Northwestern University optional music theatre supplement

My D is looking at NU. We see that there is now an optional music theatre supplement that it says is not required but is encouraged…any thoughts on that? It sounds like they are not going to let anyone into the MT certificate program based on it - you still have to audition again - but if it’s not required of everyone, it seems strange since they could probably fill all 100 spots in the blink of an eye with the talent they see on the videos so what about those kids who didn’t submit that piece since it’s optional? Is it just too bad for you since you didn’t bother to show us what you could do or do you think they will give out some spots based on their normal process without the supplement? Does this mean they are moving toward doing an upfront audition in the future do you think? Thanks!

I would say it is optional, it says they want to try it out. BUT I also feel that we will do it, cant hurt!
@MomCares Not sure if you heard about this new supplement. So now we have to do a video for NU! Thought we were video free.

I hadn’t heard about this. D applied 5 years ago so I’m pretty far out of that loop. I’m guessing the MT supplement isn’t required since not all Theatre applicants are MTs. Many who apply are interested in straight theatre, comedy, directing, writing or other aspects of the entertainment industry. I’m sure admissions could always get a reasonable picture of a specific applicant’s interests and talents based on activities lists, awards, resumes, and YouTube but I would think the new MT supplement will be helpful.

One key way the supplement may help is in giving applicants confidence that they will have talented classmates, which has never been a problem yet was something I (needlessly) worried about when D chose to apply ED.

For others who (like me) weren’t aware of this here’s what the NU website says.

*This is a “pilot program,” to assess the usefulness of online auditions.

Thanks for adding all this @MomCares I would not have known how and I think it will be very helpful to others. :slight_smile:

I would interpret that to mean they would like you to submit the supplement, so if it was me I’d probably do it. It also gives you the chance to separate yourself artistically from the crowd of other academically qualified applicants.

@ourturn2 – Thanks so much for bringing this change to CC’s attention. I’ll bet your heads up may help a bunch of folks this year. And best of luck if this is your year to apply to MT programs!!

@MomCares and @Joyfulmama - Thank you both! We’re not up for another year yet but we’re trying to get on the ball and make a decent list of schools this fall and then start visiting so have been looking at all the requirements, stats, etc. I liked how the setup was a delayed audition originally so was just trying to decide what the change means. Sounds like submitting it would be best this year but I was never concerned about a lack of talent in the class - more worried about too much talent - so was wondering if it would make it even harder to get into the MT certificate program later. Also curious if next year will be an upfront audition to the MT program. It will be interesting so please post if you hear anything further and we’ll watch and see.

The pilot program is really interesting and I wonder how this will be used in the decision process. S and I had decided to strike NW from his list, even though he loves the school. Our reasoning was that while his grades/scores are decent, they are not tip-top. Nor do we have family who are alumni. Based on academics/paper application alone, his chances are pretty minimal. I’m curious as to whether the introduction of this optional pre-screen will impact decision making. At the same time, the skeptic in me tells me there is likely a charge to submit the optional materials and that this is a money-making scheme…or an attempt to see the talent out there without making any intention of offering auditions to anyone who does not exceed other hurdles to NW admission…

I have no idea how/if this might impact academic thresholds, but suspect not a large amount since Northwestern has a “one school” philosophy which generally enables all students to move freely between programs (Theatre, Music, Journalism and ISP are capped programs that are a bit of an exception). I have heard anecdotally that extremely talented Music auditionees may get some academic slack, but even NU student athletes are consistently named the most academically strong group in the country so I doubt they will dispense with academic standards for MTs. I would guess, though, that extremely talented kids will stand out from the pack and be given extra consideration.

I also seriously doubt this is any form of money-making scheme as the school is among the best-endowed in the world, plus I suspect it will actually cost them more to review the additional material.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds, but I think it can only be good for the program.

It may also be worth noting that I think this may have already been happening informally, at least in some cases. I know 5 years ago when D was touring, an Admissions counselor suggested that she send a resume and headshot (plus she included YouTube links) to be added to her application packet. I know others who say they could see that NU adcoms had reviewed YouTube video before they were admitted (they had sent private links and could tell that the videos had been viewed).

So these added materials may not come as a huge change from the perspective of the adcoms but I think it’s great to formalize the process so that all kids are aware that they can submit the additional material.

Best of luck to those who are submitting for the Nov 1 Early Decision deadline!

I am thrilled for my daughter to have a chance to attend Northwestern with the MT optional submission and every little bit helps.

@MomCares , do you know how any of the students delivered the links to admissions? I would like to email a resume and headshot with video links, but I was unsure who to email it to.

Unfortunately I feel lightyears out of the NU admissions process by now, plus it seems to have changed since D applied many years ago with the addition of an MT supplement (are they doing that again this year?). I think the best way to answer your question would be to call admissions directly and ask how you might get video links added to an application file. We always found them to be very helpful when we called with specific questions. Back in the dark ages we just sent a resume and headshot and ask that it be added to her application file, but I’m sure things are different in the more electronic age.

Or maybe another CC parent with more recent experience can chime in?

Best of luck to everyone applying!!