North Central College outside of Chicago

<p>Does anyone have any information or input about this program?</p>


Hi! I am a current student of the program, and I have nothing but good things to say about the school and the department. I was a bit skeptical going into it because I had never heard of the program before (the only reason I actually found out about the school was from reading threads on this website!), but after I got there I was BEYOND happy with my collegiate decision. The school is very well-known in Chicago and the faculty members actively work in the city (I’ve actually gotten to see several shows for free because our faculty are friends with the casting agencies of many famous theatre companies in Chicago). Our faculty actually have just created their own equity theatre company, called “The Other Theatre Company,” and they will be going into their second season this year. Many of our students have been understudies for their shows (and have received EMC credit), casting director interns, stage manager interns, etc.- it’s a great experience! We do 9 shows a year (3 shows a term. One faculty-directed, one student-directed (and, in most cases, student-written), and one guest-directed (to help students build connections in the city)), and there are many student showcases and cabarets that are put on throughout the year as well. The program is very flexible; anyone in the school can take classes in the department (as long as they meet the prerequisites of the course), and students have the freedom to choose what their schedule looks like. NCC is a big advocate of letting students be in charge of what THEY want to learn and get out of their college experience, so they structure the curriculum of all majors so that 1/3 of your credits have to go towards exploring in other departments (many students choose to double-major. I am double-majoring in Music and minoring in Dance, and considering taking a few Broadcasting classes and/or trying to squeeze in a Broadcast Communications minor too). NCC also sets a strict 51 credit hour limit for each department (meaning that you can’t take more than 51 credit hours in one single department (and if you do, you have to take more classes in other departments to balance it out)), but there are ways around that limiting your education. All of the dance classes, voice lessons, instrument lessons, and chorus/ensemble classes can be taken for 0 credits to give you more room in your schedule. Of course, that technically means that you’re “overloading” courses every term, but it’s not terrible. Since NCC runs on TRIMESTERS and not SEMESTERS, a full-time student is expected to take 8-12 credits per term (equaling 24-36 credits per year, just like semester schools), which allows students to take more classes (but all of the classes are more fast-paced than those at semester schools).

Back to the MT department- NCC’s theatre department is actually getting a big makeover here. We just hired two new faculty, and are more than likely hiring 1-3 more in the near future here, and they’re working to change the layout of the MT major to make it a bit more distinct from the Theatre department by creating/adding new classes and bringing new experiences to campus. Everyone in the department is very excited to start school in the Fall to start working with the new faculty members. They are very talented individuals, and are going to be excellent assets to the department. Many schools for MT are either looking to train students who are stronger in acting, or singing, or dance, or all-around “Triple threats,” but what makes NCC’s MT program great is that the students have the freedom to choose what they want to make their MT education look like. Yes, they still need to meet certain course requirements to graduate, but students have the freedom to choose whether they want to take more dance classes (side note- we are looking to add a Dance Major to our catalog within the near future too, and the dance faculty are already working on offering new and exciting classes within the next year or so), or more music classes, or more acting classes, or double major! There’s a lot of freedom to make college what YOU want it to be. Some people double major with Theatre and Education (b/c they want to be drama teachers), some double with MT & Business, some double MT & Music, some do MT & science, and some just stick with MT! The possibilities are endless (and supported by the faculty). The faculty meets you where you are and take you to where you want to be. If you want to do theatre professionally, they will DEFINITELY help you. We have a TON of working students in Chicago and around the country, and students are constantly getting emails about internships and job opportunities throughout the school year (even from some of the top theatres/casting agencies in the area (ex.- Claire Simon Casting, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, American Theatre Company). We also offer an auditioned senior showcase presented to all of the biggest casting directors/talent agents in Chicago, which many students have great luck with. There is also a new student showcase at the end of fall term every year (designed to give new students the chance to show the faculty their strengths). All of that being said, if you DON’T want to do this professionally and just want to take these classes for fun, you most certainly can. The faculty want everyone that wants to be involved in the department to BE INVOLVED in the department in whatever capacity they desire. Non-Theatre majors get cast in shows all of the time. Non-theatre majors can also receive theatre scholarship.

NCC’s MT program is a great choice; the faculty really care, the class size is small, and you get a LOT of bang for your buck. Keep in mind that it is a VERY different kind of school to get your MT degree from though (we aren’t the type of school to make a collage of everyone’s headshots to use for our Facebook cover photos or order matching “NCC MT” jackets (maybe one day, but not right now)), but it is a worthwhile program. Plus, admissions is GREAT about giving scholarships out to students, so attending NCC can actually be very affordable!

PS- if you do choose to go there, DO THE CHICAGO THEATRE CARDINAL CAMP! The department head (Carin Silkaitis) takes first-years around the city and teaches them how to use public transit, tours them through major Chicago theatres (Chicago Shakes and Steppenwolfe were some they did last year), takes students to shows in the city, sets up Q&A’s with some major casting directors (Claire Simon Casting, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), and so much more! It was an INCREDIBLE experience. Students learn a TON from it, and some of my fellow cardinal-campers are now my best friends at school.

@myloves, is your D already having second thoughts about her decision?

No way! She couldn’t be more excited to start UArts in a little over a month! Look at the date of that post; I had posted that question August, 2014! Lol.

I didn’t notice the date (I thought the moderators shut the old posts down???). Anyway, glad to hear your D is excited about UArts. I think it’s a great program.