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What is a theater college like?

I ask this because I had no idea what it was going to be like going into high school knowing no one. The high school I went to for Freshmen year was a school the was for 6-12 grade so most people in my classes knew each other. I was lucky to go to a theater school so almost everyone was nice. I am just hoping college would be a bit different than high school. #college #theatre #performing-arts #theater

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Shannon’s Answer

What your college theatre experience is like will depend greatly on what school(s) you are looking at attending. I attended a small liberal arts college and got a BA in theatre, so my experience was vastly different from my theatre colleagues who attended BFA programs at large state schools, for instance. Luckily, it is a lot more likely that no matter what path you choose that *everyone* will be a newcomer. Sure, in my experience, there were a few people who had a friend or two from their high school theatre department that also ended up at college with them, but it is pretty expected that all incoming students are basically starting fresh and there are a lot of events to help break the ice.

For a little more detail from my perspective, I was required to take general education requirements like math and science outside of my acting training. All of the theatre students had to take a core of class that included technical theatre, history/analysis, and performance regardless of their intended emphasis. The students of the theatre company at my alma mater (Rollins College) host a social event that welcomes students each fall called "Getting to Know You" that gives the new students a chance to meet the upperclassmen. There is also a Big/Little program that freshmen can sign up for through the theatre club. While maybe not identical to other schools, I imagine most have programs like this to help the new theatre students feel welcome.

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Nathan’s Answer

Hi Aedan - With college, regardless of major, every single person is new. While some individuals may know people from high school that end up at the same college, find comfort in knowing that most students attending college for the first time will not know most of their peers.

As a musician and musical director, I had the pleasure to work with theater departments at two different colleges. Each time, the students within the theater departments were tight-knit, with many having close friends from within theater, too. Studying performing arts in college often allows students to form close bonds with one another through years of rehearsals, practice/study, and taking the same courses together. Some of my best friends were people I met and got to know through our performing arts work.

I hope this helps!

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MK’s Answer

I think what you might be looking for is a Conservatory program vs. a theater program from a liberal arts school. There are tons of successful grads from all sorts of programs, but where you spend your education is about what feels right to you. You're looking for what program gives you the most opportunity for experience and building a resume.

MK recommends the following next steps:

Check out this article to learn more about the difference between to two: https://www.playbill.com/article/how-to-choose-between-college-or-conservatory-for-theatre-majors