Class of 2025 Undergrad/Class of 2023 Grad: The Tours, the Auditions, the Journey

I sent you a DM, so I don’t bog down this thread with too many details!

We tried this for a kid, trying to get improved OOS merit and showing them local state college’s offer. Didn’t work. Turned out that kid already had the max OOS merit, and we weren’t asking for fin aid. But when dealing with private colleges, this is definitely done successfully - and no harm in asking.


I’m tempted to leave it at that because I know you all get it :grinning:. I thought D was getting pretty close to a decision (Miami/Frost), but we slowed down to work out some very irritating scholarship issues. Still not worked out, but in my mind the decision was close anyway and I was very happy with the fit from my perspective. Now ASU and University of British Columbia seem ascendant as the child has been digging deeper into curriculum, getting to know faculty, etc. On the plus side, both are very reasonable in cost (ASU because of academic scholarship and UBC because of dual citizenship), but I was really not thinking there would be lessons, zooms, discussions about a visit to AZ (not practicable for UBC), etc. still on the table at this point. Each school has its appeal re: teachers and programs, ASU offers spectacular flexibility, and UBC offers the film industry in Vancouver - both good for kid who wants to study music performance and have a career in acting. I hate being in the dark but have no idea where this is going now.

My other kid waited until the last minute to decide too - not sure what I did to deserve this. :wink:


This my first post to this forum. My daughter auditioned for six schools as a VP (mezzo) major:

CCM - rejected
Juilliard- rejected
Curtis - rejected
IU/JSOM - admitted
Miami University- admitted
Peabody - admitted

She was actually waitlisted at Peabody and received a call today to tell her she had now been admitted. Now the hard part. How to decide? Of course there are financial considerations. She has contacted and had a lesson with teachers at both Miami and IU. She liked them both. Any thoughts on how to make this decision?

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Congrats - those are great choices! Mine is a soprano and I think she is going to end up at Frost. She is down to Miami, ASU and UBC (British Columbia). This is pretty specific to my kid but she sees the pros and cons of Frost as:

Con - $$ (including very poor communication from school about scholarships)
Open issue - need to learn more about likely soprano teacher
Pros - Miami and UM seem fun and she felt happy and at peace there on our visit, high degree of attention and performance opportunities (tiny program - only 10-12 undergrads per class year in VP, plus voice kids in music Ed, etc., very few grad students), flexibility to study music other than opera, good academic fit for her if she changes her major, favorite honorary uncle is a UM grad (don’t under-estimate this kind of thing!), communication from VP department has been great and she likes the faculty and students and feels wanted

Mine didn’t apply to Jacobs, Peabody, etc. because grad school programs are too big for her. She is pretty self-aware and knows she wants as many chances to be the center of attention as possible. :grinning: Even with ASU and UBC, I think size of program is going to end up outweighing ginormous price difference. The people at Frost seem to get the desire for maximum performance opportunities as undergrad and be willing to work with it.

Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more. Of course these are all only impressions we’ve picked up during the marketing phase of admissions - I hope people with actual experience at these schools will weigh in!

My D graduated from IU awhile back as a VP student. Here are a few things to consider:

Cost/Debt - Grad school is important for VP majors. There will most likely be summer opportunities too (that are not free…but expected). She will probably need to spend a summer in Europe for example. Be sure that you have funds for this. Once she graduates she may need a bit of assistance from you (or no debt) for the first year or so. VP is a marathon so pace yourself on spending.

Teacher - sounds like you have found some good matches. Check faculty size too as teachers do leave/retire.

Academics - check the semester-by-semester curriculum.

Ensembles - sometimes overlooked - check the ensemble requirements. IU will most likely require one ensemble per semester. This is usually opera chorus at very least soph year on. So you do get on the big stage and working with some amazing talent (some young intl professionals at IU for polishing). In studio, of course, you will be brought along more slowly as a freshman. So IU can be a parallel world…where you can watch the best of the best and even be on stage with them…as you learn in more age appropriate ways…maybe in an opera scenes situation or student directed opera.

I think that @MathandSinging makes a good point to be self-aware. IU is competitive and as a freshman or UG you will not be in the spotlight (did not bother my D). Also the mountain is high there…and that can give a young freshman a “fright”. However my D (easier for a mezzo) had a tiny role as Soph and two supporting roles Jr and Sr year in their main stage operas. At her age/ability (for a 3 hr opera) a small role was all she should have been singing in order to protect her voice!!

Grad students - I believe that they can be a plus in the long run. You can learn a lot from them…if you don’t end up too intimidated by them (and some kids do…so be aware). My D loved the knowledge from the grad students. They were mentors to her. And grad students will not take your D’s spot on stage…bc your D will not be able to sing a 3 hour opera for quite some time. She should be given age appropriate opportunities only. And they are available at IU. Also, you will have a near automatic acceptance into a top grad program. IU gives space to all hard-working UG students. Just a thought!

