Proud Poppa Needs Advice

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
Hey all!

My youngest daughter is a high school senior. The school quite large with an impressive campus; there are almost 900 in her graduating class. She has been in the Theater track since her freshman year and has been a Theater Arts Honor Student every year. (Your academics have to be on the same par.) The program has been recognized as one of the most outstanding Theater Arts Programs in the country and has won a number of state and national awards. The school has a small 90 seat theater called The Black Box Theater, which is exactly what it sounds like - a big black box with seating on three sides. They have Comedy Tonight!, a comedy and improv evening four times a year (September, November, January and March), present a Shakespeare play every fall, a Broadway Musical Theater workshp in December (this year is You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, last year was The Pajama Game), in February a drama (last year was Niel Simon's Rumors, this year has yet to be decided), Magic Circle (short plays/scenes written by the students), the Play-In-A-Day Festival (the students write and perform an original play in 24 hours), the Scholarship Showcase for seniors, and, of course, the obligatory big Spring Musical that is presented in the main theater.

So, with all of that background, on to the meat of this post.

My daughter has always taken her acting seriously. Besides the singing and dancing lessons, she learned, all on her own, card tricks and slight of hand for one supporting role and learned to play the ukulele for another. This years Shakespeare play is The Winters Tale. She has the role of Hermione. The role has been a bit disconcerting for me in an amusing sort of way, as Hermione is pregnant. In keeping with her dedication she has been wearing her pregnant costume around the house for the last couple of weeks so she feels and acts comfortable as a pregnant woman.

More than her acting, however, she is in love with writing. Last year she won The Creative Achievement Award for her 12 minute play/scene "An Actor Walks Into A Cafe," which was performed at the annual Magic Circle. This really ticked off the rich folks in town as she was a junior and we live in the "poor" section of town where the homes cost is under seven figures. (We got the house for a song almost 30 years ago - long story.) More than that, however, at last years Magic Circle they performed four of her pieces. They only do 12 scenes, eight on each of the three nights, and three of the four she wrote were performed each night, an all-time record according to her teachers. Another aspect of Magic Circle is that you cannot direct or act in a piece that you wrote. However, she directed three of the other eight scenes and acted in three of the remaining five; another first according to her teachers.

So, now that I have done my best to impress all of you and convince you of her talents and dedication I need some advice. She really wants to go to college for writing. Amazingly, she is going to take some advice from me and also focus on Entertainment Management. Do any of you know of any schools that would be appropriate? My wife and I can't afford the full nut, and we don't want her and us saddled with enormous college debt. There are a few scholarships in the offing, but that will mostly cover books and housing.

We have been getting college brochures by the score and visited a number of schools already, but want to make sure that we haven't overlooked any possibilities.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance to all!

Peace,

Uncle Bob
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
First, that's awesome - congrats on her success and in a way it's a great problem to have.

Second, I don't have any clear suggestions just a few questions.

What state do you live in? Are there any state universities that offer a good honors program? You'd sharply reduce tuition costs and the one-on-one attention of an honors program could help with internships & jobs when the time comes.

As I'm sure you've already realized, a big name private university could saddle her with debts that limit the types of jobs she can take in the future.
However, assuming you're not wealthy, it might be worthwhile for her to apply to a couple of top schools (if she's competitive with them) that promise loan-free financial aid to admitted students whose family has an income under X.

Here's the list that I've seen - they DO require families to contribute in line with the FAFSA calculation.
https://www.usnews.com/education/be...s-that-meet-full-financial-need-with-no-loans

If you cross that with the list of "best college writing programs" a few names hit on both, including Brown and Columbia.
If you think she has a chance at one or both, they seem worth considering.

She sounds like she has her head on straight, but the tough thing to do can be to apply to a great school and get in, then say "no" if the aid package isn't workable.

Good luck!
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Don't immediately cross the best schools off your list... first look into potential scholarships that those schools might have.
If she is actually talented and dedicated then maybe she will have a shot at one of them?
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
What state do you live in? Are there any state universities that offer a good honors program? You'd sharply reduce tuition costs and the one-on-one attention of an honors program could help with internships & jobs when the time comes.

She/we have been looking into all of the schools here in Connecticut.

it might be worthwhile for her to apply to a couple of top schools (if she's competitive with them) that promise loan-free financial aid to admitted students whose family has an income under X.

We have been looking at that as well, however, even though we are the "poor' people in our town she/we don't qualify for many of those programs.

If you cross that with the list of "best college writing programs" a few names hit on both, including Brown and Columbia. If you think she has a chance at one or both, they seem worth considering.
Don't immediately cross the best schools off your list... first look into potential scholarships that those schools might have. If she is actually talented and dedicated then maybe she will have a shot at one of them?

We've been looking into all of that. Columbia might be nice as she could commute to school and save some money, although she would prefer to live at school.

We have been very diligent with our research into scholarships and aid packages, etc. at all levels. Her teachers and counselor have been a great help. We went to another college fair at her school this past week and had a few interesting conversations as well.

