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Drama student - Need opinions

IndiandramaguyIndiandramaguy Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hey everyone,
I've recently been admitted to a couple of theater programs in universities, but I've managed to narrow my choices down to:

BFA at NYU Tisch School of the Arts
BFA acting at USC's school of Dramatic Arts
Liberal Arts at Tufts.

Tufts might come as a surprise, but I've shortlisted it because I really identify with the atmosphere there. I think it might offer and amazing life for 4 years (rowing, comedy clubs etc) while letting me study things I've always wanted to (french, politics etc).
Tisch and USC are self explanatory.

Currently I'm leaning towards Tisch over the other three because of its excellent and esteemed drama program, and also due to the fact that I can double major.
A BFA in USC wouldn't allow even a minor, unless i switch to a BA.
And Tufts isn't as intensive.
But there are other things like USC being closer to Hollywood, being less costly, weather etc.
Many famous people have graduated from tufts undergrad theater department as well. In addition I've heard counselors always say the Masters matter more than the Bachelor's degree.

So I really need some opinions (advantages and disadvantages of each ) so I can have a holistic objective view of where I should go if I want to be an actor.


Replies to: Drama student - Need opinions

  • OctaviarOctaviar Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
    I can't give you advantages/disadvantages but one thing that has helped me choose between possible futures is to imagine myself doing each one in a very deliberate way. Be somewhere you won't be disturbed and imagine yourself at each school. Start in the morning. Where do you wake up? Is there a window you look out? What does your room look like? How do you get ready for your day, eat breakfast, head to class? Do this for the whole day. Then imagine some of the "highlights" What kids of shows would you do, work-study? Projects? Social events? etc.

    You get the idea.

    When I've done this, it helped a TON for me to figure out what I really want and what was important to me. I found myself smiling at things I would not have guessed before hand and turns out... those are the things that bring me the most happiness in my day to day life.

    Good luck!
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    It sounds like you are most strongly drawn to Tufts and NYU. Double majoring at NYU is doable, but stressful and not that easy, from what I've heard.

    The studios at NYU are quite different from one another, Once you have your studio placement there, you should investigate it thoroughly (visit, talk to students) to find out if it would be a good fit.

    The diversity of activities and the academic offerings of Tufts really seem to appeal to you. Lots of people say that getting a BA in theatre, supplemented by summer study, and perhaps by graduate study at some point, is a really good approach for someone who wants to be a theatre artist. But you have to choose what seems right for you.
  • 5boys5boys Registered User Posts: 1,775 Senior Member
    My S and I went out to Louisville, KY for the New American Playwright festival at Acting Studio. There are many american plays that have gotten their start there. We saw about 6 plays, and the after reading the bio's of all the actors in the company I can tell you that 3/4 of them had BA's followed by MFA's. It shocked me how many BA's from relatively unknown schools. I agree with Octavier..... go where you feel you will be the happiest. I know quite a few kids who didn't know exactly what they were in for with NYU, and were not happy.
  • YardleySisaYardleySisa Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    Hi There,
    I am a graduate of Tufts (1985), and also have heard a bit about NYU, so I thought I would chime in. Tufts is an amazing college, and I am honored to be an alumna. However, I should say that many of the theater opportunities there are student-run. The theater department is very good, but is not at all the same as a BFA background. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a quality, all-around BA education, Tufts is extraordinary.
    The rap I have heard on NYU (rumours only! Could be wrong!) is that the BFA program is not at the same caliber as the MFA program. I have heard of 2 recent BFA graduates who received no assistance or help in transitioning into the "real world" after NYU. They both felt they received excellent training, but not much real-world preparation or guidance.
    Best of luck in your choice!
  • IndiandramaguyIndiandramaguy Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Thank you for all your replies!

    Octaviar unfortunately I don't think that would help because the only time I visited NY was during the polar vortex and I don't think that's an accurate representation of NY; and I've never been to LA. I can tell you though that I l would love a clean, peaceful environment (in the dorms yet one where I'll constantly be with my friends, a challenging work environment in the conservatory, and people just smiling all the time coupled with trees, green grass, but cold enough to wear sweaters.

    NJTheatreMOM, does it really seem that way? I think I'm split 50/50 between USC and Tisch at this point, considering they are the best (apart from Juilliard) drama programs the world can offer.

    I just recieved my USC package in the mail today, and boy is it making the decision more difficult.
    At this point, the two things drawing me towards Tisch is the possibility to double major (I need psychology as a back-up plan) and it's esteemed training. USC on the other hand has a more selective program a nice campus, weather, closer to Hollywood (I wouldn't mind doing theatre or films but I've seen way more films than plays and there's something that's always attracted me to them), and I've got a couple of friends there.

