Final MT Decisions Background - Class of 2024

Congratulations @Loganator ! It is great to hear how the process works for tech people. I am sure Rutgers will be amazing for this. Best of luck to your D!

@Loganator - what a great story! Congratulations and break a leg to your multitalented D!

@Loganator Congrats. Thanks for sharing your tech experience with us. Very interesting to read about other important aspects of the business. Lots of ways to work onstage and in screen.

@MT85 Congrats on TCU Acting! My DD didn’t audition there (too close to home, I guess) but she has 3 classmates going there this next fall (2 Acting & 1 MT) and a host of other friends that she’s met over the years of shows and camps that will be there. We were just laughing about how even though she didn’t apply there, she probably knows about half of their incoming class! Your daughter will love it there!

Super cool @Loganator, congrats to your D!

Programs Applied to: MT programs at Baldwin Wallace, Ball State, Carnegie Mellon, CCM, Elon, Emerson, University of Hartford, Indiana, Ithaca, Julliard, Marymount Manhattan, Michigan, Montclair State, NYU Tisch, Pace, Penn State, Point Park, Syracuse, Temple, Texas State, Western Connecticut State, Western Michigan, Wright State, Muhlenberg, University of Rhode Island (non-audition BFA), Acting at Boston University

Walked in: Long Island University

Prescreens: Carnegie Mellon, CCM, Elon, Emerson, Indiana, Ithaca, Michigan, Pace, Penn State, Point Park, Syracuse, Temple, Texas State, Western Connecticut State, Western Michigan, Wright State (optional prescreen). Passed all prescreens.

Academically accepted to all schools that separate it out from artistic acceptances, except for Elon (see below).

Auditioned: everywhere listed above, except URI (non-audition) and Elon. NY and Chicago Unifieds. Emerson, Wright State, Indiana and most of the NY-area schools were on campus

Accepted to: MT at Ball State, Hartford, Indiana, Marymount Manhattan, Pace, Temple, Western Connecticut State, Western Michigan, Long Island University. Theatre Performance at Emerson, Theatre at URI, Theatre at Muhlenberg

Withdrew: Never auditioned at Elon due to scheduling, so this was an effective withdrawal, although we left her application in out of curiosity for the academic acceptance.

Rejected from: BU, Carnegie Mellon, CCM, Ithaca, Julliard, Michigan, Montclair, NYU Tisch, Penn State, Point Park, Syracuse, Texas State

Wait-listed at: Baldwin Wallace MT, Wright State MT, Elon undeclared major
Coach: Voice teacher, MTCA
Summer Programs: SMTI at the University of Hartford, Carnegie Mellon Pre-College MT

Background:
D is a singer above all else. She has been singing since she could talk and from an absurdly early age people would hear her and ask if she was taking lessons. She wasn’t. I had heard various things about damaging her voice if we started too early (in retrospect, I realize most of that wasn’t true) so we had resisted. Finally, when she was in fifth grade, we caved to her demands and enrolled her in voice lessons at a local music school. If you are a believer in fate, then this decision is what her future hinged on. We met a truly wonderful vocal teacher. She was (and is) everything D needed. She’s a gifted performer in her own right, but she was just the right kind of teacher for D, encouraging and supportive, but constantly challenging her and with impeccable technique. Within six months this teacher left the music school, but continued to come to our house weekly for lessons. D has now been with her for eight years and this person has become a part of our family. D has a gorgeous soprano voice with a truly impressive range and a strong, healthy belt.

It was her voice teacher who first introduced her to performing when she suggested that D audition for the children’s ensemble in a community production of Evita in that very first year. Various middle school, high school and community theatre productions followed. Her voice teacher encouraged her to compete in several state and national-level competitions. It was never D’s favorite thing to do, but she realizes now it was invaluable experience for college auditions. Throughout high school, she placed as a semi-finalist in several national-level singing competitions, which gave us some sense of where she fell relative to her peers in the class of 2024 and made us feel more confident about heading down this road.

