BA theater for a good student who's not a superstar

<p>My junior D is looking for a liberal arts college in the Boston/New York/Philly area. She's a great girl, good student (4.25 weighted), and a good performer who's very involved in her HS theater program and who particularly loves musical theater.... but she's not star material. She fell head over heels in love with Emerson on a tour, but her concern is that if she gets in as a BA general theater major, she'd never get to perform, because the parts will all go to the BFA stars who have been training since they were 5.</p>

<p>Is that true? Is she better off at a school with a less famous theater program where she could actually get on stage and be really involved? Would Muhlenberg offer more opportunities, or is it also really hard to get parts if you're not a superstar? Can anyone recommend schools for a smart girl who just wants to be part of a fun theater program... and get a good education? (Academically she's not in the Ivy/Wesleyan league, more in the running for Trinity/Emerson/BU/Muhlenberg.)</p>

<p>Thanks from a newbie!</p>

<p>American U. in Wash. DC just inaugurated a brand new amazing performing arts center. She would get a good education AND have a shot at roles in theatre productions.</p>

<p>Her friend asked her to go to American's information night in a couple of weeks, and she wasn't sure, because she's so set on Boston/NY, but I'll tell her about it and try to go. DC can be as exciting as NYC and Boston....</p>

<p>thanks for the suggestion</p>

<p>It's said that the BFA does overshadow the BA at Emerson... I was looking at Skidmore -- good dept., lots of courses, and the theater dept is having an open house in November. Not in a city, though. We looked at Smith-- again not in a city but a gorgeous theater, open curriculum so you could structure your own major, and the 5-college consortium would offer more opportunities-- again not in a city but Northampton is a great town.</p>

<p>Montclair State in NJ is also worth checking out. Good theatre department.</p>

<p>Montclair State is a great school, with a great program. They also have BFA programs, so it would be important to see what kinds of opportunities there are for BA students.</p>

<p>If she wants a BA program, she may be better off at a school that does not have a BFA program. </p>

<p>Does she only want to be in the cities of NY, Philly, Boston? What is important to her... being in the city or being in the 6 - 8 hour "bubble"/ radius of the cities you mention?</p>

<p>She doesn't need to be in the city-- would be happy being within a hour or so of NY or Boston, or maybe Philly. She has never been to Philly but adores NY and Boston-- and yet NYU was too urban for her.</p>

<p>Do you think Muhlenberg would have performance opportunities for a good but not great actress/dancer/singer?</p>

<p>Why does she want to be within an hour of the cities you mention? I only ask, because often students are so involved with campus activities they do not "venture" into the cities an hour or so away quite often.</p>

<p>Is she hoping to major in theatre, or in another area?</p>

<p>Oh, just because of the fantasy of being back east (we're west coasters). If she falls in love with a school it may not matter that much.</p>

<p>Yes, she's like to major in theater, but maybe double major or minor..... minds can change a lot in the next two years! She loves the theater and would like to be involved in college productions and maybe find a way to work in the theater world. But she's not determined to be the next Meryl Streep.</p>

<p>"back east" is more than just those few cities. It sounds as if she would be best served in a strong BA theatre program within a liberal arts context.</p>

<p>Generally speaking, schools that do not also have BFAs might a better fit. </p>

<p>Depending on her continued HS success, ECs, test scores, etc... some schools to look at in the Northeast...</p>

Sarah Lawrence
Mount Holyoke
Boston College
Temple (BA Theatre)
Fairfield U.
Suny New Paltz
Wagner (I believe an auditioned program)
Marymount Manhattan (should expore the opportunities for BA students , because they also have a BFA)
Sarah Lawrence
Connecticut College
Wheaton College
Trinity College</p>

<p>In the farther north/ west category...
Middlebury College
Plymouth State University
Hartwick College
Seton Hill
Bennington College</p>

<p>In the farther south catagory...
UNC- Wilmington
UNC- Chapel Hill
University of Maryland
University of Virginia
James Madison University
George Mason University
American (I believe an auditioned program)</p>

<p>It is hard to tell from the information posted if Brown, Dartmouth, Williams, Weslyan, or Yale could be a possibility? They have strong theatre opps.... but are a reach for all students, I believe.</p>

<p>There are many others as well! I am sure others will chime in...</p>

<p>SUNY New Paltz might be a good option for you daughter. My son transferred there and is really enjoying it. They have buses to NYC and the kids really do go there. My son just went on a free trip to NYC last Saturday offered by the art dept. to visit a couple of museums. I'm sure they must offer similar excursions for those in the theater dept. There are a lot of good majors offered in which she could major/minor/double major. There are so many interesting courses that they entice my son to explore lots of avenues. I have to remind him that he needs to focus on his major. lol The student body is laid back and the town is an artsy, funky college town. The surrounding area is beautiful and offers lots of outdoor activities.</p>

