Time and Money: Narrowing Down The College List
There is no doubt that the college audition process can be a daunting one. With the cost of application fees and travel for auditions, narrowing down your list is at times a financial necessity. But how can you slim down that college list and make sure that you are not removing programs that might be good for you? Have no fear, there are a few things you can do to help you find the right programs for you and make sure that you are not wasting your time or money on schools that might not be the best fit.
1- Know your tuition budget.
No one will argue that college can be expensive. Even with scholarships, most students are looking at some sort of loan to help them pay for their college education. There are amazing collegiate theatre programs at every cost point. Just because the price tag is large doesn’t mean the school or program is better, or at least better for you. No one wants to come out of school with student’s loans that will cripple them for years or decades. Do yourself a favor and don’t put schools on your list that you and your family know that are out of your tuition budget. Be realistic about how much a program is going to cost each year (including tution, housing and other cost) and then be realistic about what you think you might be earning once you graduate. Keep in mind it is common for theatre graduates to spend months on years at the intern level subsidizing their incomes by working minimum wage jobs wile they perfect their craft.
Make sure you that the weight of your college loans do not crush your theatrical dreams right out of the starting gate.
2- Know what type of school environment suits your personality.
Colleges come in all shape and sizes and knowing which setting you like can be helpful on narrowing your college list. Do you want to live in a big city? Do you want that “traditional” college feel? Do you like more of a small, intimate setting? Remember that wherever you decide to go, that college will be your home for 4 years, so you need to feel as if you can thrive in the environment. There are amazing collegiate programs in every style of setting. Examples of a great urban/city school is Roosevelt University in Chicago, big city and great school. Want that traditional college feel? Check out The University of Alabama, great theater program and Football! An intimate setting more your style? Check out Coastal Carolina University located near Myrtle Beach South Carolina, theater and the beach! For each one of these examples there are dozens more just like them. So, go visit and example of each type of school environment and see where you can see yourself living for the next 4 years. This will give you a better idea of what you want before you pay those application fees!
3- Know how far away you want to go.
It is easy to get caught up in the allure of your dream school. However, how far away from home is too far? Or, how close is too close? Do you want your friends and family to be able to come and see you in your first college production? Do you want to come home more often than the Holidays? Are you ready to bust out of your small town and never look back? Is an ocean away just far enough? Well, you are in luck! There are amazing programs all through the United States, Europe and the world. First you need to decide do you want to be a car ride or plane ride away? Once you have decided that you can start researching the school that fit those parameters. Be honest with yourself!
There are great theatre schools in every region of the world.
Use this step along with step 2 to help create the perfect school environment.
So, now is the part where you sit down with the family and discuss the three steps above. Once you have your answers then you can fire up the computer and start your research. By the time you finish you will have a college list that you can be confident with. If you need help CAP: College Audition Project can help you. We have a database of over 100+ schools and team embers with years of experience that can guide you to creating the perfect list for you!