How can CC support discussion of musical theater admissions?

Continuing the discussion from College Confidential 2020 in review:

Oooof. I’m sorry to hear that. I think the new platform will help. You can see a list of new posts under the Musical Theater category and there are better ways to be notified of posts you are interested in. We intend to stick with this platform for many years, so hopefully changes won’t jerk you all around in the future.

I’ve been meaning get a better idea of what the CC musical theater community is all about. It’s certainly been odd to see a long list MT schools on the site. It’s generally not a good thing to have categories that don’t get much traffic and an easy solution is to consolidate categories. But before we do anything, I’d like to ask some questions to help me understand what’s going on:

  1. What’s the history of MT discussion on CC? Why was there so much activity here compared to other majors?
  2. Why are there separate categories for different schools? What problem was this solving?
  3. Who comes to CC to talk about MT? Is it high school juniors and seniors looking for information about auditions?
  4. When are the major deadlines for musical theater?

Basically, it would help to understand from you all what has happened in the past and what you hope for in the future. That way we can work together to solve the problems our platform changes have caused.

Many of us asked about that long list of musical theater schools, when there is already a musical theater major under “college majors.” How is it different from admissions for music, dance, visual arts etc? That long list takes up a lot of space.

I have posted a long list of music production/music technology schools within the music major forum. Couldn’t that long list of MT schools go into the musical theater major forum in a similar way?


One thing to note is that communities don’t tend to fit into neat categories. This is entirely speculative, but I wonder if MT schools are separated because the audition requirements are different. It could be that other majors have more uniform requirements. Or it could be that MT applicants discovered CC and dance/music/art people didn’t. To folks like you and me, this seems strange, but it probably had some good reason at some point in history. (And for all I know, it might still be important to separate schools somehow.)

Just mentioning it because it’s easy to fall into the “right vs. wrong” mindset when, in reality, it’s just “different”.

The application and audition requirements are very different for different music and dance programs. And within music, for instance, there are different genres and fields, obviously, so it is pretty complex.

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Not long ago I opened every single school listed under MT and found about 100 threads total for 55+ schools for the entire 2020 year, about the same as the single Engineering Major topic. The Music Theater Major topic has three threads over the last 3 years.

I would think the Dance, Music, Musical Theater, Theater/Drama, and Visual Arts and Film Majors topics could handle 100 threads a year.

I asked a while ago why so much real estate was allocated and the response was something like “You’ve never felt the wrath of a Music Theater parent”, which was a cop-out non-answer.

Which is why there are separate major threads for each of them.

@RichInPitt not sure why you referenced my response. When I wrote that applications and auditions were different at different music and dance programs, I was responding to the reason CCAdmin_Jon gave for the separate listing of musical theater schools (outside the majors forums):

Jon said " I wonder if MT schools are separated because the audition requirements are different. It could be that other majors have more uniform requirements."

So I responded that the other arts are no different in their diversity of requirements.

It would be great if it were easier to get to bookmarks. It would also be nice If when we open threads, we could be taken to the last comment we read, rather than having to scroll all the way down each time.


Answering your four questions:

  1. What’s the history of MT discussion on CC? Why was there so much activity here compared to other majors?

Answer: Because this forum worked very well. The only things that were lacking was 1. re-establishing a means to know whether there was new content under each school, and 2. adding a few more schools to the list. These requests had been made for several years to no avail.

  1. Why are there separate categories for different schools? What problem was this solving?

Answer: When you want to learn about / have questions about a particular school, it’s very helpful to just go to a place where you know they’ll be information you want/need (and not have to look for it). It’s very specialized content for a small group of students (between 5 - 65 per year) at each school, but very few souls using CC are going to keep checking school-specific posts if there’s not an easy way to see if a new post has been made. Hence, the importance of the functionality described in the answer to #1.

  1. Who comes to CC to talk about MT? Is it high school juniors and seniors looking for information about auditions?

Answer: Any student that has the MT bug, any parent of such a student and a few good souls who work for these schools’ MT program. The bug is generally caught anywhere from late middle school through anytime in high school.

  1. When are the major deadlines for musical theater?

It varies by the schools and by the year – it morphs – but deadlines are anywhere from approximately September 20th to February 1st for getting submissions in. And April 1st to hear back by and May 1st to commit, while waitlist efforts can continue later. While deadlines are important, it’s more about the process.

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I would add to number 3 that a handful (or more) of parents and students who survived the MT/Theatre college admission process continue to check in occasionally to provide support and commiseration for the current year’s applicants. It’s a rollercoaster ride for sure, and all intel is greatly appreciated by those in the midst of the process or looking ahead a year or more.


So true. How awful of me to omit mentioning them. These helpful people have added so much to this forum and have been critical to its success.

You’ve had some good responses already. I’ll add: The MT major is so active because MT admissions works very differently than most majors. I would guess there are others that are similar, like dance, but I have no experience there.

Generally, the way that MT works is:

Because this is the only thing the kid wants to do in life, and because most programs take, let’s say an average of 20 students per year (some as low as 6 and some as high as 60 but many in the middle around 20-25), kid builds a ridiculously large list of schools that they might be interested in attending. And by ridiculous, I mean 20-30 schools - that they may never have visited and probably have not done a super thorough job of researching. The objective here is to get at least one acceptance - ideally more. I think conventional wisdom in the group would currently indicate that, on average, you get 1 acceptance for every 8-10 submissions. There are always outliers, of course.

