Baldwin Wallace Acting BFA - thoughts and comparable?

BW is our last audition and one of the schools we did not visit. It is further from home than what we would want so I was wondering if anyone can share any opinion about the program (even if not a student). We already have 4 acceptances and waiting on a few more. Thank you

They are starting a new BFA Acting program in Fall of 2020. They are making it a true conservatory with added movement and voice tracks. The students are nice and so are the faculty. It is in one of the safest college towns (ranked either #3 or #5). That’s all we know about the program.

Does this mean it is a brand new program or they are changing it?? I thought they already had an Acting program or was it just MT?

Their Acting program is 4 years old. At least that what they said in their information session. Next year they are changing it to be more like a true conservatory. They are adding more movement and voice classes or tracks.

Thank you. I thought it was a more established program. Do you mind sharing how you compare it to other programs you have visited?

@2024parentbfa - I have never visited BW and my D did not audition there so this is second hand info but one of the class of 2022 is at BW for Acting and very happy. BW seems to do a stellar job of getting their students on-stage experience both at school and away. Anecdotally (from the MT side) they provide / require professional auditioning earlier and more often than other programs. If the location and curriculum match up with what your performer wants I would say it’s a top choice for acting. I don’t think I’ve run into anyone yet whose performer didn’t love attending BW.


I it’s the MT program that the well established program that we hear about. The students and faculty are very nice there. The Acting freshmen my d talked to all loved the school.

My son is a sophomore BFA Actor at BW, and LOVES the program! If you have questions - - ask away! My son has had outstanding performance opportunities, and excellent professors. Also, he’s found it to be a friendly, supportive environment.

@JeanneDArc I am glad he is so happy there. Could you give some more details about the program (acting x academic load), types of classes they take and, if possible, any suggestion he might have for the audition. We have not visited the school and received an email saying they will choose on the spot if S should do classic or contemporary monologue

@2024parentbfa About the acting/academic course load: My impression is that the kids have 4-5 theater courses per semester and 1-2 non theater courses. There is a program sequence posted online. But as the program is just 4 years old, there have been adjustments. The updated sequence includes additional stage combat and movement! My son is really happy with it. Maybe ask the Theater & Dance Department to email the updated sequence to you. With the class titles in hand, you can even search the course catalog for actual class descriptions, if you like. I think comparing the required classes at the different schools is critical. For example, my son is presently taking Shakespeare in Performance (4 credits), and in May Term, he will take Acting Shakespeare. These were key attractions for him.
About the audition: I’d tell my son to just be himself! I realize this is easy to say from the other side of the process (heh heh.) But it’s really true - - when it comes to decision time, finding a place where you student feels like s/he fits is so important. And if you’re lucky enough to have a few choices, there is little time for them to explore this in April! So I’d pay attention to the “vibe” at each school during on camps auditions. Notice the scale of the department (in the case of BW, a group of different majors), the feel of the campus (BW’s BFA is in a liberal arts environment, but is still conservatory-like), the type of shows they produce, and the kids’ access to being in shows. About choosing the audition monologue on the fly: My son is doing a minor in Applied Music (singing.) Each semester, he works on 3 pieces for his private voice lesson class: a classical, a pop, and one from musical theater. For his final exam, the adjudicators choose one piece to hear. It’s a similar quandary, and perhaps common in the performance industry. For the BFA auditions, I have no idea if the Shakespeare or the contemporary monologue is more commonly requested.

@JeanneDArc Thank you so much. If I may ask one more question…when you went through the process, which schools or programs did you find more similar to BW (if you can still remember it).

@JeanneDArc Just wondering if the private voice lessons for your son’s Applied Music involve an extra fee? Also, is this something he started in his freshman year and if so, did he have to do an audition for that minor, given that he is an Acting student? TIA!

@2024parentbfa Although it has been 2 years, it was quite unforgettable! When it comes to BFA Acting programs, I think they are like flavors of ice cream - - all are different, and each has strengths. We found no other BFA Acting program at a university which provided all the particular things my son wanted: separate BFA Actor space, both physically and program-wise (not a MT program with less dance), plenty of Shakespeare, affiliation with professional theaters, the chance to audition for top musicals with the MT kids, private voice lessons (and a voice minor), on a traditional, pretty liberal arts college campus. This last bit - - the college campus - - my son sprang on us during choice time! Previously, he’d felt that campus and location did not matter. Anyway, many universities offered one or more pieces of our puzzle. Elon’s BFA is part of a traditional liberal arts environment. CalArts, UNCSA, BU, SUNY Purchase, and UConn (I’m sure to be missing some) have only Acting, so there is no MT program grabbing most of the buzz. (BU has that MT addition option.) I think DuPaul might be more similar to BW in some ways. But each of the programs, and universities, is very different. In the end, my son had 4 BFA options and no 2 programs were similar. It’s a nail-biting experience, for sure!

@goggleson There is an additional fee for the private voice lessons. I think it is appx. $600 per semester. This may be because my son went over usual credit hours - not sure. He auditioned for the Applied Music Minor when we were on campus for BW’s Accepted Student Day. It was actually a really fun and supportive audition!

@JeanneDArc Thank you. You have put it very well and that is what makes the decision process so hard. We are waiting for more responses so now there yet but your additional information about BW is very helpful

@JeanneDArc thank you! So it sounds like was that something that he had pre-arranged with faculty to do before he went to Accepted Students day? And was it just a singing audition or was there music theory testing too? Also, is it unusual for kids doing Acting at BW to do what he is doing? Sorry for all the questions, just curious as it sounds like a great option for those who can sing but don’t want to go the full MT route, which seems to apply to quite a few students out there. It definitely sounds like a smart move to follow such a path if you can sing, as it seems the more marketable skills you can develop the better!

@Goggleson My son did not arrange the audition for his voice minor at BW ahead of time. But he should have, and others did! We learned others were doing it on Accepted Students Day, and he scrambled to make the connection. The conservatory people were super accommodating. He didn’t have music with him, but they (of course) had everything! Right now, quite a few BFA kids are doing voice or dance minors. But this may become more difficult to schedule as the BFA adds required courses. I do not believe my son had a music theory test for the minor - he never mentioned it. He’s getting piles of music theory now. While challenging, he’s glad to be doing it. I love to hear him sing, and am glad he’s keeping it up! Plus, being able to communicate technical nuisances with song-people on a show seems useful.

@JeanneDArc Thanks for all that info. Sounds like your son is going great guns - smart kid to keep his skill set as wide as possible!

Seeking insight on a comparison between Baldwin Wallace and Boston conservatory mt programs. Cost aside which would you choose?

@mtdadyo - There is a whole separate board for MT majors - link below - if you ask (or search) there you will get a lot of information. Both programs are very, very good and if you have a child choosing between them, congratulations! Really can’t go wrong with either - I would personally choose BW over BoCo but each has pros (and few cons).