Need safety school list

<p>I am a parent who is a novice with the Theater Major. My D has decided this is what she wants. We are looking at many colleges but I see her choices are everyone's choices. Her grades are fantastic, she was accepted into the State Honors program this past summer for theater, her SAT's are 1990 and she is retaking them in Oct to break the 2000. Money/scholarships will be a huge factor in any college decision. I don't want her relying on getting into a school that will only be accepting 5 students a year or we will be just too expensive.</p>

<p>Besides the well-known schools that everyone will be applying to (UNCSA, Evansville, Northwestern, Fordham, SMU) can anyone give me a list of good schools to look at that are considered more "easy" to get in. She needs some safety schools on her list - preferably in the southeast region but we are open.</p>

<p>We are both need focus so much. Thanks in advance.</p>

<p>Look into the Savannah College of Art and Design for sure. They have fantastic scholarship opportunities and aren't as difficult to gain entry to, but they still have a fairly reputable program.</p>

<p>There is no such thing as an audition-based, safety school. Acting programs as a group get many, many more applicants than they can accept. This does not mean that the best known schools are not even more difficult than the others but it does mean that they are all difficult. Your daughter needs a few less-well-known schools but also some non-audition-based BA programs for safeties. There are many of these. Try searching this forum for safety schools. This question is asked a lot. </p>

<p>Although her audition is what will get her a slot in the theater department, her fantastic grades and high test scores will help with financial aid. Look for schools with average freshman GPAs below her GPA to get an idea which schools will pay more to get her. You can find this info on the College Board site.</p>

<p>They will all have their competition. I wouldn't say ANY of the schools are easy to get into. It's just the choice in major. Theater in itself is a competitive field, so most schools with any type of program will either have an audition and/or interview. Not all. There are, I'm sure, exceptions, but just looking at the majority... It's going to be tough, for anyone and everyone wanting to get a BFA.</p>

<p>Hi, SouthernDramaMom: </p>

<p>You didn't mention whether your daughter was wed to wanting a BFA/conservatory style education or whether she is also considering BA in theater as well. If it's the former she really wants, you might want to take a list at this thread, which lists quite a few BFA non-audition programs:</p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/theater-drama-majors/1177128-non-audiiton-bfas.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/theater-drama-majors/1177128-non-audiiton-bfas.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>A mom, Emmybet, last year had a really nice mix of schools for her daughter. Wish I could find her list, but off the top of my head, she had, for comfort, schools like Goucher (in Baltimore), University of Rhode Island and Adelphi. Her daughter is actually at Adelphi, having gotten into their BFA program but also was accepted at Brandeis, BA and University of Minnesota, BA. </p>

<p>American University has a new theater and a strong program, from what I understand. Don't recall that it's audition, but I could be wrong. Wake Forest attends the Southeastern Theatre Conference and seems to place a lot of emphasis on its program. I believe UNC-Greensboro is also highly regarded in the state.</p>

<p>I think the advice is strong about not counting on BFAs as a safety. The truth is, the numbers in these BFA programs are so small, they are all competitive.</p>

<p>So perhaps, you need to put together a mix with BA safety schools, some target BA schools, a couple of reach BA schools and a list of BFA schools.</p>

<p>PM me if you want more info. I definitely would have done some things differently than i did in helping guide my son last year. But he's at SMU and very happy, so no complaints!</p>

<p>American University does not require an audition for admissions (you apply to the College of arts & Sciences with the Common Application), but does require it for Theater & Musical Theater majors. Any accepted student may audition at any time from spring of senior year in high school until spring of sophomore year at AU (when major must be declared), but they recommend that prospective majors audition as early as possible, for preference in classes and productions. It certainly sounds as if your daughter would qualify academically for AU, and might be eligible for merit scholarships as well as needs-based financial aid.</p>

<p>Gee, UVA, thanks for the compliment!</p>

<p>I have to credit my D with the great balance of her list. She was willing to consider BAs as well as BFAs, was happy with her safeties. In her case she needed to go all the way through a waitlist acceptance to make a final decision about what she wanted. In the end, she did choose the BFA, which had always been her dream.</p>

<p>I will reiterate that no auditioned program is a safety - the best admissions chance will be barely 20%. We never comment here on talent, not only because it's impossible to determine from online posts, but also because it's never quite clear just how any school defines the "talent" it is looking for.</p>

<p>There are auditioned schools that are a bit easier to get into (the 15-20% rates vs. the 5-10% rates), and it is wise to have a few of those on your list if your D wants to be in an auditioned BFA more than anything. Since they are often less well-known and within schools whose academic requirements are less stringent, she also could get some excellent merit/talent scholarships. But remember - these percentages represent very tough odds, period.</p>

