Can you attend Juilliard after attending a different college?

Hi! I am currently entering a four year college and was going to pursue a science major out of practicality, but after taking a gap year, I finally decided I am going to pursue a major in acting. I am just now getting back into theater, drama, and acting, but know that the college I’m attending does not have a very strong theater department. I know it is often harder to transfer into colleges or universities than it is to be admitted to them as a new student fresh out of high school. I saw that some alumnus from Juilliard attended different colleges before being accepted to Juilliard for a four year degree, and not as a transfer student it seems. I’m thinking of Jessica Chastain or Robin Williams specifically. I am wondering if you can attend a different college and then still go to Juilliard for a four year degree, or another drama school like Juilliard, or what route these alums took after attending a different college to get into Juilliard especially. Thank you!


You can absolutely transfer into Juilliard. The application process is different than that of incoming freshmen or MFA candidates, but the audition process is the same. They ask for an extra essay about why you would like to transfer, and your academic recommendation might have to be from a college professor.

One thing that is particular about Juilliard’s acting program, though, is that everyone (BFA, MFA, transfer or not) goes through the four years of classes together as a group. So while Juilliard accepts transfers, you will have to be there for four years.

I don’t really know the transfer process for other schools since I’m applying as a first-time freshman but I believe many BFA programs have similar policies. If you’re still looking for schools I’d look into Carnegie Mellon, SUNY Purchase, DePaul, CalArts, etc.

Aside from that, whether the theater department at your college is great or not, you should absolutely get involved, if only to not go into auditions after a long acting hiatus (your situation actually seems quite similar to mine, before deciding to pursue it now I hadn’t been on a stage in over a year).

I hope this helps a bit, and best of luck!