Author Topic: Specialized program vs. state school?  (Read 8016 times)

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B3m4s

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Specialized program vs. state school?
« on: May 07, 2008, 11:57 pm »
Hi everyone, today I was faced with a choice. I was accepted to Depaul for stage management, a private conservatory that only accepts four applicants a year with a high price tag ($40K a year). However I got a $6K Scholarship per year which helps. But I don't know if I should go to Depaul or go to community for 2 years then go to a state school. So I guess my question is, would it be worth going to Depaul? I think it would definitely be more of a challenge and maybe a better experience but is it worth the price tag? Would it help a possible career in stage management? I really like the school, but I'm conflicted, if anyone could provide any incite it would be appreciated. Thanks. 
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 11:26 pm by zayit shachor »

sievep

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Re: College Choices in the US Midwest
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2008, 12:06 am »
The short answer?  Go to DePaul.  Do you know how many people apply for those slots, and you were selected?  Take out student loans and pay them off over time.  It's how higher education has come to work.
"This lovely light, it lights not me" - Orson Welles

zayit shachor

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Re: College Choices in the US Midwest
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2008, 01:53 am »
I second that.  Two years ago I was faced with the same decision (between a $40k school with a great Theater program, or a free ride at a state school), and I chose the expensive school.  I am so, so, so happy that I did - despite the loans I'll be paying off for a while.  (Hey - everyone's got 'em!)  If you are interested in stage management as a career, Depaul is absolutely worth it.

This is not to say there's anything wrong with an education from a state school, but stage management is such a specific field that I think it's well worth it to go with the specialized program.

Congrats on your acceptance!

BLee

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Re: College Choices in the US Midwest
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2008, 04:03 am »
I faced the same decision two years ago (cheap v. expensive) and I decided to go cheap to ease the burden on my family. After the first year I felt like I was missing out on so much education specific to my field and was limited because the cheap school had no specialization in anything I was really interested in.

To make a really long story short, I reconsidered the tres expensive school and I have never been happier. After one school year I have enough experience to get a graduate level internship and I'm only 20. Specialized schools that cost more are worth it if you know what you want to do (and being here in the forums signal that you know what you want).

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nmno

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Re: College Choices in the US Midwest
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2008, 11:04 am »
How do you feel about DePaul - ignore the lure of "private" conservatory and assuming more $ = better, how do you really feel about living there for 4 years and getting an education there?  Did you feel at-home on their campus?  Is it a student body that you feel you confortable in?  Do you WANT the conservatory experience? Can you/your family swing the 40K?  Only you know these things...

More $ doesn't mean better.  Prestige or conservatory doesn't mean better (it may be a great program but is it right for YOU - much like the Broadway vs. regional theatre, commercial vs. non-profit or AEA vs. non AEA career paths that you'll face in the future - none are wrong or bad, but what's the right fit for you.) 

Is there a reason you don't do the state school for 4 years?  Not to bash community college, but I think unless the situation is unique, it's really better to start at a 4 year.  There is a lot of growing up that happens in that first year away that I have seen gets missed at the community college level.  A friend of mine who went that route commented that it still felt like high school - there was no big transition, had a lot of high school friends in his classes (and there were some actual high school students), and he seemed to lose motivation - it was easier to slack-off and he wasn't a slack off kind of guy.  He missed out on living in the dorms, eating bad cafeteria food, freshman orientation and when he did transfer to the 4 year it seemed like he had a bit harder time making the adjustment because all his peers had already done that 2 years before...  Just my 2 cents.

imrnthewicked

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Re: College Choices in the US Midwest
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2008, 02:52 pm »
I just had to make the same decision.  I had applied to the Webster Conservatory for Stage Management, and it was between there and a state school where I would be able to go practically for free.  A halfway decent program, but not specialized enough for my taste.

I was one of 6 that got into Webster, and I feel happy with my decision to go there.  Sure, it's much more expensive, but the experience and training is going to be sooo worth it in the long run.  It's also closer to home for me, so it's convenient as well.  I told myself that just getting in would be a great accomplishment, and that it obviously meant that they saw enough potential in me to succeed in their program.  So if I got into Webster, great, I would go there.  If not, then I wouldn't be too terribly dissapointed because that meant I was lacking whatever it was they were looking for, and could go to school or free.

So I'm going to be paying off loans for the next 10 years.  But there's also a better chance that I'll be working and able to pay off those loans. 