<p>My D applied to 13 schools, 14 programs. Here is her list:</p>

<p>Non-auditioned BFA (safety): URI
Non-auditioned BA (reach): Northwestern, Vassar; (match) Brandeis, Bard, Lawrence; (safety) Goucher, UMinn
Auditioned BFA (more selective): UMinn, Carnegie Mellon, Boston University, Montclair State; (less selective): Adelphi University
Auditioned BA (less selective): SUNY New Paltz</p>

<p>She was accepted into all but her reach BAs (declined the waitlist at Lawrence but was accepted off the waitlist at Brandeis) and the more selective auditioned programs. She received excellent merit packages from many of the schools she was accepted to and had many options well under $25K/yr.</p>

<p>She chose to attend Adelphi University, in their auditioned BFA and their Honors College, with a nearly full-tuition merit/talent scholarship. Her GPA was 3.6 UW, with good but not extreme "CC" type accomplishments, and a 31 ACT.</p>

<p>Definitely decide with your D if she absolutely wants a BFA kind of curriculum available to her when she is deciding in the spring. If so, do add a non-audition BFA (there are surprisingly many on that thread, although some do require an audition later on to move from BA to BFA). D was glad she had the early acceptance to URI as she went into the audition season.</p>

<p>In retrospect, D found she really did not want a small LAC, but at the time she was applying she did like having those options available. In the end, her top choices were UMinn, Brandeis and Adelphi, and through very careful comparisons of the curricula, she knew that she would be most satisfied at the BFA school. Academics are very important to her, and while Adelphi's general admissions stats are much lower than hers, the Honors College offers her significant challenges and opportunities. Also, the scholarship will allow her to take advantage of summer options she couldn't do if her only goal in the summer was to make money. However, UMinn's BA would have been equivalent financially, so she did not make this decision solely based on cost, much more on the specifics of the program.</p>

<p>Having a good list now is the only way to have good choices in the spring. Good luck to you and to your D!</p>

<p>I am an avid reader here on cc and a nervous mom. Hoping some of you can help. My S has put together a list of schools and now that all but 2 applications are out and auditions are set, I'm worried we don't have an appropriate safety. I've asked several people but most just think it sounds like a lot of schools and the general public really doesn't get the difficulty of this anyway. I would love your feedback. Part of the problem is that he is a very good student and while he is passionate about the art of acting, he doesn't want to go to a school unless they have strong academics. He has a weighted GPA of 4.3. Unweighted 3.9. ACT 31. Many AP's, NHS and tons of leadership positions and a very extensive resume of acting and musical theatre experience.
I recognize that in the end, the only thing that really matters is the audition....which is scary. Here is his list. He has applied to many of these programs for both Theatre and Musical theatre. Any and all feedback is so welcome and very appreciated:</p>

<p>University of Michigan
NYU Tisch
Carnegie Mellon
Elon
Penn State
Otterbein
Texas State
University of Miami
Oaklahoma University
Pace
Emerson
Miami of Ohio
Syracuse</p>

<p>Northwestern</p>

<p>My first D went to Oklahoma City University for Acting/Theater. They are obviously best well known for Musical Theater, but they have developed a very good theater department over the last several years. They are a small private school, but give out pretty good talent scholarships, and have very good academic scholarships as well. Give them a look. My D was very happy there.</p>

<p>fullhouse: I'm going to agree that your son could use a safety non-audition school. You just can't count on any auditioned program, even if you have nice long list of them and some with higher admissions rates (usually still not better than 20%). Last year Northwestern went down to the low teens (probably lower for potential theatre majors), so it really can't be used as a backup for anyone.</p>

<p>I don't know anything more about your son's tastes in a non-auditioned program. It is true that most non-audition BFAs are at not highly academically selective schools. He would be better off at a selective BA with a great theatre reputation. </p>

<p>My D's GPA was lower than your S's, with the same ACT. She got into Brandeis and Bard, and was rejected at Vassar (whose acceptance rates also dropped significantly last year). These are still not safeties, but schools like Brandeis, Skidmore, Boston College, and others mentioned often on this forum would be good matches for your son, and much safer bets than Northwestern. Depending on where he'd like to be geographically, there are many more we could suggest.</p>

<p>I'm going to remark, too, that many of his auditioned schools aren't known for "very strong" academics. My D wanted this, too, and she did go to a more mid-range university for her BFA. However, she is in an Honors College which is providing her with very challenging academics, although she certainly is in school with many students whose academic focus is very different from hers. I'm guessing your S would need to look carefully at some of his schools when he has his acceptances to see if the whole "package" will work for him. It took her a long time to decide, and this fall she's had to do a fair bit of adjusting, but in the long run she is happy with her choice.</p>

<p>One of my safeties (I was just accepted today-- it's my first one!) that really flies under the radar is Southern Utah University. It's non-audition, BA-to-BFA, and pretty easy to get into the school; fullhouse's son and SouthernDramaMom's daughter should not only be fine but qualify for scholarships with their scores.</p>

