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Which college has the best acting/theatre department?

I don't think I have asked this question, but I know I have said that I want to be an actress, but I don't know which college has the best department. I want to go to a good but cheap college because my family doesn't make a whole lot of money.

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From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you


5 answers

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Houcine’s Answer

Dear Kayla,

Choosing a college with a strong and affordable theatre program is a wise consideration. Several institutions are renowned for their theatre departments while also being conscious of financial constraints. The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, for instance, is recognized for its outstanding School of Drama and offers competitive tuition rates. Another option is the University of Iowa, known for its excellent theatre program and commitment to affordable education. Additionally, explore state universities with reputable theatre departments, as they often provide quality education at a lower cost for in-state residents. Keep an eye out for scholarships and financial aid opportunities specific to theatre students. Researching and visiting potential colleges will help you find the best fit for your aspirations and financial situation.

Best regards,
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Karin’s Answer

Hi Kayla,

Oh, so we will soon see you on the silver screen or on broadway? That’s marvellous!

You find the Times Higher Education Ranking here:

USNews has a ranking and also gives tuition costs and enrolment:

According to the Hollywood Reporter, these are the best Drama Schools:

The full list gives more information about each school, so please follow the link.

The Juilliard School
NYU Tisch School of the Arts
University of North Carolina School of the Arts
UC San Diego
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Guildhall School
The Old Globe and USD
Brown University
Carnegie Mellon University
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
National Institute of Dramatic Art
Case Western Reserve University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Columbia University
University of Michigan
Florida State University
University of Missouri – Kansas City
Virginia Commonwealth University
Northwestern University
Savannah College of Art and Design
Southern Methodist University
Purchase College, SUNY

College Factual has the following ranking;

Northwestern University
University of Southern California
University of Notre Dame
Carnegie Mellon University
University of Michigan
New York University
University of California – Berkely
Emory University
Yale University
Chapman University
University of California – Los Angeles
The University of Texas at Austin
Boston University
Columbia University in the City of New York
University of Connecticut
Loyola Marymount University
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Dartmouth College
University of California – Irvine
University of California – San Jose
University of Iowa
Duke University
University of Washington – Seattle Campus
University of Cincinnati – Main Campus
Washington University in St Louis

Good luck!

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Fred’s Answer

This is not really a question anyone can answer. What defines "best"? How do you balance best vs. cost? Do you have to stay close to home, or can you go to the other side of they country? Can you go international?

Cost is also hard to nail down. Every school is going to offer you a different financial aid package, so the price you'd pay will be different from everyone else - and nobody here can know what that would be.

There are many other factors to consider. Do you want a large school, or small? A party school, or a serious academic one? private or public? Urban or rural? There are many, many more factors to weigh, and you are going to give each one a different priority than anyone else.

There should be some web sites that rate colleges, and that should even let you filter by some of the above criteria. Also, talk to your high school counselor and see what they can reccoment - this is their job after all...
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L’s Answer

Hi! While I don't know the schools that are best known for the specialty you are looking for - I would encourage you to do some online research to find out more there - I wanted to comment on your other note. Lots of colleges have scholarships or tuition assistance with a part time on campus job and would really encourage you to not limit yourself to only colleges in a certain price range. If you are truly passionate about what you want to do and have the ability to show that through your skills/application, you should shoot for the stars and apply for all the scholarships, tuition assistance opportunities out there. It is possible but you will have to put some effort into the applications.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Kayla
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Kayla !

I would love to give you some advice based on your inquiry about a college course of study for acting. The best college for you based on your locale is Boston University. That being said, you also mentioned that you are not in the position to spend a lot of money to study, and that's okay, too. I also assume that you're not able to afford to move to study in New York City or Los Angeles. But that is perfectly alright.

To touch upon what is implied in your question, all of the schools are good. Even a community college which is less expensive. The things that make a good college and not just one "best" is that they are all accredited colleges and the professors have years of experience in the field and teaching credentials. They are all structured and valid. So, if you're dealing with a financial challenge, you may consider this. They are all professionally run and you'd have nothing to worry about. Now, keep in mind that you would qualify for Financial Aid also. There are also scholarships that you can look into as well. We all have to do what is in our budget and not over extend ourselves for future stress.

Also, the thing is: you don't need a college degree to be an actor, but it does help with excellent training and making contacts. I went that route and have a degree in Theatre with a minor in social science and had/have careers in both fields. Your skill as an actor can be built with community workshops, too, which are usually not that expensive. But the good thing is that it is up to you to choose your best route. Visit your local community college. See how much tuition is and most of all, visit the theatre or film department and talk to as many people as possible. Get a feel for the department. Participate in all plays or videos at your current school.

Please do not worry about the financing of your education. There are definitely ways through financial aid, work study jobs and whatever your family can help out with. You can do it.

Best wishes to you in a wonderful and exciting career in acting !
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is amazing! I really needed it. Kayla
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome ! Michelle M.