So I just got to reading the above link posted.. and I think I should copy-paste it all here so that it's not overlooked, as I found it to be INCREDIBLY Valuable.
"So you want to major in theater?
By Gary Cadwallader
Choosing a good university theater program is probably one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself and your career. Getting into a high-quality university program, whether it be for acting, directing, musical theater, set design, costume design, lighting design, tech, arts management, dramaturgy, etc, is a real platform for a successful and enjoyable career in the theater. Let's face it, a theater career can be a tough path to choose, so getting into a really good school program will most likely set you in the right direction. What I will give you on this page are some guidelines for looking into college programs and then, further down, some specific schools that I personally think have good programs. The criteria I've used includes working with the school's students and experiencing firsthand their talent and work ethic, examining the department's curriculum to see that what they are teaching is valuable to the working actor, and finally, strong buzz about the program's graduates from casting directors, agents, and other professionals in the business.
Remember, I have not listed every worthwhile program in the United States. So use my list as a starting place and expand it by doing your own search.
Look early. The earlier you look at schools the better idea you will have on which schools suit you best. Start your Sophomore or Junior year (or even earlier) gathering school brochures and researching on the internet. Find all the options out there - in state and out - and read about their programs thoroughly. At this time, do not worry about the school's cost. You can fret about that once you are accepted. Remember, you will be choosing the school. The school is not choosing you!
After you've gone through all the brochures, rank the theater programs for yourself. Look at curriculum, facilities, faculty, working alumni, and location. When you have a top 10 list, keep up to date on these schools by visiting their website frequently and doing further research on them. Don't be afraid to continually change the order, and by all means add and delete schools at any time.
Talk to as many people as you can about the program; professionals, guidance counselors, family, friends, etc. Gather all the positives and negatives. Write it down and keep a file.
Visit the Schools. If you can swing it, visit every school on your list. (Be sure to put the University of Hawaii on there! Kidding.) Looking at the school's facilities (theaters, classrooms, rehearsal room), seeing the students in a performance, meeting faculty and students, and touring the college town will give you so much more insight than just reading the brochures and looking at pictures on the internet. While visiting the school, pay attention to your feelings, positive and negative, and write them down. Paying attention to your instincts will usually lead you in the right direction.
Get good grades. Now. It's never too late to change your bad G.P.A. to a good G.P.A., or keep that G.P.A. from slipping. A tremendous amount of college-bound students (and their parents) are really worried about financing a college education (especially if no money has been saved all along for that purpose). The best and easiest way to financially make it through college is by having scholarships. And most scholarships (see scholarships section) are given for strong grades. So buckle down now and reap the rewards later!
Talk to the college's current theater students. Most schools will put you in touch with students if you ask. If and when you talk to a student, make a list of all the things you want to know, such as class size, professor's skills, student casting, and talent level of fellow students. Get further details about life in the dorm, practice room availability, etc, and what the school does for its graduating seniors (such as taking them to NY for a showcase). Make your list way ahead of time and think of everything you can so you don't miss anything.
Talk to program graduates. Some colleges will even put you in touch with their former students. If this is the case, jump at the chance to talk with a graduate about their experiences at the school, and how they've done with their training since graduation. Again, make a list ahead of time and ask as many questions as you can.
Research who graduated from the college's theater program. Theater departments are really only as good as their successful, working alumni, so don't hesitate to ask which professionals were students there. (A lot of schools like CCM and North Carolina School of the Arts proudly display the names and credits of their working graduates on their websites and in magazine ads.
Let's go on a tangent here. Do you really love the theater, but everyone is telling you that you should be going into a more sensible, lucrative field, or that you really should have a second major; something else to fall back on? Well, here are some things you should know.
First of all, yes, the theater is a tough business to be in. But, that doesn't mean that you cannot succeed. When you're faced with something tough in your life, you will either rise to the challenge, or you will back away and do something else. The theater is a place where you have to confront challenges almost daily, so if you're that type of person, and you really love it, then you'll probably be o.k.
Salaries are very divergent in the theater. You can make as little as $50 - $100 per week for a small show in a small theater. Or you can work on Broadway, where the base minimum is approximately $1,000 per week and can go up to anywhere from $5,000 - $10,000 per week for a celebrity in a big role. As a side note, getting into television and film, is even more lucrative. You can make from $500 per day for a "day player" role, or up to $20 million for a single film role. (That's the Julia Roberts, Will Smith, Tom Cruise salary range.) So, it's really up to you. If you dedicate yourself to your craft and really work hard at marketing yourself, you can make money doing what you love.
Now, when we get advice that tells us we really should study something that we can fall back on, you know, you will fall back on it! Yes, if there is something else you would rather do, then by all means, do it. But if you love performing, and really cannot see yourself doing anything else, then study it with all your heart. If you minor in molecular biology or basket weaving just to make your parents happy, you will probably be wasting your precious class time if you know deep down you're going to perform anyway.
When parents or family tell you they really don't want you to go into acting because its an insecure life, you must understand that they are presenting that information because they don't want you to fail. But you can always ask them to allow you the chance to prove them wrong. Besides, these days it isn't only a career in the arts that is unstable. It's any profession. Including doctors, lawyers, computer geniuses, etc. So my advice is don't be confrontational with these people, it will only make it worse. Arm yourself with facts, figures, and explain to them, calmly, the passion that rests deep inside of you. If it still doesn't work, and you really want to pursue performing, strike out on your own. You're going to have to eventually anyway.
O.K, So now you've chosen your top 10 schools. Now, how do you get into them? Most good schools will make you audition for their program. Don't freak out. You want to be a part of a program that selects only strong students. Here are some practical tips for approaching the audition. (Remember, the more time and effort you put into the audition, the better.)
