Choosing a performing arts college can seem daunting. This article will show you how to make one of the most important decisions of your life a sound one.
It is very difficult to say definitively what the best performing arts colleges are. What really determines the best performing arts college is what is best for each individual student. You should carefully consider your own educational needs, financial situation and special talents, and compare this to a range of performing arts colleges before making your decision.
One of the most important things to consider in choosing a performing arts program is the location of the school. There are benefits to remaining reasonably close to family and friends. Being able to draw on the emotional support of family and friends can make a big difference to your chances of success in a competitive performing arts program. If you choose to live far from home, consider how difficult and costly it will be to travel home during breaks or vacations. On the other hand, going to college far from your home town can be a life changing experience that broadens your perspectives. Some students will try to find a performing arts campus in a location that is completely different to the place they have lived previously – for example, coming from a big city to a college in a quiet rural area.
The financial aid options available to you and cost of your chosen performing arts college are an important factor to consider when making your decision. The more expensive schools can be a good option if you have the means, but many less costly and lesser known performing arts colleges offer a standard of dance, drama and music education which is just as high. Investigate the teaching faculty and their credentials. You could also check out some of the school’s alumni: if the college has educated people who have gone on to successful performing arts careers, the quality of the program and staff is likely to be good. It would be wise to investigate the scholarships and grants the college offers to prospective students: prepare to apply for these early. Work-study programs are also something to look out for when choosing your performing arts school.
Many people think that only the most famous performing arts colleges are the best; however, this isn’t necessarily true. Many smaller and lesser known colleges offer drama, dance and music programs that compare favorably with those of the well-known colleges. Smaller performing arts schools are also likely to have smaller classes, meaning that students are able to get more one-to-one attention from teaching staff. Some people prefer the more intimate experience of a smaller college with a smaller student body; others may prefer the exciting atmosphere of a larger campus.
Non-academic programs are also something to consider. Students that have been successful in high school sports might look for a performing arts college with a strong sports program. Performing arts programs with good contacts in the music and theater world can offer an advantage to students looking for a career in the performing arts. Community service programs are also offered by many colleges, and these are a good way for you to give something back to the community while increasing your attractiveness to potential employers.