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NYU Questions/Schooling Dilemma

CurtainsUp789CurtainsUp789 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
Here is my situation that I would love some assistance in: I just found out that I have been admitted to the BFA Theatre program at NYU Tisch, but I have also been accepted to a top 25 academic school on the east coast. This school has a mediocre BA Theatre program (not being mean, but it is just okay).

I have many questions about getting an undergrad Theatre degree at NYU. First off, how many freshman are admitted to the program in total? More importantly, how many per studio? How does a NYU BFA degree look to casting directors? Is it in the same league as wholly conservatory programs like CMU?

Is there a senior showcase for every studio? It is awfully expensive to attend, so is it worth the money? Do you leave with enough connections to feel comfortable starting out in the industry?

I understand that this program has many notable alumni (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, upcoming star Miles Teller, Idina Menzel, etc.), but when I look in the Playbills of many straight plays on Broadway, I continually see MANY more alum of the MFA program. Does the undergrad program feel second-rate to the MFA program?

Do we live in a day and age where getting a graduate degree is one of the only ways to thrive in the business? (I realize that this sounds completely ridiculous and dramatic, but I just have noticed that many continuously working actors in NY have MFA degrees so I’m merely curious).

I’m wondering if I should go to NYU next year, or go to the top 25 school and double major (Theatre and something else) and audition for grad schools in 4 years in the hopes of getting into a reputable one. Is that in any way more practical/reasonable?

I don’t know what to do and I would genuinely appreciate any honest responses from former students, those who are knowledgeable of the industry, etc. Thank you in advance for all of your advice and insight. :)

Replies to: NYU Questions/Schooling Dilemma

  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    NYU provides training as good as any other top-tier BFA program. As I understand it, senior showcases in most or all of the studios are by audition.

    You can certainly thrive in the business without a graduate degree. Acting MFA programs are even more insanely selective than auditioned BFA programs. Even the most talented, highly qualified applicants often have to go through the application process more than once before being accepted. Many people wait a few years and build up their acting resume before applying to MFA programs....this increases the odds of acceptance.
  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica Registered User Posts: 3,271 Senior Member
    Curtains, is money going to be a factor? NYU is very expensive, and if the other college gave you a great scholarship, it might make a difference. NJTM is right-- you can thrive in the business without a BFA degree, or even without an MFA.
  • CurtainsUp789CurtainsUp789 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    @glassharmonica - Getting the money to go isn't what is worrisome. I just want to make sure that paying that much to go is going to be worth the investment. I don’t know if I’m being over-anxious because I’ve been looking into the school’s disadvantages (size, selectiveness). The rumors on these boards that NYU undergrad's reputation is going down also worries me. I just don’t want to be one of those people who is unhappy with their college choice. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • glassharmonicaglassharmonica Registered User Posts: 3,271 Senior Member
    I would focus less on reputation and more on what training you can get and how good a fit a particular school seems for you. Have you visited NYU and the other college in person? There are current NYU students and parents as well as alumns on this board who can give you particulars on their take of the experience.
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    I would strongly advise you to wait until you know your studio assignment at Tisch and then visit the studio and talk to students there. The studios vary and some of them might be a better fit for you than others. I really would not worry about Tisch's reputation or quality of training compared to other schools. What you need to figure out is whether it is the right school for you.
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 12,240 Senior Member
    I agree with NJtheatremom re: the studio assignment. Which studio is your goal, curtainsup? They can be very different and what appeals to one student may not appeal to another. I would also not worry about the size of the program. It's more like each studio being its own program and NYU being the link between then, conducting the auditions, providing the ability to include an excellent academic experience with conservatory style training, and providing a college degree. Each studio divides their incoming class into small sections so although the entire program is large, that won't affect, or in many cases even be noticeable, you or your education. As for reputation, Tisch has a good reputation and has for a long time. Don't allow what you may hear from individuals who haven't attended the school to influence your decision. Tisch isn't the school for everyone but for the right student, it can be a terrific experience. If you haven't visited, be sure to do that. Good luck with your decision.
  • OctaviarOctaviar Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
    You are asking very good questions! I'm curious too, about how many students Tisch takes? I've heard varying things.
  • Actingmom18Actingmom18 Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    I heard last year. 400. Broken up into studios.
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 12,240 Senior Member
    Octaviar, I don't know what the current number is but in the past, between 450 and 500 were accepted, of the 2000-2500 who auditioned, in order to yield 300 for the freshman class. When my D was there, the yield was such that there was no need for a waitlist. Apparently, that has changed as there now is a waitlist, so it may be that they are accepting fewer and waitlisting more.
  • FlossyFlossy Registered User Posts: 3,121 Senior Member
    Last year, we heard 500 plus a waitlist. Climbing costs could also be causing more to choose another program. Lots of students we know who are accepted do not attend. But, that's usually about money.
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    My son attended Boston University School of Theatre, which has tuition similar to NYU's. Quite a few of his classmates had been accepted at both schools and chose BU. Of course, it may very well be the case that a similar number of students were accepted at both and chose Tisch!

    Tisch offered my son better financial aid than BU did, and I know of at least one other kid for whom this was also the case.
  • YardleySisaYardleySisa Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    What I am going to say may be based on just 2 experiences, which I am sure is not reflective of everyone . However, I know of 2 graduates from NYU BFA program who seem to regret going. They both had the experience of receiving excellent training, but little to no help in transitioning into the real world of jobs, agents, etc. One of them now is teaching high school English. From what I have heard, the MFA program is now the program with the greater prestige. But, perhaps many others have different experiences from this...
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 12,240 Senior Member
    YardleySisa, the experience of your friends was certainly not that of my D or of any other Tisch grad I know. During advanced training, likely in every studio, students will be involved in both productions and classes that directly prepare them for the real world after graduation. Working professionals are even more in evidence in the advanced studio training than they were in freshman and sophomore years. The studio my D was in had special masters' classes with many of the city's prominent casting agencies' personnel. This does not mean that grads can expect work to be handed to them on a silver platter, of course, but the tools are there, the contacts over the years of studio are more than any theatre student could possibly ask for, and if a student isn't ready to take advantage of those opportunities, or to go out and audition, or to make connections with the many regional theatres, or to form their own theatre companies, or to develop their own work, it can't really be blamed on the school. I'm not sure what more help could be given. Did your friends mention what they felt was lacking in the transition? What kinds of production experience did they have? Summer experiences?

    p.s. The MFA has always had the better reputation. That is nothing new.
  • CurtainsUp789CurtainsUp789 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Do many students getting their undergrad at NYU sign with agents after their respective studio showcases? How common is this?
  • CurtainsUp789CurtainsUp789 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    ^Does anyone know the answer to this question?
    (I'm just curious)
This discussion has been closed.