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.