Are you interested in participating in a BFA program at a theatre college that’s located on a Hollywood studio lot? ME TOO!
Scott Barnhardt is the lead faculty for the Contemporary Musical Theater and Film program at the Hussian College in L.A. (previously The Studio School). Scott grew up in SoCal attending the OCSA school and taking part in the CLO circuit. Scott attended Wagner college where he received his BA in theater and speech, and then spent 15 years in NY! Scott was part of productions in NY such as Big River, The Boyfriend, and Book of Mormon! After performing for 15 years, Scott decided to make a shift and attended UCLA grad school, where he discovered his love for teaching. He ran the OCSA theater program for about 4 years before coming over to the Hussian College.
Hussian College is one of the most unique programs around. The school itself is located on a Hollywood Studio lot, specifically the LA Center Studios right in the heart of L.A.! The school only has four programs, so it is smaller than your average college. This can be a huge plus though! The opportunities for performing are endless as they open auditions to everyone. Plus, you have the opportunity to receive your BFA in film here! Scott’s class particularly teaches students how to act for stage AND screen.
The opportunities for students to let their creative juices flow are endless here. As we speak, they are working on building a program around projects pitched by the students. There are showcases for these projects in L.A. as well!
If you haven’t already, go look at the virtual tour of this campus. I promise you will be amazed! This campus is in an amazing environment that allows the students to get a feel for what it’s like on a real film set.
Now for that question I know is nagging at you. How does housing work if the school is on a studio lot? Well, there is no housing with this school. There are plenty of options in the L.A. area however! Most students rent apartments with other students in the area. Which means that room and board are not included in the tuition fees. These fees are around $40,000 a year. And most students receive financial aid and scholarships. Merit scholarships are also an option!
I will say this- This school is not for everyone. Because of its unique location and specialized focus, some students may not thrive here. But for those who are a match for this school, this is a STELLAR match!
For more information, visit our CAP Parent Portal!
Colorado. The state of outdoor everything! If you want four seasons a year, you need to check out CU Boulders program!
Bud Coleman, Head of undergrad musical theater program at CU Boulder is our guide today. Bud is originally from Texas and initially majored in architecture, but quickly realized he was better suited for theater and dance (lucky for us) which he did receive a BFA and minor in respectively. Bud has years of experience, not just as a professor, but as a professional in the acting world. He was part of an all-male dance company in New York, and became a Broadway dresser after suffering an injury, where he learned so much about the industry and the directors, he was able to work with. Did I mention he has a PHD from the University of Austin?
So, why CU Boulder? Well for one, it has two different musical theater programs available to you while on your journey to your BFA. This college theater offers a BM program focused more on the music end of things, and then your standard theater program. But this school is anything but standard. Both programs work off what Bud calls, the same spine. This is the heartbeat of both programs. With these two programs available, you’re also able to petition to switch to the other if you feel it would be a better fit for you.
CU Boulder offers a welcoming environment for all their students. And is a safe place for the LGBTQ community. Inclusion is a main focus for this program. As Bud states “We really try to be humane.” Meaning they aren’t one of those schools who beat you down to build you up. They start off building you up from the beginning. This is somewhat unique in theater programs, and something to really consider.
I’m sure as an incoming freshman you biggest question is: “Will I be able to perform?” The answer is YES!! Auditions are open to everyone… and I mean EVERYONE. If a science major decides they want to take a crack at center stage, they can absolutely audition. They do not restrict auditions to anyone, which again is an amazing opportunity not given at many schools.
If you absolutely fall in love with Colorado, which you will because its beautiful, the school holds a Shakespear festival each summer that the students are able to take part in. They even offer a small stipend for those who do. Whether you do decide to stay year-round, or you decide to go home during breaks Colorado also allows students to gain residency. That could mean a discount in your tuition!!!
And finally, scholarships? Yes. Scholarships are available for this program. Bud suggests you fill out that FAFSA application we keep talking about! But there’s one more perk at this school that is so rare it’s like finding a diamond in the rough… MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE. I repeat, MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE! Based on your GPA you could receive a merit scholarship! This does not happen with many schools, so it’s definitely something you should take advantage of.
If you’d like to learn more about CU Boulder, you can visit the school’s website, or email Bud at email@example.com
You can also find out more on our CAP Parent Portal! And if you haven’t joined yet…, what are you waiting for?
Man have I got a Guru for you!
Andy Lockwood, funny guy, financial aid and college planning guru, and a recovering attorney… we’ll forgive him for that last one. Andy has some great tips and information for you while you get ready for your students to find their theatre colleges and start their BFA programs.
The first question to ask yourself is, what are you trying to get out of college? Something to remember is that this is a 40-year commitment, but not just a 4 year commitment. So, starting early to plan financially for this process is extremely important.
