Parents...could you give me advice about my parents?

<p>I am a HS junior and I have made up my mind! I am going into MT whether my family supports me or not! We live comfortably...not wealthy...not poor...just comfortably in the middle class. But my parents act like there is NO money for me to choose this major! I have been saying that this is my major for years and years and now it is the end of my junior year and my parents are being ridiculously unsupportive! They will not allow me to take dance classes or voice lessons in prep for auditions because "there is no extra money for unnessecary things like that!" There is extra money! They just won't spend it because they think MT is a pointless, stupid major and they tell me that no matter how talented I am I will never get on Broadway. I live in PA so I have chosen to audition at schools that are in this area of the country such as Penn State, Point Park, U Arts, CMU, Otterbein, CCM, Emerson, BoCo, Ithaca, Syracuse, NYU, and Michigan. None of these schools are too far off and though 15 schools may seem excessive, we all know that MT schools are very competitive and it is good to have many options. My parents are now telling me that they won't "allow" me to audition anywhere besides PA and OH! But some of my best options are in NY and MA! They are really stacking the odds against me even more than going into MT already is! They refuse to pay for my education so I have to rely completely on FinAid, Scholarships, and Student Loans! They should have no say in where I audition! I understand that it is expensive to do all of the traveling involved with college MT auditions but it is necessary! They just keep telling me to change my mind about my major because auditioning is "stupid, time consuming, and expensive!" I know that I have what it takes to make it in this industry so getting into these schools is very important to me! I have the support of my HS directors and all of my friends and their parents. They all believe that I can do this just as much as I do but what I really need right now is the emotional and financial support of my parents! Any advice? They will NOT listen to anything I have to say and the only feedback I get is negative! Parents especially please explain to me why they are doing this or give me any advice you have. I'd really appreciate it (:</p>

<p>PA has Penn State. OH has CCM. If you are meant to be in theatre you can major in anything if you go to a college that has the resources to continue in classes/training in acting, dance and singing. Many have landed on Broadway after BAs in History, Political Science and other things. </p>

<p>Getting a degree in theatre can be seen as risky. Let's face it the field has a 90% unemployment rate. Your parents aren't totally nuts because they don't want to pay a huge amount of money for college (which it is) and try to be assured that after you graduate there is some security you might be able to support yourself. There are however reflections that a theatre degree will prepare you for many careers besides theatre. </p>

<p>There are many scholarships out there. Some are $500 or $1000 but they add up. If you audition for some MT programs you might get additionally talent scholarships. I wish you the best Ashlee....I hope you make it.</p>

<p>Here's something to think about. Let's assume that your parents remain intractable and no matter what you say, no matter how many threads on this board you point them to where parents, college consultants and educators discuss in depth the educational value of a BFA, they just won't change their minds. There may be a way to defuse the situation, get college level training in MT and yet alleviate your parents concerns and hopefully recruit them to support you. Look at BA programs. There are many high quality BA theater programs with great MT opportunities at well respected "academic" colleges. There are many performers who successfully pursue performing careers with a BA as the foundation. In Pennsylvania, for example, Muhlenberg has a very strong BA theater program with marvelous MT opportunities. It is also a very well regarded liberal arts college at which you could easily double major in theater performing and another "academic" major. You could get the MT training and experience you want and your parents could be recruited to support your theater training as a result of you also pursuing another major which not only interests you but is on their "approved" list. Just a thought on how you might avoid a tumultuous battle and still get what you want.</p>

<p>I am sorry. I get very unhappy with parents who won't give their kids a shot at their dreams. I personally believe in letting a kid try, even if it means ultimately, to fail.
However, MT has to be about the craziest major in terms of tuition dollars spent vs any kind of job stability (especially with today's economy). And, unlike brain surgery, you aren't required to attend college in order to be successful in this field. You can minor at your college in theatre, or just make sure you get into a college where in town there are top notch people you can study with, on the side, or find college profs who take private students. If your parents have been supporting you thus far with voice lessons, etc, then they may consider keeping those lessons coming while you get a more practical degree. You might call that a "compromise." And your chances of "success," it has been argued, might be about as good as the kid with the BFA/BA/BM. (Search this forum for lists of working performers without MT degrees.) My kid will be making the MT college audition rounds in the coming year, and while I think she's attractive, talented, smart and hard-working, that's no guarantee she'll get into any of these schools that can only take X number of 5 feet 4 inches tall sweet-faced blonde sopranos-who-belt nor is it any guarantee that she'll get her "card" ever even if she graduates from one of these schools. There are just far too many schools with MT programs than the profession requires (remember there are all of five people in the Next To Normal cast). So if your parents won't spring for an MT degree, try another path. An alternate path may be just as likely to see you to your goal, if you are determined and make the most of every opportunity.<br>
Best wishes, and I hope things look up for you soon. In the meanwhile, I'm going to see if I can talk my girl into pre-law with tap dance and jump rope class on the side! :)</p>

