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Just Back from CMU

2

Replies to: Just Back from CMU

  • amtcamtc Registered User Posts: 2,864 Senior Member
    Back on topic - my daughter attended the sleeping bag overnight and withdrew her application the next day. The things that bothered her about CMU were - MT majors took two non-major classes in four years and one was a how to use CM internet type class' she needed more non-theatre stimulation, the girls with whom she stayed were trashing every other college MT program and had such a superior attitude as if attending CMU was an automatic ticket to success, and the lack of interaction between all students. CMU was established as a trade school by Andrew Carnegie for his employees kids and it has continued in that spirit to this day. It may be one of the most intelligent trade schools, but it is still mostly a trade school with little interaction between the different majors. Obviously, CMU is a terrific school but it has to be the correct school for your child and it was not for mine.
  • ActingDadActingDad Registered User Posts: 680 Member
    AMTC -- I'm not disagreeing with you that CMU many not be right for some people because of the lack of academics even as compared to BFA programs but I think its a bit unfair to project what the atmosphere is like among the ACTUAL students based on the attitudes of those staying for the sleeping bag weekend. As I noted in another post, my daughter saw a lot of the same thing among the 90 or so MT students who attended the pre-college program and her view was that the "superior attitude" level was inversely proportionate to the actual talent level of the individual. In short, the really talented MT kids at the pre-college who had any realistic chance of getting in were not so nearly full of themselves. In fact, they were the ones who understood how important the acting piece was to get into CMU and thus tended to be the ones much friendlier towards the acting kids.
  • pennmompennmom Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
    If I may jump in here regarding CMU, my son's experience there was very collaborative. He believes the most important lesson he got there was how to actively listen to the other actors with awareness and respect, and that is true both on and off the stage. I know the department does not want prima donnas among the students, since acting requires a great sensitivity to others' feelings. As parents we found the students very personable and not at all full of themselves. It is the collaborative atmosphere that has helped my son and his friends form a successful ensemble. It is true there is not a lot of interaction with other students on campus, mostly because of the time commitments, and few classes outside of theater. For that reason it might not be the right school for many. But you shouldn't avoid applying there because of a pervasive superior attitude among the students, because at least when my son was there it didn't exist.
  • 5boys5boys Registered User Posts: 1,775 Senior Member
    sorry to go off topic a bit for a moment but I would like a little more clarification from NJmom regarding BU's BFA programs.. so you are saying they have 2 tracks in BFA acting.. performance and acting???? What is the main difference between these 2 tracks? Do they both have auditions? That is something I have never heard of.. can you apply for both programs at the same time? You can pm me if you want because I know I am off the original OP's topic.
  • ActingDadActingDad Registered User Posts: 680 Member
    NJTheaterMom can correct me if I miss any of the details but, since she's the one who completely filled me in on this, I should get most of this right.

    BU takes about 40 kids. During their first year, all 40 kids have the exact same course of study. There is no separate audition going in because the tracks are not determined until after the first year.

    At the end of the 1st year, students decide whether they prefer the acting track and I believe what they call theater studies. A concern I had was that this was a form of a cut system. NJTheaterMom and everyone else I have spoken to has assured me its not. The main different between the two tracks is that theater studies kids have more flexibility in their schedule to take broader classes. For example, a student interested in play writing or Dance would have some greater flexibility.
  • MarbleheaderMarbleheader Registered User Posts: 694 Member
    I just went to the School of Theater's admission's day two weeks ago at BU. You have it correct, ActingDad.

    Just to clarify, all the students audition to get into the BFA performance program. Then they do the first year together. Then they pick which track - performance, or theatre studies. Just the way you wrote it, I didn't want folks to think they didn't have to do an audition for the theatre studies BFA.

    At the talk by SOT faculty, kids asked if they would get less chances to act if they went the theatre studies route, and the answer was no. They would just take less acting courses so they can take more global theatre stuff (playwriting, costuming, directing, etc.).

