Final MT Decisions Background - Class of 2024

First, thanks to everyone on these boards. I don’t post a ton, but I have been reading for over a year and the wealth of information shared on here has been extremely helpful!

Programs Applied to: Baldwin-Wallace, Boco, CCM, Emerson, Hartt, Ithaca, Manhattan School of Music, Michigan, Montclair, NYU-Tisch, Ohio Northern, Otterbein, Penn State, Point Park, Rider, Roosevelt, Shenandoah, Webster, Wright State

Prescreens: Baldwin-Wallace (live), Boco (film), CCM (live), Emerson (film), Ithaca (film), MSOS (film), Michigan (film), NYU-Tisch (film), Otterbein (Live), Penn State (Live), Point Park (film), Roosevelt (film), Webster (Live)

Accepted to: Boco, CCM, Ithaca, Ohio Northern, Point Park, Rider, Shenandoah, Wright State, LIU-Post

Withdrew: MSOM, Roosevelt, Webster

Rejected from: Emerson (didn’t pass prescreen), Michigan, NYU, Otterbein, Penn State

Wait-listed at: Baldwin-Wallace, Hartt, Montclair

Coach: Dave Clemmons (CAP United)

Summer Programs: Community summer shows and camps grades 1-8

  • Joffrey Ballet Musical Theatre NYC
  • The Performing Arts Project (Blueprint & Panorama twice)
  • CCM Summer Musical Theatre Workshop
  • Georgia Governor’s Honors – Vocal Music

Background: D has always loved performing arts. Started dance at age 3, voice and piano at age 6. Gave up dance to sing lead in kids rock band in grades 5-6. Started doing musical theatre year-round at community theatre during middle school and performed in about 30 musicals. Attended performing arts magnet high school where she could do vocal, acting and dance daily. She did a lot of performing in hs including four musicals (one lead, two supporting roles, one ensemble). She has a fantastic attitude about auditioning and casting and just loves performing and music, so the fact that she rarely got a lead didn’t bother her.

Songwriting is her other passion starting in 5th grade. She took guitar lessons in middle school. By 8th grade she was a student director/choreographer at the community theatre which she loved and continued through junior year.

D now considers herself singer/actor who can pick up choreo quickly. She wanted a college with a vibrant music program (theory, piano, songwriting) without sacrificing acting and dance. Her top choices were mostly conservatories. She never had one school she was in love with but always had 5-6 in her “top” group.

Auditions: Met Dave Clemmons at TPAP after freshman year and started researching schools, building rep. TPAP and family friend (whose son used Moo) really opened our eyes to the process early in hs. Started working with Dave spring of junior year and felt really prepared by August.

Can’t say enough great things about CAP United Auditions in Atlanta in November. About 90 kids there and 37 schools. Incredibly supportive environment, lots of callbacks and great people. Left the weekend feeling fabulous. By December had offers from Wright State and Rider. This took a lot of pressure off since D knew she had two good offers.

Withdrew from a couple of schools and did the remaining auditions at Chicago Unifieds with weekend trip to Michigan and Baldwin-Wallace. Really felt like we saved money doing all the auditions in two sittings. But we did miss seeing the campuses. We had only visited NYU, CCM and Wright State in junior year (plus on campus at Michigan and BW).

The decisions came in February and March and D started narrowing it down. Her summer at CCM left her with a great feeling about that school, but Shenandoah had done workshops at her hs and that also really appealed to her. BoCo was also in the mix but ultimately too expensive.

Final Decision: CCM! Bonus for us, it’s a drivable distance from home LOL

Congrats @mtdad27! Glad your D found an amazing school reasonably close to home!

CONGRATS @MTDad27 , great outcome & THANK YOU for posting!!

Congratulations to you and your D @MTDad27 !

Congratulations to you and your D @mtdad27! She had some great options to choose from - it sounds like she knows where she’s going and the sky’s the limit!

Congrats to your D and you @MTDad27 ! Sounds like she had some great options. Thanks for sharing your journey!

Congrats, @MTDad27 ! Thanks for popping in to share your story. So happy for you and your D!

Well done @MTDad27! Congrats to your D.

@MTDad27 Fantastic! Sounds like there are several of us who will be able to meet in August! Congrats to your D! Looking forward to seeing her perform.

@MTDad27 how exciting and welcome to the Bearcats CCM MT2024. Amazing opportunity and she had some good choices. Can’t wait to meet you and get to know her and your family the next four years! :heart:???

Time for another l-o-n-g final decision share! First, many, many thanks to this group for taking in a lone Tech Theater parent – this admission process is a wild ride on a good day, and without a group going through a similar experience to commiserate with, (what’s left of) my sanity would have been seriously at risk. The support, humor, encouragement, and excitement for every family’s success has been nothing short of amazing. I am happy to pay it forward if any future tech families need guidance or reassurance – I learned so much from my D’s journey this year.

