Reality check: What's it actually like at ____ now that your kid is enrolled ?

Hi quick question my son is considering applying to a Columbia. Did your son submit a supplemental recording of his music? We weren’t sure whether to submit as it’s not required and we have read mixed things on sending extra material that admissions office didn’t require.

@juliamom3 it’s fine to submit a music supplement with a recording or video, a music resume, and letters of recommendation from a teacher or director related to music. In many cases this can make a big difference in admissions.

The only concern is that the talent needs to justify the submission. Submitting a music supplement when not justified by talent and/or accomplishments can sometimes hurt.

It is not necessary to plan on majoring in music for the supplement to be relevant, or helpful.

Colleges need musicians. Admissions is about assembling a class that has an interesting mix of interests and talents, including those who can contribute to life on campus. That includes music extracurriculars.

It’s said on here a lot but remember that as important a specific teacher is when choosing a college for music, teachers do leave, retire, etc… S18 chose FSU for vocal performance in large part because of a specific professor he wanted to study with. Fast forward two years later, and that teacher decided to move to another university. Luckily, a secondary reason S18 chose FSU was its large voice department with 3-4 additional voice instructors who were well-regarded and fit his voice type. After checking them out and sitting in on some studios, he chose another teacher and so far everything is great.

Thank you so much.

@GoForth this link isn’t working any more… is there any way you could pm it to me?

If I may ask, what are your students pros and cons about Eastman? My son was accepted for Fall21, he is appealing aid, because Eastman and another school, that we can’t afford either are his top choices. We just can not take on that much debt right now (we look better on paper than we do in real life and my husband is planning on retiring in 2 years) and it is heartbreaking. But he still has hope. He got into UNT with instate tuition and a scholarship to cover that, which we can afford, so trying to figure this all out! He loves Eastman though. Thank you!!

Hi! I wish I had more “pros and cons,” but for him it has been mostly pros. Having such a small school has been a godsend during COVID, as they kept open, were able to do concerts, and did very little online learning. In addition, he has very strong relationships with his two advisors and was able to reach out any time he had an issue, large or small.

If I had to list a con, I would say that the food is pretty bad; they require you to live on campus at least the first two and in some cases three years, so you are stuck with it. Also Rochester is not Boston; my son likes bigger cities so it’s a bit sleepy for him. Finally, it’s very intense, more so than he thought, and especially because he is doing a double major. He’s rising to the challenge but there were times when he wasn’t sure he could do it. It helps that he’s pretty academic overall. Some kids who are good players but not necessarily strong academically have really struggled with the amount of work.

On the pro side: best performance spaces, instructors, teachers, even grad students he’s ever seen, and then some. His playing has improved beyond all imagining; he now comfortably doubles on several new instruments (as a sophomore)! He wants to teach when he gets out and the diploma will definitely get people’s attention. He also loves his classmates and has made great friendships.

Net-net, we feel like it’s been completely worth it to stretch ourselves to make Eastman possible. Hope that helps.


Thank you, that helps a lot. He is very academic, but got scared and dropped his double major. He would be a Jazz major-drum set, and take classes at Rochester for recording arts?, this is such a hard decision. A lot of debt or almost debt free. We already pay full price for my daughter, 25k a year. CA is already a hard state to afford, but FAFSA does not take that into account! We have a month to figure it out. I appreciate your feedback. Thank you so much.


Would love to hear from students/parents with children studying music at CMU

My son would be interested in hearing about Eastman (and Rochester Dual degree), Tufts/NEC, Oberlin and Northwestern. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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We are excited that DS has been accepted to both Eastman and MSM for trombone performance for Fall '21! Unfortunately we have not been able to visit either campus (nor will we be able to before decision day) and really need more feedback on “life” at these schools. I’ve seen some great detailed posts about Eastman life here (and would love to hear more) but I’d love to hear anything about MSM.

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I hope that some people will still reply on the requests above. Still I’ll make a few comments that may help (or not). My D is 28 with an MM so she has visited or experienced some of these schools (or similar schools). So here are some comments/opinions:

1.). I wrote a comment (I think it’s the 5th one in this thread) about some similarities in “studies”. All selective music schools are going to give an excellent education. There is no unicorn school with golden tickets to success. So finding a school, that has an element of fun…is important too.

