Why I Chose Juilliard (Again)
I wrote first semester about important factors in deciding whether a school is right for you or not. This post may echo some of those same ideas, but as the acceptance deadline approaches for many divisions at school, I thought I'd share a little of why I chose Juilliard. For the second time.
When I finished my undergraduate degree at Juilliard in Vocal Arts, I was itching to get outside and into the world. It was a very enlightening year outside of school. I had the flexibility to travel and visit family, time to volunteer and learn about other cultures, and energy to pursue my many artistic interests outside of full time singing. Something major I discovered was that I wanted more training as an actor. It's always been a part of who I am, but I realized I needed the formal training to equip myself with the skills to become the actor I wanted to be. So after lots of thought and preparation, I auditioned for several MFA Acting programs around the country.
Long story short - Juilliard was the program that offered me an invitation of admission. Here are some key factors that led me to decide to return to Juilliard for four more years, but in a new program.
The Drama Division Administration
If it wasn't for the incredible vision, dedication and leadership of Jim Houghton, Kathy Hood and Richard Feldman, I wouldn't be at Juilliard today. That's not an overstatement - these three people have been so influential in making Juilliard a possibility for me.
MFA Accredited Program
Juilliard Drama added the MFA program three years ago, so now we benefit from a fully-accredited curriculum which leads to a terminal degree once we graduate. Course work outside of our 'acting' curriculum includes theater history, playwriting, directing, and pedagogy from top-notch instructors.
Faculty and Guest Artists
We are fortunate to get to work with the best in the field on a daily basis. The generosity and dedication of the faculty (putting in just as many hours as the students and more) is inspiring. The level of care and attention I've received is phenomenal and a special feature of the Drama Division.
The Final Callback Weekend
What ended up convincing me that this was the right program for me was my experience at the Final Callback Weekend. The schedule of classes, gatherings, attending plays and discussions over the three days gave me a picture of what life was like in Juilliard Drama. And I will say now that it was very accurate; the grueling schedule is very much like our day to day life in first year. Another gift from callbacks was the chance to share meals and talk with faculty members and current students. They were always there to answer questions and we genuinely interested in us as individuals. This was a great first welcome into a passionate community of theater makers.
Good luck to all with decisions to make in the coming weeks and remember it's your choice - you should never feel forced into a decision and nobody can make it for you.