There are some great suggestions in this thread. For example, several schools have been mentioned known for decades of professional training in their programs. Julliard, NYU, Carnegie-Mellon, Yale, and the University of Washington are some of what used to be known as the League of Professional Schools. I attended one, SMU, and that fact still turns heads when I audition. The training has served me well and continues to serve me in the field - in film, television and theatre. That said, the competition for those programs can be fierce and New York is a very expensive place. Los Angeles schools were mentioned - a very expensive place to live, also. Even Seattle has become super expensive. The truth is, a good teacher is one of the best things that can happen to you and they can turn up almost anywhere. I have heard good things about the Performing Arts Department at Kennesaw State since I moved to Atlanta. University of Georgia is an URTA school, the University Resident Theatre Association, and even though that program is for graduate students, the whole department may benefit from what goes on there. It's not clear where you are, but UT Austin has a renowned program and Austin is a very cool, and expensive, place to be, if film is also an interest. Look at the URTA site for ideas. You may want to continue as a grad - I have found that the more training you get, the more endurance you have and the more connections you make. Since I came to this market in Atlanta, I have also auditioned for Emory, where they hire union professionals for many of their shows, and that is exposure to career actors who can influence and advise you. So, if you want to consider Atlanta, where the industry is currently popping, look into what those schools might have for you. There are better theatre contracts down in Florida, so you may want be open to that, too. I will say, it is very tricky to balance the pursuit of the business while you are still in school, so although there is accurate advice about the professional tools you will need, remember that absences will drop your grades and money for classes is not refunded. I am having this problem now at SCAD, where I am in the Film and Television program but booking films and theatre outside. All the best! It is always an adventure!
Stephanie recommends the following next steps:
- Look at URTA's website.
- Complete your FAFSA, as suggested.
- Compare the finances of your favorite ideas.
- If possible, see some shows at the places you are considering.
- If your parents will help you, listen to their suggestions.