Application Deadlines: Better late than never does not apply

It’s the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, and as usual, applications are pouring in.The long weekend is the ideal time for students and their families to put the finishing touches on all of those applications with approaching deadlines, and we always see a surge of activity and tons of mail right after the holiday.

Our application deadline is fast approaching – it’s this Saturday, December 1st.So what exactly does this date mean, in terms of policy and procedures for the Office of Admissions?First of all, it means that the online application simply stops accepting applications after midnight on the 1st (actually, we turn it off at midnight Pacific Standard Time, which is 3:00 am New York time, so that all time zones in the U.S. have until midnight!).This makes it technically impossible to submit a late application online.Second, it means that post offices are hopping, because December 1 is also a post-mark deadline for both pre-screening materials and application fees (if you are paying by check, that is).If you live in an area where the post offices are not open on Saturday, please be sure that your pre-screening materials and/or check are mailed on Friday, because Monday, December 3 will be considered late (see my blog on pre-screening from November 8th).

Does Juilliard accept late applications?That’s a complicated question.For music, the answer is basically no.If we receive an application fee postmarked after the deadline, even if the online application was submitted on time, we consider that application late.Since each applicant is scheduled for a unique audition time, we do have a finite number of audition spaces.Our first priority is to schedule applicants who submitted a complete application and application fee by the deadline.We won’t process that late application until all the on time applicants have been assigned audition times (usually in mid-January).If there are any audition spaces available, we will then accept and process the late application.If all audition spaces are full, the application is not accepted and the application fee will be returned.

Dance and Drama have on occasion accepted late applications, because those divisions have one audition process, and multiple dates (and audition cities).If they have any dates which are not completely full with on-time applicants, they may accept a late application for that particular date and city. If you are reading this after December 1st, and want to inquire if these divisions will accept a late application, contact Katie Friis, Dance Admissions Coordinator, for Dance, or Kathy Hood, Administrative Director, Drama Division, for Drama. If it is still possible to submit a late application, you will be mailed a paper application (or emailed a PDF) to complete.

So, all that being said, good luck with completing your application, and please call us if you have any questions at all – 212/799-5000 x223!

I keep the drama out of the Drama Division auditions!

By: Julianne Just, Assistant Manager of the Drama Division

Hello! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. My name is Julianne Just and I am the Assistant Manager of the Drama Division. In regards to admissions, I help Kathy Hood and Jerry Shafnisky process the acting applications and schedule auditions, as well as coordinate all the current Drama Division students who take part in working the auditions here in New York. One of my main duties is to make sure everything runs smoothly during the audition days.

At the beginning of your audition day you will participate in a group orientation and warm-up session. This is a chance for you to ask questions and to prepare yourself physically and mentally. You will then be assigned a specific audition time. Auditions are held before a faculty panel at which time you will present both a classical and contemporary monologue. These monologues should be approximately 2 minutes in length – however you will not be timed. I know auditioning can be a really nerve-racking experience, but the division strives to make it as pleasant and friendly as possible. Remember that everyone is rooting for you. So give it your all!

Another one of my duties is to help coordinate and run our weekly Community Events. These events are designed to bring together the entire Drama Division student body and provide an opportunity for them to meet various artists and hear about their life and work. Just this week we had alumna Laura Linney come in to speak to the students and the week before that we hosted playwright Charles Mee. Other guests have included clown/actor Bill Irwin, director Michael Attenborough, playwright Horton Foote, actress Lisa Harrow, and poet Patricia Smith. Besides guest speakers, the weekly Community Events also serve as a place for the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwright Fellows to hear their plays read aloud by the acting students.

I also manage work-study students for the Drama Division. There are a number of work-study opportunities available specifically for drama students – for example ushering for our 3rd and 4th year productions, room monitoring, assisting in the office, and working the New York City auditions. These jobs are flexible and designed to work with our students’ busy class schedules.

One of my favorite things about Juilliard is the people that you will meet here. Everyone – students, faculty and staff – is intelligent, interesting, kind and giving. I believe that it is the people you find here that fill the school with a unique and vibrant energy.

I know that the December 1st application deadline for the Actor Training Program is fast approaching, and I would like to encourage you to get those applications in! We schedule auditions on first-come, first-served basis, so if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact the Drama Division at 212-799-5000 ext. 251.

Surprises at Juilliard

Hi, my name is Katie and I’m the Dance Admissions Coordinator for The Juilliard School.I’m new here (I started at the end of August 2007), so this is my first application and audition season.From what I can tell so far, it’s going to be a pretty interesting ride!