By sophomore year, she was making serious noise about musical theatre as a career. The uncertainty of this career choice left me concerned, but over the course of the next two years, we realized there was nothing else that was going to make her happy. She was an excellent high school student, taking honors and AP classes. This unfortunately left little time for other training outside of her high school shows and her regular voice lessons, but she snuck in some intermittent private dance lessons. If I had one thing to do over again, it would have been starting dance earlier and being more consistent. I’m pretty sure she would agree. Prior to last summer, she’d had no formal acting training. We investigated it a few times, but we struggled to find something worth doing that worked with her schedule.

Last summer, knowing that she was really going to go for it, we sent her to CMU’s Precollege MT program. The goal was for her to come out of it ready for college auditions. She loved the program and the dance classes five days a week did more for her dancing than all the inconsistent private lessons that came before. Clearly, consistency is key on that point. This experience also convinced her (and us) that a conservatory style musical theatre BFA was really what she wanted. I’m not sure I would have been convinced to let her go for the BFA if it weren’t for her experience at CMU and her being able to really understand what it was all about.

I had hoped that she would come back from CMU with songs and monologues ready to go. This did not turn out to be reality. In the end, after feedback from her voice teacher that both of her chosen songs were overdone in auditions and with only one monologue in hand, we decided to engage MTCA. This was the best decision we made in this whole process. Over the course of late August and September, she changed her songs multiple times. Each time, I would get stressed out that she wouldn’t be ready to film prescreens by the scheduled date in early October. This was the subject of our one and only argument during this process. It wasn’t easy, but I eventually made peace with the idea that she, her voice teacher and her coaches knew what they were doing. I needed to step back and let her do the artistic things, while I managed the logistics. Her coaches were absolutely wonderful. They found a dramatic monologue and two excellent songs that I never heard another person sing at any of her auditions and they both suited her perfectly. Her sessions were all via Skype and it was so easy not having to drive anywhere, I was kicking myself that we didn’t do it sooner. We found a new dance teacher at our local Y who was able to help her keep the skills she had gained over the summer. She also choreographed and filmed the prescreen dances.

(cont.)

The college list was curated largely by me. She had a list, but it was mostly those big, lottery programs. Again, stressed out that she wasn’t devoting enough time to it over the summer while at CMU, I began building a balanced list based on a ton of great information from this site. These final decision posts from previous years were gold, which is the reason I’m writing this today with all this detail. I repeatedly tried to get her to trim the list back as by the time I balanced it out and she added to it again (!) it had grown to nearly 30 schools. Ultimately, I managed to get her to remove only a few and we proceeded with a list of 24 audition schools and two non-audition schools. I figured by the time prescreens were over we’d be left with a manageable number of auditions. Michigan and CMU were early favorites, but we both tried hard not to get attached anywhere until we knew if she’d been accepted. Other than a few on-campus auditions, we didn’t visit anywhere so she wouldn’t get too attached.

D was on top of the applications. Most were sent in by early-to-mid-October and prescreens were recorded in early October and sent in by the end of that month. Only Indiana lingered courtesy of the extra essay. A note to the classes that follow us: beware the extra prescreen essays. D was on top of the ones that were part of the academic applications but Texas State and Indiana both had additional ones that had to be included with the prescreens that we weren’t expecting. Another tip: meet with your guidance counselor early in the fall. Ours had no idea how college auditions worked and I credit that meeting with getting him to understand why transcripts and rec letters had to be in so early so it was never an issue for us.

Given the sheer number of schools she was auditioning for, we had no choice but to do NY and Chicago Unifieds as well as some on campus auditions. NY Unifieds were crazy (chaotic and crowded) and I think we both preferred the calmer vibe in Chicago. Since we stayed in the Palmer House, we weren’t dragging coats around and could easily slip back to our room in between auditions. I definitely recommend spreading auditions around, both in time and location. D remained healthy throughout audition season, but if she’d gotten sick at some point, we didn’t have all the eggs in one basket.

