Pace vs. BU BFA

My son was accepted to both the Pace BFA / Acting program and the Boston University BFA acting program. Thoughts on which one is better? We know the Boston / NY differences, but what about the programs themselves?

I felt complled to answer this, even though I will admit to have only a limited view of Pace to compare. My son was admitted at BU for acting also (he’s thrilled)! He has friends at Pace but decided not to apply there because he wanted to be a part of a larger academic university, if only for the opportunity to live on a campus, cheer for a sports team, have some non arts friends. Even though he knows that the BFA program doesn’t leave you much time to take other classes, Pace’s lower academic reputation gave him pause (they have about a 70% acceptance rate academically compared with BUs 30%). As a parent, I like that he will come out with a strong academic college name on his resume (in case the whole acting thing doesn’t go well…)

According to one list of drama schools (The Hollywood Reporter) Pace ranks 25 and BU 15 (the list includes British and Australian schools as well). Of course, it’s hard to put too much stock in these artificial lists, getting work at the end seems to me to be key, and Pace’s NYC location and connection the the Actors Studio would seem to give it an advantage there. The kids my S knows there are MT students and they LOVE it.

So that’s my 2¢ on it…

I think @Momw3boys hits on a key difference- at Pace growth will be primarily artistic, BU will offer both academic and artistic growth. That can be seen as a positive or a negative in either direction.

I graduated from Pace in 1986…Pace has traditionally been a business school. When I went there there were no performing arts majors at all. In fact, when my D21 was looking for dance programs and someone mentioned Pace I thought she was nuts! So when you say your son wants to meet non-arts kids know that Pace is still known for business and the majority of kids there are non-Performing arts. Actually Pace was recently ranked as the #1 most underrated college in the US.

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thanks to all for your responses! He went to visit both places, spent the night, went to classes and we were hoping he’d come away with a clear idea of which he liked better, but he ended up loving both of them! I think either one will be great, but for him, it’s a huge decision right now…

@overseasma My D21 is graduating from the Commercial Dance program at Pace next month and my current HS senior was accepted to the Pace FTVC program. She has decided to break with tradition (I also went there as I stated above) and go off to California to school! Last night was my D’s last show at Pace and I think my middle one said that she knew if she had picked Pace she would have been happy with the program. But Cali has been the dream and she’s going after it!

My S was admitted to both programs in 2014. The schools, the programs (and the cities) had very different vibes. There was also a very significant cost difference (BU coming in almost double after taking into consideration the Pace scholarship offers). I agree with other posters that BU has the superior academic reputation but Pace does have an Honors college. My S liked Pace but really loved BU. At that time, they did not have a musical theatre minor or concentration so he ultimately passed on BU but that was a hard one to let go! Boston is an incredible college town, too, for what that is worth. My S had friends at BU, Emerson and BOCO at the time.

@overseasma, my D is going the directing route, so I’ll let others speak to the quality of the acting programs. But, I’ll give my 2 cents on quality of program vs. quality of university. Four years ago, we went through a similar process with our S who was auditioning for vocal performance programs. I knew, well before he did, that he would not be long for a music program. He had all the characteristics of a successful tenor (voice, looks, carriage, etc.), he just lacked that one essential quality: passion. His passion was reserved for history. Singing was work; history was fun. So, I insisted that he only audition at conservatories attached to great universities. He ended up in the SMTD at Michigan. Within a month, he realized that he didn’t want to be a music major. His grades were strong, so he could have transferred into the main university and continued happily on as a history major at a great university. In the end, it boiled down to money. He was responsible for half of his oos tuition, and had no interest in taking out loans to be a history major. So, he transferred to a small LAC with enough in scholarship to cover his half. He’ll graduate Phi Beta Kappa in a few weeks. All’s well that ends well.

My D, on the other hand, is all about theatre. I can’t imagine her doing anything else. So, for her, it’s really the program that matters, not the university. She’s deciding between DePaul, Emerson and Ithaca. All good schools academically, but not top 50. But they are all top-notch theater programs. She can afford to choose the program over the university. My S will sacrifice job satisfaction if it means he can eat lobster. My D will happily eat ramen noodles if it means she can do what she loves. On the flipside, we are all about education. I went to NU and my husband is a professor. We all want to know that she will be intellectually challenged. My concerns were allayed after she sat in on an upper-level dramaturgy class at DePaul. Suffice it to say, she was humbled.

The moral of my long-winded story: You probably know your child better than he does. Do you think he needs the safety net of the academically strong university? Or is the program all that matters? If it’s the latter, I’d say do a gut-check and go for fit.