B3m4s

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Re: College Choices in the US Midwest
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2008, 04:39 pm »
Thanks everyone, this really helps alot. And the reason I said community was because I was denied to the state schools I applied for, my GPA isn't great (I spent to much time in the theatre, and let my grades slide to much).

ScooterSM

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Re: College Choices in the US Midwest
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2008, 04:39 pm »
Ultimately you need to decide which program you like the best.  You have the luxury of choice.  You can go to a state school, get a solid education and get work after (I did, as I am sure others on the board have).  Or you can go to the conservatory program and get a good education if that is what fits you better.  

Don't make the decision based on money.  Make the decision based on which school suits you best.  If you go to DePaul for a year and hate it, then go to the state school or vice versa.  There are plenty of loans and scholarships, etc to help with the money once you decide.

Good luck!

SSM
“I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.” Tony Church

HollywoodH

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Re: College Choices in the US Midwest
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2008, 04:48 am »
I had to make the same decision! I felt the need to reply since I went a different route than most of the people who posted before me. I went to community college for 2 years and then transfered to a state school. I was really happy that I didn't go to the conservatory for many reasons. Do what is best for you. I think you've gotten some excellent advice. I really agree with ScooterSM's advice to go to what school is best for you. NMNO also left great questions for you to ask yourself. Go with what you feel is best. :) Hope we have helped you.

AJo99

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Re: Specialized program vs. state school?
« Reply #9 on: Jun 02, 2008, 12:54 am »
When it comes to your education, don't look at the cost.  Look at the education you would be getting.  Look at the school itself and figure out where you'll be happy.  There are ALWAYS student loans.  I'm not saying the more expensive choice will always be better but I am saying that its your education.  You'll have to live with this for the rest of your life so don't choose a school just because its cheap.  Choose it because you're going to be getting the education you want! 

Libby

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Re: Specialized program vs. state school?
« Reply #10 on: Jun 02, 2008, 11:45 am »
To add my own experience. I chose the expensive school and got the BFA in stage management. I don't think it makes me any bit better as a stage manager, but the one thing the big theatre program schools offer is connection. I left college with enough contacts to (luckily) have been working non-stop since I graduated. The teachers in my university were all working professionals and assisted me in getting internships. Also, most large schools have a connection with a professional theatre and a SM student might PA on a mainstage.

I think the community option is totally valid, and trust me I am going to be paying off student loans for the next ten yea.rs, but just understand you are going to have to work harder than a student who have more resources

BethanyP

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Re: Specialized program vs. state school?
« Reply #11 on: Jun 03, 2008, 06:01 pm »
Expensive schools aren't the only ones with BFA programs. I'm starting at the University of Illinois this fall, where i'll be earning a BFA. I applied to DePaul and Webster too, but I liked the atmosphere better at U of I. So its really all about where you feel comfortable.
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." -M.T.

Bwoodbury

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Re: Specialized program vs. state school?
« Reply #12 on: Feb 09, 2009, 12:35 am »
Just a thought though, I am at a state school near a big city (UMD near DC) and I am learning a ton and working with some incredible professionals. I think you get out of any program as much work as you're willing to put into it; a state school just won't make you do it if you're not self-motivated.

Stephtastic

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Re: Specialized program vs. state school?
« Reply #13 on: Feb 19, 2009, 02:49 pm »
ditto to bwoodbury - I had the same decision, Otterbein vs. State.  What I did was I went to one year at the community university and knocked out as many classes as I could and saved a LOT of money.  THEN I got a job for a major theatre company in New York as a receptionist and took a year off to acquire residency, in that year I did some small projects around and applied for CUNY Hunter.  My tuiton is $1600 a semmester.  It's a longer route, but I have made SO many connections between my job, the theatre community, and school that I feel I am getting as much training as I need.

To each their own, I think it is what you make of it.  I think when all is said and done I'll have gotten out of school for under $20k and still felt prepared as possible, which was my goal.  Just weigh things out and the answer will be clear to you.

Trevor7

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Re: Specialized program vs. state school?
« Reply #14 on: Feb 20, 2009, 04:33 pm »
I actually liked going to state school, I felt like even though I was majoring in theatre, that it also gave me a well rounded education.  I have a lot of friends in art or private schools that took nothing but art or theatre classes.  I went to college not to find work but to educate myself in as many things as I could,  But ultimately it is your decision.  I would do my research and then decide, and If you are unhappy with your choice you can always transfer.

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