Hi Everyone - we’ve been lurking here for a while, trying to learn as much as we can from all of you who know so much! It has truly been so helpful. My daughter is now about to start senior year and we are trying to narrow down a well-rounded list with some reaches and some safeties. We know that applying as a composition major, things might be very different than what we see online with chancing calculators and scattergrams from Naviance. How do we get some idea of what her chances are to get into these composition programs?
Some background on her… She definitely wants a BM program, preferably in a liberal arts setting because she has other strong academic interests (English, History, Psychology) that she wants to pursue. So, she isn’t that interested in stand alone conservatories. She also wants more of a campus, and is less interested in cities. We live in central Jersey, so she’s not that interested in NYC, is considering some Boston schools, perhaps, and she liked Peabody when we visited. She is undecided about double degrees but hasn’t ruled them out. She doesn’t want anything more than a 15 hour drive from us.
Her academics are quite strong, but we aren’t so sure how much that will play into the decisions (but hopefully some merit aid?). She has a 4.3 weighted gpa and currently a 1450 on the SAT. Musically, she’s a strong cellist, but not a prodigy. She did place in an online competition this past year, but we know there are way stronger cellists, for sure… Her love and gift is composition. She won first prize in the state composition contest and won a commission contest from a long-standing, professional Philadelphia new music ensemble (stupid Covid has kept us from having the concert, however, which is a huge disappointment). She’s had 2 of her pieces played by local high school orchestras. She’s attended a summer music program for three years (Young Women’s Composing Camp - in person year 1, virtual year 2) and the BoCo Summer intensive this past summer. She also participated in the Curtis Mentoring program this past winter and her mentor said her music was strong. She has a pretty good portfolio at this point, though, and we just need to narrow down which pieces are her best to send.
On her current list, though we know these are competitive: Bard, Oberlin, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, BoCo, Carnegie Mellon, Indiana, U Mich, Peabody, Mason Gross…
I’m feeling like we don’t really have a safety school when it comes to music… I know academically several of these are safeties, but I have no idea where she falls musically. Maybe all the composition major applicants to these schools have similar experiences and awards?
What would be a strong composition program that would be considered a safety school? I was hoping that would be Mason Gross, but I’m even starting to doubt that and the school is 5 minutes from our house and for only that reason I know she’d be a bit disappointed to have to go there with no other options. I know it is a great school.
I’d love some insight from any music comp experts in what her chances might be and what we could use as a less-selective school where she would still get a great education musically and academically. Thanks so much for your help!