Summer Programs: Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute (SSTI-Tech) 2018 and 2019 – I cannot say enough about this experience – the 4th week of the program (between performance weekends) focuses on advanced workshops, portfolio sessions, and college admission guidance with mock interviews (same level of college audition prep for the performers). My D’s portfolio was gorgeous, thanks to the preliminary work in 2018 and polishing the latest version in 2019, not to mention the inclusion of stunning professional photos from both years’ unbelievable productions.

BFA Theatre Design & Production/Tech Programs Applied: University of Arizona, Missouri State, SCAD, UNCSA, CCM, U of Michigan, DePaul, Carnegie Mellon, Pace, Boston University, Emerson, Rutgers Mason Gross, and Penn State.

In-Person On Campus Interviews: Missouri State, CCM, U of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon (at Chicago Unifieds), Rutgers Mason Gross, and Penn State

Skype Interviews: DePaul, Pace, BU, Emerson, and UNCSA
*originally scheduled on campus

Portfolio Submitted but No Interview Required: U of Arizona and SCAD

Accepted: U of Arizona, Missouri State, SCAD, UNCSA, CCM, U of Michigan, DePaul, Pace, BU, Emerson, Rutgers Mason Gross, and Penn State

Priority WL: Carnegie Mellon

Background: My D started playing the violin at age 3 and added the flute at age 4. She demonstrated perfect pitch and serious musical talent early on, along with a natural singing ability. Choir, wind and vocal ensembles, and orchestra were early favorites, and she has continued to play the flute in her school’s orchestra throughout HS. In 6th and 7th grade, she was recruited by her brother’s HS musical theater director to join him on stage for productions his junior and senior year (the director loved having younger siblings in her casts). The following year was D’s own 8th grade musical. She had an opportunity to work on the technical aspects of that production, ended up running a spotlight, and discovered she preferred being behind the scenes to being on stage. By freshman year, she was teaching herself how to set up the hardware and program the new lighting software that her school had just acquired as part of a new fine arts facility (the teachers didn’t have time to read the manuals and figure everything out because they were still unpacking and storing everything in the new space, but she did!). D was the lighting designer and board operator for the spring musical and received an honorable mention in our region’s HS Musical Theatre Awards as a freshman. That was it - she was hooked. In addition to HS productions (plays, musicals, and dance performances), she has worked on set design and lighting for a couple of community/regional theatre productions.

College Admission Process: We had minimal big picture information about this process going into it, except for the intel D had acquired through SSTI. We knew the tech/lighting programs accepted very few students, like 3-4 at most schools, but no acceptance rate stats were available – did 5 students apply for those spots? 50? 150? What kind of acceptance chances did she have? No clue. But I was fairly sure she had an amazing portfolio. Fortunately, her “randomly assigned” college counselor at school was a theater guy, so he was infinitely more helpful than we ever expected. Even he didn’t have acceptance rate stats, though, so he advised casting a wide net and helped her carefully craft her list.

We decided to arrange some college visits during her fall break this school year to get a sense of a few different programs and campuses. In order to see the most schools for our travel dollars, we flew to NYC and drove to Boston and back to see SUNY Purchase, BU, Emerson, Pace, and Rutgers Mason Gross. It was an exhausting week, but we definitely learned a lot about each program and what to look for at the others on her list. [Hot Tip: never, ever rent a car at LaGuardia or drive from Boston to NYC on a Friday night. I knew it was a wacky plan, but…yeah, just don’t do it. ?]

Application insanity came next. Oh, the never-ending artistic supplements and varied digital portfolio requirements! Some schools wanted 20-25 annotated images, some wanted no more than 5 photos, and some permitted collage pages. First up was Emerson, the only one with an early action option. The Skype interview felt less than optimal to my D, but it wasn’t feasible to arrange a trip to Boston a month after our college tour week, and we had been assured that taking the Skype option would not affect her admission chances. Thanksgiving week was completely application-focused with a short break to eat mashed potatoes. There were still artistic supplements with later submission dates to be completed, but she knocked out a huge chunk of her To Do list.

First in-person interview was Penn State in mid-December, just two weeks after she submitted her application. Shortly before our departure, she got an offer by e-mail from Emerson with a substantial scholarship, so we took that as a good omen. Of course, we were both sick when we left, which turned out to be a not-so-good omen. The on campus interview, even with a somewhat intimidating faculty panel of 5, was so much better than Skyping with one person – her coming out afterward and whispering “nailed it” with what was left of her voice was a proud mom moment for sure. I vowed right then that we would schedule as many in-person interviews as we could manage. Receiving an acceptance from Penn State a week later, right before Christmas, was huge. Also, having two acceptances in her pocket so early seemed like a good indicator that she’d have some great choices in the end. I thought she might want to drop a few of the schools she hadn’t finished supplements for after that, but she kept going.

