SAT subject tests for BU Theater BFA?

<p>For anyone familiar with applying to Boston University's BFA in Theater - did you or anyone you know submit SAT subject tests or choose not to submit them? Did it it make any difference, either way?</p>

<p>We've been scouring the college websites, and BU is the only school that my D wants to apply to that even remotely wants subject tests, and it says only that they are "recommended." We'll ask BU how important they are, but I wondered what the CC experience with them is. I know several posters here did get accepted.</p>

<p>This is big for us, since it could mean not having to take them at all...</p>


<p>My son is a freshman in Boston University's BFA Theatre program and he did submit subject test scores, but not because they were recommended for CFA applicants.</p>

<p>If taking subject tests is not something you wish to do, and your academics are fine otherwise, I'd say just focus on audition preparation and don't worry about it.</p>

<p>Thank you! </p>

<p>My D has about a 3.6 UW, probably 3.8 W, will have 5 AP classes, other honors level classes, good ECs and recs, NHS, etc. She seems to fit the profile of a solid BU applicant academically. What I hear is the admission to the BFA is 50-50 regular-audition. Testing is not her strength - we have yet to get her ACT from April, are hoping for 25 or higher, and she'll keep taking until she reaches that goal. But the SAT subject tests are daunting, and she did poorly on the PSAT, so I don't think the SAT fits her. I can't imagine any extra tests would help her when they're optional - I just wonder what "recommended" means, whether it might really mean "we'll think you're not committed if you don't do it." </p>

<p>Theater wise it's her first choice - she's always really liked BU (we spend a lot of time in Boston) and loved the dept when we visiting last fall. She is working very hard on her theater qualifications and prepping. Unfortunately we can't swing the summer program, so she's focusing instead on getting community experience here and building her skills. I also wonder if doing their program would sweeten the pot so much that she'd be heartbroken then if she's not accepted. </p>

<p>If your S knows anyone there where the subject tests were found to be an important part of their acceptance please let me know (or if lots of accepted students opted out of sending them)! We'll try to get the official word from BU. I might post this on the BU forum, see if I can get any input from other arts applicants.</p>

<p>I really appreciate your help!</p>

<p>I'll ask my son if he can provide you with any first-hand reassurance on the subject tests based on what students say. </p>

<p>I know that BU does want students who can hold their own in their academic classes, but my impression has been that academics are less than 50% of the equation.</p>

<p>Paolo DiFabio, who runs a lot of the auditions at off-campus locations, talks about academics in his information sessions. I can't remember exactly what he said, though I recall that he mentioned a minimum GPA that surprised me, but here is a comment from a post by another CC mom:</p>

<p>"I remember attending the Boston University BFA audition with my kid and Paolo (the guy heading up the info session and auditions) telling kids that they needed a 2.0 GPA or better to get in (not to mention a smashing audition!) and that if you had less than a 2.0, he couldn't help you, even if you were brilliant as an actor."</p>

<p>I saw that, too! If only it were as basic as being over a 2.0!</p>

<p>We went to BU last November and attended an official info session in the theater dept. My H and I were squirming a bit because it was run ONLY by a freshman in the program. She was absolutely lovely and very articulate and honest, but of course many of the program questions were answered with "I don't know, I haven't done that yet." She had good materials and looked up answers, and I can't fault her intelligence or dedication to helping us. We were disappointed a staff person didn't even stop by the session (there were 3 prospies there, in the middle of the office). It would have been nice to hear the real dope from an administrator.</p>

<p>But luckily we didn't voice these concerns, because as soon as we left the building our D exploded with how much she loved the session, how much she felt she was "looking in a mirror" at that girl, talked very much in detail about what the goals and philosophy of the program are, how it's structured, why this girl chose it, etc., not just "theater programs are so cool!" She's used what she understands about the BU program as something of a benchmark in looking at others since then. Since she was so positive, we decided to let our concerns go, and find out the standard info later. </p>

<p>Taking or not taking the SAT2 is such a oh-no-we-blew-it kind of irreparable mistake that I'll sweat this a little until we know. I just don't think her taking them is going to help her except perhaps in BU's eyes as a show of interest. But it would be really stressful and expensive, and they're at a really bad time this summer. I suppose she could take them in the fall if absolutely necessary, but of course at the end of the school year when she just finished a couple of AP classes would be optimal ... </p>

<p>I really, really appreciate the help. We'll contact BU today. But I'm suspecting they'll say "Well, when we recommend something, that means we recommend it." I wish they'd put "optional" or something less subjective on their website!</p>

<p>My daughter took them and did not do great, but they were submitted.
It really is about the audition... It really is about the audition, It really is about the audition..
My daughter also not great test taker...Her AP credits have made things more flexible for her as she has more options now , with 12 credits beneath her belt.
The thing about the tests is that it gives you options , if she discovers a school that asks for them, then you have them at the ready.
And one more thing, if you want to see an administrator, poke around the schools, ask lots of questions, but by all means take your daughters lead if she is loving something...
NJ mom and I met on this board, both our kids are happy happy happy at BU</p>