I’d like to share with you a few of the things that surprised me about Juilliard when I started working here:

  1. The friendly, accessible people who work and study within this intimate community.Juilliard is small – only about 1,000 people, so it’s easy to start recognizing names and faces.I think there is a lot of intimidation associated with the Juilliard name, and that comes from simply being unfamiliar with the school.As soon as you take a tour, observe a dance class, or speak with an Admissions staff member, you realize that Juilliard is a place with real people who don’t just care about dance, drama, or music – they truly care about one another.
  2. The financial aid situation.When I was applying to colleges, cost was one of the top factors influencing my decision.I didn’t even consider applying to private colleges or conservatories, based on the fact that tuition was so high.Juilliard’s tuition is of course higher than a state school, but since the number of students we accept is a lot smaller, we can work more closely with each accepted student to make it financially possible for them to attend.Juilliard recognizes that any student we accept will be high-merit due to the intensive audition process, so scholarships are usually based on financial need.It’s even possible for undergrad applicants to request an application fee waiver.No student who feels ready for conservatory training should let the cost of tuition prevent them from applying!
  3. The audition process.Yes, it’s intense.But the faculty truly want to make applicants feel comfortable so that they can perform at their best.We don’t want to miss out on someone’s great talent, simply because they were too nervous or scared.The faculty is rooting for you!
  4. The amount of bad information, urban legends, and just plain silliness that circulates about Juilliard.When we were researching the best way to start this blog, we looked on the internet for other blogs or personal accounts that had to do with Juilliard.It was astounding to me how easy it is to find incorrect information or, um, interesting “stories” about the Juilliard experience.The truth is, you can find the best information on our website, and if you have a question you can’t find the answer to, we have an entire office devoted to helping you!We are at our desks waiting for your phone calls and emails (and applications!), so please utilize the Office of Admissions if you have a question or concern: (212) 799-5000 x223 or admissions@juilliard.edu.We also have current Juilliard students lead our tours and participate in each division’s Spotlight events, so there are plenty of opportunities to speak with real students about their experiences (as opposed to taking an anonymous blogger’s word!).
  5. The level of intelligence in an arts conservatory.Since Juilliard doesn’t require the SATs or a minimum GPA to gain admittance, it’s easy to assume that students don’t exactly “make the grade.”The truth is, Juilliard has students who are not only brilliant artists, but also amazing writers, philosophers, thinkers, and doers.I’ve read a number of the current students’ application essays, and some of them are truly inspiring.I’ve attended a rehearsal of works choreographed by students, and they are extraordinarily smart creators.Students have written grants to get projects funded, including arts outreach trips to Africa and South America.These are amazing people who are blessed equally in gifts of artistry and intelligence.

I hope you will come back to read more of our blog entries and “get to know” us.I think it will help make Juilliard feel more accessible to you, which is exactly what we want.We’re excited to meet you!

What Does the Drama Division’s Office Manager Do, Anyway?

By: Jerry Shafnisky, Office Manager of the Drama Division

Hey everyone! My name’s Jerry Shafnisky and I’m the office manager of the Drama Division here at Juilliard. I was thrilled when Lee Cioppa, Associate Dean for Admissions at The Juilliard School, told me her office would be starting a blog. I really enjoy all of our opportunities to reach out to prospective students. Earlier this season, I was able to join my colleagues in the Admissions Office for some of the college fairs around the country. That’s exciting for me not only because I like to travel, but it’s wonderful to meet some of you in person and talk about our Actor Training Program.

You will recognize my name from the confirmation sheet that you return after you receive the information about your audition. It’s important to send those gold sheets of paper to secure your audition and also confirm your date and time of audition. We’ve got a very tight system of operations here for auditions, but there are a few places for human error and those sheets are an important part of our process.

Each year we take a few steps to help streamline our process. Sometimes there are changes that affect the applicants (for instance, this year all of our applications are online), and sometimes it’s internally (never underestimate the power of mail merge!). The past few years, more and more of our applications have been computer-based and while that makes it much easier for processing (and less data entry errors), it also removes a bit of the “human contact.” You might be surprised how much energy and individuality comes across in a person’s penmanship! Now all of our applications look the same, but we’ve added this unique way to get our voices out there, to help answer your questions, discuss our application and audition process, and to talk about our training program.

Even though my title is “office manager,” that doesn’t quite reflect everything that I do. I’m part of the Division’s three part administrative team, lead by Kathy Hood. Along with Julianne Just and Bradley Diuguid, we offer support to our administrators, faculty and students. Basically that means we type memos and refill the paper clips! But our jobs entail quite a bit more. I handle the ticket requests for all of our performances and showings, design the programs for our 25+ shows per year, represent the Division at college fairs and prospective student meetings, and act as our unofficial photographer for most of our demos and events. And in between all of that, as I describe to people who ask what an office manager does, “Basically anything that the students need, I’m responsible for.” It’s that simple and that complex.

