Differences between these NY programs

Just starting to take a serious look at all this stuff. For those who are knowledgeable, what are the primary differences (or similarities) between these NYC programs: Tisch, Molloy/Cap 21, Marymount Manhattan, Manhattan School of Music, Pace, Wagner? I’m sure they are peers in certain respects but what really stands out?

Well, that’s a fun question but people may not want to answer because “comparing” programs gets the parents’ competitive juices going. So let me try to stick to facts and see if other people can add color commentary without trying to get sidetracked by what’s better or worse (understanding that one person’s perfect school is another person’s poor fit school):

Type of Degree:

Manhattan School of Music - BM
Marymount Manhattan - BA Theatre Arts / MT sequence
Molloy/Cap 21 - BFA Theatre Arts
NYU Tisch - BFA Drama, MT Studio
Pace - BFA Musical Theatre
Wagner - BA in Theatre, performance concentration

Type of School / number of students:

Manhattan School of Music - Conservatory, 410
Marymount Manhattan - College, 2,069
Molloy/Cap 21 - College, 3,400
NYU - University - 26,000 total, 3,100 in Tisch
Pace - University - 8,600 total, 740 in School of Performing Arts
Wagner - College - 2,200

Location and type of campus

Manhattan School of Music - One dorm and single school building in same location in Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Marymount Manhattan - Multiple school buildings adjoin, dorms are located in buildings a walk or subway ride away - East Side Manhattan.

Molloy/Cap 21 - Traditional campus on Long Island with Wall Street satellite campus for the CAP21 performing arts classes.

NYU Tisch - Many (many) NYU university buildings and dorms covering a large portion of the Greenwich Village area. Tisch is located in a single NYU building and the MT studio is located there but classes are in many locations at the university. MT students dorm with non-performing arts students.

Pace - School and several dorm buildings scattered throughout a 10 block area of Lower Manhattan.

Wagner - Traditional college campus on Staten Island.

Size of MT program (last found MT graduating class, where available):

Manhattan School of Music - 34 (freshman, no senior info yet)
Marymount Manhattan - 59
Molloy/Cap 21 - 26
NYU Tisch - 48
Pace - 25
Wagner - 26

Tuition 2018:

Manhattan School of Music - $47,380
Marymount Manhattan - $32,210
Molloy/Cap 21 - $29,110
NYU - $56,900
Pace - $48,600 (including new PA fee)
Wagner - $46,140

The next is a difficult set of stats because some of these schools (like Pace) have so many non-performing arts students and there’s no way that you can estimate the graduation rate for performing arts alone. But I still think it’s always good to look at retention and 4 year graduation rates for schools to see how overall happy students are with their environment and the average students ability to get through college “on time”.

Retention rate / 4-year Graduation Rate

Manhattan School of Music - 93% / 66 %
Marymount Manhattan - 73% / 33 %
Molloy/Cap 21 - 85% / 50 %
NYU Tisch - 93% / 75 %
Pace - 80% / 36 %
Wagner - 85% / 58 %

Okay, I’m tired. :slight_smile:

Yeah that’s a lot of programs to compare…

Having been away from the college admissions thing for two years now I can say after seeing the tuitions lined up above, those figures don’t disappoint in blowing me away. And without room and board added on…


@CaMom13 Thank you for the information (and the format!). You went above and beyond. Gives me a good idea of how to build a spreadsheet on these and others.

Curious about the relatively low grad rates (at all of them other than Tisch). Wondering if kids leave early to work in theater (got an opportunity, why finish college…) or they ultimately stick around for the 5 or 6 yr plan (that makes me cringe from financial perspective). There’s probably a decent percentage that drop out/ transfer after a few yrs deciding on a different career? I guess that’s the risk of attending a conservatory or school heavily focused on the arts. If you have a change of heart, there’s not much there for you.

This is all so different for me (business world MO). D’s older brother is your traditional student so we’re swimming in new waters here.

I’m not overly familiar with all of the programs, but having a kid at Molloy/CAP21, I’ll add in a few things that I think are unique or clarify the stats a bit.

This program is unique in that it is, I think, the only one where the kids spend half their time on a college campus and half their time in the city in studio. Some find the commute unattractive, but we haven’t found it to be an issue - and it’s like training for living in the city when they’ve graduated because I’m guessing not many of them will be able to afford to live in Manhattan. LOL.

