BFA Acting Class of 2024: Preparation, Prescreens, Auditions, Questions and Support

Definitely agree with @anastasiasmom on the financial picture! I’ve been through this twice (MT then Acting) and D1 had a coach who included schools that would be affordable for us when they made her list. D2 did not want to use a coach, and we were naive in what we thought would be affordable (she didn’t apply to CMU or NYU knowing they were expensive/not known for giving aid). D2 ended up having to decline some really good offers/waitlists because we did not want to take out huge loans.

Now for more positive advice! :smile: Set up a new email account just for college. You will get TONS of college emails! We didn’t do this with D1, and there were times she missed an email here or there. We did it with D2 and it made things so much easier! She and I both had access to it (her preference), and I kept all of the login info on the spreadsheet.

I used Numbers on a Mac and, well, my daughter’s in college, so it worked! ;-D

@yellahamma @MTmom2017 @letterhead and @NYDreammom Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement!!! It is much appreciated! :smiley:

Thanks @MTmom2017 for the advice on the new email. My S already gets lots of the advertising emails from colleges in his school email, and I’ve been wondering if we should set up a new one to avoid missing important ones from the schools he’d actually be applying to. But was wondering if that would cause confusion at the schools who already have one email address that goes with his name (though maybe only in some marketing dept. database).

So am wondering if you set that new email up for your D2 before Junior year or do you mean set up a new one and used that one as the email address once you started applications?

Thanks @letterhead and congrats to your daughter. I expect I’ll start with Numbers too. :slight_smile:

So a tweak on the finance issue. Fortunately, we can afford most if not all programs, but I’m not sure why we would spend full pay at say NYU vs. other fine programs. My take on this whole thing is it’s really about talent. The program will provide excellent training and , hopefully, access / network, but at the end of the day, it’s about talent (BFA / BA / no school). For those that have a great understanding of the well respected programs, does an NYU offer “better” training or better anything then, say, Pace, or Molloy, or any of the great programs out there?

Trying to get my D to build a list and understand the differences between programs. I’d rather spend a little less and have some funds available to support her the first few yrs if necessary.

@rickle1 - my D Graduated from NYU last year. in our family, we had a rule, the college was just as important as the training. We wanted a school known for academics. If you look at a school like NYU, CMU, Michigan, Boston etc… those schools are well known outside the theater world as well as have global recognition and ranking. There are other places that have strong theater programs in colleges that do not share that same recognition. Right now, my D is supporting herself in the arts. Idk what her future holds. But she has a degree from a great school - one that has value outside the theater world. Just one perspective.

@Goggleson we set up the email right before she started all of the applications so her “official” email was the shared one. It was the one that admissions departments got with the actual college application, as well as it being the one we used for the theatre departments when sending prescreens/scheduling auditions. She still received college marketing-type emails to her regular email address, but the ones we needed to really pay attention to went to the new/shared one.

@rickle1, each school/program is very different and it truly depends on what your D wants. There are “top tier” schools that are frequently on those lists that get published (as I’m typing this I just got a Casting Networks email with a ranking of the top 25 graduate acting programs!), but there are many other great schools out there that have fantastic training. Some are very expensive, and some are not. Probably everyone on this board can tell you stories of people they know on Broadway, or in tv shows or movies who didn’t go to college at all, and others who went to one of the “top” schools who are working survival jobs. So yes, it’s about the talent! It’s also about what your D wants out of her college experience.

^ seems to be more interested in a conservatory type program. Doesn’t really care about the traditional college experience (at least she doesn’t think so - I think that’s a shame as she doesn’t know what she’s missing). She really justs wants to perform, write, and maybe direct. Doesn’t really care about traditional academic classes.

@rickle1 You can have your daughter do a blind curriculum review of BFA programs to see where she gravitates without regards to the name. But expect she may change her mind between now and end of audition season about what exactly she wants in a program, especially after visits. Last year’s thread (Class of 2022) was very helpful, recommend reading it all. Cast a wide net and ultimately she and your family will make the right decision for her.

@rickle1, if she wants a conservatory program with very little academics, then NYU is not the right choice. My D was the same way and didn’t apply to NYU for that reason. It’s a wonderful program for those who WANT strong academics with great training.

For those who like to plan ahead, here are the dates for this year’s National Unified Auditions:

Pearl Studios 500 8th Ave., NY
New York - Jan 18 &19

Palmer House Hotel
Chicago - Feb 3 -6

Westin Hotel (LAX airport)
Los Angeles - Feb 7-9

@MTmom2017 thanks for the info! And same to you @anastasiasmom for those dates.
Has anyone decided which Unifieds they’re attending? We’re closer to NYC (could drive rather than fly) but the impression I get is that Chicago might be a bit easier to navigate and more schools might be there. Would love to hear what others are thinking.