All schools have some form of financial aid available. And only about 25% of students actually end up paying the sticker price, which means there are a ton of discounts being given out. Why not be one of the 75% receiving them? And keep in mind, when you are applying for things like the FAFSA, they will ask to see your 2020 tax returns (it’s a two year look back on income), but this doesn’t mean they won’t take into considerations any changes on your 2021 returns due to the pandemic. If you are declined initially for financial aid, or not enough financial aid, you are able to appeal this decision and show them that change in income.
Another thing to take into consideration is early decisions. Are they binding? You signed a contract, right? Well, technically it wasn’t a contract as 17-year old’s can’t enter into a contract. Usually in the fine print there is something along the lines of “If we admit you, you have to come unless the financial aid package is not adequate.” If for some reason you have made an early decision and later change your mind and no longer wish to attend that school, you can use this excuse! And you absolutely should! If your student and you have realized that the early decision school really isn’t the best fit, you absolutely can get out of it. And you should.
If you are looking for an interesting read (or stocking stuffer), check out Andy’s book “How to Negotiate your Crappy Financial Aid and Merit Aid Offer.” You can also reach out to Andy for more tips and information on his website at www.lockwoodcollegeprep.com
As always, check out our CAP Parents Portal for more information, and for goodness sake if you haven’t already joined, what the heck are you waiting for?
Ok there’s a Minor thing we need to talk about…
So, you’re going for your BFA in theatre. You’ve selected your college theatre program, and you’ve completed your college audition. But have you thought about what you might want to minor in? No? Well, let’s discuss why it might be a good idea for you to start thinking about it. While college theatres teach you how to be an actor, they don’t necessarily teach you how to LIVE as an actor.
I know, I know, some of you are thinking “but I’m going to be an actor. I need to focus all my time and energy on being the best I can be at that.” Yes, you absolutely need to focus your energies on that. But unless you are the next Sutton Foster, you’re going to need something else to help you bring in income while you’re working as an actor. Minors can help you get set up for continual additional income WHILE you’re making money as an actor.
So, what are the best minors for BFA track students to take you might ask?
Computer Sciences/Software Development: As an actor you will need your own website. Hiring someone to create this for you is fine, but that’s an additional expense you’ll have to pay. If you have a minor in software development though, not only could you manage/create your own website, but you could also do this for other actor friends who need help, thus creating another source of income.
Business Minor: As an actor you are essentially an entrepreneur. You will need to understand business law, taxes, write-offs, etc. Having a minor in business can help you with all of that.
Hard Science: Let’s say you have plans to be a speech pathologist after acting, so getting your master’s is in the cards for you. That’s fantastic! Did you know that you’ll need some extra classes in order to go for those masters? Take your anatomy now! Minor in a science to have those classes out of the way!
Law: A lot of actors go into law. Minor in pre-law if you can. This minor is at the top of the list for what can serve you in making your life easier and preparing you for grad school if that is your plan. Look at employment law, tax law, business law, or finance law. You’re going to need to understand contracts when you get hired for a national tour right? What better way to protect yourself and your interests than understanding law?
Parents, by your student minoring in one of these programs, they will be making their future a lot more financially secure, which will give you piece of mind. If you have more questions about this or any other topics we’ve discussed, visit our CAP Parents Portal. And if you haven’t already JOIN!
Meet me about two hours south of St. Louis!
Southeast Missouri State, or SEMO, is home to a beautiful performing arts campus! Josh Harvey is discussing the program and opportunities here, and let me tell you- they are abundant!
Josh Harvey is a professor in the college theatre program at SEMO which offers BA’s and BFA’s in this program. Josh taught at Washington Lee for a few years, completed his masters at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, and finally made his way to SEMO.
The school itself consists of two campuses. Main campus, and the River campus. The River campus is where most of the classes for the arts program are held. They also have the distinction of being the only fully accredited arts campus in the state of Missouri, and one of only a few in the Midwest. With about 13,000 students at the school, and only around 220 students in the arts programs, you are sure to get a very in-depth and personalized experience here.
But where is Cape Girardeau you ask? And is there anything to do there for entertainment? Well, it’s about two hours south of St. Louis, and it is a smaller town with around 60 thousand people. There are your standard amenities available in town, but you are also close to so many other areas, you’ll never run out of things to do.
The program itself is outstanding. They put on around 9 or more productions a year from musicals, plays, dance recitals, etc. You’ll have ample opportunity to perform and hone your skills. Now I know you’re thinking, “Well yeah, after my freshman year maybe.” NO! They do not have a “first year rule”!! You can start performing your freshman year. You may even get the lead if you’re the best for the role! Where else can you get opportunities like that your freshman year? They audition twice a year, once in the fall for the spring productions, and once in the spring for fall productions. If you will be attending in the fall and would like to audition for any of the productions, you can do that this spring! They accept video auditions, or you can even go in and audition.
