Picking where to go to school can seem like a daunting decision because it can have such a potent impact on your future as an actress. But if you follow a few simple steps, you should find yourself a the right school for you in no time!
- Decide on a type of acting school
Before you can make any other decisions about acting school, you need to figure out what kind of education you are seeking. For example, you could sign up to earn a certificate diploma from a community college or technical school, the programs for which often take a year or less to complete. The benefit to this option, of course, is the short timeline to degree completion, but the downside is that you will get less instruction in fewer areas related to acting. Another option is to enroll in an associate’s degree program, which are typically also offered at community colleges and vocational schools. While going this route usually means you will be in school for a little longer – around two years – you will benefit from added instruction in your field, as well as some general education in topics like English and math. A third option is for you to apply to a bachelor’s degree program, which is at the other end of the spectrum from a certificate diploma program. To earn a bachelor’s degree you will have to stay in school for four years (occasionally longer, depending on how many classes you take at once), which can be a downside if you are itching to start auditioning for roles. That being said, it can sometimes be an advantage, in terms of both your acquisition of skills and the impression you leave on casting directors, when you start seeking paid work.
- Consider location
The next most important decision to make after deciding on a length and intensity of program is to determine where you want to go to school. This usually comes down to one factor: whether to stay close to home or travel far away. If you have a family and/or full-time job, you may not feel comfortable moving very far from your current location. If that is the case, the rest of this process will probably be fairly easy. You simply have to look for what acting training programs are available near you. If, however, you aren’t tied to any specific geographic area, you can go wherever you please. You might choose to look for schools in New York or Los Angeles, since there will be more jobs available to you in these areas after graduation, or you might choose to look for top-rated programs in other areas.
- Research tuition rates
The other big decision to make has to do with your financial situation – how much can you afford to spend on your education? Depending on where you go to school and whether or not you qualify for in-state tuition, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $16,000 a semester – maybe more if you are seeking a bachelor’s degree at a private university. For most people, that’s not cheap! But don’t despair. There are a lot of options for financial aid, some of which are offered by the schools themselves, and others which you can be awarded from the federal government by filling out the appropriate forms. Do your research to find out how much your expected financial contribution will be at different schools before you apply, if possible.