    5boys from your post I've gathered that essentially I'd have to look for an MFA unless I'm very good. And in that case I should not bother with BFAs and go for a well rounded education?

    YardleySisa if you were looking for a jumpastart into the professional world, which Tufts wouldn't offer, and Tisch does not come highly recommended, would you say that I should pick USC?

    Since the past two years when people have asked me what I want to do for further studies, and I've always replied - "I want to go to Tisch!". I just want to make sure I don't regret losing something that I had within my reach.

    Man this is difficult.
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    I think I'm split 50/50 between USC and Tisch at this point, considering they are the best (apart from Juilliard) drama programs the world can offer.

    Lol, it could be disputed that those two schools are the best in the world apart from Juilliard, though most people would rank them as top-tier. And if you are talking about "best in the world," don't forget about the superb UK drama schools!
  • halflokumhalflokum Registered User Posts: 1,870 Senior Member
    @Indiandramaguy, I can tell you are struggling to sort this out. I'm not going to comment about which program is best because I do not know, or rumors about NYU as they are (as admitted above,) just that. The only thing I'll add is specific to Tisch because I do personally know something about that one. Most students that go to Tisch picked Tisch long before Tisch picked them. If that is how you feel, you will be in very good company.

    You have incredible options that everyone would envy. No bad choices and I'm sure whatever you decide, you will have no regrets. All the best!
  • YardleySisaYardleySisa Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    Hi Indian Drama Guy,
    I think this decision is so incredibly personal. I wouldn't presume to know what is the best choice for anyone. If your goal is to be a professional working actor, I would imagine the BFA route would be optimal, and not the (excellent! wonderful!) liberal arts route of my dear Alma Mater. If it were me, I would be asking a lot of questions from USC and from Tisch about how many of their graduates are working, how many have agents, show case opportunities, etc.
    Having said all that, it looks to me like you have a number of wonderful options. Best of luck to you.
  • MOMMY5MOMMY5 Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    @Indiandramaguy, USC and Tisch are both excellent, top programs. Acting wise, I don't think you could go wrong either way. You would receive excellent training and connections at both programs. Neither will guarantee success, a great agent or work. No school will guarantee that.

    I can tell you that if you want to double major with Psychology, that is very doable at Tisch. A double major within Arts & Sciences is not difficult to do in 4 years. Especially for a top student, which I gather you are being that you also got into Tufts.

    The location and atmosphere of both schools are very different. Do you see yourself in the sun, watching football games, joining a frat, etc? Or do you see yourself in Greenwich village, cold winters, no sports to cheer on, and surrounded by arts and culture? Both are great places to be- but very, very different.

    And don't worry about the mfa program at Tisch. It is 100% separate. Bfa kids are not competing in school with the mfa people. Yes, of course an mfa from Tisch is more prestigious. But that can be said about ANY bfa program. The only thing that holds the same weight as an mfa from Tisch is an mfa from Yale or a degree from Julliard.
  • connectionsconnections Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    @Indiandramaguy, re: " I think I'm split 50/50 between USC and Tisch at this point, considering they are the best (apart from Juilliard) drama programs the world can offer."

    I would worry less about whether they are the 'best in the world' and much more about how you fit with them. I would definitely visit if at all possible and stay overnight to see if you feel you fit in with the other students. As far as double majoring--if that is your goal, it's not easy to double major at Tisch although it can be done; it would depend on your studio schedule and what your major is. They are each very different from the other and offer different strengths.

  • 5boys5boys Registered User Posts: 1,775 Senior Member
    I am probably biased towards USC because I'm from SoCal. It seems from your wording about what you wanted ( happy smiling people) would definitely be more like USC. I know a few people in the drama programs at USC and they are beyond happy. They love everything about it. . I know at least 3 or 4 kids who went to Tisch and hated it. Only 1 that I know who went to Tisch didn't transfer out. I think you should try to visit. USC's BA program is just as amazing and you can easily add a minor. Tons of happy, shiny kids there!
  • MOMMY5MOMMY5 Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    I would highly recommend for anyone to visit NYU before choosing it. I think there is a lot of culture shock when a kid moves to Manhattan from another part of the country or world. (And it works the other way too. I know kids from the tri-state area who had a very hard time adjusting at schools on the West Coast or in the South. We are wired differently! lol)

    Unfortunately sometimes kids attend NYU because of the "name brand" and the extensive alumni list without really knowing what the school is like. But this can be a disaster. It is not the typical USA college. And it is certainly not right for everyone. For my child it was the obvious choice. We did not find another BFA program as flexible or that allows as much academics. And the constant collaboration with the film students has been an added bonus.

    The kids I've met at NYU are bright, artistic, inquisitive, tolerant, worldly, edgy and atypical.
    Happy and shiny... not so much. :)
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