@marg928 Whew! Thanks for giving Pace some love. You hardly hear anything about the school on this forum. Daughter #5 just got accepted to their Lienhard School of Nursing Honors College on their PV campus. Truth be told it was the one school I wanted to hate but was actually shocked at how nice the campus is and more importantly, Professors,dorms and happy students we found their. Daughters 1-4 having attended and successfully graduated from Fordham, NYU, Cornell and Barnard, I was afraid it just wouldn’t measure up. Who knew that just a 25 minute drive from home we would be very impressed! Her other choices were Hunter, City College, Macaulay Honors (WL) Barnard (got in but hates it and they don’t offer an accelerated Nursing Program.) Concordia school of Nursing, Stony Brook (WL) I’m still holding out for that one but she seems happy with her Pace Decision and the full ride scholarship is a plus. I feel less anxious about her decision after reading your post. Her sisters have been very supportive of her choice as well and besides them setting the example of being good students, she has never felt the pressure of following in their footsteps. I’m hoping her choice will be as successful as the other 4 have been.

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Glad to help @Daisy192! You may not have realized it but this is the theater/drama forum but I’m glad you found my post anyway! Good luck to your daughter!

Here is the link to the article ^^^

@marg928 Thanks for the info! and sorry didn’t mean to hijack @overseasma thread. I was just so excited to finally see a Pace thread from this decade. May have to start my own.

@overseasma wondering which school your S decided on?

@daisy192 and anyone else out there wondering about Pace. As I stated before I am an alum of Pace, majored in International Management, class of '86. Pace is and continues to be very well known to anyone from the NYC area and every major Wall Street and accounting firm recruits from their graduates. It has always had a very good reputation for business and is in the top 5 in the country for internship opportunities. The performing arts are relatively new to Pace and I would say that has been the biggest change in the school since I went there. Well yesterday my oldest daughter graduated with her BFA in Commercial Dance, minor in Arts Management and the day before they held their Dyson College awards ceremony. As she was graduating Magna Cum Laude she was invited and I insisted she attend (my husband and I went as well). Well…I was truly floored by the level of accomplishment of the students honored at the ceremony. Dyson College not only houses the Performing Arts program but also art, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, criminal justice, forensic science, communication studies, English, economics, film and screen studies, Environmental studies, history, math, foreign language, Political science, peace and social justice, psychology, sociology and women’s and gender studies. What I was most surprised about was the level of accomplishments in science. There was one senior who made a discovery about Alzheimer’s that no one else has ever made and is gradating with a two year research position at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Another is researching macular degeneration. I wish I could remember details about all the award winners but each and every one of their stories left me teary-eyed. I have a newfound respect for my alma mater which has clearly grown over the past 30 years from a business school to so much more. I’m sure the changes have been due to Present Stephen Friedman who is retiring after 12 years and has done amazing things for Pace. The one thing I found very interesting was that probably 95% of the award recipients were female. I get the feeling that the male/female ratio has changed a lot since I went there so that can be considered a negative. But I just wanted to let everyone know that Pace’s academics should not be sold short! I also just saw a stat on their Instagram today that Pace is #1 in NY and #2 in the country in catapulting their students from the bottom 1/5 of income distribution to the top 3/5.

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@marg928 Congratulations on your daughter’s graduation in BFA! Kudos to you and her. Thank you for your comment and reassuring me that Pace is a fine school. We did our research prior to applying for the nursing school but having Daughters 1-4 all graduating from some pretty great schools, Fordham, NYU, Cornell and Barnard, I was a bit concerned with her choice. Not that we were governed by the prestige factor. In our house FA wins over prestige any day of the week. She has also been accepted to Hunter Macaulay honors programs as well as Stony Brook so I was just a little freaked. Ds 1-4 have all given the thumbs up to her choice. The PV campus is Beautiful and only 25 minutes from home. Pace University’s NCLEX-RN pass rate is 97 percent higher than both the state pass rate at 82 percent and the national pass rate at 85 percent, who knew! Not to mention the full scholarship so I’m happy and she’s happy. Again congrats on your daughter’s achievements and thanks for confirming what we already thought.

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Which did your kid choose?? In same boat this year. Would love to hear experience. Thanks!

Did you hear back from BU already? I was wondering when they’d start sending out acceptances.

Nope! Did you? I’m guessing end of March/April. This wait is awful!

No news here either, but waiting on both of these as well. Fingers crossed for both of our kids!