Congrats to the class of 2026 Undergrad and 2024 Grad on making it to this exciting milestone…your very own Journey Thread! I will enjoy following along this year from a relaxed distance. D is a sophomore clarinet performance major at UMich, so the pressure is off this time around.
@kokotg I will echo @vistajay’s sentiments, and encourage you to throw a few reaches on the list. You never know what might happen! D had six schools on her list–which felt terrifyingly small at the time. In the end, as everyone will tell you, it only takes one. Most of her less ‘reachy’ or ‘safe’ schools ultimately didn’t hold much true appeal for her. It was nice to have a few safeties in our back pocket, but as the process wore on, it became pretty clear that she wouldn’t have been happy with them. Don’t be afraid to take a shot!
A thought regarding admission at programs with only undergrads versus undergrad + grad students… I’m not sure how much this actually impacts the number of openings. We always got the impression that openings were based on the needs of the school that year. Did they end up over enrolling last year, and therefore have fewer spaces this year? Are they looking to grow the studio? etc. It seems to me that most schools had a certain number of openings for their incoming freshman class (and a mysterious formula for arriving at this number). If someone left the program as a sophomore for whatever reason, they might have an opening for a sophomore transfer. I don’t believe that grad students were vying for the same spots. There were spots for freshmen, and spots for incoming masters students, etc. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be competing with the grad students for spots in ensembles once you have been admitted, but that’s another story. I can definitely see pros and cons to both undergrad only and combined programs.
I’m sure you already know this, but it was helpful for me to keep in mind that schools are extending admissions offers to a greater numbers of students than will ultimately attend. (At least this is how it almost always works out). For example, if the school has four openings to fill, they might extend invitations to six or eight (or more) students–hoping to end up with 4 students enrolling. The number 8 is definitely less scary than 4! I also comforted myself with the thought that the music world is a very small world. A lot of these kids will be auditioning at the same schools, and they can’t attend them all!
Good luck, everyone! Wishing you the best on your journey!