Next the kid works feverously to complete all the necessary applications. Each school’s deadline is different, but conventional wisdom for this major says - do them early - like in August because you’re going to be busy with the rest of the requirements later… oh and if you’re not quick enough about it, you may not get an audition time at some schools.

Next, it’s time to do pre-screens. There is a significant amount of difference in what schools require for prescreens and this generates activity on CC. It’s one of the few places that parents and students can come to ask questions. It’s the only place they can do so without revealing who they are. Once prescreens are in, the waiting begins to determine if the kid got an audition. This also generates a ton of activity. Has anyone heard from X school? Once again, every school is different, but most prescreen activity happens between September and December.

On to auditions - again, every school’s auditions are different and people have questions. This generates activity. Once the auditions are over - parents are back here looking for clues to when each school is notifying on decisions, how decisions are going out, what decisions have been given so far - trying to determine - is my kid still in the running? Again - every school is different, there are some that have limited fall auditions, but most are auditioning January - March. Additionally, there are some special group auditions held by coaches or theatre groups, etc. All of this generates questions.

Finally - notifications are going out. There are a few schools that do limited rolling admission for MT, but most seem to notify between late February and April 1st. Note you must be both academically AND artistically accepted. Some schools do a great job of notifying all at once, others send out academic acceptance separately and generate confusion. People are here again trying to figure out - when are we going to hear? How many yesses have gone out? Is my kid still in the running? Hey - did anyone also get an email/letter from XYZ school that says X - what does that mean?

Decision time - your kid has, hopefully, at least one yes and perhaps several, but - most likely, you’ve never visited the school because who has time and money to fly all over the country and visit 20-30 schools? In the short time before you have to make a decision on May 1, you have to scramble to visit as many of your kid’s top choices as possible and get as much information as you can so they can make a good decision. Again - lots of discussion. This is where I’ve seen the individual school sub-groups get used a lot.

And then there’s the waitlist shuffle. Kid A got 5 acceptances but can only attend one of those 5 schools. They accept their school on May 1st, and then the other 4 schools might go to someone on their waitlist. Some schools never have to touch their waitlist because they have very high yields. But - if your kid gets off a waitlist, that starts another flurry of activity and questions.

Once the kid has made it through the gauntlet and is in school, some parents leave the site, but many check back in periodically to see if they can help in any way based on their experience during audition seasons past as well as for questions about the school their kid now attends. I think, at least for myself, activity tapers off a bit. The first year after my kid made it through, I was quite active trying to help people with audition questions, but the schools change things about their process every year so your experience becomes less relevant over time. Now, I mostly scan the postings to see if anyone has questions about the school my kid goes to that I can help with. Additionally, at least for my kid’s school, there are a handful of parents that check back in periodically and update on what their kids are doing now. It’s interesting for those of us with kids still in school who are looking forward to their careers. It’s probably also interesting to parents who are checking out that specific school, but it’s probably not main page interesting. IE: Does the entire group care about our discussion on - hey XYZ parent that went before me, how did you find an off campus apartment in X city? What areas are safe? What’s your kid doing these days - last time we heard, she was working on X project.

Why is MT so active in comparison to other groups? The main, general “Topic” for a school does an MT prospective student almost no good at all. General school deadlines and admissions information is often meaningless for MT admissions. A school may “require” a certain GPA or test score that is completely waived for the MT major. The school may admit 20% of their applicants in total, but 1-2% of their MT applicants. MT students often have little to no time for things like greek life or student activities. So - the things you might find parents of business or biology majors talking about are generally of little value to this group. I think that’s why you see so much activity here - this group has different questions. I found this forum when I was desperately trying to find a piece of information and ran across a posting that came up when I did a google search. It was the only place I could find the information I needed through the application and audition season for my kid.

In general from a UI perspective - when I first joined, there was a list of 60ish MT schools at the top of the musical theater major page. They weren’t threads but rather links, to other forums I suppose? When the UI change happened several months ago now, they were moved to the main CC page, and I don’t know if many found them. I see they’re gone now.

After that long ramble, I’m sort of ambivalent, but I did get value from the school specific threads and I think others did as well.


That is likely the most concise description of the process and it is 1200 words. Or more than twice the length of the one essay most other kids need to write to get in the vast majority of schools for other majors. Well done.


Auditions for music performance also vary quite a bit from school to school and instrument to instrument.

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It is no different for music or dance. Those disciplines use the major forum, and there are sometimes thread with lists of schools (for instance, I have posted a list of schools for music production). Someone this year also created a “Read me” thread on the music major forum to put a lot of reading material in one place.

I would think the music theater major could provide all the support needed, but perhaps I am wrong. The music major forum is heavily used (at least before COVID), the dance forum less so.

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I suspect that’s very true. I would guess that the difference is the number of students pursuing the exact same thing vs. slightly different things. IE: vocal performance vs. violin performance, vs. tuba performance - probably smaller communities that all have different scenarios. I just have no clue on dance - that seems like it would be very similar to MT, but perhaps the numbers pursuing it are not as high.

Music has performance (classical, popular, jazz), composition (classical, jazz), songwriting, theory, music business, music production, recording technology, others. BM, BA, double degrees, double majors, major/minor, extracurricular. Dance has classical ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, choreography. BFA, BS, BA, double degree, double major, major/minor, extracurrricular.

Agreed. Nice job, @speezagmom!