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Is it better to go to Juilliard or NUS as an undergraduate?

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I want to get into marketing for economics, but I am also very passionate about theatre arts and drama, I am also quite talented in it according to teachers and classmates. But I am not sure whether I should go to Juilliard or NUS for my bachelors degree, since both coarse take 4 years and that would mean that I can only choose one as my main career right? #college #college-major #career #business #acting #marketing

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Jennifer’s Answer

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Hi, Sohalia!

You pose a great question; a common one when you think about two very specific and diverse areas of study competing against one another.

To really answer this question, though, I must ask that you a question or two. What would you ultimately like to do? On a scale from 1-10, how certain are you that that's what you want to do?

In the very act of posing this question, I would guess that you're not 100% tied to one or the other. The relative specificity of these institutions lend themselves to those that know with certainty of their initial paths. By no means is that a bad thing! I often tell my students that they don't need to know 100% what they are going to do for the rest of their lives when leaving high school and that's the very thing that the undergraduate experience is for!

I would encourage you to take a step back and look at potential schools that can offer both - a quality education in business as well as the arts - while you're exploring the coursework in your initial years at university and can then make a better, more educated decision about what you want to do. The possibilities are endless and many of those are unknown to you at this time. They will show themselves and come into better focus as you pursue your interests in the first and second years of the undergraduate experience. You may even discover another option that you hadn't known was there!

To address your question about four year degree plans, there are the options of double majoring or majoring and minoring. A school with some breadth of coursework would benefit you here as well. Typically double majors are not the equivalent as two complete degrees (4+ years in succession), but share the general education requirements and utilize electives. With a little research, however, I believe that you can find an institution like NYU which is strong in both the performing arts as well as business. Additional research into the undergraduate catalogs could provide degree plans and courses which could help steer you in the right direction.

College majors and careers often go hand in hand, but aren't mutually exclusive. For example, you may choose to pursue economics and marketing as majors and continue to work on a career in the arts. Conversely, you could pursue a degree in the performing arts and create your own business around your craft. Try not to get too focused at the onset. There are wonderful opportunities that await you, if you keep your eyes and mind open!

Good luck to you! It sounds like you've got an interesting path ahead of you --
Thank you so much for your answer, this was actually the most helpful and encouraging advise I have got so far!! Sohalia M. Translate
I’m so glad to hear! Keep asking questions, I’m happy to continue the conversation- you’re on the right track! Jennifer Haden Translate
I would love to continue the conversation, since it depends on the rest of my life!! :) Sohalia M. Translate
Sohalia, just post additional questions or concerns. I'll be watching for them! Jennifer Haden Translate
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Erin’s Answer

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Hi there, Sohalia! Great question, and great advice from my peers. College is a great place to find out what you want to do (or what you don't want to do) because you can try them all out. Even if you don't major in something, universities usually have countless extracurriculars where you can explore other passions.

I received my BFA in Theatre Arts/Acting in a conservatory program similar to The Juilliard School. Acting conservatories like this do not allow for a lot of wiggle room. You will be training hard, morning to evening, focusing on your craft as an artist. If you want to keep your options open or explore other paths, perhaps a university or college with a great conservatory acting program within a larger university would be a better fit. Some options include Northwestern, Boston University, or NYU. In these places you can have another major or minor. Talk to the college admissions officers about your passions and see if they can accommodate you! At the end of the day, your college experience is YOURS, and advisors should try to work with you to give you the best experience possible. Just keep in mind that acting conservatories may not have this same mentality. They want people committed 100% to a career in the arts.

I will also say that many of my classmates in drama school initially had other majors our freshman year. Eventually, they realized they were only pursuing those out of fear of failing in the arts. Whether or not you pursue the arts outside of college, I want to assure you that a degree in theatre makes you a more well-rounded human. You'll be studying human interaction, and your courses will grow you into a more empathetic being. I have classmates who now are in law school, or pursuing medicine or social work. Not a single one of them regrets getting a degree in acting. The tools you learn will serve you no matter your path. So, don't be afraid that your college major will box you into something for the rest of your life!
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Alania’s Answer

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Hi Sohalia,
I very much agree with Jennifer's advice. I was in a similar position to you 20 years ago when I was going to college; I was a dancer who very much wanted to pursue a professional dance career. But, like you, I was also a gifted academic student, and I also was realistic that a dance career would not last forever. For this reason, I decided to focus on 4 year institutions with strong dance programs that would allow me to either double major or minor in business, rather than a conservatory program. I ended up at a school in NYC, receiving a BFA in Dance Performance, a minor in Business Administration, and was able to dance professionally in my 20s after graduating from college.

This also set me up for long-term career success; after a career-ending injury in my 20s, I was able to return to school to obtain my MBA, where my minor really came in handy. With my MBA in hand, I was able to successfully career switch into tech.

I know that each person has to ultimately decide what is best for their individual situation and it is hard, if not impossible, to know at 17 or 18 what you want the rest of your life to look like. But, as Jennifer says, there are many options, and ultimately there is a lot of time as an adult to try different careers, too! Best of luck to you!
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