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NCSA vs. Pace vs. BU vs. Syracuse

NickeatworldNickeatworld Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
edited April 2009 in Theater/Drama Majors
As may 1st swiftly approaches I'm having a hell of a time making this decision. I was accepted to the above programs and can't decide which school to attend.

I got a great sense from the folks down in NCSA... but its down in NCSA in a college with barely 800 total undergrads... which isn't exactly the college experience I imagined having. But its a fantastic program i know, that I'm going to visit this weekend.

Pace I know is an up and coming program which lends you the ability to audition in the city, and gain college credit if you are so lucky to stumble upon work.
which is nice. I was really impressed by the performance that I just recently saw, and also the class that i sat in on. P.S. I love new york.

BU... BU is exactly where I wanted to be. Social wise. I love the city, the campus, ect. Though I have no adequate knowledge of the program and how it compares.

Syracuse is another school that rocks a fantastic campus (although it is cold) but I just recently visited and didn't get to sit in on classes... so I don't have any sense of the program

Basically I was looking for some information on the quality of these programs and how they compare to help me make the decision. Because frankly... I don't really know that much about this process and I've basically been winging it

thanks so much

this forum has already been so helpful for me
Post edited by Nickeatworld on

Replies to: NCSA vs. Pace vs. BU vs. Syracuse

  • HoosierMom2012HoosierMom2012 Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    You certainly have an interesting bunch of choices there....and varied. Usually when you visit campuses you notice that birds of a feather flock together. Different colleges attract people who are somewhat similar in types. That probably makes sense. A certain type likes small colleges and rural and another large colleges or urban.

    Syracuse is ranked #53 by US News and BU is ranked #60. The population there you will probably find are more cerebral and deep thinkers/planners. As someone that likes to wing it, you might want to consider that.
  • theater momtheater mom Registered User Posts: 535 Member
    Nick: It is possible to over-think this. If BU is exactly what you want socially, then start there, assume you’ll go there unless you have to rule it out for some reason. Go and meet with those nice people in the theater department who’ve already said that they want you and ask them to describe their program in depth so you can see if you want them as well. And I know BU does overnights so you can also talk to students. Best.
  • early_collegeearly_college Registered User Posts: 2,866 Senior Member
    I think BU or Syracuse sounds like the best fit. I personally like Syracuse, but not the cold.
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    The thread "NYU vs BU" has a lot of info on it about Boston University's BFA in Acting program. If for any reason you are disinclined to attend NCSA, BU might be your best choice. They will let you shadow a freshman for a day. My son did it and loved it. Get in touch and arrange it!
  • theatregeeektheatregeeek Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    (Posted on a different thread, but I noticed your questions and thought this might help)
    We visited UNCSA last week (daughter accepted there, and at three other BFA programs). After our visit, daughter is 100% sold on the UNCSA program. It was incredible. The professionalism amongst the students was so impressive, and countless students came over to us to tell us how much they adored the program. My daughter was able to spend the day in classes and she was literally blown away by the teachers and the students. The talent was top notch and the teachers were focused, and intense, but supportive. That night, my wife and daughter and I were invited to watch rehearsals for the three plays they are mounting for the end of the year. We were all blown away ... I couldn't believe we weren't watching a broadway show. And I speak from experience. I am a film director myself, and have cast hundreds of roles in my career ... Acting is my passion and I have seen student productions at many of the major programs as well as many senior BFA showcases... nothing has compared to what we saw at UNCSA. We watched Gerald Freedman directing -- he's a legend for a reason. You can tell I am on a high, I just had to chime in. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
  • NickeatworldNickeatworld Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Thanks for all this information

    tis nice
  • fishbowlfreshmanfishbowlfreshman Registered User Posts: 827 Member
    As far as the training offered, NCSA and BU are very comparable. You haven't said anything about what your financial aid/scholarship packages are, but I'd recommend NCSA hands-down if you're anywhere near the normal difference in sticker price. Is it worth $80,000 or more extra dollars to you and your parents just to say you're in Boston or New York for school? Last time I looked, that was the approximate difference in cost over four years ...

    Socially, I think you'll find all of them very similar in that the people you'll be hanging out with will mostly be students from your own program. That's pretty much the case with ANY BFA. Also, if you're in a big city, small town, or wherever else, the main difference on a normal day will be how many cars you hear driving by outside. There won't be much time for enjoying the city ... Let's see if I can find it ... yeah, here it is ... http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/4972632-post17.html. That's Soozievt talking about her D's experience at NYU, but you'll find this part pretty much true about all intensive programs no matter where they're located ...
    My kid has school all day, rehearsals every night and weekend, other committments too numerous to mention, and still has to do the homework for academic classes (write papers), prepare for scenes and songs for the studio classes, and so on and so forth, usually getting home no earlier than 11 PM every night and being booked solid, including weekends. I've heard people say that going to college in NYC would be a "distraction" and they have no idea that there is no time for such "distractions" as the program is all consuming. In fact, my D and her BFA pals stay in the city for several days at the end of each semester just to enjoy things in the city that they don't have time for in their intense schedules! Many, including herself, chose theater jobs in the city over the summer just to be able to do some things there is no time for during the school year due to the intensity of their schedules.

