Getting in CMU for BFA

My daughter is currently a HS Junior, top 3 percent in her class (weighted GPA of 4.5), and first College choice for Theatre Production/Directing is Carnegie Mellon (CMU). Her SAT score is 1430. She has only taken it once so far.
Question is, with CMU and its high standards and incredibly low acceptance rate, does she need higher SAT scores to compete, or is she close/on par to be accepted? CMU’s normal SAT scores (heavily tilted towards Science/Math) is around 1480 or so.

I don’t think her current SAT score will be the impediment. Just make sure she has a lot of back up choices and true safeties. I assume that, like musical theater, there is a minimum academic threshold to get you into consideration and after that grades and scores don’t much matter. And the minimum is way lower than for the school in general. Its for sure worth talking to someone in the department now to see what they are looking for in applicants if you cannot find the information elsewhere.

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Thanks. Much appreciated. I only assume CMU is a top tier solid College, even for Theatre Direction. My D is pretty up there grades-wise. But my assumption is, at that level, the College is never a guarantee, and the competition fierce.

For MT, they took 5 girls this year.

Her grades and scores are not an issue. The only schools that care for BFA perfomrance programs are BU and Michigan and her grades more than hit the threshold. What you will find them very helpful for her is if she gets into a program like Pace international performance for directing since she will get a very large academic scholarship.

Really? Why do you think that is? Any intel?

In my D’s year, the BFA in MT program at CMU took 4 girls.

This begs the question… is BU or Michigan a “better” school for Theatre Directing than CMU?
I know my D won’t go to Mich due to how far it is from the Northeast. But BU… could be a candidate…

I am guessing that your D has started the research but there are very very few BFA directing programs. The program at BU is I believe in theater so there is exposure to everything, I dont think Michigan has a directing program. Pace is a BA, CMU is a BFA, UNCSA has a BFA and there are a few other specific directing program. This programs take very very few people and generally you go where you are accepted. Academics play zero role in these programs. I believe that the numbers others have mentioned are for musical theater not directing.

Not sure if this is good or bad. I am hoping that whatever school she goes to gives her an otherwise enriching education, with a major focus on Theatre Arts (and Directing, for now).

To be clear, U of Michigan DOES have a BFA in Directing program.

I do not agree that academics “play ZERO role” in admissions to BFA colleges.

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At NYU/Tisch (where academics DO matter in admissions), you can focus on the directing track in Playwrights Horizons studio.

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There are other BFA Directing programs too, btw, such as at Temple, UArts, Nebraska Wesleyan, Belmont, Drake, The New School, as well as BA programs with a Directing concentration, such as UC-Irvine, Santa Clara, Fordham, Muhlengerg, Pace, and Western Washington.


I think the big issue is, due to us living in NNJ, our D doesn’t want to go to College in NYC, since she sees it as our backyard. She wants the full College go-away experience. This negates a lot of great NY opportunities. Sigh

CFA does lean less heavily on SAT scores, but it still has an admitted student median of ~1470. 1430-1520 is the sum of the 25-75% scores, so she would be at about the 25th percentile.

Not terrible, but not ideal if there’s an option to retake and score higher. If not, it would probably make sense to apply test optional.

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Thanks, Rich, my thought as well. The D is retaking them in May and then in June.
But how does one leave a 1430 on the cutting room floor?

If it’s surpassed on a subsequent attempt, it’ll be easier! :wink:

@TheLoz2022 Have you heard of Score Choice? An applicant can choose to send which SAT score sittings they wish. So, if your D does worse on the second sitting, she can just send her scores from the first sitting and not the second sitting and vice versa.

Then, there is Superscoring, whereby if your D has a higher score on the Reading and Writing on the first sitting than the second sitting, but a higher score on the Math on the second sitting than on the first sitting, she can send the scores from both test dates and the college will take the highest Reading/Writing Score and the highest Math score she has received from any sitting.

IF she is interested in directing and you are looking for a solid school academically and artistically, be sure you include NYU on your list.