CAP21 was an independent studio and did all of the MT studio training for Tisch until about 2012 or 2013. They parted over financial differences/issues, and CAP21 started partnering with Molloy about a year later. Molloy has since retained ownership of CAP21 so it will remain a part of the Molloy college although it seems to run pretty independently. Molloy has put money into the program, and they have brand new studios at 50 Broadway about a block from the bull on Wall street. The studios are beautiful. The studio faculty is largely made up of individuals with significant broadway/off-broadway experience. Some of those folks teach at not only CAP21 but also at Marymount or Tisch, etc. There is a $6,000 per year studio fee in addition to tuition which covers everything - including an hour of private voice weekly and all accompanist costs, etc. Even with the studio fee, note the cost difference to some of the other programs and also that Molloy as a private school gives out some nice academic merit. I think the amount of academic merit given may be unique - at least from some of the other schools on the list…

On the stats…the 2018 Freshman class has 34 students so there’s roughly 120-130 students in the program across all the class years in progress. The majority of the kids at Molloy are in other programs - big ones are nursing and business as I understand it. The retention/graduation statistic is a bit misleading due to the inclusion of all those other programs. I haven’t heard of many students leaving, although I know we had one leave for personal reasons early on. I think that if you’re in this program and you do the work, you graduate in 4 years. The school gives them a bit of priority in class registration so the kids get their generals taken care of on time. They’re also very open to working with the kids to take credit from other schools if they want to try to get some generals taken care of over the summer.

Final thought, although the degree from Molloy/CAP21 is called a BFA in Theatre Arts, it is a fully rounded MT program.

One factor to consider is that NYU is big on academics. So if you want strong academics along with your MT training, it’s a good fit; if you want to focus only on MT training with few/easy academic classes, it’s not.

@rickle1 I think that the grad/retention rates that @CaMom13 lists are for the colleges in general, not just performing arts programs?

@CaMom13 - SNAPS to you for creating a comparison format that will (hopefully) not end in a flame war… way to GO! :slight_smile:

Pace has great opportunities to get in front of industry casting. Casting agents come to the school to cast for current shows on Broadway. They have amazing artists in residence each semester, straw hat auditions on campus before the actual event, and a freshman and senior showcase. If you want to get in front of the top people in the industry from day one, Pace is the place.

Great info all, keep it coming. Thank you so much!

So @rickle1 - I totally get it. I work in business and my spouse is an engineer. First kid went to traditional school, the arts education is totally new to us as well.

On the graduation rate thing - yes, the numbers are for the school as a whole. There are lots of reasons why someone would leave school but interestingly the MSM is the only conservatory on your list and virtually all of their students who last past freshman year graduate within 6 years (this is the standard colleges use for graduation rate). Remember that taking a gap year, going abroad, do an internship - all of these things add time to a college education. So don’t panic too much about 4 years rates - take all the stats with a grain of salt - but do compare them. Overall the retention and 6 year graduation rates indicate satisfaction with the college experience, 4 years is more about how well they get them out the door on time. :wink: I’ve added the 6 year rates below and put in a second section with for the chances a returning sophomore will graduate in 4 years of 6 years (ever). Graduation rates after 6 years are usually negligible.

Retention rate / 4-year Graduation Rate / 6 year Graduation Rate

Manhattan School of Music - 93% / 66 % / 93%
Marymount Manhattan - 73% / 33 % / 44%
Molloy/Cap 21 - 85% / 50 % / 70%
NYU Tisch - 93% / 75 % / 84%
Pace - 80% / 36 % / 55%
Wagner - 85% / 58 % / 66%

Percent chance that a returning sophomore will graduate in 4 years / ever

Manhattan School of Music - 71% / 100%
Marymount Manhattan - 47% / 63%
Molloy/Cap 21 - 59% / 82%

NYU Tisch - 80% / 90%
Pace - 45% / 69%
Wagner - 68% / 78%

Out the door on time - percentage of students who will graduate who only take 4 years to do so:

Manhattan School of Music - 71%
Marymount Manhattan - 75%
Molloy/Cap 21 - 71%
NYU Tisch - 90%
Pace - 65%
Wagner - 88%

I do feel like these stats are probably too probably tough on Pace because their Performing Arts program is so much smaller than their overall population and their PA program is so much better than their academic program, so I would definitely assume their stats are better but I can’t prove it. Maybe we can look at PA freshman class size to senior class size?

I think that last bit has me curious about comparing percent of PA majors in the school and I think we should also compare school diversity which was a huge deal for my D. I’ll do those later on. :slight_smile:

^ you rock!

@rickle1 I know you are currently focused on MT programs in NY , but I have to put in a good word for Rider college (in Lawrence NJ right next to Princeton), because I know a few students who chose it over some of these NY programs and they are very happy there. They also received decent merit aid: checkout https://www.rider.edu/academics/colleges-schools/westminster-college-of-the-arts/school-of-fine-performing-arts/undergraduate-programs/musical-theatre

^ thank you.

That opens up another question. My assumption is there’s a big advantage to attending a MT program in New York for obvious reasons (access to everything).

If a program is not in NY, outside of senior showcase opportunities, will it make much of a difference where it is, say NC vs. NJ? Are there many “drop ins” from professional theater folks if the school is outside of NY? Master classes?, etc.