<p>The thing that drew me to SUU, besides the affordability and location west of the Rockies, was the arts community, which is surprisingly vibrant for such a small town. It's a stone's throw from St. George, and the campus hosts the world-renowned Utah Shakespeare Festival each year. It's also set in such a spot that you can jump in the car and spend a weekend at Brian Head or in Las Vegas (Denver, San Francisco and Phoenix are significantly farther, but doable), or catch a flight to Salt Lake City and take in the Sundance Film Festival. Cedar City is very nice and relations with the community are said to be great. Overall, it's a safety that I would have absolutely no problem attending... just thought I'd recommend it.</p>

<p>Congratulations, StrangeBro!! I'm so happy for you!</p>

<p>I met a young woman this summer who just finished her MFA in design at SUU. She was very excited to have been a part of the Shakespeare Festival and also some wonderful new plays that have debuted there. Most significantly, she had been involved with "Ten Chimneys," which is about Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. I met her at their home, Ten Chimneys, which is outside of Milwaukee, an incredible historical theatre site.</p>

<p>Congratulations StrangeBro! That sounds wonderful, especially with the Shakespeare link-- it's good to know about SUU and also OCU (thanks Dramadad!) Two places D would definitely be interested in if we lived closer.</p>

<p>The University of Houston theatre department has nice facilities, does lots of productions including a musical, casts Freshman despite having an MFA program, has a Shakespeare Festival in the summer, brings in guest directors with Broadway credits, and has Edward Albee on faculty. Plus, the city has lots of theatre companies and it is possible to find professional work in town as a university student. It is an audition-entry BFA program, although probably not as competitive as the top-ranked schools. It is relatively inexpensive.</p>

<p>In addition to the UH/Houston Shakespeare Festival, the well-respected Texas Shakespeare Festival in Kilgore each summer (about 3 1/2 hours away) offers housing and professional work, although it is competitive and most of the actors are MFA's, grads, academics, and some equity members.</p>

<p>Fullhouse - Yes, your son will have to apply more places than the usual HS Senior - Emmybet's list is a good example of how these things are done. I have blocked out my D's list from last year, but it was the same approach. </p>

<p>One realization we came to during the process is that what with all the research, visiting, and auditioning for the BFA programs, it just wasn't possible (in terms of time/$/sanity) to visit all of the potential non-audition schools. The way we handled it was to do the desktop research; my D then applied to a variety of reach, likely, and safety LACs w/ reputable theatre programs, some of which she'd seen (we started visiting spring of Jr. year) and several of which she hadn't. </p>

<p>The plan was that if she did not get accepted into any of her audition schools, there would be plenty of time in April and May to visit the non-audition schools that had accepted her, and then make a choice. In the event, she was accepted into a great BFA program, but I do think our approach made sense.</p>

<p>It's true that your son will have to do a lot of applications, but hey, if he wants to be an actor, he'll need to get used to it! :-p</p>

<p>There are a lot of very academic kids at Muhlenberg, fullhouse-- people love its theater program (theatre is the second most popular major there). I think especially for a boy with your S's grades it would make a very good and pretty safe possibility.</p>

<p>If your student has strong academics, you might want to consider Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. It is an LAC with a very active and well-regarded theatre department. No BFA offered, but a strong plus is that they do many full-length productions each year, which gives plenty of opportunities to perform, in addition to in-class acting study. This is in contrast to some theatre programs where only upperclassmen and graduate students actually make it onto the stage.</p>

<p>Wow! Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses. I'm having S look at Brandeis. It's a possible fit academically but I've not heard a ton about the program. We are going to spend a lot of time visiting schools via the Internet. Anyone have any feedback about Brandeis? Thanks as always, for your insightful comments.</p>

<p>Brandeis is a great school, fullhouse, and D was planning to apply there for theater, so went for an interview and a great conversation with the head of the Fine Arts dept. She thought he was absolutely wonderful...but left feeling it wasn't the right place for her. They encourage double-majoring, and their focus on social justice is so strong that it seemed someone who wanted to immerse herself in art was going to be looked on as frivolous. D had the impression that they were phasing out the MFA, which might be a good thing for BA students, but she wasn't sure it wouldn't mean they would lose some of the faculty there. STILL-- there is a ton of theater there, often student produced, and even more music. There is a wonderful vibe on campus, just lots of bright, thoughtful, energetic kids doing really interesting work of all kinds, teachers who care, a lovely campus just outside Boston and walking distance to the cool variety of restaurants and shops in Waltham.... D was right that it wasn't her thing, but I really had to swallow hard when she decided against.</p>

<p>I mean, double-majoring in Theater and Economics, etc. not Theater and Music, which would have been her interest.</p>