|By Thesbohemian (Thesbohemian) on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 01:07 pm: Edit|
Does anybody have inside information on the BFA in Acting programs at The University of Evansville or The University of Utah? I live on the east coast, nobody from my school has ever attended either, and my mentors know little about them other than they have excellent reputations. Really, all I know is that both managed to get themselves listed alongside some of the "name" conservatories as "highly recommended" in _The Performing Arts Major's College Guide_ which is now six years old. Their websites tell very little about the programs and the information available in my school's library is all the normal "company line" stuff. If anybody who is reading attends either school, knows somebody who does, or has given either strong consideration, your impressions will be very valuable to me.
It's weird the way this whole selection process is going. I've now found things unappealing about almost every "name" theatre school in the country and the two I've mentioned are still on my list by virtue of lack of information. I've even completely ruled out some of the top conservatories as places I'd like to spend four years of my life for various reasons. I started out trying to narrow down to ten choices and now I'm having trouble coming up with five. My teachers have made recommendations, but they are based purely on the acting programs and not on the quality of life of being a student at the school as a whole which in many cases doesn't look so good - too expensive, ugly campuses, dingy dorms with tripled rooms, cold student body, aloof faculty, out-of-control bureaucracy, stray bullets, etc. Has anybody else experienced this frustration?
|By Barrons (Barrons) on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 01:31 pm: Edit|
Utah has excellent surroundings
|By Dancersmom (Dancersmom) on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 02:18 pm: Edit|
Have you looked at Florida State, Penn State, or Otterbein? FSU and PSU are big universities that have top theatre schools. Both have MFA programs available. Otterbein is a small school in Ohio that has a very friendly theatre department. the University of Michigan is another larger school that you might look at. What schools have you eliminated?
|By Thesbohemian (Thesbohemian) on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 04:41 pm: Edit|
Otterbein would ideal except that it's too expensive short some kind of miraculously huge scholarship. I've heard only good things about it and one of my friends in senior studio is going there next fall. Her dad's a doctor, though. Florida State is on my short list. I haven't looked closely at Penn State or Michigan. They don't get mentioned much as being top programs where I live. That's not to say they aren't and I'll have to check them out. I'd rather not name names on others I've ruled out except to say that short a big scholarship, I won't be able to afford one much over $23,000 per year without my mom and I going into deep debt. I'd also prefer to avoid a pure conservatory school with no surrounding college or university. I go to high school in that kind of environment and feel like I'm missing out on a lot of the life I portray in the craft. I'm receiving some great training, but inbred artistic monasticism isn't always such a healthy thing IMHO. I'm 17 and I can't even drive a car! lol
|By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 06:16 pm: Edit|
I can comment on Evansville, Utah, Otterbein, and Florida State. My D is a freshman theatre major at University of Northern Colorado (you might want to look there also--BA, not BFA). She auditioned at FSU for musical theatre only (did not get in) and at Otterbein for MT and was offered waitlist for straight theatre with good chance of getting in, but she liked the size and program at UNC better. If you have good grades and SATs you will get some financial aid at Otterbein if accepted there for theatre. They give that automatically, I believe, and I think you would be looking at under $20,000. The suburb where Otterbein is located is a very small town, outside Columbus. (I used to work there.) The head of theatre there (Doctorjohn who posts here) is extremely nice, as is everyone we dealt with at Otterbein.
Evansville: two students from our very competitive, highly ranked high school theatre dept. are at this school. One is a guy who is a sophomore now. He got pretty good financial aid--half tuition, I think. He said after freshman year that he liked the program and was cast in his freshman year.
Our very talented stage manager from last year is going there as a freshman this year in tech, and I think she got a good aid offer as well. I haven't heard how she likes it yet.
Both of these students are quite talented, and I don't think they would have picked the program if they didn't think it was excellent. They both went to the campus to tour and to audition.
Utah: I met one of the faculty from Utah at regional auditions last year. My D didn't want to audition there, but this woman was just a lovely person and chatted to me quite a bit while my D was auditioning for other schools. She said they have a difficult time attracting the caliber of students they want because potential students think University of Utah is a conservative school (which it is not) because of the Mormon church and BYU. They really want to have a great dept. and attract more high quality students.
A girl who graduated last year with my D did not get in to any of the selective schools in theatre and MT that she auditioned for, and at the last minute she auditioned and was accepted at Utah in theatre. She has since changed her major, however.
Another girl from our school also graduated from Utah about six years ago. She is very talented and well trained and now works in regional theatre.
