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SUNY Purchase BFA Acting

eimc2010eimc2010 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
edited May 2013 in Theater/Drama Majors
BFA Acting Major at SUNY Purchase. Came here having taken acting classes since I was four, been involved in over 20 shows, done commercials, industrials, and some film and television. The BFA program is different from the Drama Studies program, which is an entirely different department. The BFA program is a four year audition program. Four years of Voice, Four years of Speech, dedicated faculty who have worked or currently worked in New York, including Broadway, television shows and movies, as well as National Tours. Each year they take in about 20 actors into the Freshmen company. I absolutely love it here: I feel very challenged, huge work load, but the artistry and passion here is amazing. At the end of the four years we showcase with Juilliard, and we are one of the few schools in the Consortium of Conservatory Theatre Training Programs. Feel free to ask me any questions about it if you are auditioning Acting. I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is willing to put in the work.
Post edited by eimc2010 on

Replies to: SUNY Purchase BFA Acting

  • maggie3maggie3 Registered User Posts: 109 Junior Member
    Hi Emi I have a D who will be applying to a few acting programs this fall. She is concerned how difficult the audition process is. Can you describe what your experience was like at Purchase? You sound like you had a ton of experience and I am sure that was most helpful. My D has been in a few programs in NYC however, she is so concerned with picking the right monologues. Unfortunately, she will not be applying ED to Purchase. I hope her chances will still be somewhat ok. Do they look at academics or is it all about the audition? Any advice or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. I hope to hear from you. Thanks M
  • clemmeclemme Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    I am applying for the BFA acting program at SUNY Purchase as well and would like to know more information on the audition process and the program at the school. Also, how do you like the campus/dorms/location of the school?

    Please tell me anything I should know.

    Thanks :)
  • eimc2010eimc2010 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Hi there! So glad you both are interested. I am happy to answer all questions about Purchase.

    My personal audition process at Purchase was as followed: I applied regular decision, and auditioned in February in Chicago. You sign up for individual time slots, so it's very "one-on-one." My time slot was at 2:15, so I arrived about twenty minutes early and filled out some paperwork. You fill out two copies of the same form: questions such as what your monologues are and where they are from, how you heard about Purchase, etc. Also, on their website, they lay out specific things that they want you to bring to your audition. I remember some of them being your headshot and resume, as well as a form with a check that was the audition fee. You want to make sure to look at the website and come ABSOLUTELY prepared with everything they ask you to bring. Check and double check. Then, when my turn came, I walked into the room and was auditioned by the heads of the department, Ronni Stewart and Dean Irby. We exchanged some Hellos, and then I introduced myself and my monologues and went for it. After my first monologue, they took out a video camera and filmed my second one, and then asked me to do my first one again while filming. This is akin to a "callback" process when you are auditioning off campus. If you audition on-campus, there will be an actual call back. After I did my pieces, they asked me to sing a song (definitely not always the case). For the record, I can carry a ton, but I am by no means a singer. Didn't seem to matter. After that, I sat down and interviewed with them.

    Applying regular decision will be no problem at all. They want to build a company here, and make sure that everyone fits together perfectly, so it doesn't always have to do with the absolute best actor. It is a mix of talent and fitting into the company they are creating. Maybe there is an advantage, I can't be sure, but I don't know of any kids in my company that applied ED.

    I am not sure if there is an exact ratio, but I can tell you that in my company there are some kids who excelled in high school (3.8-above GPA) and some students who have their GED/did not do as well. Point being, you don't have to be a perfect student, but of course they would like to see that you worked in high school. I personally graduated HS with a 3.6 GPA and some honors/AP classes.

    As far as monologues go, the best monologues are the ones that your D is in love with. I happen to have chose a lesser known Shakespeare dramatic monologue, and a contemporary comedic monologue from an English play. It doesn't matter what the piece is: It matters that you love it. I think that when your D finds "her" monologue, she will know.

    Wow this is a long response! Clemme, the program here is wonderful. However, you have to want it really bad. If you are "not sure" whether or not you want to be an actor, this is definitely not the place for you. I am in conservatory classes all day every day, save Wednesday where I only have Voice and Speech. It is very rigorous and they expect a lot out of you. I come home tired every single day. However, the classes are so incredibly rewarding, and the teachers are so dedicated and really care about their students. It is an extremely caring and artistic community. They also call Purchase a "transformational" program, which essentially means that you give your whole self to the program, and you grow A LOT as a person and as an actor. They break your bad habits Freshmen year, so that you can build new ones. It's great.

    The campus: is ugly. I'm not going to lie. The dorms are pretty bad, the buildings are not beautiful: but take my word, if you really want to be an actor, it is COMPLETELY worth it. I come from a really nice town, and I went to a really nice school and had a really nice house. I thought I would have trouble adjusting to an "ugly" place. But I hardly even notice it at all. I love it! Also, if you catch Purchase on a rainy day, it may appear glum. But in the fall, everyone is out in the quad with picnic blankets, playing guitar and singing and having arts and crafts and stuff on the lawn. It's an amazing artistic community here. In addition, we are a quick, free bus ride and about a thirty minute train ride from New York City. We go into the city all of the time to see shows, or just hang out. It only costs about 16 dollars in total to get from Purchase to New York City and back here again. It's great to be so close to the city but also still have a regular college campus.