We did early action at Emerson and a December audition at Hartt, hoping to have an acceptance on the books before Unifieds. Emerson turned out to be a redirect to Theatre Performance and Hartt ended up a being a longer than expected wait into February before we got an answer. So much for our plan. D was terribly fortunate with her prescreen passes, so the audition schedule got pretty crazy, pretty fast. She did BW in NY at an MTCA-only audition (very handy), followed by NY Unifieds, some on-campus NY-area auditions and then Chicago Unifieds and Indiana. Long Island University was added as a warm-up walk-in during NY Unifieds. Montclair and Wright State followed Chicago Unifieds and then Western Connecticut. There was an audition every weekend from early January all the way through February. We had to let Elon go as by the time we heard from them there was only one doable date for her and it was the same as the Wright State date. On paper, she felt like Wright State was the better fit.

Looking back, she says she had the most fun auditioning at Hartt, Ball State, NYU, Pace, Point Park and Wright State. NYU and Wright State were the only ones I wasn’t at, but I remember her face and body language coming out of the others and it was joyous in a way the others were not. She liked the people in the room and felt comfortable right out of the gate. Hartt was her second audition of the season and they kept her in the room for a solid 30 minutes, asking for extra songs and working with her on them. We felt very good about that, so it was anxiety provoking that we didn’t hear from them until early February, but it was finally a yes.
Marymount ended up being her first yes, two days after she auditioned in late January. That was a huge sigh of relief for all of us. She got a call from Bill Jenkins at Ball State in late February offering her a spot there. She was vibrating off the walls when she was speaking to him. I really can’t say enough nice things about him and the Ball State program. He was so kind and helpful and I loved everything he had to say about the program. He invited her to the Ball State showcase and cabaret, which we were lucky enough to attend just before COVID-19 turned everyone’s lives upside down.

The first rejection came courtesy of Penn State who notified a mere two days after NY Unifieds. She was not upset as she hadn’t felt that they’d been at all interested in her songs or monologues once they had seen her dance. The experience seemed disrespectful and we both kind of wished they had just made deeper cuts with their prescreens. But we were both grateful to find out quickly and put it behind us. The Michigan rejection was really the only one that seemed to sting. She’d taken the other rejections very much in stride, but Michigan took some time. She’d fallen in love with the program and Mark Madama at a masterclass. But within a couple of days she’d made her peace with it and decided that just wasn’t meant to be her place. I was wowed by her resilience.

A couple of weeks later she looked down at her phone in the middle of her school day to find a voicemail from Amy Rogers telling her she had been accepted to Pace MT. She had grinned from ear to ear when she left that audition and after the audition she told me over Smashburgers next to the Pace performing arts building that “I think this is where I am going to end up.” She said she’d had a sense of déjà vu in the hallway waiting for her audition.

There had been some other acceptances and rejections in between all of this, including CMU, but she took that one in stride, knowing the numbers were against her and already having a no from Michigan and a good string of yesses. She waited out the last of her decisions—a yes from Indiana that had been sent to the wrong email and nos from NYU and Syracuse—so she could have all the pieces before making her decision, but in the end it was no decision at all, it was Pace all the way and really always had been from the minute she got that yes. She had clicked with Amy and the rest of the faculty in the audition and really felt like she’d found “her people” when she met the other accepted students over Facebook. It was impossible for her to say what she wanted in a school/program at the beginning of this process, but by the end, she’d finally figured out what really mattered to her, even if she still struggles to articulate it. You just know when you know. The focus on diversity in the program was important to her and that was something she realized only after auditioning. I am so grateful this turned out to be one of her on-campus auditions, even though we only saw the performing arts building. She adores the idea of being in the city; this was always what she’d said she wanted, but the quality of the program had to come first, so getting both was a dream.

(cont.)