2.) Teacher - look for the best fit. Your kid will spend a lot of time with this person. Also check the whole faculty. Teachers leave.

3.). MONEY - avoid debt as much as possible. Once your kid gets to their school and gets engaged…the shiny, expensive school will fad away.

4.). Academics - look at the semester-by-semester curriculum to be sure it meets the needs/desire of your student.

5.). Environment - big school, small school, urban, rural etc. If the top 4 issues are all acceptable, I would really work with your kid to let all else go…and think a lot about the environment of the school and its surroundings. Will they be HAPPY in that environment? Why or why not? Fun is so important in a challenging degree. And music is a challenging degree.

Most schools allow accepted students to text with a current student. This may be a good way to help a student get a feel for the school…including the environment. Asking what do music students do on a Friday night for fun…or the weekend to blow off steam…would be acceptable questions. Asking about extracurriculars or how much students interact with the town or city would be good. Even asking about favorite restaurants or grocery stores or farmer’s markets…or bike trails etc…can be useful.

Most schools will give an excellent education. Where you fit and grow the most is where you will be able to be yourself and have some fun. My D wanted an urban environment and didn’t get that for UG. It was a point that she gave up on…and that was fine. You don’t always get 100%. But she got almost everything else.

I hope that this helps. And sorry you have to make decisions without being on campus…that is a tough one.


We are in Florida and my son has been accepted to Boston Conservatory as a composition major - does anyone have any input on how worth it the program is?We would spend little to nothing at Stetson university and/or FSU music schools in Florida, both of which have accepted him. But his dream has always been to go out of state – preferably the Northeast. Intellectually I feel that it’s crazy to spend $55,000 plus per year for undergraduate… Then again I’m not the artist in question. I’m also concerned about the pandemic. Are people from out of state really shelling out out this much money to go to BOCO – especially during these uncertain times? I will feel like a real idiot if he passes up the Florida school offers and ends up at home doing online classes!

@Bikerchic66 How do FL residents feel about Stetson and more specifically the music program? Im an upper midwest gal and its relatively unknown here.

@Bikerchic66, FSU is one of the best music schools in the country. FSU is easily the best financial choice. Sure Boston Conservatory is great and living in Boston would be a great learning experience. It comes down to money. Do you have the wherewithal to fund his OOS college dreams without taking out loans, knowing that grad school may be in his future as well as many years scraping by as he tries to make it in his field? If you have it, I would not say you are an “idiot” for spending it.


Stetson’s music school has an excellent reputation here in Florida. Only undergrad but they say it works to students’ advantage as they are priority one! Faculty there is top-notch - graduates of all the best schools. The problem is we live 5 minutes away and our very worldly son has always aspired to go “where the action is” - specifically the northeast. My husband and I joke about moving away so coming to Stetson will be a more desirable option. Town is perfect little college town too - charming and historic and only 30 minutes to the beach!


I don’t know much about Stetson but it sounds great! I get the wanting to get away. My kiddos are the same.


visited FSU and I am sold! my son, who didn’t want to even consider it, now admits it is an excellent option. it didn’t hurt that- at my urging - they facilitated a meeting with a current music student who answered many of his questions and showed him around. there really is no substitute for going in person! Wanted to tour BOCO but it’s so late now (they just said we can visit!) that I doubt we’ll make it before decision day. Besides, for us I literally see no downside to FSU at this point other than it’s “not in Boston”… though that may be a good thing until this pandemic subsides - which could be quite awhile


Yay! I’m so happy that he could tour FSU. While I’m not an expert, I know it’s a seriously good program…so if he does go there…I would bet he’d be too busy learning to have regrets. AND there may be some money available for fun, important opportunities in the future.

He still may need some time to process it and let BOCO go (if that’s what he decides) but…when you provide your student with ALL the facts and information and contacts (not just a dream), they are usually pretty smart. My D chose no debt…once she realized I wasn’t going to bail her out…lol.