<p>Ashley, your parents do have a point...pursuing a BFA in MT is very expensive. Just having a degree doesn't get you cast. And maybe they honestly DON'T have the money. What looks like a "comfortable" lifestyle to you may be more precarious than they want you to know. They want you to be able to support yourself once you graduate. They may be trying to spare you years of poverty and rejection. And this is from a parent who is spending untold sums to keep her kid in one of the best MT schools in the country.</p>

<p>You will get lots of good advice here on this board...in my opinion, you cannot do this without the financial and emotional support of your family. Don't think you can finance the entire thing on your own...it is harder than you think, and the debt load at graduation could be crippling. What you need to do is calm down and try to reach a compromise with your parents. Muhlenberg, as MichaelNKat, suggests, is an option...Indiana University is a great school with strong academics and lots of performance opportunities. I don't know much about the PSU BA program but geez it's affordable. You have other options...the BFA isn't the only way. In an interview, Raul Esparza recommended that students get an undergrad degree in ANYTHING but theatre and then go for the MFA. You could do that. </p>

<p>Broadway is the All-Star game but it's not the ONLY place where actors can work. In Philadelphia there are actors who have made a living for years performing locally in excellent venues. They have homes here and families and they WORK all the time. This can't be the only city in the country where this is possible.</p>

<p>Also in PA is Temple University which is a state related university so you will get instate tuition. It is a BA program so you can investigate either a double major or a minor in something "practical". My daughter was offered a generous merit scholarship there as well.<br>
Best wishes and I would encourage you to look at some schools which are not quite as selective as the ones on your list!</p>

<p>I am very sorry that your parents aren't supportive of your ambitions, broadwayashlee. You have already received some good advice here; I would also suggest that you ask your parents to read through some threads on this discussion board -- perhaps it will help.
If it doesn't, I would like to give you some encouragement with this story: a young man that I know was in exactly the same position as you. His parents were dead set against a theater degree; they felt it was a waste of his intellectual abilities, and that he would never be able to support himself as an actor. He persisted and auditioned for several schools, including CMU, Syracuse and Juilliard; he paid all the fees with his own money. He was accepted to ALL of these schools. His parents refused to support him financially, so he ended up attending Syracuse because they offered him a full scholarship. During college he did very well, even while working part time to earn a bit of spending money. He landed the first job he auditioned for, and for the last year has been in the national touring company of Cats. With that kind of talent and determination I am sure that he will continue to be successful in the future, even if he eventually moves on to another profession.
Good luck to you, broadwayashlee. Although I am very much in favor of the BFA MT degree, it is not the only way to be successful; keep your options open by including non-audition BA schools on your list.</p>

<p>You need to find a compromise with your parents. Maybe you can look into schools with double majors or a school where you can work on a teaching degree at the same time??? </p>

<p>Your situation in not unique. As parents, we are constantly balancing our children's happiness and our finances. And spending as much as $220,000 on an education where the odds are so stacked against you is difficult. $220,000 for most of us is a lot of money to spend even if we "have it" at our disposal. I don't think there is a parent on this site that would hesitate if this money was being spent on law school or medical school. At the end of the day most of us realize that our kids are going to spending more time working at restaurant than at their profession.</p>

<p>Good luck broadwayashlee</p>

<p>I personally believe in supporting my children in their choice of major/potential career and that includes funding their education. Majoring in Theatre certainly has it's risks but I want to give my S the best start to his life possible, and for me, that includes a college education without debt. But make no mistake, it is a FAMILY process. My S applied to schools that were a good fit for him and that were additionally a good fit for his parents. We all had input and there were MANY conversations throughout the research, visit, application, audition and decision making process. The final decision was his...we could easily give him that because we were part of the process and knew that all of his options were excellent choices. And we were willing and able to pay. </p>

<p>"I am a HS junior and I have made up my mind! I am going into MT whether my family supports me or not!" This quote sounds like a temper tantrum to me and as upset as you are with your parents, you need to be mature about it. You WILL need their support. </p>

<p>Financially, you just can't do it alone without significant scholarship money. Your parent's income will be used on the FAFSA regardless of whether they are willing to contribute to your education. So financial aid may not pan out the way you think it will. You might even need to get additional private loans but you will likely need someone to co-sign for you. And even if you can get all the money you need loaned to you, starting your life in crazy debt means you probably won't be able to live the life you want and will almost certainly end your dream of a career in MT. </p>

<p>"We live comfortably...not wealthy...not poor...just comfortably in the middle class." </p>

<p>"They will not allow me to take dance classes or voice lessons in prep for auditions because 'there is no extra money for unnessecary things like that!'" </p>