I was mostly hoping that the writers here would say "I went to Xxxxxxxx and it was fantastic and relatively affordable" and that school wasn't on our list.

Thank you both for taking the time to reply.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Have you looked at Pace, NYC...
BBA in Arts and Entertainment Management
MS in Arts and Entertainment Management

Or Hamilton upstate? "Known for giving students the freedom to pursue their interests and the support to help them explore topics in real depth, both inside and outside the classroom. Hamilton's creative writing program takes full advantage with small classes and lots of opportunities to intern and publish; it also has one of the best writing centers in the country."

Or NYU... "It doesn't have a dedicated creative writing major, but it's a great school for aspiring writers nonetheless, offering one of the most impressive creative writing faculties in the country and all the benefits of a Manhattan location."

Brown in RI... "Brown's Literary Arts program offers one of the top MFAs in the US as well as an undergraduate major. For the major, you must take four creative writing workshops and six reading-intensive courses, which span an array of departments and topics, from music and literature to Middle East studies and Egyptology."

Some of that was from here
 
It might not fall within the scope of your/her ambitions, but think about extending your research to courses in Europe. We have a two-tier pricing system here - discount rate for EU citizens, "normal" rate for everyone else - but compared to the prices charged in the US, you might find even the non-subsidised rate more attractive.

I can't recommend any school specifically for writing, only one for all-round acting with some production included (an intensive full-time two-year course) - the Gaiety School of Acting, Dublin (only 7 hours from Dublin to Hartford CT ! ) ... but accommodation costs are eye-watering.
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
Here's the subjective response :)

I went to Brown for 2 1/2 years and was one of the outliers who really didn't love it - but in retrospective might have if I'd realized at the time that I wanted to be a writer. I went with the plan of being a lawyer - and realized it was not at all what I wanted. My parents stretched to pay, I had 2 sisters coming along after me, I always felt like a mis-fit, and finally left. My "rebellion" was my 30+ years in banking (only in my family does that count as rebellion!).

The place I liked MUCH better was the New School in Manhattan. I went there part time in the evenings & weekends to finish my BA in Media Studies with a Concentration in Screenwriting. It was cheaper than NYU, and I loved the fact that everyone was there simply because they wanted to be. No one was trying to impress anyone (my experience in Ivy League, YRMV). Some people took classes as part of a degree program, some for certificates, and others for no credit at all. Classes were small and everyone was treated the same regardless.

Because it's not as competitive to get in, your daughter might have an easier time getting a scholarship. But it's also not as wealthy (in terms of endowment), and doesn't have as many hot shot alums as Columbia etc.
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
Thanks again for the suggestions. We've looked at Brown, Pace and NYU. I'll drop The New School and Hamilton into the mix for her to look at.

She seemed very taken with Drexel/Westphal. Any thoughts?
 

CamBlamo

Pro Member
indiePRO
Congrats! You are putting a lot of thought into this, and its awesome to see a parent so concerned with their kiddos future. I hope to be the same when my boy gets older.
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
So, just a quick update...

My daughter was absolutely brilliant as Hermione in The Winters Tale. I was very impressed with her poise, and the clarity and emotion of her dialog delivery. The comments from other audience members during intermission and afterwards were also most complimentary.

As I mentioned the Broadway Musical Showcase this year is You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. Guess who is playing Charlie Brown? Yup, you got it, my daughter! She and my wife are already starting to work on a pudgy suit and the obligatory striped shirt, as well as experimenting with her hair.

On to the college situation...

NYU is looking okay, Brown is going to be too expensive. The New School is looking doubtful, but we'll see. However, Drexel/Westphal is the front runner at this point; they are offering several scholarships, the possibility of a part time job at the school, and won't strain our resources or put her and us into a huge post-college debt. We're still looking at other options and alternative scholarship and financial aid programs.

Thanks again for all of the suggestions and support.

Peace,

Uncle Bob
 
Drexel has an exchange agreement with the Uni I did my film undergrad at. I don't know much about it other than that, but seems to be a good place!

Going to, and choosing a university is just so different over there compared to here, so I can't really comment much. Sounds like you have it all under control though.
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
Drexel has an exchange agreement with the Uni I did my film undergrad at.

Which Uni is that?

They also have internships/studies with the local theaters (as mlesemann mentioned, there is a very active theater scene in Philadelphia) as well as a one semester internship in L.A., among other things. She will also be able to continue with her acting in addition to her writing and entertainment management studies. Yeah, it sounds like a lot, but she's a very ambitious young lady. As she's able to take AP calculus and psychology in addition to her other studies plus her extremely full theater schedule and remain on the honor roll I think she can handle it.
 

Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
I have to gloat and celebrate a bit, so please excuse me for being Proud Poppa again.....

My daughter just received her acceptance to Drexel University, along with an incredible array of scholarships and grants. She (and my wife and I) were worried for a while as her application/acceptance was deferred.

HOOOWAH!!!!!!!!

 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
And that was her pick! That means, they wanted he just as much. GRATS!
 
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