    If you let whichever city it is become a "distraction," chances are you'll find yourself making poor grades or on probation if not out on your butt with a big footprint on your right cheek! :)

    Another difference in BU and NCSA is that NCSA schedules all their academic classes in the morning with the arts classes starting later in the morning and afternoon so there is none of this business of getting your creative juices flowing to have to suddenly turn around and sit through a lecture on some dry academic subject. It makes scheduling easier, too, and you won't find the problem mentioned on the NYU vs. BU thread of having to settle for whatever is offered that just happens to fit into your training schedule. The converse, however, is that they don't have a huge selection of academics to select from to begin with.

    But definitely VISIT! Some people come away from NCSA feeling like Theatregeeek and others don't feel any connection to the place at all and leave agreeing it stands for "North Carolina School of the Attitude" as some detractors call it ... ;)
  • HoosierMom2012HoosierMom2012 Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    I'm going to disagree with Freshman's post. After considering the main purpose you are going there.....how well educated or trained you will be. You are moving someplace for 4 yrs and different places have different conveniences and amenities and cultures. It's highly probable that at some point you will want an apt off campus. My D's share rent is $350 mo...someone I know at a Boston college it will be $1000 mo. Moving into a dorm in NYC isn't the same as moving into a dorm in a rural area or is the availability or cost of storage lockers when you have to move out in May and back into the dorm in August. Crime is not the same at all campuses. Airline schedules are not the same to all campuses...you and/or your parents will travel back and forth. How many airlines go there and are the only routes with 2 l/2 hour layovers somewhere?
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    Good points, HoosierMom. But just for the record, a BU student told my son last week that kids who share apartments usually pay $650/month, which is a considerable savings over what a lot of places charge for a dorm room.

    Somebody posted about a student at Tisch whose parents bought her a lovely brownstone to live in during her years in NYC, and the student invited her friends to share it for a nominal fee. Wonder if that ever happens in North Carolina, lol?
  • theatregeeektheatregeeek Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Quoting fishbowlfreshman: "North Carolina School of the Attitude" as some detractors call it"

    ... this could not be further from our experience. there was not a drop of attitude. plenty of warmth and a ton of professionalism!
  • fishbowlfreshmanfishbowlfreshman Registered User Posts: 827 Member
    ^ I didn't feel that way, either, but just thought I'd report what some others have felt for balance. I guess I could have just said, "some people don't like it," but I'm usually in a hurry when I write here these days and don't have time for much editing ...

    As for Hoosiermom's comments, I was speaking more in terms of the day-to-day, but, yeah ... A lot of NCSA students move off-campus third year and the cost of living in Winston-Salem is considerably less expensive than in Boston or New York. A lot of them also have cars which is common in the Southeast although that doesn't seem to be absolutely necessary. Ask about it, though ... I don't know which part of New York State Nickeatworld lives in, but there is an airport in nearby Greensboro (approx 20 miles) where there are a number of daily straight-shot flights from NYC. There are also a couple of Amtrak stations in town.

    But, again ... Your "culture" will be your department in any intensive BFA and the attractions of the surrounding city become somewhat superfluous after you get acclimated no matter where you go. This I know. Just make sure you think you like the kids at any school you're considering!
  • NickeatworldNickeatworld Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    This is why I love this site

    thanks for all the information

    In the next week I'm visiting both BU and UNCSA and i'm going to try to judge the impression i get from both programs

    its just nerve racking making this decision

    its four years
  • HoosierMom2012HoosierMom2012 Registered User Posts: 238 Junior Member
    Nick....have you made a listing of all the required courses at each of the schools? If you compare them that alone might help with elimination. Are you interested in semester abroad? If so, have you compared the opportunities between the different schools? Even though I think most colleges cooperate with other schools where you could take a program offered elsewhere.
  • thelilodancethelilodance Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
    i personally fell in love with UNCSA when i visited. everything about it made me realize that it was the place for me. not going to lie, the academics at UNCSA are pretty easy, so i've been told. so if you're looking for a rigorous academic program and a rigorous arts program don't go with UNCSA. the program at UNCSA is absolutely amazing.

    i was at first a little hesitant about the whole less than 800 undergrads and just over 1000 total students at UNCSA, but as soon as i got to the school and actually spent a night on campus i realized that it all works out. the campus is gorgeous, and all of the opportunities within winston-salem itself add so much to the college experience.

    in regards to housing situation in winston-salem, i know that it is very possible to get a 4 or 5 bedroom house for $300 a month for rent with 3 or 4 people. and the houses that are available to rent are really nice. i know a grad student who has realized that the house in which she is staying in for grad school is going to be the nicest house she ever lives in.

    just thought that i would add my two cents.
This discussion has been closed.