<p>"There is extra money!"</p>

<p>OK, first you should know that middle class earners have a very difficult time financing higher education because they may not qualify for much financial aid yet $50k+ a year for college is an impossible percentage of their income to actually meet. And even if you have a demonstrated financial need not all schools will guarantee to meet that. There is at least one school on your proposed list, NYU, that doesn't and is quite possibly out of reach for you financially even if you have your parents support...and it certainly doesn't sound like they are willing to take PLUS loans for your major. Second, unless you are the bookkeeper for your family you really have no idea if there is extra money or not. Your parents are telling you there isn't money for unnecessary things. You may feel that your lessons are necessary but that is really more of a want than a need. I suggest you look into cheaper or free options to prepare for auditions. </p>

<p>Aside from the financials, I can't even imagine anyone not needing emotional support from their parents as well during this time particularly given the crazy college application/audition process for performing arts majors. So what can you do to get it? First, take a deep breath. Then start researching alternatives and open yourself up to new ideas. Even your current list needs work...you need to have admissions/non audition safety options and financial safety options as well. You might start by having a conversation with your parents and really listening to their thoughts without taking it personally and getting upset at them. How do they feel about a Theatre major in a BA program as opposed to the BFA? What about a double major or a Theatre minor? Will they consider some BFA options if you are willing to consider some BA or minor options or attending a college with an active theatre scene for non majors? What is their reasoning behind the location restrictions? If you find an agreeable program outside of PA or OH will they consider it? And above all, what can they afford to contribute to your education and are they willing?</p>

<p>You have been given some terrific advice by all the posters who took the time to reply. Several have used the word, "compromise" and I agree that you absolutely must. It is part of maturing. This can be a very special time with your parents...your last year at home under their care. They have raised you and supported you, cheered you on and dried your tears since you were born. They love you more than anything and they want what is best for you. Do not doubt this. And do not make your college search and application/audition process any more stressful by fighting with your parents over it. Respect their opinions and see the value in them as they are looking at the situation from a different place then you. And ask them respectfully, to do the same for you. If you and your parents come together, I'm sure you will find yourself with some great options next year and I wish you the best of luck! :)</p>

<p>Totally off topic, sorry, but could someone post or pm me how to do a quote box? Thanks!</p>

<p>[<em>quote]Text goes here[</em>/quote]</p>

<p>Remove the *s.</p>

<p>It's important to keep in mind that many people don't understand why anyone would want to major in performing arts because to them it's not perceived as practical. They don't understand how much work is involved auditioning for BFA and some BA programs. Someone who goes to school with my D asked her what her "backup plan" was after finding out she planned to pursue a degree in performance/acting. Her response was that there was no "backup plan" she would do whatever she needed to do to work in the profession she loved. Someone asked me why they should spend hundreds of thousands of dollars when most likely the result would be that her child would spend a great deal of time being a waiter/waitress. Its two years later, their child will be attending a BFA MT program. It's a journey, but over time people can begin to understand....</p>

<p>You've received a lot of excellent advice aleady so I will try not to repeat it.</p>

<p>I know this is a very important decision for you and I'm sure it probably feels a bit overwhelming as you look ahead toward auditions and see so much to do. It's exciting and a probably a bit scary. And those emotions are something you have in common with your parents because that is how parents who have children ending their junior yearand beginning their senior year feel. So, when I read "useless" major, I interpret it as "that could be such a hard life" (especially in this unpredictable economy) and "only in OH, PA" as "we would love for you to stay close to us so we can see you, see you perform, we could get to you easily if there is a problem." I think they really just want you to make the best decision for you within the circumstances that you have. You will have a much better senior year and successful set of auditions if you can find a way to work with them. It will mean a lot to them because this could be the last year they will have you at home.</p>

<p>Everyone has different challenges as they face their college application process (and auditioning can be like double college application process!) So the opportunity is planning and making choices that create the best possible options for those circumstances; finding a way to pursue your art no matter what life hands you. You're lucky in that you have this summer to start making those choices. You can plan and also show your parents what you are willing to do toward pursuing what you love to do. Consider...</p>

<p>Interning at a local theatre company
Audition for a show or a theatre camp (within budget or that has scholarships) that will have a performance
Talk to dance studios to see if there is a possibility of trading work for lessons (I had a friend who did this)
Get a job to earn money to cover college audition fees, audition outfits, travel expenses, headshots, resumes
Study and take the ACT/SAT if you have not already acheived competitive scores. Good academics can give you more options both in scholarships and eligibility for college programs.<br>
Have a meeting with your guidance counsellor and your parents to talk about colleges and your fall/spring academic courses
Make sure you understand your parents expectations regarding your school attendance. Know your school's attendance policy It's important to have support from home because it is very possible you will be absent due to auditions.
Find a great non-audition program at a school you feel you can afford and (even better where you could be eligible for an academic scholarship too!)
Read the CC threads to find out everything you need.</p>