Colleges will usually send you specific guidelines for auditioning. Read them very closely and THOROUGHLY! There's nothing worse than seeing students come into auditions thinking that the guidelines for the audition did not, for some reason, pertain to them. Pay attention to the length of time you get, the number of songs you must bring with you, what to wear at the dance call, the number of monologues you must have, and from what period to choose (classical, contemporary, etc). If you have any questions or doubts, call the school.
Once you know exactly what they're looking for, don't waste any time getting that material together. Start searching for monologues immediately because they are tough to find. Get the monologues memorized and work on them with a coach, teacher, or fellow student. If you are singing, start looking for appropriate (see the school's guidelines) music and work on it with a vocal coach or voice teacher. If you are going to dance call, and are not currently in a dance class, get into one. Now. (If you are reading this years before going to college, start dance classes now.) You will not be limber, graceful, and have perfect technique magically at your audition. Working diligently on your audition will give you time to change and modify your pieces if they are not working or if you find something better.
A good piece of advice is to work toward your audition a little every day once you make your appointment. Even if its just reading the monologue through twice, even on those busy days, you'll be making progress.
Dress nicely. Colleges are not interested in how fashionable you are, how baggy your pants are, or that you own a tuxedo or ball gown. Sometimes the college will suggest what to wear to your audition. If there's nothing about clothes, wear very nice casual. Wear clothes that accentuate the positives in your figure, and play down the negatives. Show them that you respect yourself and them by dressing very nicely. Oh yes, and don't dye your hair rainbow colors just before the audition or get extra face piercings. Be yourself, but don't overdo it.
Be on time and warmed up. Make every effort to be at the audition site early. It's not a good idea to be racing in at the last minute all flustered and dry-mouthed. Get there early, and warm up your voice and body. Get a corner or practice room to yourself.
Stay focused. Too many students will start chatting or carrying on full conversations at the audition site. Don't. Stay focused on yourself, breathe, and relax. You'll have plenty of time to chat once you're in the program!
If you are asked to stay for an interview, be yourself. They will probably ask you questions about your school, your career to that point, and what your goals are. Think about those things, but do not rehearse yours answers. Be the charming, intersting, creative, and loving person you always are. If you're scared, focus that fear into passion.
O.K. Here are some programs that I personally believe to be worth your while. There are others, I know, in fact there are thousands, but all programs are not equal. But even if you don't get into the top schools, go into your theater program with this in mind: You only get out of each class or program what you put into it!
Undergraduate Musical Theater programs - in no particular order
University of Cincinnati - College Conservatory of Music
Now considered to be the best musical theater training program in the country, CCM takes only students who are hard working, focused, and really love musical theater. It seems to me that CCM accepts mostly triple threats (strong dance, voice, and acting skills). Look at their website for audition information and names of succesful graduates. CCM takes their graduating seniors to NY for a showcase for agents and casting directors.
Noted for graduating excellent singers, Boston Conservatory has an excellent reputation for training their students well. Boston Conservatory is also an excellent voice, theater, and music school. Boston Conservatory takes their students to NY for a showcase for agents and casting directors.
Florida State University
Known for graduating triple threat performers, FSU's students work. But it's also one of the most select programs in the country. Sometimes they'll select only four students per year. FSU takes their graduating seniors to NY for a showcase for agents and casting directors, and their alumni connections are very strong.
University of Michigan
http://www.music.umich.edu/departments/ ... /index.htm
The University of Michigan musical theater program has recently become well-regarded. This Ann Arbor school has been known for years as an excellent music school, but now is achieving a strong reputation for graduating talented students. The University of Michigan website is very helpful, and the U of M students are taken to NY for a showcase for agents and casting directors.
Known more for its acting program, CMU in Pittsburgh is fast developing a strong musical theater program in the School of Drama. Their website isn't as in depth as others but check out their alumni. Really impressive.
Other notable programs include:
Penn State University in State College - http://www.theatre.psu.edu/programs/bfa ... eatre.html
Syracuse University in New York - http://www.vpa.syr.edu
Elon University in North Carolina - http://www.elon.edu/perarts/
New York University - http://www.nyu.edu/tisch/
(NYU's reputation as a strong musical theater training program has slipped in the last couple of years. However, NYU is right in the middle of everything.)
University of Central Florida - http://www.cas.ucf.edu/theatre/
Many other schools have musical theater programs, but carefully check to see if they have a dance and music program to support musical theater. To make it in musical theater, an actor must be strong in all three areas of study.
Other programs to consider, which don't necessarily have a musical theater degree include Oberlin College, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
The following website gives you lots of details about various college programs. It is a very good site for comparing and contrasting the colleges and their programs: http://www.petersons.com/
Paying for school
Scholarships. How do you get scholarships? The university generally will have lots of scholarships, so contact the university early and see what they give money for. There are also hundreds of thousands of community and corporate based scholarships in your area and around the country that will fund your education if you apply. And that's what you have to do: Apply! Apply to as many as you can. The best way to find these money-givers is to look through all the scholarship books at the library or at your local bookstore. Look through the listings and see where you fit in and apply for these scholarships. Also look online at all the scholarship sites that are out there.
Here is a sampling of some of the scholarship sites I've found:
If you don't have good grades, nor have no money set aside, never fear. You can always get a government loan to go to school. Applying for a government loan will also set you up for other free money (like Pell Grants) so don't hesitate in applying to see what you can get. The best place to start is at the U.S. Department of Education: www.ed.gov
Copyright © 2006 Seaside Music Theater. "