Where to start? – Junior year

If you are a junior in high school, it is time to get to work. Your junior year is the year to pull up your grades if they are weak or maintain your 4.0 if your grades are good. It is time to study for SATs and ACTs, time for college visits, time to narrow down that list of potential schools AND you still need to spend time with friends, go to sporting events, be in a show, be in a choir, go to dance class, acting class, voice lessons, piano lessons, etc, etc, etc, etc. Daunting huh?

So where to begin? To start off, it is time to do some research. Yes, the thing that makes you moan in class is now the thing you need to fall in love with doing.

It is all about the curriculum

A curriculum is the plan of classes you will take to complete a degree at a given school. Even though two schools may offer the exact same degree plan, their curriculum can vary greatly. Schools form their curriculums by forming a group of faculty to research national standards and combine them with the knowledge of the faculty to offer a series of classes that they personally feel will properly prepare you for a career. It is up to you to decide which plan fits your needs the best.

So how do you do it?

Each school has a website for their degree program. On that page, most schools will either have a link for “Degree Requirements” or “Curriculum.” Start by finding the curriculum sheets and printing them off for the schools you are initially interested in – as a good starting place pick 20 schools. (Men should plan on auditioning for 10 schools, women should plan on 15 schools, your goal is to get into at least one program).

Next, read each degree plan and highlight the courses that sound interesting to you. For instance, one school may offer stage combat courses, but others won’t. One school may offer tap all four years where another only has tap for one semester. After you have highlighted the courses that seem most interesting to you, make a list of the five classes you feel you just can’t live without.

After you’ve made your list of essential classes. Go back through the degree programs and rank the schools in order based off of your list of essentials.

Next, look at those programs in order and take note of other important bits of informations. How many gen eds, how many acting classes, how many semesters of voice, how much dance?  Make notes of anything that concerns you. Also, make notes if you feel like something is a potential deal breaker.

Then, visit each website’s admissions page and find out what the tuition, room, and board equal out to. Write that on the top of each page.

You now have an idea of what your top schools are (at first glance), why they are your top schools, and how much they cost. Now it is time to start looking for open houses and schedule campus visits. At first glance many schools can look amazing, but when you get there and you find that the buildings are all outdated and the dorms have leaking ceilings, some schools may begin to lose their luster.

So get to work and check back soon for more info like – How to figure out what schools you can actually afford!

~Matt

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