This program really caters to students creating their own opportunities, and sometimes their own specialized tracks. From student reading workshops, classes, and multiple productions you will always stay busy here. And if you come into the school for the BA program and decided you want to get a BFA instead, awesome! They can help you do that! You can audition at the end of each year to join the BFA program.
Now I’ve saved the best for last. Are you ready? Tuition is up to $21,000 PER YEAR!!! You heard me the max tuition WITH room and board would be around $21,000 PER YEAR! WHAT?!?! That is amazing! AND if you have a GPA of around 3.25 (for confirmation of this number see their website) to 3.5, you could possibly get the change to apply for instate tuition. I don’t know about you, but from where I’m sitting, this is a great opportunity!
For more information, you can contact Josh Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or join our CAP Parent Portal! You know you want to!
SING OUT LOUISE... if your voice is healthy!
With everything you and your student are doing to prepare for the audition season, is vocal health on that list? I sure hope so. Dr. Reena Gupta is an ENT and Laryngologist and is providing us with some invaluable information on vocal health during this college audition season, and year-round. She has been practicing for over 10 years, and is currently at the Center for Vocal Health in Beverly Hills, CA.
So, what the heck is a Laryngologist, and why can’t you just go see an ENT? A Laryngologist is like the superhero of the ENT and vocal world. While they have the same training as all ENT’s, a Laryngologist also completes a fellowship year after completing their five years of ENT training. During that fellowship, they hone their skills in the specialization of vocal health. Dr. Gupta even suggests getting an annual exam done with a Laryngologist if you are a vocalist to ensure you are in tip top shape for any auditions/shows/BFA programs you will be taking part in.
Now that we know that vocal health is a thing, what can we do to ensure that we are vocally healthy during this audition season? To start with, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Flying around the country to attend auditions, staying in hotel rooms, and even altitude differences can be very hard on your voice with the changes in air quality. Be sure that two weeks prior to any air travel, you are staying extremely hydrated, and hydrate on the flights as well. Air travel can severely dehydrate you which can be harmful to your voice. Hotels rooms with the air and/or heat can do the same. If you can, Dr. Gupta suggests traveling with a humidifier.
Rest is key! And not just getting a great night’s sleep (which is extremely important), but vocal rest. That means refraining from rapping the entire Hamilton score with other fans in between auditions. As you continue auditioning throughout the day, your voice will become more and more tired. Resting in between each college audition will be key to your success.
If you’d like more information from Dr. Gupta, let me know in the CAP Parent portal! And if you haven’t joined the CAP Parent portal…, what are you waiting for? Let us help you through this theatre college audition process! We’ll even be able to share information on the book Dr. Gupta is currently writing once it’s been released. I for one can’t wait to read it!
FAFSA for BFA Musical Theatre
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room… Financial Aid
Luanne Lee is a College Planning Coach with about 15 years of experience in the field. She started out as a financial planner, but realized she could help families a lot more by showing them how to save on cost of education. And boy does she!
So, the FAFSA. What is it? Luanne clears this up by explaining that the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is simply an application that can be found at www.studentaid.gov. It is not an actual grant or loan application. This application is in place to help the federal government see where you fall on the poverty line scale, which can help determine if you qualify for federal school loans. Yes, this applies to Acting students, Musical Theatre students. All BFA theatre students.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But what if I know I’m not near that poverty line, what’s the point in filling this out?” Well, Luanne answers that as well. “Why not?” It certainly couldn’t hurt, and if we look back at this past year and a half with the pandemic, we know things can change in an instant. Why not be prepared? And there’s always the possibility of qualifying for some of that federal money. It would be a huge bummer to miss out on that $5,000 because you didn’t want to take the time to fill out the application, right? If you do fall below that poverty line, you could qualify for the free Federal Pell Grant up to $6,495. Through the CARES Act, schools, even theatre colleges, received government funding as well… why not use it? Not to mention, some schools may require a FAFSA to be filled out to apply for financial aid through them.
So, what do you need to apply for the FAFSA and set up your FSA ID? You’ll need paystubs/asset balances, your 2020 tax return… yes, I did say your 2020 tax return, social security card/number, investment account information, mortgage statements/investment real estate information, and 529 plans which are considered parent assets not student assets. Be sure you pull all this information for you and your student! You will both need to create FSA ID’s.
With all that said- keep in mind that the priority date for financial aid from schools differs tremendously from the FASFA date. FAFSA goes out about two years, while schools will be within a few months. Check the schools financial aid information for their specified date.
You can also JOIN THE CAP PARENT SUPPORT GROUP to see this video and receive even more helpful information for this amazing journey you and your student are on leading up to their college auditions, and BFA programs they are working hard to take part in.
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