Environment/Size: IU JSOM is a big music school with a lot going on. Some students may do better in an environment where all freshman are brought along on the same path and there aren’t a lot of distractions. At IU you may end up with different opportunities that can create jealousy, concerns. My D got into opera chorus first semester of Freshman year (she’s a mezzo…). None of her soprano friends did. My D was NOT more talented…they just needed mezzos. So she got a foot in with the chorus master that benefited her early on. So…it can be a bit more “real world” and competitive. There is not a concern about keeping things “fair” in this regard at the school. Decisions are based on “production need”. However I would say there is a commitment to growth and opportunities for all students. These 2 things can exist together…and imho they do at IU.

I think that either school would be great. I would just have your D think closely about environment…including FUN sides of the schools too. Going to a school where you will “enjoy” yourself, get the classes that you want…and be inspired/not stressed out. So which environment would inspire her during the day and give her some fun outlets on the weekend?

I hope that this helps.

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@bridgenail, you always have great insights, thank you! Your comments helped me isolate one of the “it factors” that mine is really focused on, and that is degree of certainty about future career. I imagine that IU or Peabody might be a better fit for a kid who is sure he or she wants to be an opera singer or academic. Miami and ASU feel like better fits for my kid, who is not at all sure about her future plans. She knows she loves to perform, and she loves to sing arias in Italian, but also loves to act and sing jazz, and she loves Econ too. A BM degree anywhere is pretty narrow, and my kid is pretty sure she wants that education. She feels she can get it at any of the schools and is more focused on the non-music aspects to distinguish them and make a choice.

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First I want to say I have learned so much from this forum! - Thank you!
My daughter has acceptances to 8 schools as a VP (soprano major). She also has a love & background in musical theatre but her main goal is classical/opera. Since she has been admitted to both conservatories & universities we are trying to narrow down what programs will be a good fit and prepare her eventually for her Masters down the road. I have not found a lot of recent info. on these schools on other threads. We will also need to factor in the financial package.

Boston Conservatory
NYU Steinhardt
Michigan (SMTD)

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*deleted since I accidentally replied to the wrong post. Apologies!

@kimbera and @pjnyc1 . . . I can probably answer questions and provide insight into Peabody (and by extension Johns Hopkins). Please feel free to DM me if you’re interested, or if you need me to initiate the DMs, just LMK.

@MathandSinging and @bridgenail, thank you both for your insights! Very helpful! I’m so thankful that I stumbled upon this forum.

Does anyone have experience at Mannes, both musically and socially? How is it living in the dorms as a Freshman with students from TNS and Parsons.

So glad this thread has the word “journey” in it because that’s exactly what it was for my D. Though she’s instrumental major at a performing arts high school, she only decided to apply to BM composition programs in August 2020, a scant three months before portfolios were due. And today, she decided to pursue a BM in composition at Ithaca College’s School of Music. While it was not her first choice, it appears to be a perfect fit due the quality of the program, the resources available as part of the liberal arts college, and the Finger Lakes location. Sharing a snapshot of her experiences and results as a reference for future composition applicants.
Applied: Oberlin TIMARA, Peabody MFNM, Ithaca College, Bard Conservatory, CU-Boulder and SUNY Purchase. Passed pre-screening: Oberlin TIMARA, Peabody MFNM, Ithaca College and CU Boulder. Accepted: Ithaca College. At first, she was very disappointed by these results and contemplated pivoting to a BA-Music at Skidmore, MHC or Union. It was only after she went to see IC that her thinking changed. General feedback: I wished she had started developing her portfolio a full year before applying and had worked with someone experienced (read: not her parents!) in portfolio development. I wished UC Boulder did not require an instrumental audition for its composition program (one of the few schools that do) as she really loved the program, but performance is not her strong suit. I wished that Oberlin did not hype passing the pre-screening (e.g. multiple congratulatory emails, letters, and lots of swag) as it gave D a false sense of security. Finally, I wished she’d been interviewed by some other than Thomas Dolby of Peabody. His mansplaining throughout their discussion was a real turn off for her. It’s no surprise, but a shame, that the NFNM skews so male. (I guess it’s a blessing in disguise that she didnt get in, but I know she would have rocked that program)

Finally, this newbie music mom thanks you all for your support and guidance over the past couple of months and GL to the class of 2022!


Hats off to you for for supporting your daughter with three months’ lead time! I know two Ithaca graduates, professional musicians in our area, and they are both credits to the school’s name. I had hoped my daughter would apply there (though I’m pretty happy with where she ended up), but unfortunately she was turned off by a conversation with one of the admissions counselors. I don’t even know what was said. It was one of my first experiences with how haphazard this whole process is.

Also - yes - finding this forum was a godsend for us! The journey would have looked very, very different for us without the wisdom and insights of folks here!


So nice of you to share. Ithaca is a great program! And a great college town. Good luck to her and I am sure she will have a great experience.