<p>Be very aware of your budget. You will have expenses relating to your senior year (senior portraits, yearbook ads, invitations, etc) and your parents may be thinking about how to cover them. There will be travel expenses associated with any college you consider that is far from your home state (visiting either before or after acceptance, orientation, etc.) I totally understand why you want to apply to the number of schools you have selected. Many colleges have application fees and additional audition fees that can add up quickly. I was amazed at how much it cost just to send test scores to multiple colleges! Auditioning has its own set of expenses. </p>

<p>My S has figured out that pretty much any time he asks me for something related to his sport that costs what I consider to be a large amount of money, I am going to say "no" and the more he pushes me, the more stubborn I get. So, he will stop asking for a bit, research to most cost effective option for what he wants and then pass me bits of info relating to why spending the money on what he is asking for would help him perform in his sport more competitively and how he's found the best priced option to get it. He knows that if he gives me time to think about it, I almost always eventually say yes. I don't know if something along those lines would work for your parents, but it works with me.</p>

<p>I wish you the best in pursuing your dream. I hope you have a wonderful senior year and that you get into the program that is best for you!</p>

<p>I cried privately as my daughter turned down full academic scholarships at top-notch universities ( seven schools) to study MT on a twothirds scholarship(academic/Artistic) in a more conservatory in a university setting so I understand your parents'fears as they are mine for this risky business you desire.My daughter auditioned at regional and nonregional schools thru unifieds and travel.I would urge you to engage your parents-whichever you are closest to- to become involved,go to auditions with you,talk about all the preparations needed.If you make them a part of your journey,they may understand it better.That's what we did with her Dad and it made him get a front seat on how passionate she was about it.Your parents love you and want what is best for you. If they are part of your team,they will get on board hopefully.Other parents and professionals they meet in this senior journey can also enlighten your folks and help your cause as well.Good luck!</p>

<p>justwaiting I think that is an excellent suggestion. Broadwayashlee's parents may feel they are the only parents in this situation and everyone else's child is going off to study medicine, law and zoology. That is one benefit of this board knowing that you are not alone and not insane for supporting your child in pursuing a theatre degree. My D has faced invalidation by some of her closest theatre buddies from high school. I've been challenged by some of my closest friends. One article I love to send out when anyone questions whether I have rocks in my head for paying for my D to study acting, singing and dancing is this one. I suggest BroadwayAshlee prints it out and gives copies to Mom and Dad. </p>

<p>What</a> Theatre Majors Learn. What can you "do" with a theatre major? Plenty!!</p>

<p>You May also want to buy them a opy of of "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink</p>

<p>KatMT</p>

<p>Out of curiosity I went to Daniel Pink's website. Wow! I am going to read his books and bookmark his site. His info is not only relevent for my D, but for me also in my place of work!</p>

<p>Thanks! :)</p>

<p>onstage, please don't use an example of a successful male musical theater performer to show that it is possible to do this on your own. As challenging as it is for the boys, there are probably 3 or 10 times as many excellent aspiring females auditioning as there are males for those "6 boys, 6 girls" shows. The chances for success for the OP are MUCH less than for the boys. </p>

<p>OTOH, broadwayashlee, if you've got great talent and drive, there are many ways for you to accomplish your goals without going into huge debt. The suggestion regarding a BA degree with a double major is excellent. You'll have lots of opportunity to perform (maybe land all the better roles) and get needed experience. Maybe you can look at both options: apply to some BA programs, and also some BFA (you do have some great options in the states your folks will "allow") programs. If the money comes your way for the BFA, great! If not, you'll have some excellent options at the ready. Good luck to you. No matter what kind of support you may or not get from your folks, your chosen career path involves great sacrifices. Perhaps your folks are just trying to prevent you from sacrificing too much.</p>

<p>Snoggie -- glad it was helpful! This was a book that the Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison suggested we all read and discuss. He also suggests it to auditioning students and parents. Glad that he put it on my radar screen... it is a great book, and Daniel Pink is doing terrific stuff!</p>

<p>sopranomom -- believe me, I am well aware that it is much easier for young men to get roles than it is for women. I am a working actress myself, as is my own daughter. I know quite a few young female performers who have similar stories. No it's not easy, but it is possible, and young people of either sex "with that kind of talent and determination" are more likely to be successful.</p>

<p>KatMT - All I can say is WOW! Thanks for bringing A Whole New Mind to our attention! Imagine a statement like "an MFA is the new MBA" ! ! I'm about 1/2 way through it - my local library had both the book and the recorded version, with Daniel Pink reading -- since I knew I'd be in my car a fair amount of time this week, I opted for listening - but plan to go back and get the book as well.</p>