<p>Thanks to all. She is a smart and talented girl and a good student but not Ivy material, but she should be well in the running for schools like Trinity, Wheaton, Muhlenberg, etc. We went on a tour last spring, and although I thought Skidmore would be perfect for her, it was too remote. Sarah Lawrence and Marymount Manhattan have too few men (she's coming out of a girls' school and wants at least a reasonable number of boys around). SUNY New Paltz sounds well worth exploring, thanks! And Conn, American, Fairfield, etc. Thanks for some great ideas!</p>

<p>Muhlenberg really sounds ideal. We'll try to tour that later this year.</p>

<p>Can anyone tell me about theater at Wesleyan? We're in similar situation, and have Muhlenberg, Skidmore and Vassar on our list, but I hadn't thought of Wesleyan. Wesleyan seems to pick the athletes from our school and not the students, but we could give it a try. D has great SATs and reasonably strong grades. We were looking at Muhlenberg as a likely safety.</p>

<p>Aside from having a strong acting program, SUNY New Paltz has earned a strong academic reputation among NY state schools. Although it's only 90 miles from NYC it is much more secluded and sheltered from the metro area. I graduated many years ago ( the John Turturro era) and the program was vibrant. The campus and surrounding area is beautiful.</p>

<p>Wesleyan is a wonderful liberal arts college in Connecticut. It's more known for its film program I would say-- a while back Vanity Fair did a piece on all the famous people from there that are in the Entertainment industry:</p>

<p>Roth</a> on Wesleyan Blog Archive Wesleyan Vanity Fair</p>

<p>SUNY New Paltz is in an absolutely beautiful part of New York state, with a quaint town etc.</p>

<p>Re Muhlenberg, it's optional audition-- I think the audition helps with merit aid considerations as well as admissions)</p>

<p>Tufts is another great school with a great theatre program just outside of Boston--</p>

<p>Hampshire in Mass. is part of the 5 college group up in the Berkshires and Theatre students there can be in shows of any of the 5 colleges-- particularly good if you're a guy according to the admissions rep because one of the schools is all-girls Mount Holyoke--</p>

<p>Wesleyan sounds so perfect for her, except for the fact that a girl with a 4.25, 6 honors classes and 2-3 APs is not remotely in the running, because she won't have taken calculus and physics, she wasn't ASB president, she won't get a 2300 on her SATs (she'll be lucky to get 2000), and she hasn't found a cure for cancer. I just cannot get over how intensely competitive it all is! When do these kids sleep? </p>

<p>Sorry for the rant, but it's overwhelming! We didn't go through this with D1, who decided on her first-choice college (LMU) at age 15, knew it wasn't a reach, applied EA, never even looked anywhere else, and is now a contented sophomore there. D2 loves musical theater and theater, is a very good student by my standard (but not by what seems to be the CC standard), and is a well-rounded, great girl. She'll find a good home, but it won't be in the academically elite schools, or the Serious Theater or Musical Theater schools, where the kids are all gifted and/or have been trained since preschool.</p>

<p>researchin4emb, you need to take a deep breath and realize that there are a ton of good schools beyond the first tier of universities and LACs. That's where it's most competitive. Your daughter's stats will get her in a great selection of schools!!</p>

<p>And, btw, alot of these LAC's do NOT pick the best students, but the ones that meet some EC need because they're building a class which, as a whole, will be well-rounded. I see this clearly on the Naviance stats at our school, where the upper right quadrant is nothing but X's and waitlists and the acceptances are in the more "average" academic range.</p>

<p>I apologize, actually, for what sounded like bragging re my daughter. Frankly, her test scores are her strongest suit, but that will only open the door, but not necessarily get her in. </p>

<p>Anyway, I looked up the Wesleyan theater program on the school's website and was dismayed to see that to get into the Acting classes, students have to audition. On the one hand, that is good for the level of quality in the class, but I have not seen that as a liberal arts school. It doesn't give me confidence that someone who is not a superstar would even be able to participate!!</p>

<p>my D is working right now with a director who went to the U of Alabama at Birmingham, (hardly elite!) became the asst to a pulitzer prize winning playwright, has directed a number of shows off broadway now....he's 25. He feels he got wonderful training, never felt out of his league after he graduated.... I'm in a creative field too, so many friends teach at different colleges...we all know there are great (often better) educations available outside elite schools. The trouble is finding the right places, without undertaking a year-long, nationwide road trip to see every single place! That's where CC can help (or that's what I'm hoping.)</p>

<p>Hey, don't worry about it, that's great about your daughter! And of course, I know mine will be just fine-- I wouldn't even want her at an Ivy anyway, even if she was Ivy material!</p>

<p>It's just trickier to find a good fit when we're looking so far away from home (her dream) and an unusual mix: smallish to mid-size school, strong liberal arts education, good mainstream theater/musical theater but not so good that a "regular" theater girl can't get parts, not too hippie or preppy, not a women's college, not a commuter school, and a good intellectual environment but you don't need a 2300 SAT to get in. Oh, and within weekend commuting distance from Boston, NY, Philly or maybe DC. So it is a challenge!</p>