Sorting out the financial aid took longer than we all hoped, so the commitment had to wait to the bitter end. COVID has meant a significant increase in financial aid appeals throughout the university so the process was very slow. Releasing the other acceptances was harder than I expected, particularly the ones that had made an effort to let her know that they really wanted her. I have no doubt she’s making the right choice for her, but I’d be lying if I claimed the COVID complications aren’t giving me pause and making letting go of those other schools a bit harder. I do like a contingency plan. However, at the end of the day, I couldn’t live with telling her that she’d earned her dream school, but we weren’t going to let her go.

This process was a crazy ride, but I will treasure the time I got to spend with my daughter forever. I can’t even believe I’m saying it, but I kind of miss the excitement of it all already. I give my D a huge amount of credit. She put in all the work and remained a pleasant human being while doing it. I have no diva stories to share with you. We did a good job of staying out of each other’s way and she communicated well what she needed from me. She refers to this as “our” accomplishment, which makes my heart swell with pride at her generosity.

Final Decision: Pace University MT!

In a delightful full circle, one of her auditors at Pace was Bob Cline, who directed her in Evita, her very first musical, as a fifth grader. It was meant to be.

Congratulations @ElizaDoolittle !!! Sounds like she is going to have a great time at Pace!!!

What a fabulous story @ElizaDoolittle ! So glad she is heading to her dream school, Pace has an amazing MT program and going to school in NYC is an unbeatable experience. I’m amazed you only argued once!!! :smiley: That’s really rocking the audition season, congratulations to you all.

@ElizaDoolittle - Loved your ending…if ever there was serendipity in this crazy process, you experienced it! Congrats and break a leg!

What an amazing story, @ElizaDoolittle; I am so grateful for your detailed account. Congrats to you both and how exciting to begin the next stage of the journey!

Congratulations @ElizaDoolittle ! I loved reading your D’s story and I loved that she just knew where she belonged. Best of luck to her!

AMAZING @ElizaDoolittle , CONGRATS!!!

Congrats @ElizaDoolittle . Thanks for sharing the journey. Sounds like Pace was her perfect fit!

Outstanding @ElizaDoolittle ! Congrats!! Love that she saw it on her phone during school. Remember getting a few of those calls from D in the middle of the day. Good Stuff.

Congratulations @ElizaDoolittle ! Such a great program and sounds like it was meant to be.

Congratulations @ElizaDoolittle ! It sounds like Pace is a perfect fit. I love how she felt it coming out of the audition. Best of luck to your D!

Wow!! where to begin? How to even describe this journey?! I’ve been thinking about this post for TWO YEARS. I looked at my college confidential profile 4000 +/- visits in two years/650+ posts……guess I was a bit obsessed? OCD? Let’s just call me committed Dad

I’ll start with the obligatory info then tell the story- sorry for the length in advance- feel free to skip to the end if you so desire (like you need my permission)

Schools applied to: Baldwin Wallace, Ball State, Belmont, BOCO, Catholic, Carnegie Mellon, CCM, Coastal Carolina, Elon, Indiana, Ithaca, Marymount, Michigan, Millikin, Molloy/Cap 21, Montclair, Muhlenberg ( BA safety) Ohio U, Oklahoma City, Otterbein, Penn State, Point Park, Rider, Roosevelt, Shenandoah, Syracuse, Texas state, Webster, Wright state.

Pre- screens: passed: 5/17 CMU, Roosevelt, Millikin, Indiana (initially got a pre-screen wait list? What the heck is that??- more later) & Coastal Carolina (only school on our list that asked for option B on the common prescreen- we submitted option A & still got the pass?!)

Dad panics a tad in early October after 7 consecutive pre-screen Nos and insists we add Miami, Arizona & Columbia College of Chicago as we learned Muhlenberg won’t notify us either way till March- not really what we wanted out of the “safety”. Worth noting at this point DD originally argues for no Fla schools (humidity/ curly hair issue? What does dad know about that??) & avoid NYC/long island schools- doesn’t say it but like most kids wants to go away for college. Daughter counters with Ok if we add those schools I want to audition for Juilliard- they don’t require a prescreen- dad hands over the credit card thinking (Ummmm Juilliard isn’t exactly going to increase our chances & hard to call Juilliard anything but a lottery & think we have enough lottery types on our “ well- crafted list” but we forge ahead.)