    A month from now we will know if S gets in to BU. The waiting is "AGONY" (okay - I just saw Into The Woods the other night).
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    ActingDad and Marbleheader have got it right. Each year, BU accepts a relatively large number of PERFORMANCE majors, compared to many other BFA programs. All of these acceptances are based on the same auditions. Their admissions yield results in a freshman class that can have as many as fifty members; it varies a little bit from year to year.

    All of the students accepted into the School of Theatre's BFA Performance program (as opposed to the SOT BFA Design & Production program) take exactly the same classes during freshman year.

    At the end of freshman year, each student decides whether to pursue the Acting track or the Theatre Arts track. There are no set numbers for each track; the relative sizes of the two tracks vary from year to year.

    Theatre Arts students have much more flexibility to take classes outside the major, or to take non-performance classes like design. My son is a Theatre Arts student who is minoring in dance. He is also interested in directing; TA students have more opportunities to study directing than Acting track students do.

    Theatre Arts students have a basic core curriculum, but it is very flexible to allow for a wide variety of interests. For instance, my son is not particularly interested in costuming and will not be taking any costuming classes. Some TA students choose to take a large number of the same classes as the Acting students take; others adopt a different approach.

    All of the students in both the Acting track and the Theatre Arts track have equal opportunities in casting. Another great thing about BU is that there is guaranteed casting for all performance students, starting in sophomore year.
  • 5boys5boys Registered User Posts: 1,775 Senior Member
    Thanks so much everyone!! You are all awesome.. and I really like BU's system. My son is still on the fence about which way he will go... BA vs BFA..and it almost like you get the best of both worlds at BU. He is a pretty academic kid... but acting is definitely his passion. It is a hard one.. but I am confident after this year and a theater summer program... he will be able to make his decision. We visited Occidental and Pomona last weekend and he thought both were excellent for BA's in theater. You can tell how much he loves theater because he had to go see all the theater's inside and out and talk to everyone and anyone that was in the theater. His other love is singing and OXY had tons of singing groups..which he felt was awesome.

    Marbleheader... I am SOO excited for you guys!! Can't wait to hear the news.. I have a good feeling:-)
  • shacherryshacherry Registered User Posts: 489 Member
    5boys,

    What sort of stats did they say you need for Oxy? I think it could be a good school for my son. Pomona seems like an amazing school but may be out of reach. Does Claremont and Pitzer also offer a BA in theater?
  • ugadog99ugadog99 Registered User Posts: 486 Member
    Hi y'all! I have a lot of reading to catch up to everyone, but we just returned from UNCSA. That visit just cemented her love for CMU. Everyone has their place and needs to take time to visit and find their place. After our experience with UNCSA, she knows that it is probably not where she wants to be. I'll be back after we unpack. :)
  • MarbleheaderMarbleheader Registered User Posts: 694 Member
    Well, ugadog99, we have chatted amongst ourselves while you were gone. So back to your original postings!!!

    It is so hard for the kids to be impartial when they look at different schools. We went to visit another school soon after S had his experience with his dream school. It was sad watching him look around, since I knew he was comparing the two schools. And this was not an apple-to-apple comparison! But as you said, you really need to see them and get a feel for them - and if the results is a big fat no, it was not a wasted trip at all. Unfortunately for my S, the second school was - and is! - his safety school. He didn't hate it in its own right, he just knew it wasn't as great as the dream school.

    So fill us in! How did the portfolio review go??
  • MomCaresMomCares Registered User Posts: 3,146 Senior Member
    @5boys - your S sounds like a possible fit for Northwestern University, so it may also be worth investigating if he hasn't already looked at it.
  • ccuser95ccuser95 Registered User Posts: 560 Member
    My visit actually made me hate CMU....

    Mostly because of the weather lol. It was rainy, cloudy, and gloomy the whole time we were there.
  • ugadog99ugadog99 Registered User Posts: 486 Member
    Marbleheader, the interviews were "ok" my D said. She interviewed twice. The first was with lighting and the second stage management. My D just didn't feel welcome, I guess is the best way to explain it. Honestly, the entire day just felt "off." It is kind of sad because going into this visit, my D and I both thought UNCSA would be her #2 pick. We shall see what happens, I suppose.
  • andrewdhandrewdh Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    How was UNCSA's department?
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