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Best Colleges for DRAMA, THEATER

desdemonadesdemona Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
edited April 2010 in Theater/Drama Majors
I'm trying to help my younger brother apply to college but his interests are very different from mine so I didn't know what to tell him when he asked me about the colleges with the best drama and theater programs. I've thought of NYU, UCLA and Yale off the top of my head, but I'd appreciate it enormously if anyone who knows a bit about the matter could post some more options to look into. Thank you for your help!
Post edited by desdemona on

Replies to: Best Colleges for DRAMA, THEATER

  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    He'll need to decide if he's interested in pursuing a B.A. degree (a liberal arts degree) or a B.F.A. (a pre-professional degree). Most places that people will recommend to you will be B.F.A. programs that have produced a number of famous actors. B.A.s generally require 30-36 of your 120-128 total academic hours. A B.F.A. will take 80-100 or more, creating only a marginally academic experience. It's not for someone who has made anything short of a full, lifetime commitment to the professional theatre.

    Some top B.F.A. programs include NYU, Southern Cal, UCLA, Florida State, DePaul, Michigan, Syracuse, Ithaca, SUNY-Purchase, N.C. School of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon, and Evansville.

    Notable B.A. programs are at Yale, Brown, Northwestern, Muhlenberg, and Virginia.
  • theater momtheater mom Registered User Posts: 535 Member
    UCLA is professionally-oriented but still a BA program.
  • NJTheatreMOMNJTheatreMOM Registered User Posts: 3,673 Senior Member
    A lot of people would include Rutgers/Mason Gross and Boston University as being among the top BFA acting programs.
  • IanJosephIanJoseph Registered User Posts: 83 Junior Member
    Add CalArts and Chapman to the list.
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    theater mom - Thanks for pointing that out. You're right, UCLA has MFA programs at the graduate level, but the undergrad major is a BA.
  • desdemonadesdemona Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    That's great. Thank you so much for the information!
  • KatMTKatMT College Rep Posts: 4,009 Senior Member
    It may help for your brother to determine the kind of educational experience he is looking for... big school, small school, location, conservatory approach, a more broad-based academic experience in addition to strong focused training, a true liberal arts experience, etc...

    It is also important for him to look at the academic admit profile at schools. There are a few schools (CMU comes to mind) where a student's GPA and test scores can be well below the general admit rate at the university if they are accepted into the theatre program. However, many schools require the students to be within the academic admit range AND be admitted to the program (NYU is a 50%/ 50% school in this way)...This scenario plays out differently at different schools. It is important to map out the specifics of each school to make sure that he develops a balanced mix of programs. Everyone should have at least one academic safety on their list that is a non-auditioned program.

    BA and BFA programs will differ from school to school.... some BFA degrees will require almost no academic classes outside of your major, others will require almost as many general education courses as a BA program. Some BA programs may only require 30 - 36 credit out of 120 be in your major, others will require many more (for example...at James Madison University, where I teach, the Theatre Concentration is 45 required credits out of 120. The Musical Theatre Concentration is 58 required credits out of 120. Most students take more credits than are required in the major)... each school will be different and in order to narrow down the schools and create a well balanced list is is important to make sure you truly understand the situation at each school.

    You may also want to look at whether or not a program has an MFA program, and if so how many opportunities go to the MFA students and if there are equal opportunities for undergraduate students.

    There is a lot of information on this forum and on the musical theatre sub-forum. Even if he is not interested in musical theatre there is a lot of pertinent information to theatre admissions there too.
  • skipsmomskipsmom Registered User Posts: 185 Junior Member
    Don't forget Juilliard, Fordham, Minnesota /Guthrie
  • Son of TranquilSon of Tranquil Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    UMiami and UArts as well.
  • desdemonadesdemona Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Wow, this seems like such a different route from the one I'm taking. Thank you SO much for your help. Could anyone tell me a bit about applications, auditions and deadlines? For schools that are more like a conservatory and less academic, do students still apply via Common Application? Is the January deadline the same? And are applicants invited to audition before or after they send in their application?

    Once again, thank you for helping me out. I truly have no clue about any of this!
  • IanJosephIanJoseph Registered User Posts: 83 Junior Member
    Audition advice start here:
    Each college is different, you need to look at their web sites and see what has to be done to schedule the audition for each one. Generally you need to apply for the college separately from the audition scheduling. Some programs require separate applications for the college (the regular application) and the theater program.
    It is advisable to start putting together a headshot, you will need at least one of these for each application and a theatrical resume.
    Your applicant will also need to look at the requirements for each college as while they have similar requirements, they do differ in terms of the number of monologues, their length and type. Some acting auditions require singing, some don't.
    You can also look to see if your prospective colleges participate in the Unified Auditions as you will be able to audition for a number of colleges at one time and place.
    Deadlines differ by college, once again check their websites.
  • desdemonadesdemona Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Thank you!!
  • musicalstudentmusicalstudent Registered User Posts: 116 Junior Member
    Don't forget USC!!
  • TimThomTimThom Registered User Posts: 92 Junior Member
    UNCSA is a GREAT place!

    ...SO IS SUNY Purchase! AND I SECOND MINNESOTA/GUTHRIE...and Boston University!
This discussion has been closed.