And since my D has made a decision, I can go first
Programs Applied to (MT & acting if available): UArts, Shenandoah, Coastal C, UTampa, Fl Southern, George Mason, James Madison, Ohio Northern, UAB, Arcadia, Christopher Newport, College of Charleston, Mary Washington.
Prescreens: Coastal & Shenco (didn’t pass), UARTS (passed live prescreen MT)
Accepted: Chris Newport, College of Charleston, Mary Washington (BA non audition schools); UAB, Fl Southern, Ohio Northern (BA redirect), Arcadia BFA Acting/MT concentration, George Mason BFA acting, James Madison BA Theatre.
Accepted artistically to auditioned programs Indiana University South Bend BFA MT, Heidelberg BA MT, Ashland BA MT through Ohio Unifieds, but did not apply to these schools academically.
Rejected: Shenandoah, UArts, Tampa
Coach: Chelsea Diehl, My College Audition
Summer Programs: Community programs, Stratford Shakespeare in Canada after Junior Year
D has been a storyteller since birth. Her childhood was spent with her brother building Legos and playing pretend for days on end. She got into the local theatre at age 6 and was involved in community theatre since age 7. She did this all for fun and the long days and intense work were a pleasure for her.
My daughter homeschooled since kindergarten, focusing on an arts-based curriculum. By high school, she opted to not audition for performing arts schools, but rather, to craft her own performance intensive program. Where we live, there are a gazillion theatre places with many talented performers. My daughter did both straight plays and musicals and wavered between which she liked more. She also dabbled in film last year and helped with casting and music composition.
In addition to a love of performance, she loves children and teaching. Until junior year, she wavered between education with a theatre minor or theatre with an emphasis in education.
She is used to a very competitive theatre scene and she seemed to get featured and ensemble roles with a few leads in high school. Her audition pool includes adults, including people who graduate from MT and acting programs and have worked in NYC for paid roles. We are used to a strange casting process and often laugh at the outcomes (e.g., she got recruited for a role last year, but they gave it to the audition pianist, who is a 50-year-old man).
After much contemplation, she decided to pursue the audition process. I am a mom who loves to go to shows and watch theatre, but I truly had no idea if she would be competitive. After stalking these boards for 2 years, we booked a consult with Chelsea from My College Audition. Chelsea was kind and supportive and helped us create a balanced list. She encouraged my D to apply for acting programs as she saw a huge strength there. But my D loved musical theatre as well and wanted to audition for both.
For this process, we wanted to focus on a smaller, targeted list rather than cast a super wide net. The schools we chose (mostly) had decent academics, were located close to home or within a short plane ride, and were within a price range we could afford. She also applied to schools super early and auditioned for several in the fall. This took a huge amount of pressure off as she had her first acceptance by early October.
The audition season was what was expected. My daughter loved auditioning and networking with all the people there. She’s met a lot of great people and talks to some of them.
I think the rejections were hard on her. In community theatre, you get a feel right away if you are not a match. But in these auditions, she got a lot of compliments, got encouraging notes, etc. and would then get a rejection later. The schools that were very clear on her were easier for the most part ?.
The one surprise we had were the callbacks at Ohio Unifieds. She went to this event to audition for Ohio Northern, but there were 20 schools there and she received artistic acceptances at 3 of them. But in the end, they didn’t seem like enough of a match to apply. She also got a huge amount of interest from Bowling Green, but they haven’t yet followed up and my daughter has made her decision.
Because my D auditioned fairly early, she had most of her decisions early. Arcadia, UAB, Florida Southern, and James Madison were her favorites. The redirect at UAB didn’t have what she wanted, but the one at Florida Southern was a good option (they cast BAs in every show, plus encourage and support re-auditioning with a great success rate). Chelsea felt JMU was a reach for my D, so based on her results with the season, she didn’t want to get her hopes up.
Arcadia was the one school that seemed to be in the lead from the beginning. It had intense acting training, international study abroad, and great vocal training. The dance wasn’t strong, but there were tons of dance places close by. They were very generous with scholarships so it would have been easy to supplement her training. However, Arcadia was one of the schools we really didn’t visit other than a quick on campus audition during a huge rainstorm. So, a few weeks ago, we set out to see the school. She sat in on an acting class and attended the performance. She loved both the staff, students, and performance, but the school just didn’t feel right to her.
My D liked Florida Southern, but as this process unfolded, she really wanted to be closer to home. We are a tight knit family and she wanted to see her brother’s tech showcases and have us attend her performances without a plane ride.
Last week, she sat with her decision, made a pro con list and talked to many, many people. Every day, she wavered. A gap year was an option, but not one anyone wanted to do. But if that was what was right, we would do it. As a mom, I just had a gut feeling that something was going to work out. And I wasn’t sure what it was, but I would know it when I saw it. “Just wait.” I encouraged. “When it feels right, you will know.”
Just as she was going to make a decision, I checked the portal for JMU. At this point, my D did not want to check anything and asked me to do this for her. I saw she was admitted to the theatre program and went downstairs to tell her.
At that moment, it was as if the clouds parted and the sun came out. “Mom, this was my favorite school all along,” she told me. “And I could do acting and theatre education. They actually encourage that.” After all the flip flopping, I asked her to wait for one week to make sure this is what she wanted. She didn’t waver once. There was no analysis, no discussion, no pro con list. This was the one.
This morning, we paid the deposit. Last night, she ordered the merch. And we are signed up to attend an admitted students’ day for admitted arts students and their families. She has been here twice, seen some classes, met students and felt like she had enough to make her decision. It was in her gut all along and the right fit for her.
Final Decision: JMU, BA Theatre/Acting. Go Dukes!
Phew! We can all breathe in relief and happiness. The journey was intense, but in the end, she chose the perfect program for her. She will get to do intense theatre and dabble in theatre education, while still getting to pursue a liberal arts curriculum. She will have lots of dance and some music in her curriculum as well as the chance to collaborate on all sorts of theatre and creative projects. She loves that the program has the intensity, diversity, and flexibility she wants. Plus, she is under 3 hours away, making it easy for the family to come see all her performances and for her to come home as needed.
Anyway, so much gratitude for being part of this community this past year. I’ve met some of you online and offline and you are all incredible with wonderful kids. I hope our paths will cross again ?