We will be going to Chicago. I’ve already booked our hotel. It’s closer to us and from what I’ve read more schools are in Chicago during the National Unified Audition dates. I’ve also read that some schools are there a day or two before and possibly a day after the official Chicago dates. But that doesn’t mean that the NY and Los Angeles venues are not well attended by colleges and universities. The National Unified Audition webpage only lists the schools that are registered with them. Many schools are in those cities at the same time in the same hotels listed or in hotels nearby.

Veteran parents, please feel free to clarify or correct me if needed.

We went to both for a couple reasons - one to limit the number of audition trips overall and also to not put all of my son’s eggs in one basket. This turned out to be a good decision because he got sick in NY. There is a great deal of overlap between schools that hold auditions at or near the Unified locations but there are always a handful that don’t go to all of them. This year Michigan only went to Chicago. NYU offered on-campus auditions during NY Unifieds. I think Shenandoah only went to NY and not Chicago (but I’m not positive about my memory on that!) We just looked at the various audition dates/locations offered by each school and tried to create a reasonable list for each city.

As far as convenience, staying at the Palmer House obviously makes it a little bit easier to get to the auditions in the hotel. But in Chicago, several of my son’s auditions were at different locations - BU, Syracuse, Rutgers and Roosevelt were not at the Palmer House. I believe Julliard was at the same hotel as BU and Rutgers also. It was fine because Chicago is an easy city to navigate. It was fun for my son and his friends to be in the same hotel all week and I think being able to hang out together probably helped with their stress levels. In NY, there are many hotels within a block of Pearl Studios. But again, there are schools in other locations like NYU and Pace on campus, Shenandoah at a different studio, etc. NY is also very easy to navigate so this wasn’t an issue for us. I can’t give any opinion on LA because we didn’t go to that one but my impression was it was a lot more laid back.

We only did NYC because most of the schools we were interested in were in NYC so actually did the on-campus auditions wherever possible. We found the Unifieds too crazy - way crowded (budget extra time for building entrance checks and elevator queues) and less personal but some people like that energy.

We also plan on scheduling on campus auditions besides going to Chicago. Partly due to scheduling unknowns (dates and times available and ones that don’t overlap) and partly due to on campus only auditions on her list. I am putting dates on a spreadsheet as they are posted on each college website that she will apply to just to get an idea of what is available. Also, I know some schools want applications before you set up the audition time slot, some just want the application completed prior to the audition, and others, like Otterbein, tell you to send in a prescreen and wait to find out if you are invited to a live audition before you apply to the school. It’s enough to make my head spin!

@NYDreammom I appreciate the heads up on the craziness and factoring in extra time. That is oh so helpful!! @mindatwork that’s an excellent point about spreading out the audition schedule.

NYU will be in Chicago during the unified period (though they are not a unified school) - that’s where my D did her audition :slight_smile:

I noticed that LA unifieds are IMMEDIATELY after Chicago this year… that could affect timeslots of schools if they need to leave time to travel etc. Could be an issue if there are any concerns with weather…in Chicago…in February…

I don’t know when they were this year (2019), but last year LA was immediately after Chicago & a big storm was scheduled to come in on Friday. People (auditors & students) were frantically trying to get earlier flights - it was crazy!

My MT D only did Chicago, but she didn’t want to go to school in NYC. Acting D did both New York and Chicago, as she had several NYC school auditions that she could knock out that weekend, along with a few others so she didn’t have to do so many in Chicago. We are not close to any of the schools where either D was auditioning. As far as where to stay - we liked being at the Palmer House for the convenience, but a number of the schools were at other hotels. D had friends there she could hang out with in the evenings, which she enjoyed. We also splurged on the Executive Floor - they had continental breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres (this was our dinner a couple of nights), snacks & drinks during the day. The bar is open in the evenings and it’s much calmer than the main one downstairs. If you’ll be doing lots of traveling, sign up for Hilton Honors & get points! There are also lots of people who choose not to stay at the Palmer House because it’s so crowded/chaotic. Do what will be best for your child.

For scheduling auditions, I bought a paper calendar and wrote all of the possible audition dates in pencil (dates were on the spreadsheet too). As we got them scheduled, I’d erase everything but the scheduled time & put it in ink. It helped us actually seeing it on paper.

Thanks all of you for sharing your thoughts and I especially love when those who have been through it come back to help us newbies out. You people already deserve a medal, based on what I’ve read in the past threads, so thanks for paying it forward.
Really need to get S to start looking more decisively at his college list so I can start looking at those audition dates. Hoping once exams are finished and school breaks up, I can catch him in that small break before he goes into summer mode. He’s definitely more relaxed about all this than me, but then he hasn’t been on this forum. :wink: