Can I add a theater major my second year in college?

This is probably a dumb question, so I apologize beforehand.

I’m a current junior in high school and I want to study acting in college, but my parents definitely will not pay for an acting coach and I know that my current skill level is definitely not good enough to get me into a top theater program.

I’ve been doing theater since middle school and I’ve been in 10+ theater productions since then, with around 5 lead roles. The only real training I’ve had was a theater workshop run by a broadway star that I did several years ago and the only professional acting job I’ve ever had was a supporting role in an audio drama.

My current goal is to get into a top university that also happens to have a good theater program, and then add a theater major my second year after paying for an acting coach myself with money from my part time job.

Is this realistic at all? Do acting programs even accept people who try to get in second year?

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It depends on the school. Some require auditions to get into the program, and you’d still have to try out as a sophomore (and much harder to get in). It may be possible but you could be behind in credits if the program is a BFA and requires 65 credits in the fine arts dept. My daughter started in such a program and the 35 or so freshmen all took the first year classes together so they were a unit.

Not all BFA programs require an audition (hers didn’t) and not all auditions require an acting coach. You can learn a lot online.

There are also BA programs and you probably would be able to add that as a major later (audition may still apply).


BA programs in theatre are usually easier to add as second majors, typically could be started as a sophomore and often don’t require an audition into the program.

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Most BFA acting programs will require an audition and if you start after your first year you are placed with the first years and have to start over again. There are some programs that are less competitive and some that are more academic. It is absolutely possible to also get training in BA theater programs that are not audition based at all. Popular ones are Muhlenberg, Oberlin, and many of the Ivies.