Coach: MTCA- I am not here to lobby for coaching whatsoever, as you read this story you will see I had the time to do all the obligatory work, many times I wondered why we needed this “National Coaching service”. Could we have done it without them? I’m sure we could have. But I am truly glad we didn’t. Additionally, not only did the coaches help with the artistic pieces that dad is worthless in adding value, but they were incredible “mental health coaches/ cheerleaders” in this roller coaster ride. She listened to her coaches even when they said the same things as I did. Moreover, invaluably, they were huge supporters during the rough times. A luxury for those with resources no doubt, but I would not have changed it. For future parents, remind yourself often these are still 18 year-old kids. My kid is not needy, high drama. not a diva, minimal if any attitude- & yet there were many times these coaches were truly needed to “talk her off the ledge”. I cannot say enough good things about the MTCA directors: Leo, Charlie & Ellen. Her individual coaches: Tim Russell (voice), Ryan Quinn (Monologue), Marcus Guy (song), Katierose Mclaughlin (dance) truly special human beings talented, kind, motivating. Will always be thankful they were along for my D journey.

Accepted Schools: academically ALL- I think this gets overlooked, but my D has a twin & she applied to 6 school (not MT) every yes came with huge excitement. For the MT kid academic acceptances get “throw it on the pile with the rest of them & does it matter how much academic $$ they give me if I don’t pass my audition!?”

After early BFA/BM acceptances: Withdrew from Molloy/Cap21, Marymount, Miami (note the anti Fla/ anti NYC/LI slant) & Columbia College of Chicago- No longer needed another non audition safety- thinking so glad I panicked a month ago and added those additional application fees! UGHHH

For the rest of this final story I’m going to go off script a little bit I take you month by month through this journey. It was done by @mypennyx2 & his legendary post circa 2014- I found that format incredibly helpful as we planned so that’s what I’m doing – this post is 1/3 for all of you current and past people who have shared your knowledge your tears and your joys, 1/3 for me & my family & 1/3 for those that come next. Let me start by saying this process is NOT for the faint of heart. No one gets through it unscathed. There are soooo many talented kids & even after going through it, I still can’t tell you why some have success and others don’t. MANY talented kids get shut out. Which brings me to the list. Yes, we probably over did it, no you don’t need 30+ schools. But when you read here about fit & a well-crafted list- I’m still not sure how I would ween down our list. We did more research than one might think humanly possible (again note 4000 visits to CC in 2 years). I am certain had I tried to pare down to a more “reasonable” number I might have eliminated a school that ultimately became a yes. How do you explain passing the CMU prescreen but not some of our others? Reminder these are my opinions, not looking to debate or cause controversy about what a top school is vs what is not. If you don’t like my views expressed her, you don’t have to read this……deep breaths

Now maybe most importantly before I continue with the details of our journey, a few Caveats- my goal here is NOT to offend anyone. These are all my opinions, feel free to disregard them but please don’t start an online battle or controversy. These are my opinions based on my experiences. I am entitled to mine & you are entitled to yours. Ok off the soap box for now. ALSO, I will try to cite as many current and past CCers for 2 reasons 1) to acknowledge all that they have done knowingly or unknowingly to help me 2) so that future people can search their posts & gain some nugget of info that will help you future parents and kids in what is a process like nothing else I have experienced in my 50 years on this earth.

