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USC BA Actors-I need your opinion!

kl92477nkl92477n 4 replies2 threads New Member
Hi all,

I found out last week that I was accepted into the BA Acting program at USC. I just finished my freshman year as a BA Acting major at Pace University so I'd be a transfer next year. As you can imagine, transferring is scary and at the moment I don't know what is best for me. I need YOUR opinion! Please tell what you think of the BA program at USC--please give positives and negatives. There is no better way for me to learn about this program than to hear from people who have experienced it firsthand by being a part of it. Your help would mean the world to me. Thank you for your time.
edited July 2013
5 replies
Post edited by kl92477n on
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Replies to: USC BA Actors-I need your opinion!

  • madbeanmadbean 3156 replies85 threads Senior Member
    kl92477n--can you give us some background? Why did you apply to USC? Did you have a specific reason for deciding to leave Pace? It's hard to give you advice without knowing your particular likes/dislikes from the past and the needs you are hoping to meet.
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  • kl92477nkl92477n 4 replies2 threads New Member
    To madbean and everyone, here is a post I copied and pasted from another thread that I did. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of my story. Thank you!

    "Hi all, here is my situation:

    I just finished my freshman year at Pace University in their BA Acting major. I loved the program but wanted to see if a stronger program would accept me so I re-auditioned for the BFA program at Pace and then also auditioned at other colleges as well.

    I found out I was accepted into the BA Acting program at USC. I love their program and would take advantage of the location (since I ultimately want to focus on film/TV but still do theatre of course) and could transfer correctly and still graduate on time.

    I was rejected from the BFA program at my school and the head of the program told me that I was rejected because Pace doesn't typically take in transfer students into BFA programs. We spoke on email today and he told me that he would reconsider my audition for the BFA program but I'd have to start over as a freshman and go four more years (so this past year wouldn't count for anything and I'd have to completely start over).

    So, I am in a quandary. I honestly do not care that much about academics...I am in college to receive the best acting education I can get. So, naturally a BFA program appeals to me more since there would be more time in my schedule dedicated to my training. On the other hand, I don't love the thought of going to school for another four years. I worked my tail off this year in the BA program and would like to be a sophomore next year but obviously if the BFA program at Pace is best for me I'll go an extra year. But, I also know USC has a solid BA Acting program and has a lot to offer as well and I could stay on track to graduate. I don't mind spending extra time on my acting education but at the same time when considering the entertainment industry, time is not on my side and while I am slaving away in acting class to get the BFA degree I want, I could be out there auditioning and making connections. I just don't know what to do.

    I will say this: my dream is to be an actor. So, I want to do whatever is best for my career. If you have any advice for me, I would be so grateful. Thank you for reading.

    -Kari"
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  • madbeanmadbean 3156 replies85 threads Senior Member
    kl, there may not be any School of Dramatic Arts students on cc this summer. Your post suggests you love Pace, just wanted to have a BFA experience which tends to mean less GE /academic type classes and many more hours/week in studio/training type classes.

    All I can suggest is that moving to USC for a BA in some ways may resemble your curriculum in your current BA program. The best way to compare is to print out the required classes/units for each school and see if there is a substantial difference. Only you can judge if one seems more suitable than the other.

    I am not familiar with Pace, but USC is a large, exciting research university with a lot of highly motivated and ambitious undergrads in many majors. It offers a lot of choices in double majors or minors. Is this sort of academic vitality something you are looking for? Classes are demanding and all students need to be happy in all classes, not just those in their major.

    Your dream of becoming an actor can be realized in many different ways, and by following many diverse paths. None of your choices will rule out--nor can they guarantee--any one individual's personal success in a highly competitive field. No one school, one degree, one instructor, or even going to college at all will make a career as an actor/actress less likely or more likely. However, you can get fine training at USC. If the costs and the credits you are allowed to transfer make this a viable option, you'll love it here. And it certainly makes it easy to start living and working in Los Angeles now if this is your ultimate destination.