January and February were filled with more artistic supplements and multiple travel weekends – a second trip to Rutgers, Chicago Unifieds for CMU because all of the on campus slots were filled, U of Michigan with a drive to Cincinnati afterward for the CCM visit/interview the next day, and then Missouri State the following weekend. Skype interviews for Pace, DePaul, and BU were sprinkled around when we weren’t traveling. She was scheduled to visit and interview at DePaul the Saturday of Chicago Unifieds, but her HS spring musical rehearsals were in full swing with opening night the following Thursday and she was desperately needed for Tech Runs, so she decided to cancel and request a Skype time. P.S. She was sick again on our one-nighter Chicago trip and the weekend we were in Michigan/Cincinnati but still felt good about her interviews. My persistent illness turned out to be pneumonia, which explained why I had been abandoning every campus tour after the first stop.

Our last adventure was supposed to be UNCSA on March 20th, possibly the latest interview date anywhere, but, of course, by then everything was shut down, COVID-style, so it was switched to Skype.

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Each program had stand-out elements, and we saw some beautiful facilities (favorites were BU, Emerson, U of Michigan, and CCM). A big drawback was the presence of a graduate program in her specialty area – it was apparent that undergrads tend to have limited design opportunities in those programs. The in-person on campus interviews really allowed her to make connections (or not, in some cases!) with the faculty she met, so I’m glad we arranged as many as possible.

We never in our wildest dreams thought that she would end up with 12 offers and one priority wait list. You never know how someone’s talent stacks up against the competition without going through a challenging process like this. As the only student interested in lighting design at her high school, it’s not like she had to face competition! She received very complimentary feedback following a number of the interviews, which was greatly appreciated, especially by someone who typically works behind the scenes. ?

Final decision: Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts! Key positives: no graduate program in lighting design, six weeks in London at The Globe plus various theater production/tech companies in the fall of junior year (*this was the only program we saw with an embedded study abroad opportunity for tech students – others said that something not necessarily theater-related could be arranged through the study abroad office, but it would be tricky with the department scheduling because tech students are needed for the productions), proximity to NYC with plenty of theatrical “field trips,” and the head of the lighting design program has an extensive Broadway and global resume with an abundance of industry connections. The one negative is that the theater program itself does not have a musical theater component, but there is a longstanding student-run theater company that produces three musicals a year and is always looking for tech students. Overall, it’s a terrific fit with so many incredible opportunities, and we couldn’t be happier for her!

Now our fingers are crossed that the Class of 2024 can begin their college adventure on their respective campuses this fall.

@Loganator Thank you for sharing your daughter’s journey with us. I wish more tech parents would share their insights.

@Loganator congrats!! Great story. Been fun to have you with us. Worth noting- I’m not sure what will happen w post Covid budgets but it’s been rumored that Rutgers was starting an MT program for at least 2 years now


Congratulations @Loganator ! Such amazing schools to choose from, she must be very talented. It was so interesting to hear about the tech side of things and the admissions process sounds daunting. Thanks for sharing.

Congratulations @Loganator ! Great story (other than the pneumonia thing) and a great result! Best of luck to your daughter at Rutgers!!!

Thank you, @Twelfthman (are you an Aggie, by chance? My S is!) @NYYFanNowMTdad, @MTSthistime, and @BloomingGirl!

The possible addition of a musical theater program there is very interesting. It seems weird that they don’t have one because the music department is fantastic and many of the acting students also sing (and I suspect take voice?). The tech students support two operas each year already as a joint effort. The new Performing Arts Center that is shared by Mason Gross and the town of New Brunswick (mentioned in the article) opened last September. We saw the first student play there in October. They didn’t launch the MT program this year, but maybe 2021!

Yeah, the pneumonia thing was not fun. Once it was diagnosed in early January, I was pretty sure it had been full-blown the weekend of Penn State (12/13-14) because trying to hurry to catch the Philly-State College plane and Philly-DFW on the return trip nearly killed me (flight delays are common there, apparently). I honestly thought I would die right there near gate C22 while trying to reach C26 in Philly because I couldn’t breathe at all. (I’m still traumatized! ?) I had started on antibiotics the first week of December for what seemed to be a sinus/upper respiratory infection, but it wasn’t completely resolved until I finished round 5 in early March!!

@Loganator Not an Aggie; just a sports aficionado in general and an ardent supporter along for this wild “MT admissions process” ride.

A Rutgers representative told me last fall that steps toward their MT program were still progressing but they experienced a delay due to a change among Rutgers administrative leadership, and that a MT offering for the class beginning in fall 2021 would not happen. Perhaps a MT program launch for fall 2022 but who knows at this point right?

So glad you are over pneumonia!!! Just in time!!! Right before the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.

@Twelfthman The new Dean was recently announced, so we shall see!

We were concerned I’d be kicked off a plane or two in February because I was still coughing. ?