That really depends on the program. Some programs far outside of NYC bring in professionals for master classes often. What you get by attending school in NYC is a base of professionals available to teach daily (as well as the convenience of theatre auditions at your door). As mentioned in another thread, the same artist may teach at several NYC area schools. He or she could also be teaching master classes in Ohio or Seattle if a school arranged for it. The NYC area students get more frequent contact with working artists but professional contacts can be made in any environment if the school is aware of the need for them and makes the effort to get the visiting artists in to work with their classes.

I will only speak to Tisch regarding the advantage of going to school in NYC, since that is where my daughter attended and graduated from in 2017. She did not end up in the MT studio but instead was placed in an acting studio and had a wonderful experience. For her, going to school in NYC has resulted in making connections and creating a network for herself that was available to her as soon as she graduated from school (I’m sure you can create a similar network once you get to NYC if you did not go to school there but it will definitely take a little time to get it up and running). Almost all of the professors at Tisch are working professionals in NYC. Through her professors at Tisch, she was able to secure an agent after graduation and has participated in many of their readings and workshops for their own projects. I would say that almost 50% of her bookings since graduation have been the result of connections that she made at Tisch, including working on projects that her classmates are now producing or creating. Tisch taught her what she needed to know to participate in the business of acting in NYC and helped her make the connections to make it happen.

@rickie1 - I think that is a common misperception. I do not think you have to be in NYC or even close to NY to be in a top musical theater program. In fact, many of the top programs are not near the city. (Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, CCM, Baldwin Wallace, Texas State, OCU to name a few)

Most schools do have visiting artists, agents and other theater professionals who come to their campuses throughout the year whether they are in NY or not. I don’t know any who do not have master classes of some sort with industry pros. Granted it may be easier and more frequent perhaps with a NYC based school. But again, I refer back to the list of schools not located in NYC that consistently produce professional performers currently working in the industry. They are proof positive being in NYC is not a necessity during college. Of course, nothing wrong with being in NY if that’s your preference. But don’t not look at programs in other areas simply because of location. You will miss out on some amazing programs if you limit yourself to one city.

@vvnstar Thanks and I agree with you that there are great programs all over the country. My question was more geared to is there a major difference in opportunities for the additional training, networking, etc in nY vs anywhere else.

D will be looking in NYC, Boston, the Carolinas, FL and the midwest. Her focus is on Boston and NY but would be ecstatic with any fine program.

@rickie1 - again, I refer back to the schools not located in the city. Most of them have very strong networks of people in the industry. Our D is now in NY post-graduation, and there are literally hundreds of alums from her school in the area. They have helped with everything from survival jobs to audition referrals, instructors, classes, headshots, - you name it, they are there for help and advice. The networking is most important after graduation, not during school.

As far as additional training, our D wanted more dance training during college in addition to what fit in her schedule, so she spent a summer in NYC at Broadway Dance Center. I do not think she would have been able to fit in extra classes along with her regular school schedule no matter she she lived. So I think any additional training, at least for her, happened in the summers.

NYC is great. And yes, there are loads of people and opportunities there. And it sounds like your D prefers an urban environment. So NY and Boston schools may be her best fit. But I would not discount schools in other locations simply because of location.

One thing to consider is what you really are able to do during college outside of your regular college classes. Most of these programs are jam-packed with training as it is, so they do not have time to pursue anything else (extra classes, auditioning for shows, etc…) while in college. In fact some do not allow it. One reason our D chose NOT to be in NY was to cut down on distractions. She felt she might go and do things (take classes) or even audition for shows she wasn’t really ready for if she were in the city. Going to school away from the city allowed her to completely focus on her training, graduate in 4 years, and feel super prepared for life in the big city upon graduation. Not all students would be as distracted as she felt she might be. But for her, being away from all of the “opportunities” was helpful in allowing her to focus on her training. She lived in NYC one summer, and visited every spring break to learn and take classes as part of a school program - so NYC was familiar to her before she arrived there. I’m sure not like having lived there for 4 years. But she was very prepared for the transition. And with a great network of contacts to boot.

back on topic…

Ethnic and Gender Diversity

Manhattan School of Music - 25 % white, 30% Asian, 52% female
Marymount Manhattan - 58 % white, 16 % Latino, 77% female
Molloy/Cap 21 - 59 % white, 16 % Latino, 75% female
NYU Tisch - 33 % white, 20 % Asian, 58% female
Pace - 49 % white, 61% female
Wagner - 66 % white, 62% female

Economic Diversity: Pell Grant recipients number / percent of students

Manhattan School of Music - 64 / 15%
Marymount Manhattan - 591 / 29%
Molloy/Cap 21 - 1130 / 33%
NYU Tisch - 5512 / 22%
Pace - 2547 / 30%
Wagner - 386 / 17%

I wish there was a way to indicate economic diversity through a more measured approach. Pell Grants are about the only hard facts available. Lots of schools say - “average aid”, “average number of students receiving aid” and “average cost” but it never seems to make sense so I always feel they’re cooking the books a little so I’m sticking with stuff I can verify.

Also - many of these numbers are a year or so old. I would always give a rule of thumb that a 1-3 percentage points different aren’t likely significant.