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Things I'd do Differently if Going Through this Process Again

sparkleshirleysparkleshirley Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
I thought this could be helpful for parents planning for future years…Everyone will have some good advice that could possibly be added to this one thread.

My D made the choice to apply to only a short list of top programs. Her plan if not admitted to any of them was to take a year and train and try again. She was fortunate and has good choices. However, if someone going through this process asked me for advice in building their list of schools, I'd say evaluate your student as objectively as possible and then choose at least one school that is less selective -either a BFA (I know all auditioned schools are a tough go and there is no safety), or preferably a BA program at a school that has a strong theater program and that also offers big talent scholarships or merit aid appropriate for your student's stats.

This can be helpful for 2 reasons: if the student is not accepted to any of her audition schools, she has the option to attend the well-chosen BA and either fall in love with it, or take a year of academics and apply as a transfer if she changes her mind about the planned year "off" training. Also, if the student is lucky and gets accepted by a top program but also gets a very large merit scholarship at another school about which she is less excited, the offer from the other school can be helpful when appealing an aid decision at the first-choice school.

Finally, when we researched our EFC years ago, the Govt number was quite different from the institutional numbers, and our early research indicated the EFC would be split evenly between the number of students attending college. Now that we have a first-year student in private college and our D starting next fall, we have learned that the EFC calculated for each child (for 2 kids) is 60%. So at best, our expected contribution may increase 20%. We are still waiting for all packages, and the enthusiasm of good news is somewhat tempered by the anxiety and uncertainty around the projected costs.

Replies to: Things I'd do Differently if Going Through this Process Again

  • connectionsconnections Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    I'm in the same boat as you, Sparkleshirley, only my S is my fourth child. I'm sorry to report that EFC is most certainly not split evenly between children. As a single mom of five, I've slowly gone broke over the years, and have had to take from my retirement and borrow against my house. I've made my choices and I'm glad I have but yes, this is a very anxiety-producing process.
  • sparkleshirleysparkleshirley Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    Another recommendation: if you have the opportunity, do attend showcase performances or view them online at schools that post clips (I know Rutgers does). My D found this very illuminating.
  • nomester7nomester7 Registered User Posts: 120 Junior Member
    I wouldn't have done anything differently. I joke that I should've cancelled the rest of my auditions after I got my Viterbo acceptance, since it was the only acceptance I ended up getting. :)) But I'm glad I didn't.

    I can't stress enough, however, to only apply to programs you care about. I was constantly feeling bad for only auditioning for 5 programs when most people had 10+. However, there aren't any other programs that I loved AND could afford. This is very important. It's pointless to waste your time on a school you KNOW you don't love or cannot afford to go to. If you love and can afford 3 schools, apply to 3 schools. Adding 7 more will not change whether or not you get accepted into the original 3. That's my only advice!
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    It can't be said too many times....don't make your top choice school your first audition. You'll get better at auditioning as the audition season progresses.
  • bisouubisouu Registered User Posts: 2,553 Senior Member
    Funny thing…my D's top choice was her first audition and that's the only program she got any sort of good response…she was wait listed there. Denied everywhere else
  • Times3Times3 Registered User Posts: 1,373 Senior Member
    My son had similar results: he did a VERY early optional audition (in October, for Muhlenberg) but his first "real" auditions were next, in December, for two of his top three choices, and he was accepted to both. His other auditioned acceptance was his last one. He felt burned out in the crunch of weekly auditions following Christmas. Everyone's different!
  • entertainersmomentertainersmom Registered User Posts: 1,414 Senior Member
    My son did an early audition (December), was rejected, then did a mid-January audition and was accepted. I think both auditions helped in preparing him for Unifieds. My takeaway would be to do an early audition if possible, or a mock audition if you have the opportunity.
  • Times3Times3 Registered User Posts: 1,373 Senior Member
    edited March 2014
    Very good point re: mock auditions! If you don't attend a summer program that includes mocks, try to go to a regional one (Virginia Theater Association conference in October is a good example) or mock auditions held by a coaching group. So helpful.

    For that matter, I think preparing his prescreen was also very helpful for my son. He was forced to watch his own monologues! :)
  • RomancePantsRomancePants Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    I sort of embarked on the process alone. My parents are supportive, but they don't understand the process and had little interest in finding out. My grandma was the one who bore the brunt financially, in terms of applications, audition fees, and also taking me to NYC for auditions.

    I spent a lot of time researching what auditions were like online, and this helped immensely. You learn some of the things you can expect to hear at auditions (for instance, UMinn doesn't say you sing at auditions, they asked me to, and I only knew to expect that because of what I read online.)

    I think if I could do it again, I wouldn't spread myself so thin - I applied to 9 schools. Some of which I will admit I didn't care about very much. I received "no"s for the acting programs from: Uminn, Rutgers, & Fordham. Was not accepted the school at all at: Boston and Northwestern. Alternate for Pace BA Acting, and accepted to Marymout Manhattan, WVU, and NYU's Acting programs. I only genuiy cared about 6 or so of them, and I would've saved time and money if I didn't bother applying to the rest.

    I bounced around with my monologues and which I was going to do. I wish I would've set it in stone by mid-October or so but I didn't and therefore wasn't as prepared as I should've been.

    I wish I would've practiced my interviews. Only at NYU (my last audition), did I feel really comfortable. It's not that I didn't know what questions I was going to be asked, it's that I hadn't thought long enough about what the answer should be.

    In the end- it all worked out and I'll be attending NYU next year thanks to a generous Tisch scholarship. The experience of applying and auditioning is immensely stressful and very, very expensive but certainly worth it in the end. The experience I gained just from auditions was more than I ever expected to.
  • connectionsconnections Registered User Posts: 1,327 Senior Member
    RomancePants, huge congratulations!!! So happy for you that you've been accepted to TIsch and that it's a school you love. And you've done this all by yourself which is something most students have not had to do--Also, I love how honest and self-reflective you are. This will carry you far.
  • Anonymom000Anonymom000 Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    edited March 2014
    Here is what I think my daughter should have done differently:
    1. Start looking for monologues sooner and not be such a perfectionist about it.
    2. Be more open-minded and listen to suggestions from her parents, especially me!
    3. Only apply to the 1 elite school she cared about--instead of 6 that she did not care about.
    4. Have some middle-of-the road schools on her list instead of just elites and safeties.
    5. Appreciate the process as a learning experience in and of itself, and not stress about it (probably impossible).
    6. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
    7. Use all of the resources available to you--including an audition coach.

  • OctaviarOctaviar Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
    I would research schools better beforehand. I think most people do this, we were just hitting the ground running. My S ended up applying to schools that his director suggested, one that I suggested, and some that he did as a walk in at unifieds. The most unscientific approach ever! I think he ended up with a nice mix.. by accident. Whew!
  • 5boys5boys Registered User Posts: 1,775 Senior Member
    edited March 2014
    I think one of the best things my S did was attend a pre-college theater program the summer before his Senior year. He had attended a theater program every summer since 9th grade, but none of them really opened his eyes to exactly what a BFA would be like. The Northwestern program helped him immensely. He realized after last summer, that he as much as he loved acting, he had many other interests and wasn't ready yet to be so tighly locked into one direction. I am SO glad he figured this out before the audition season, and before he was in a BFA program.
  • Jkellynh17Jkellynh17 Registered User Posts: 2,013 Senior Member
    That's a great post @daniellececelia. Knowing your strengths is so important, not just for BFA auditions but all through life. I hope you'll let us know when you decide.
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