn't quality, but this is where she'll decide the age-old question of just how she wants to spend her time. She wants a great education - academically and artistically - and also a great experience, which involves so many complicated factors.</p>

<p>She'll make some serious choices about peer group. Fortunately, since Adelphi is more of the wild card in this situation, she has spent quite a bit of time there and has met many students, has been in e-mail contact with several of them specifically about these questions already. But talking to some Brandeis students will also help her.</p>

<p>We all know here that becoming an Actor has so many pathways - I've typed those words so many times on these threads, and I believe them. This will be a very personal choice for her. Another issue will be money - we can pay for Brandeis, but that will be all we can do for her, while due to her significant scholarship at Adelphi, we can help her in other ways both during and after college.</p>

<p>If I could whisk her to Boston, I would. But she has AP exams, end-of-year commitments, including rehearsals and performances of plays she both is directing and performing in. I know this is an important decision, and we'll do what it takes. Hopefully a lot of phone calls and e-mails (maybe even Skype!) will do what it takes for her to make this choice.</p>

<p>Definitely a win-win situation. And I'm happy to share our ups and downs and how we come to a conclusion, to help anyone who ends up in a similar situation in the future.</p>

<p>If you haven't stumbled onto them already, here are some threads in which the Brandeis theatre program is discussed. They are a couple of years old but at least are a starting place.
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<p>"it's clear that the BA at Brandeis - while it has excellent course selection, one of the most attractive of any BA programs she looked at - does not guarantee the same depth and focus of the Adelphi BFA."</p>

<p>Some BA programs will offer the same level of training opportunity (as electives), and performance experiences as some BFA programs. If you haven't already added this to your list of questions, ask about the breadth of course selection within the major, and the availability and access to those courses and the performing opportunities.</p>

<p>Congrats to your D!</p>

<p>Thank you again for all of the advice and perspective. You are great people!</p>

<p>We've done a really detailed look at the curriculum offerings at both schools. Kat, you are right about a nice variety of training-focused electives in the BA, and the people at Brandeis assured us that there is lots of personal attention and advising in creating a program that works for each student.</p>

<p>We're still gathering info on performance opportunities. One thing that is true is that while their MFA is still very strong, they have reduced their numbers (only take in a group every 3 years) so it is much less overpowering to undergrads. We're not going to worry about that issue any more.</p>

<p>D is contacting faculty and students and trying to see where her gut lies in terms of personal fit. </p>

<p>Here is my current question: My D is very strong in the arts. She is a life-long student and lover of theatre. However, she has never done any summer training, no drama classes, no FORMAL work of any kind IN ACTING (she has had some lovely affirmation of her ability - although for whatever reason as you know she was rejected from the more selective BFA programs). The BFA at Adelphi would comprehensively fill these gaps and provide her with a full toolbox and breadth of experience. The BA at Brandeis would give her a nice amount of training, but probably not as comprehensive; instead, she would study theatre in a more holistic way, with a lot of value but probably a drop down in hands-on experience.</p>

<p>I know it is a personal choice on her part, whether she wants to be more of a trained actor, or an actor/scholar who might need to pursue more training (or not). She could perhaps do some training in the summers, or afterwards, or even in a full Junior year abroad (or in the US) at a conservatory-based program.</p>

<p>I know we talk about this all the time - and I'm not talking about "what's better" or "can she get work." Instead I am asking: what is the opinion here about how a less-trained entering student going to a high-powered BA might come out vs. that less-trained student going into an actual training program (with good academics)? What are the pluses and minuses that we should consider? Will the peers at the BA possibly be kids who HAVE had training, experience, summer programs, etc., and be noticeably ahead of my D? Would she regret having perhaps patchy training, for its own sake, no matter how much she does enjoy the more academic side of theatre? Will her day-to-day experience at the BA make her feel like she's always behind, when it comes to experiential classes and getting cast?</p>

<p>I might have more questions later about other aspects of the performance opportunities - we don't have enough information to ask that yet.</p>

<p>I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again.</p>

<p>Here's another way of asking the question, and I'm curious how soozie would weigh in:</p>

<p>Is there a difference between a kid who gets into but turns down high-powered BFAs for high-powered BAs, i.e. a kid with training and experience already who wants to focus on academics more, and a kid with less or no prior training who doesn't crack the very competitive BFA group and decides to get theatre training through a good BA program instead? What are the risks for that kid to give up a nice BFA when she has the chance?</p>

<p>I'm not really sure how to answer your question. You seem to think that Brandeis might have some very trained students and some others with less training like your D and that Adelphi might be full of kids with less training, more like your D (even though Adelphi required an audition to be admitted and Brandeis didn't). I just am not sure if that conclusion can be drawn or not. In some ways, it is nice to not be at the top of the heap and it is more challenging in such a situation. </p>

<p>Also, all BAs are not the same. When I looked at Brandeis' curriculum, I saw many correlations with Adelphi's even though one is a BA and one is a BFA. Brandeis has an Acting track and seems to have many similar course offerings as Adelphi. Can a Brandeis theater/acting major take more than the required number of courses in the major? Their major is not purely academic (theater studies). It really appears to have many hands-on training sorts of classes, in addition to theoretical classes. </p>