    Hope this is helpful. Feel FREE to ask any other questions. Good luck with your college audition process!
  • maggie3maggie3 Registered User Posts: 109 Junior Member
    Emi thanks so much for your detailed response. You have been most helpful and
    answered my questions providing great information. I hope you have a wonderful
    experience and wish you the best. I'm sure you will hear from us again.

  • complexlifecomplexlife Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    My son is a third year student at Purchase. He loves it - they are kicking his but and I feel like I've invested my money wisely. I'm headed up to see him in American Buffalo directed by the legendary New York actor Christopher McCann in Nov. SUNY is a wonderful place..

    Emi - Purchase doesn't do the four year showcase with Juilliard. They do it with Rutgers and North Carolina School of the Arts.
  • clemmeclemme Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Wow thank you SO MUCH for the detailed response- it really, really helped. One of the most detailed I've gotten on here yet, and it really gave me a feel for the school. As for the ugly campus, I've heard that before and as long as it has a strong program that is okay :). I'm auditioning/visiting in late February, so I'll check back with you for any further questions. Thanks again!

  • eimc2010eimc2010 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Thank you so much for the clarification! So many rumors going around the freshmen class!
  • queenston2p4queenston2p4 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Hi, emi. I would like to audition for purchase as a transfer student. I have an AA degree. I realized that the program is very tough. My GPA is really low, it's a 2.6, does the school look at the grades closely or do they focus more on the audition process. Also I know the program starts in fall, if I get accepted in the spring, would it make sense to take some general courses, and then get ready for the bfa program, anything would be greatly appreciated. thank you
  • complexlifecomplexlife Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    Purchase is truly a conservatory. Yes, grades have a little say but it's mostly the audition. If you were accepted this year I would totally take course before coming - just to have them done. Students only take one general education class a semester.
  • eimc2010eimc2010 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Hi! You would start in the program as a freshmen, but you will definitely want to look into which of your credits transfer over. You might be able to opt out of a few gen ed requirements. Best of luck! PM me if you have more specific questions!
  • ActingPurchaseActingPurchase Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Hi queenston2p4

    I am a transfer student in the program. I had to transfer in as a freshman, but I do not regret it at all.
    My GPA was very high, but that is only considered for your acceptance to the school, not to the conservatory. The conservatory will take you if your grades are very poor, and offer you tutors if that is the case, but they do the best to help us out.
    You are accepted for the fall semester, so, if you are accepted, my advice is to take as many general education credits as possible.
    No theater credits are accepts, not even as an elective, so it is more productive to get the GenEds out of the way, because once you get into the conservatory things start getting busy. having credits out of the way REALLY help.

    let me know if you have any more questions about the transfer process, or just questions about the program/school.
  • queenston2p4queenston2p4 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thanks alot acting purchase, I just wanted to know was the audition process gruesome. How did yours go and how did you prepare
  • kswisekswise Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    wow - great information. Can I ask you a more general question? Clearly you had a lot of acting experience before suny. Did you also look at non-conservatory programs? My daughter is third year at private arts hs and they have four years of fairly intensive acting/theatre/tech classes. Before that, she acted in other programs from the age of ten. In her HS, you also really need to want to committ or you don't survive. My fear is that, even in strong non-conservatory programs, students like her or you could feel stiffled artistically. Yet as a mom, I worry about academic balance...it's a big question for us now. (btw, the way you describe how you feel at suny is how she feels in her Theatre Dept. now...I'd love her to keep that!) thanks again!
  • eimc2010eimc2010 Registered User Posts: 75 Junior Member
    Hi kswise. I looked at a few non-conservatory style programs, but I only ended up applying to conservatory or VERY close to conservatory style programs (i.e. - programs with one or two gen eds a semester). I think conservatory/non-conservatory style training is a person choice, but I'll offer you my opinion. I personally think that with a BFA program in a conservatory setting, I am getting exactly what I need as an actor. I worked hard in high school academically and artistically, so I don't feel like I only have "acting knowledge." There is also one gen-ed a semester here. I would say that you're conservatory classes FAR outweigh your liberal arts classes, so as far as a balance between liberal arts and conservatory... there isn't one at all. However, with that said, I do feel like I'm still doing a lot of "academic" work, like script analysis, writing papers and reviews, reading plays and that sort of thing. Once again, personal opinion here, but I have found that my friends that are not in conservatory programs have major holes in their training. I definitely feel that I need to have long, small classes and have them two or three times a week to really fill my hunger. If your daughter is only interested in Acting, this would be a great program for her. If she is contemplating perhaps another job in the same field, ie - writing, directing, stage managing, a non-conservatory or a BA program would probably be beneficial.
  • queenston2p4queenston2p4 Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    I wanted to know for the audition, that they need a classical monologue, are they just talking solely about shakespeare monologues. I am very confused as to what to pick for a classic monologue for the audition. Any help is appreciated.
This discussion has been closed.