My D also auditioned at FSU and you should really look there if you want a big college experience in addition to theatre. Very nice theatre facilities and the head of the dept. is wonderful, very kind and warm person. Jane Alexander is also on their theatre faculty there. Everyone on that campus was kind to us--students on buses asked if we needed any help. It was an open house day for prospective students and the dean of admissions was on the steps of the administration building passing out warm homemade cookies! They also have a student circus group there--we saw the students training on the trapeze! My D thought that was great.
Hope some of this helps. Don't rule out BA programs in favor of just BFA. My D is enjoying the variety of a BA program and is going to double major in theatre and biology. She has 3-4 theatre classes per semester and 3 regular classes. Good luck to you.
|By Dancersmom (Dancersmom) on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 11:12 pm: Edit|
I understand where you're coming from regarding tuition. I feel very lucky that my D was accepted at Florida State as a BFA music theatre major. We can afford it! Out of state tuition is about $13,000. My D received FSU's top academic scholarship, a School of Theatre scholarship, and a FSU partial out-of-state tuition grant. Compared to other schools she auditioned for it is very affordable. The School of Theatre at FSU has a very strong reputation. My D will happily be attending in the fall.
Point Park U. in Pittsburgh is very generous with financial aid. They are not, however, spoken of in the same breath as Northwestern, Carnegie-Mellon, and NYU.
The U. of Michigan is unfortunately known for being stingy with financial aid. Out of state tuition is very high there (I think it's around $27,000.) The MT program there is superb. I should think that the drama program is also good.
Penn State is also very stingy with financial aid. Out-of-state tuition is around $21,000. The only aid my D was offered was a Stafford loan. However, the School of Theatre was very generous. They offered her a renewable talent scholarship worth $8000. She also received a $2500 per year Honors Program scholarship. The faculty at PSU's School of Theatre is very impressive. Many of them have ties to FSU, by the way. Check out www.theatre.psu.edu to read the faculty bios. I think you'll be impressed. I hadn't heard anything about there program where I live either. (I live in greater Cincinnati.) I heard about the school right here at College Confidential. My family and I really liked PSU's program. It was a very close 2nd for my D.
Bookiemom is correct about Otterbein. You might check out the musical theatre thread if you are interested in reading some of Doctorjohn's posts.
As Bookiemom says don't discount the BA programs. You can get a broader Undergrad education with the BA. Then you could do an MFA program. By the way, both FSU and PSU have top MFA programs. There's a very good article on the Educational Theatre Association's website about the difference between theatre Ba and BFA programs. Click on Dramatics magazine and do a search for articles about college. You'll find a 2-part article. Part one is about BA vs BFA. If you can't find it, let me know and I'll look for the link.
Good luck with your college search.
|By Thesbohemian (Thesbohemian) on Saturday, May 01, 2004 - 11:41 am: Edit|
Thanks so much for the info! I wonder how the Utah program got it's reputation if they have so much trouble attracting the caliber of students they want. If that's the case, it seems like they'd go ahead and accept people at the NUAs and sell them on the program during the visit. The people they want are most likely going to be accepted at several places. I wonder if they help with the plane ticket for the mandatory on-campus audition. That's around $400 from where I live. Interesting ... They did "Cloud Nine" last October, so they must not be too conservative and churchy. Evansville is still on my list though I want to know more. I saw that one of their students recently won an award at the Kennedy Center College Festival which is an auspicious sign. Florida State will remain strong on my list as a priority. Their website shows their total costs including housing, meals, and books to be $20,781.00. SMU is still there, too. One of my mentors, an alumnus, keeps pushing me towards it insisting that I'll get a big merit scholarship from the university if I'm accepted into the program. Otherwise, it's WAY too expensive. I'm still looking at DePaul, too; though I haven't yet been able to determine whether or not their "guaranteed package" rate includes housing and meals. It's hard to get a read on the amount they offer in scholarships, too. A guy from my school went there a couple of years ago and I'm going to see if I can get in touch with him to get the complete story. That's five and I still need to come up with five more. My fallback school is The College of Charleston which actually has a decent program. Lots more research to do ...
BTW, I may have just eliminated Otterbein. They have a required "integrative studies" program and it looks like most of my AP effort won't count for much there. They accept credit for the courses, but the courses don't seem to translate into most of the requirements. I showed it to my friend who's going there next fall and she's fuming! LOL She's gonna contact the registar to find out for sure. I'm busting my butt in AP Chemistry and will do the same with Biology next year. If I get a 4 or better on the exams, I never, ever, ever, EVER want to have to distract myself with a lab science or math course again! I already have credit for English and Calculus BC and want them to count towards general education wherever I go. All in all, I plan to finish HS with credit for eight to ten AP courses and I want credit for all of them.
|By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Saturday, May 01, 2004 - 12:10 pm: Edit|
Thesbohemian: Re Utah and recruiting students: I think that they do get qualified applicants for their theatre program but they want to get even more. They do recruit at the unified auditions--they were in the hall recruiting people and asking them to audition! At the unified auditions in LA they even had a sign outside their room that their program was a liberal, nonreligious one. They are not conservative or "churchy" at all. The professor I talked to is English and she was just chatty and delightful. She works with the program on dialects and accents as well as other things.