    Best of luck.
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  • kaikomaikaikomai 35 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I am a B.A. Actor at the School of Dramatic Arts.

    My honest opinion, Pace BFA program is probably a better program. If you have the chance to do it, then do it. The B.A. program at USC is good, but it will never beat a BFA program.

    The best pro about the BA program at USC is the ability to do outside film work - or even work inside the school - with the nearby School of Cinematic Arts. This is why I stick with it, even though I feel unchallenged in the BA program compared to the BFA one. I get to do student films, make friends with people who need film actors, and I create relationships with future film makers in LA, which is where I would likely move after graduation regardless of which school I went to.

    Other than this though, USC's BA program is pretty standard for a theatre BA program. Like I said: good, but not great.
    If money is a worry though, maybe the BFA program at Pace for another year might not be worth it. That's another consideration.

    Transferring won't necessarily solve all your woes. I transferred in to USC, and USC SDA won't take transfers into their BFA program. You have to start over, just like at Pace. So i decided to stick with the BA and just do a lot of extracurricular training to benefit myself.
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  • Georgia GirlGeorgia Girl 3139 replies632 threads Senior Member
    Whether the BFA or BA is the best for you is a choice. These alumni graduated from the USC School of Dramatic Arts with a BA degree.

    Paul Comi---Served on the Foreign Film Committee for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

    Karen Soni--Filmed the movie, Safety Not Guaranteed, which won the Screenwriters Award at Sundance Film Festival

    Khalia Davis---Developed the web series Khloe's Klubhouse for children.

    Kelli McNeil--co-starred in the feature film, White on Rice

    Tara Smith---Two time Tony Award nominee.... She also co-produced the web series, Cubby Bernstein, which starred Nathan Lane and Patti Lupone.

    Charyl Brown--Received Tony nomination for his recent role on Broadway

    Kate Russo---Received a Tony nomination as a producer of The Scottsboro Boys

    Marja Harmon--Featured role in Sondheim's musical, Merrily We Roll Along, at the NYCity Center

    Dr. Velina Houston--BA and Ph.D. from USC...Noted playwright and recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and the Japan Foundation Fellowship. She is the Director of Dramatic Writing at SDA. She has received over thirty writing awards.

    Ray Chase---He is the voice of Coke Zero and has done voice work for top agencies.

    Danielle Faitelson---Performed abroad and in NYC....She has completed her MFA in acting from Columbia University.

    Garvin Eddy---Received an Emmy Award for set design

    Meghan McCarthy---Associate Artistic Director with Chicago Dramatists

    Tj Thyne---Lead role in Shuffle, directed by Kurt Kuenne

    Steve Edlund---Assistant Director for the hit musical, Sister Act

    Tim Dowling---Profiled in Variety as one of "Ten Screenwriters to Watch"

    Lili Fuller--Shared the Ovation Award nomination for choreography for NeverWonderland and nominated for another Ovation Award for Best Choreography for Stations

    The late Alan Hubbs---Longtime artistic director of Ray Bradbury's Pandemonium Theatre Company

    Xin Yi Bao-Awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award of $50,000 per year for three years, one of only 15 awarded

    Stephanie Drake--Played Meredith for the fifth season on Mad Men

    Jade Gordon--Received a Creative Capital grant for theatre performances in Israel

    Nichole O'Connor--Starred in the film , Model Minority

    Kylie Sparks---Starred in the hit webseries, Squaresville, along with another SDA graduate, Christine Weatherup.

    Danny Strong--Won Emmy Award for writing, Game Change

    Mary Kate Wiles---Stars in Zelda in the webseries Squaresville; Named as "Person to Watch" for her performance as Zelda in the webseries, Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables

    Michael Schwartz-Asst. Director of NY Philharmonic Production of Company, starring Patti LuPone and Neil Patrick Harris

    Eric Stoltz--Director and Broadway actor

    Forest Whitaker--Actor and Academy Award Winner
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