BFA Acting Class of 2023: preparation, prescreens, auditions, questions and support

I’m seeing lots of questions and discussions from parents of current juniors elsewhere, so as the mom of one, I thought it was time for us to have our own space as preparation gears up!

Wishing you all the best of luck, Class of 2023! I hope you all get into your dream schools!

Thank you @actorparent1! And thank you for sharing your experiences this year. It’s been an education!

Best of luck to everyone!! I can’t believe I am a now just watching and supporting along with all the other veterans. Class of 2023 - Please ask the questions! This process is so challenging (but laced with some fun, quality parent child time) and the CC support is what helped me through.

Wishing all of you look and urging you not to leave out the techies. After all, your kids can’t perform if there aren’t kids like mine who want to do the lighting, set design, costume construction, stage management and the like…

@techmom99 YES! Everyone should hop in here!

@NJNYvt -

My son is finishing up his first year in a tech BFA program, so my comment was directed to the new group as in the past the tech students have been kind of left out. Their journey (portfolio review, interviews) is a little different but they do interact with the MT and Acting BFA and the BA students.

Good luck to all of you who are just starting this exciting journey.

I’ll share my mantra…LOVE YOUR SAFETY. I know at this point you all believe that your child has what it takes to get into one of these highly selective programs. But beware…more and more kids are applying for auditioned programs and there just isn’t enough room for them all. Look into tons of different types of schools, BA’s, BFA’s, conservatories. No one path is right or wrong… Find your fit…

Question for the group – D19 will be applying to theatre tech programs (mix of BA and BFA) and has started some initial work on Common App essays. She has three schools on her list who do not use the Common App (JMU, Montclair State, and UNCSA). Does anyone know what their essay/writing supplements are, or when their applications are posted/opened up so we can determine writing prompts?

Special thanks to @techmom99 for the shout out to the techies. =D>

Mom from class of 2021 here chiming in…For those of you who are perhaps making a final decision between a BA and a BFA program I wanted to chime in with our experience so far in a BA program. My daughter is currently a freshman at Loyola Marymount (LMU). It really was not an easy decision to make and we certainly had our doubts. I’m not going to lie…there’s nowhere near the number of training hours in a BA program as in a BFA. Of course, this we knew going in. But so far there have been some nice perks that have made us feel very reassured about my D’s choice. Within the first two weeks of the fall semester the department held auditions for their fall shows. At first she was not going to do it, but then she learned that the theater dept encourages everyone to audition so she did. She tried out for a drama and a musical and got call backs for the lead in both. She was ultimately cast as Jackie in the musical Runaways which ran two weekends in October. After that she decided not to audition again because she got herself a job she liked, working three days a week and also wanted to be free to audition for pilot season. As pilot season started winding down she auditioned for the Shakespeare production LMU is putting on in October 2018…she was called back for the lead with three other girls (upperclassmen) so we really didn’t expect she would get it but she did! She is playing Isabella in Measure for Measure! The director is a faculty member but also a successful working actor, Jim Holmes. He has his MFA from Calarts. In the meantime, she also auditioned and interviewed for LMU’s theater study abroad program. She just found out today she was accepted! They only take 15 students throughout the entire program so it’s a big honor to be chosen. Here is a link to the program…it’s the only undergraduate theater program the studies at the Moscow Art theater. She will be attending that in Spring 2019.
So bottom line…sometimes it’s not just BA vs BFA, but it’s about opportunities as well. Weigh everything! Also compare credits in the major. There is a big variation within BFA programs as well as within BAs. Some BAs come pretty close in credits to some BFA programs. My D also just declared a minor in Classics and Archaeology and may also minor in Journalism. Being a well-rounded student is a huge advantage for an actor. Feel free to pick my brain via PM!

Each school has a Net Price Calculator, use it for list building. Hurdle #1, getting in, and hurdle#2, paying the bill.

@marg928 and @DoinResearch thank you for the excellent advice. I’m so grateful to have experienced parents as resources. I get how the MT auditions go, but the straight theatre thing is new territory here.