My D also auditioned for SMU at unifed auditions, along with two other girls from her high school. None were admitted. SMU is a favorite theatre program with her high school theatre teacher. The male star actor from a couple years ago is a student there. I think he got about $10,000 talent scholarship.
Re Otterbein: You should pursue your AP classes and credit with them. You are well above the caliber of their average student, and if they want you for theatre you may be able to negotiate with them. They also have a special scholarship there (presidential scholar?) determined by an essay--you would have a good shot at that. There is a woman in the admissions office who is the person who specifically works with the theatre applicants. You should call her and discuss this and see if they can be flexible. (You know, very politely indicating that you have to get appropriate credit for all your hard work in your AP classes in order to consider their program.)
|By 1tcm (1tcm) on Saturday, May 01, 2004 - 12:30 pm: Edit|
Thesbohemian, although I cannot tell you specifically about Evansville's campus, (son didn't look at it) if you have any questions about the Evansville area in general I'd be glad to help you out. I grew up 40 miles from there.
|By Thesbohemian (Thesbohemian) on Saturday, May 01, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit|
Were the Utah people planning to accept students based purely on those auditions? For some reason, I made a note that they invited people to audition on campus later based on them. I just checked their website again and didn't see it, though.
As for Otterbein, thanks for the vote of confidence! Are some schools really flexible about that kind of thing? They sell the integrative studies program on their website as something they're very proud of. I'll go ahead and discuss it with admissions. Really, it looks like a such a good theatre school in such a nice environment that I may audition anyway and let the outcome of any discussions about it decide things if they become one of several acceptances with similar scholarship offers. Shouldn't a promise about something like that be in writing with a signature by the Dean and an official stamp from the school?
|By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 08:43 pm: Edit|
Sorry, I forgot to come back and look at this thread further. Re Utah--it can't be that hard to get in there. Both girls from my D's high school who went there made sort of last-minute arrangements in April or May. It can't be that difficult. Yes, I think they were able to offer admission based on the unified auditions. Most of those schools don't require you to visit campus after your audition. You have to fulfill the basic academic requirements as well, of course. Why don't you call their office and ask to speak to one of their professors? That English lady was so very nice--you really need to talk to her!
Call Otterbein too--ask to talk to the woman in admissions who helps the theatre students. She is also very nice. I don't completely understand your question with them about the scholarship, but you need more information. I will tell you that I have a good friend who lives there in Westerville who has seen several of their musicals and she raves about them. She said their Phantom of the Opera was BETTER than the touring professional program that she saw.
|By Doctorjohn (Doctorjohn) on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 10:00 pm: Edit|
Let me try to rescue Otterbein for you. I promised very early on that I wouldn't indulge in promoting our department, but I hope that providing accurate information doesn't fall into that category.
First, about AP courses. Here's the citation from the Registrar's page on our site:
"A student who receives a score of 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement test receives credit for the appropriate Otterbein equivalent course... Proficiency rather than credit will be noted for a score of 3 for any Otterbein equivalent course except Integrative Studies courses (INST) or their substitutes... Exemption from INST courses and INST substitutes requires a score of 4 or 5."
My reading of this is that if you score a 4 or 5 on an AP exam, you will be exempt from taking the Integrative Studies course in that subject and you will receive college credit as well. (If you score a 3, however, neither credit nor proficiency will be given.) But I will double-check with the Registrar tomorrow, and if I'm wrong I'll correct the mistake immediately.
For what it's worth, we do require two science classes of all students--but they do not have a laboratory component. And--others may sigh in relief--foreign language and mathematics are not required for students in the BFA degree programs. That doesn't mean that your Calculus is wasted. On the contrary, if you scored a 4 or 5, you will receive full course credit. And if you scored a 4 or 5 on the English AP exam, you will receive full course credit and you will be exempt from the sophomore level composition and literature class.
Now it is true that some AP exams do not have an equivalent INST course. But there is a rationale for that, which I can explain to you if you want to write to me privately. Speaking of that, please ask your friend who is coming here next year to write to me, so I can give him or her an accurate reading on what courses will transfer. S/he shouldn't fume.