<p>Thank you! I hope in another year we'll join the family (although she has other schools she'd be happy at, knows BU is a tough audition).</p>

<p>It's sounding like I'm going to have to tell her that if she wants BU she really should just take the tests. If she wants to take them at their word and risk the "recommended" option, I guess that's her business. Really she isn't going to apply anywhere else that wants them. CMU doesn't. Syracuse doesn't. She doesn't want to go to NYU, doesn't want to live in Manhattan in college. Most of her other schools don't even mention them. Her non-auditioned options tend to be test-optional completely.</p>

<p>I hope we can get more comments, here and on the BU forum. If we hear from one or two people who got in without submitting them, I'll breather easier. It sounds very whiney that she doesn't want to take them. But on the other hand, it's kind of a defining moment. She's going to have to understand that if she doesn't want to take them, she's putting herself in a category - a valid one, but one that may exclude her from schools she'd otherwise be interested in. And she can change her mind in the fall if she really won't do it in June.</p>

<p>Hey, I'm impressed that a "not great test taker" did so well on APs! I'm not expecting mine to get BU-quality scores and get credits. Maybe at a school that takes 3s...</p>

<p>We weren't turned off by BU at all, just a little miffed that an adult didn't even come out and shake our hand. We did have questions and had never not met a staff person at one of these things before. But we let that go, and like I said she loves BU for very real reasons (and for gut reasons, which I think are very important, too).</p>

<p>If/when you call BU about the subject tests, I'd recommend that you call the School of Theatre itself (not Admissions, not the CFA) and hold out for talking to a higher-up like Jim Petosa or Paolo.</p>

<p>I think it's <em>very</em> likely that you will be told not to worry about subject tests. A general statement about their being recommended for the CFA is a different thing from the SOT thinking that they make any difference at all.</p>

<p>Great comment!</p>

<p>We have some time off from school later this week. I'll have my D call the theater dept and ask. It won't hurt for her to have a call in to them anyway. I don't want to be the mommy who calls...only the mommy who posts on CC!</p>

<p>Thanks again.</p>

<p>EmmyBet, </p>

<p>As long as it's not REQUIRED for her application to be complete, it's probably just that, recommended and an extra academic piece to the puzzle, but not necessary if the rest of her profile is solidly within the range. And her audition will likely be the deciding factor anyway. </p>

<p>But couldn't she just take them to be safe? If you buy a prep book so she knows the format and even if she just takes 1 or 2 practice exams to prepare, it's not a major time or money investment. It will probably be easier having just finished the courses then it would be if she decides to take them in the fall. And then, you could wait and see how she did before deciding to submit them or not. </p>

<p>On the other hand, my S probably would have done better on the ACT then he did on the SAT. His score was solid but not eye opening. When he asked his GC about it, she said not to worry about it because his SAT was strong enough and given the rest of his profile, it wasn't necessary to put himself through the other test. Maybe your D's GC who knows her profile and likely has had many other students apply to BU could give some better insight. And certainly call the BU Theatre Dept. If the GC says don't bother, and the Theatre Dept says don't bother then no reason to worry about it!!! :)</p>

<p>Just wanted to add, that you are certainly lucky to have NJTheatreMOM and Mother of GG as references! Both with kids in the program for your D's top choice? Lucky, lucky, lucky! :)</p>

<p>Yes, isn't it wonderful to have these people here on CC? How did we ever do this before?</p>

<p>Unfortunately our GC, while a great guy, has no experience whatsoever with BU or schools like that. We live in a small town in WI and of the kids who go to college, virtually all go to state schools. You have to ask to take the PSAT.</p>

<p>I will be impressed if my D says she'll go ahead and take the tests so she doesn't lose any options. I will be fine if she says she'll take her chances without it (her history with tests suggests that she wouldn't get scores that would sway BU in any way). I know the tests aren't really that horrible or expensive, but they do cause her a lot of stress and come at a bad time this spring (but waiting until fall definitely would put her in a worse prep situation).</p>

<p>Whatever the case, we'll talk to the theater dept. and try to get solid advice from them. One important question will be whether not having taken the tests will limit her ability to take classes outside the School of the Arts. They have a BFA in Theatre Arts as well as in Acting, and if she goes that route, she'd want to be flexible in her course selection.</p>

<p>I hope your son's choices all paid off the way he wanted in the end! Thanks so much for your help!</p>

<p>EmmyBet, if your daughter is admitted to the BU SOT and chooses the Theatre Arts track, I'm sure she would be able to take non-CFA classes even without subject test scores. </p>