@marg928 this is great advice. We are on the east coast, and while we are willing to look around geographically, we are hoping to find some great BA schools on the east coast. Does anyone have suggestions for other BA programs that meet the criteria marg928 mentioned: high number of credits in the major, opportunity to study abroad, opportunity to audition and perform as a freshman, etc.?

@atypicalstagemom When I started, I used the lists of schools to which people applied, you can look at the current years thread, and previous years, it’s a good starting point. I also made a spreadsheet of basic information, freshman performance, study abroad, etc. so I could compare. Son and I agreed that I would narrow it down to 30 schools, and he’d take it from there. I found the first pass of list building overwhelming, but felt that I had better research skills, and using financial information in the net price calculator was not something I was willing to turn over to kid. I know the school heavily stress the kids should be doing this, however, I know my kid, and the first step of looking at many schools would have taken too long. If I were to start this journey again, I would have started with the BIG financial picture, other kids/retirement, etc, and determine up front a financial strategy. We are willing to take out loans, if so, how much? How much can we pay each year? What is our EFC (Estimated family contribution) and do we want to pursue merit aid, need aid, or both? The answers to those question informed the list just as much as the program for our family. I spent WAAAAYYYY too much time researching programs we could never afford. Also, along the way, I determined son was not going to apply to a school in which we could not afford.

We are in a unique situation as we are actually very OPEN to a BFA in Acting, Musical Theater or just a straight BA in Theater where he can double major. I guess the big criteria is being able to audition and be cast in musicals and straight plays and having access to voice/dance class if doing BFA in Acting. Though DS is a strong singer, he wants to be a versatile actor and be able to do TV, Film and Stage. He also loves to write and would love to minor in screenwriting. So HARD to find a program that is flexible. So we are open and trying to narrow down list. Location is not a factor for us but affordability and generous scholarship money is.

@atypicalstagemom The first school that comes to mind would be American University. Their BA is auditioned and has 51 credits in the major. I’m not sure if they have a study abroad program that is unique to the theater department but I would say most likely there would be some kind of study abroad opportunity there. The only other auditioned BA she applied to on the East Coast was U Tampa, which she submitted by video and was accepted. The other BAs were all non-audition including University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) and University of Alabama Tuscaloosa. The following schools she auditioned for the BFA but also applied the BA programs as non-audition safeties: Florida State, SUNY Purchase and U Miami. My D really wanted to be on the West Coast so our list was limited for East Coast. The one caveat with a BA program would be if the school also has a BFA. You just have to dig a little deeper to find out if there are enough opportunities for the BA students or if the BA program is the ignored stepsister of the BFA. Also look at Ithaca, but they have a well regarded BFA and I’m not sure what opportunities there are for the BA students.

@atypicalstagemom I also answered on your other thread but wanted to post here as well. Look into Wesleyan. Lin Manuel Miranda went there. My D’s good friend is going to be attending in the fall as a theater major and will be playing football for them! I believe it’s an academically challenging school as well.

@thespis1 actually my D’s school might fit that bill. She goes to Loyola Marymount in LA. They have a screenwriting minor, in fact, they have a Pulitzer prize winning writer on the faculty. They have only a BA in Theater Arts so no competition from BFA students. I believe they do a musical every year…at least I am sure they did one this past fall, Runaways, and they are doing Hair this coming fall. Although there is no dance in the theater curriculum, the dance department reserves some spots for theater students and vice versa. I don’t think there is voice though.

@marg928, I will check out Loyola. I am intrigued! So funny about BA’s being UGLY STEP SISTER- you read my mind. That is what we are trying to find out- are BA’s valued and given opportunities at BFA schools. I doubt they give money to BA’s though? Ithaca and U Tampa are on our list too. How was your experience with U Tampa?

@thespis1 Most schools, whether BA or BFA don’t have great talent scholarships (most have none at all) so merit money will be based purely on academics. A BA student will have just as much chance of getting merit money as a BFA student would. We went on a tour of U Tampa last year…coincidentally my nephew was getting married there and our hotel was in walking distance of the school so it worked out for us. Gorgeous campus, great area. Much younger than other parts of Florida. We did not meet with the theater department though, so I don’t have too much insight. I’ve heard good things about the department head though. I think my friend @lincoln56 can help you with Ithaca. Her D is a freshman BFA MT there.