Second, about tuition. According to my information, tuition for next year is $21,342. But we give automatic scholarships for good grades and test scores. The scholarships page on our site says, "First-time freshmen who are in the upper 10 percent of their high school class or who have a 3.5 or better grade point average on a 4.0 scale and an ACT composite score of 24 or higher, or a total of 1100 or higher on the SAT" will receive a $6000 scholarship, and will be invited to compete for one of 50 Presidential Scholarships, worth $9000. (Students with slightly lower grades and test scores are eligible for $4500.) Given your academic record, I suspect you would be eligible for these scholarships. Talent grants, for students in Art, Music and Theatre, are awarded in addition to academic merit scholarships. The lowest talent grant we offered this year was $3000. The math is "intuitively obvious," as my high school calculus teacher used to enjoy saying. I hope the result looks better to you and your Mom, and within your reach.
Finally, about Evansville. It's an excellent school. The chair, John David Lutz, and I have been friends for a long time, and our departments are similar in many ways: professional training programs inside a liberal arts college, about 100 majors, 10-14 faculty and staff, high-quality productions, excellent support from the administration and from the community. Theatre is the star program on both campuses. Evansville encourages a semester abroad; Otterbein requires a one-term internship with a casting director in NY or LA. Evansville prepares students for MFA programs, and has an excellent placement record; Otterbein has a NY Showcase that's designed to get actors working. The latter is not necessarily better. As my friend likes to say, "They're not going to work before they're 25 anyway, they might as well get more training while they're waiting, and a degree that will eventually allow them to teach at the college level if they ever decide to do that." He's got a point, especially for actors who are neither ingenues nor young leading men or women, who might be castable at 22. Their actor-training is excellent, as evidenced by their senior who just won the national ACTF Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition at the Kennedy Center. Ours is good too, as evidenced by one of our seniors who just received a 3-year contract on The Guiding Light. (Whatever you think of soap operas, you have to be a good actor to make the storylines believable.) John David and I tend to like similar students and we have a friendly competition going. We're about even over the years; he may actually be slightly ahead.
I hope this is helpful, and I hope that it encourages you to look at Evansville and us next year. Please do follow Bookiemom's suggestion, and contact people in Admissions at both schools, and at Utah. Our liaison is Meghan Sparks. Tell her that I suggested you call.
Best wishes in your search.
|By Thesbohemian (Thesbohemian) on Thursday, May 06, 2004 - 05:23 pm: Edit|
Thanks so much for taking the time to explain some of your AP policies and to fill me in a little on Evansville. I still have some questions and will contact you about them off-list. I apologize for putting you in the position of needing to explain as I should have contacted you or someone from your school to begin with. I intentionally didn't name some of the schools I've definitely ruled out with whom I've had conversations and it was unfair to name yours when I hadn't even taken the time to write.
Thanks again for the info on Utah.
|By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Thursday, May 06, 2004 - 06:45 pm: Edit|
Thesbohemian: you're very welcome. I only wish I had known about this board when my D and I were running all over the country doing her auditions.
I'm sure you can tell from doctorjohn's posts what a helpful person he is, and how strongly committed to a quality theatre education program they must be at Otterbein. I had a hard time finding information online about the unified auditions and I notice that Otterbein now has that information--for all the unified auditions--on their site for everyone's benefit. That speaks pretty well for such a small school, don't you think?
One thing I notice on this discussion thread and also on the musical theatre thread is that most students and many of the parents seem rather reluctant to call the theatre departments and ask questions. You have every right as a prospective parent or student to call there and ask to speak to someone in the department. You can ask to speak to the head of the department or to someone in admissions--that is part of their job. I didn't quite understand that myself during the admissions process. If they don't want to talk to you or be helpful, then that should tell you something about that school because that is the atmosphere you will be dealing with for four years.
I think everyone at every school I called was quite nice to us, and I made a lot of calls. (My D was literally never home during the day in her senior year, so I had to do all that for her.)
Get in there and seek out that info! Actors can't be shy! Good luck...
|By Doctorjohn (Doctorjohn) on Friday, May 07, 2004 - 06:10 pm: Edit|
Thesbohemian: No need to apologize, but the gesture is much appreciated. I did receive your e-mail offlist last night and I hope to have answers for you by Monday; the registrar was out today.
Bookiemom: I couldn't agree more with your advice to go ahead and contact the schools directly for answers to your questions. At most places, people are prepared and anxious to talk to prospective students and their parents. And, as you say, if they're not, that tells you something. But please don't hesitate to call us and ask!
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