( cont’d…)

Let me start with a few acknowledgments & confessions…… I am a data geek, an analytics nerd, I studied the back of baseball cards as a kid. The best info on trying to objectify the odds in this insanity come from @Emsdad & @artandtechmom. Even though you guys likely don’t know it you were super helpful to me. As I already noted, Maybe the most incredible documentation of this process was given by @mypennyx2. An absolute must read. Past CCers who were always so generous with their insights and sharing- there are too many to list but they taught me the no one gets through this unscathed, those who were brutally honest in her experience & every year, EVERYEAR there is a story like @kamamom @EastchesterMom, @dramaqueen219. If you want a true source of strength and inspiration check out @MTSongbirdMom.

I am sure I am missing some truly inspirational stories. I suggest you go back & read the sharing/ venting as well as the final decision threads from the last 5 years (not sure I recommend reading all of them 3-4x like I did, however). Last year people who were especially helpful to me @El-Cee @lovetoact @BoolaBoola @afterp89 @Divamamacita @UKTOLA @kategrizz. Again, I apologize if I missed anyone. My WOLF PACK this year where misery truly loves company ….much love and respect to @muttsandMT @HAHCx4 @MTisNutz…But can not forget @GeddyMcNutty @WDWMom @jupdancemom @anastasiasmom @rickle1 @stanfordAI2019 @Jenny1993 @modansbsmt001 @loganator and sooooo many others. @vvnstar a wealth of info & my OCU guru/ go to…………Ok if you are still with me……here comes the saga grab some popcorn or a glass of wine or whatever vice of your choosing

In 2016, I sold my very successful business to a private equity company. It was a great day in my professional career made many “loyal” people very wealthy, I stayed on as CEO but by spring of 2018 the relationship had soured so badly that I was fired from the company I created 20 years ago. People were not as loyal as I had thought & I was in a really bad head space for a while, but it was at that moment in June of 2018 that I decided that with 3 teenage girls (plus an 11 yo girl- yup 4 girls!) that I would focus on their last 2 years at home before they went off to college. Oldest daughter was interested in Fashion design, my MT daughter & her twin who wanted to become a VET. That was the summer before the twins’ Junior year and eldest senior year in HS. The MT daughter had decided to go to the CMU summer program, she did all the legwork. I really had no idea back then that CMU was this powerhouse drama school I thought of it as an engineering school. We went to parents weekend in Pittsburgh and I still remember sitting in Don Wadsworth’s class with parents asking questions about “unifieds” and a gap year. I truly had no clue what they were talking about. In a voice class people mentioned these “coaches” that prep their kids for the MT auditions & one of the professors mentioned that her former CMU students had a service called MTCA. I looked it up and that’s how I stumbled on to College Confidential (if you don’t believe it look at my profile “member since July 2018”). At that point I didn’t even know this place existed. The last thing I recall from that CMU weekend was a strict, disciplined voice teacher who had taken a liking to my daughter said to us “ Honey , you are like me a hard-working white soprano, you are talented, pretty & have a beautiful voice , but you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than getting accepted to CMU”. That was my first wake-up call – July before her Junior year. So being newly unemployed, I got home, sat in my backyard and read CC MT posts for HOURS every day. This place gave me my PHD in musical theater application/ auditions… As I say now (again not trying to offend anyone) I learned more about the musical theater world than any straight 50 year old married white male should ever know  (footnote: D’s reaction to the CMU voice teacher “well dad someone has to get hit by lightning, right” with a smile)

So we started with MTCA in august of 2018, I have to say they did a great job from just one assessment skype session in placing my D with coaches that fit her personality incredibly well. They instantaneously identified my D grinder, grit, hard-working personality & fed that for the next 2 years. Anything they asked her to do- she did. I kept reading CC and asking many questions along the way.

D kept training and training, learning to take mass transit into NYC at 17 years old by herself, a great life lesson…. I kept reading and reading and started formulating a list, printed up blank calendars (ok MANY blank calendars- helpful hint- always use pencil). I used audition dates from the prior year to plan out our attack……Never did I realize that my grand plan could fall apart by only passing 30% of the pre-screens. But you will hear this theme from me repeatedly: Adaptability is the key survival skill in this jungle!

(Cont’d…)