<p>Once you are accepted, you are accepted. The only real way your record would affect you once you are "in" is if you had APs that exempted you from some of the liberal arts requirements.</p>

<p>But your daughter should ask, to set her mind (and your mind) at rest.</p>

<p>Yup! She has a half day tomorrow and off Friday, so we'll call and get this settled! Until think I'll just sit back and wait.</p>

<p>CC is great for answers but also great for feeding obsessions! Thanks for everyone's help and support.</p>

<p>Admission to the acting program at BU is really almost ALL about the audition. I know a number of kids with quite low academic profiles (no honors classes, no APs, poor SAT scores) that are there studying acting as we speak. As Paolo said two years ago during my D's audition: as long as you have a GPA of 2.0 or better and you are talented and blow them away in the audition, you can be admitted. If your GPA is lower than that, they can't help you.</p>

<p>BTW, I was the CC mom that posted that.</p>

<p>Also, to the OP: of course, even if your D considers BU her "dream school" and they don't require the SAT II tests, she should not count on getting into one particular school and may want to take those extra SATs in case other programs want them. They could also earn her scholarship money (if she is academically strong, which it sounds like she is) at other BFAs and BA programs.</p>

<p>Thank you, NMR! I have always enjoyed your posts.</p>

<p>The scholarship point is a very sound one. We'll check into that, too. A couple of places have boosted my D's ego in saying they could have merit $ for her (not at BU, CMU or Syracuse, but at some others), since she's not a tippy-top student in her class.</p>

<p>This has been such a great wealth of info!</p>

<p>Update for anyone who is interested: My D came home from school and when I told her all of the very helpful things you people have said, she agreed that she will call BU's theater dept, explore the subject test question with them, and probably go ahead and take them anyway, just in case. It's just one Saturday morning of her life, and it could be worth a lot in the long run. If they say, "No, really, we don't care at all" then she can maybe let herself off the hook. But she gets it - she knows the application process is going to be a big job, and an important one. Yay!</p>

<p>And she's very excited - lots of auditions for shows coming up, so fun times ahead!</p>

<p>Fabulous! Sounds like a plan! :)</p>

<p>Quoted below is my son's statement about the subject test question. I forgot he only submitted one subject test score! </p>

<p>(You think all this stuff will be burned in your brain forever, but once your kid is accepted and at college some of the details do fade....a bit.)</p>

<p>My son says: "Don't worry too much about subject tests. I took only one, though I did get a 780 on it. It is my impression that such things are not at all in the forefront of the decision process. Artistic far outweighs academic. It might not hurt to take one or two, but don't sweat it."</p>

<p>Thanks! I'm so grateful for the help, and glad if this thread has opened up some questions and helped other people trying to help their kids in this process.</p>

<p>Tomorrow we'll call BU, and I'll let you all know what their official word is. Another big question for them is: If so, then which tests? It seems silly to take math and lit - I know the tests are very different than ACT or SAT1, but this seems like the chance to take a different subject. She is just finishing AP Bio and APUSH, so I'm guessing those might be better ones to take.</p>

<p>And I still can't find another school she'd apply to that requires them. An absolute pie-in-the-sky longshot for her would be Northwestern - she doesn't really have the grades or the ACT for it, she's never said she wants to go there, and I don't see her as the NW type, anyway. And they want 3 subject tests!</p>

<p>EmmyBet, it is not necessary to choose tests in subjects other than math or literature! No, no. Your D, IF she takes the subject tests, should pick the two that she does the best at. She should take practice tests in several subjects to determine which ones are her best ones and pick those. My D, who applied to all BFA in MT programs, none of which required SAT Subject Tests, took THREE Subject Tests (this was before Writing was part of the regular SAT as it is now). She took Literature, Writing, and Math. None of her schools required them. I think at the time, NYU recommended them (like BU does), though that has since changed at NYU. She took them out of habit, I think, as older D had taken them (her schools required them). </p>

<p>I am glad my D took them. For one thing, if a school recommends something, it is good to do it (though you don't HAVE to). But in her case, she took all her standardized tests in tenth grade and applied to college in 11th grade. ALL her colleges saw her SAT Subject Test scores because back then, there was NO Score Choice. I feel her scores could have only helped. She scored extremely high in Literature and Writing and I feel that in her situation (which I realize is not your D's), that this only helped to demonstrate that she knew those subjects well and had achieved in them and was ready to tackle college at a young age, and also coming from an unknown rural public high school where at the time, the courses were just "honors" and not AP (some have now been designated AP after she left). You now have Score Choice. If your D scores decently, she can submit and opt not to submit if she doesn't. Also, even if your D doesn't do well on the regular SATs, those are aptitude/reasoning tests, whereas the Subject Tests are achievement oriented and show what you have learned in a subject (supposedly!). Not the same type of thing. Your D can take several practice tests in different subjects and gauge how she does and decide which to take for real on the test dates.</p>