<p>You ask what risks there are for a kid like your D to enter a program such as Brandeis and I am not sure there are any risks. It is a matter of what sort of peer group she might prefer to be in and the types of courses and performance opportunities and overall college experience that matches her preferences. I don't think "giving up a BFA" is such a big deal. I have had advisees and know of other kids too who got into a BFA but went to a BA instead. I don't know that they think they gave up anything really. They simply preferred what the BA was offering. I am not sure your D will get that much less training at Brandeis than at Adelphi. And some might consider Brandeis' theater program to be stronger overall that Adelphi anyway. </p>

<p>It sounds like you are concerned that the Brandeis theater majors may be a more talented group overall than the Adelphi theater majors upon entering as freshmen (not sure if this is true or not). But even if it were true, I would see it as a plus to be with a stronger group of students in a program because you might learn more when the level overall is higher. </p>

<p>I think your D could do well in either school. I think she will get acting training in both places but the overall college experience will differ and that aspect is more a matter of preference.</p>

<p>By the way, while my D had a lot of experience in productions, went to summer musical theater programs, and took lots of voice and dance lessons/classes, she had NO acting training, except the six months of monologue coaching for her college auditions. She went to a competitive BFA program where there were surely kids with acting training (many high schools have drama classes and ours does not) and many who attended performing arts high schools. She never found it to be a problem in acting classes in college. Like your D, she had some natural acting talent when she entered college even if not formally trained in acting.</p>

<p>Thank you, Soozie. I really appreciate your perspective.</p>

<p>This thread is really helping me help my D ask herself the right questions. Of course there are no absolutely "right" answers - and she could pick either school for excellent reasons. It is very true that many of the considerations will just have to be what she feels is right for her. Hearing how things have felt or worked for other people helps organize what we're asking ourselves. Also, as I came up through the ranks these kinds of threads were so helpful to me. Hearing the kinds of questions people asked themselves at this point in the process helped us understand what she was looking for in the first place. I hope this discussion will help younger kids who might face this kind of decision down the road. That's what makes CC so great!</p>

<p>I'll clarify what seemed to be confusing: I think there will be very talented theatre peers at both schools: at Adelphi, they auditioned in, and the kids we saw and met there are really wonderful. She doesn't think she will be at the top of the pack artistically, although there is a chance that her academic abilities and her intellectual approach to theatre may move her forward in a certain way (not vs. the other kids, just in terms of herself). As for being "behind" there, she doesn't feel that way, either, but she also knows that she'll hit the ground running with training and be able to do a certain amount of "catch-up" to her more trained peers. Mostly I meant that no matter where she stands with peers at Adelphi, she has a very high chance of filling in her gaps from the get-go.</p>

<p>At Brandeis she can be sure that her theatre peers will be intellectually stimulating. We're also figuring that there will be a significant amount of them who simply by virtue of being high-achieving kids probably have some pretty high ability and accomplishments in the arts as well. For example, my D isn't majoring in music, but she will leave our HS with the highest music achievements in her class, including in statewide competition; lots of kids like her find out that when they go to high-powered colleges, practically everyone had that kind of achievement in HS - not just in academics. Since Brandeis IS well known for its theatre BA, it seems reasonable to assume that kids with lots of acting experience, superior summer programs like your D's where there must be more acting training than my D has ever gotten (she always did music in the summer), etc., will be very present, as theatre majors or not. Others might be around where my D is, or with even less experience. Maybe she'll be around the middle (although I kind of think there won't be many who can touch her on theatre history .... haha).</p>

<p>She is doing a lot of thinking about her own needs in peer group (theatre and otherwise), her preferences for having a structured, predetermined theatre degree, and what she would like in terms of performance opportunities. The points everyone has raised here, and in the very helpful PMs I've received as well, are extremely helpful. </p>

<p>I'm passing everything along to her, and I know she'll make a decision based on how she feels her needs and interests, as well as her personal style, falls along these various spectra. Thankfully we only have less than a week more to be pondering this, and we can move on to the much happier experience of getting ready to enjoy moving her to school!</p>

<p>Any comments are still very welcome. I know we'll be thinking about this all the way up to the last hour!</p>

<p>The good news is that it is a win win situation!</p>

<p>Yes, but I'm starting to think the win-win situations are the worst!! How can you pick from two great options? </p>

<p>I deliberately downplayed during this whole discussion the fact that D got a full-tuition scholarship from Adelphi for 4 years. It's very, very important that she feels confident and excited about where she goes to school. There are lots of details around the scholarship issue - what she can do in the summers, how much cash she could have to enjoy NYC, more extravagant study-abroad options. She knows finances are on the table, although she is very aware that we can support her going to Brandeis if that is what she wants.</p>

<p>The timing of this is very difficult, because we're all exhausted and there is no time to visit because of the end of the school year (both at the schools and for my D). If anyone from future classes is reading this, I would say only take a WL if you are sure you will definitely take a spot if offered (finances pending, if that's an issue, of course). But how was I to say no when my kid wanted to see if it could work out? It's very hard being a parent in these situations - the college admissions process is a very hard lesson in how to encourage self-confidence while not crushing self-esteem.</p>