As part of the acting admissions process, I handle all of the change of audition requests, contact individuals who are still missing materials, and help process the miscellaneous material that arrives separate from the application. I also process all of our (100+) playwright applications for the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwright Program and send the scripts to our readers (each submission is read several times). As the New York auditions draw close, I create the paperwork we generate for evaluations and preparation from our maintenance staff. I’m also on hand during the actual audition days and love to reconnect with individuals I’ve met with previously or to meet in person anyone I’ve talked to over the phone. In the past, I’ve given tours of the school for the family and friends who come to support those of you who audition, but unfortunately, while we’re in the midst of renovations and the building is being reconfigured, that may not be possible this year. We’re in the process of hunting down a waiting area for anyone not auditioning. In any event, I’ll be communicating with YOUR support team and giving them updates on how things are going on the “Third Floor” – where you’ll be auditioning.

Personally, I feel like I’m in a wonderful spot. I’m able to combine my passion for the theater with my love of spreadsheets and forms. Getting to work in an environment like this is an absolute treat and I look forward to the chance to share this experience with you.

On the road again…

By: Geoffrey Scott, Senior Assistant Director for Recruitment

I have been on-the-go since late September (Washington, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Interlochen, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Idyllwild, and Sacramento). Yeah, it might not seem like a lot, but pepper that with high school and Youth Orchestra visits and it suddenly becomes quite a lot. You would think that after 7 years of working in admissions that I would be used to a hectic travel schedule. But for some reason, this year has been particularly tough. Sure, I love flying to different parts of the country and interacting with prospective applicants and their parents, but honestly, when you fly to four different cities in four days, the thought of going through security really loses its luster. Now don’t get me wrong, the carrot on the other side of the conveyor belt, big fans, and mono-chromatically dressed TSA officials with their beeping magic wands is definitely the Cinnabon and Starbucks. However, nothing is more disappointing than going through (BEEP! Dang it’s a cell phone – phew, I made it), rushing to grab your laptop, shoes, and belt to discover that your gate has NOTHING! *Sigh* Fine, a cellophane-wrapped stale bagel it is.

The scariest trip to date had to have been the fair at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Everyone was saying it was at the top of a mountain, so I’m thinking how high could it be? Well, I found out, and I had white knuckles the whole way up and back down the mountain. The speed limit is like 35mph. This is FAR too slow for the locals who ride your bumper and do everything short of driving you off the road to get you to pull over. I’m driving and turning, turning and driving all the way up this mountain with popping ears from the elevation (I’m from Texas; we don’t have mountains in Houston). I was not ready for this and prayed and swore the whole way up to the school. First I hit the sign that said 3,000 feet, then 4,000 feet and I think to myself “Oh, it’s right around the next curve.” Wrong! Then I hit the sign that says 5,000 feet and I am doing my best not to look over to the side (p.s. the side that had no guardrails) and panic. I don’t know how Moses did it; I swear I should have been coming down from there with a set of stone tablets. I got a great tip from a local once I arrived at the college fair, and I will share this with you and feel free to pass it along: “The turnouts are for slower traffic.” OH! I thought it was for me to pull off and get a look at the scenery (light dawns on Marble-head).

The highlight of this year’s travels has definitely been meeting and talking with the students and their parents. Those students who walk by the table with this look of utter fear on their face until they step up, start talking, and discover that we really aren’t as mean as they might have thought. What I have learned about you all is that you guys are SO savvy. You all have done your research and bring those questions that the Web site couldn’t answer to these college fairs. And then, there are the parents who seem to have a couple different takes. There are those parents who come with their dancer, actor, or musician and just stand back while the student asks all their questions – occasionally shifting the weight of all the books, fliers and pens picked up from the various schools. Even when prodded with “Can I answer any questions for you while they fill out the card?” they answer “No thanks; this is all them.” But there are also those parents that come by the table and ask a ton of questions, which is GREAT! As an admissions professional I know that you come to these college fairs to gather information, and honestly I don’t feel as though I’ve done my job if you leave and still have questions. So come up; we are way friendlier than you think. I promise!

My last trip for the fall is coming up this weekend, and then I’m back for the remainder of the fall – YAY! Now my question is this: How am I going to do all of this next year with a puppy? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Pre-Screening – putting your best musical foot forward

Pre-screening questions are easily our “Top 10″ list in November – What is the deadline?  Do I need to have a pianist?  Can I substitute repertoire?  My recording studio lost the master!  I can’t get a recording date until December 1!

While some applicants have already made their recordings and sent them in (thank you!), many are still working on this very important component of the application.  I thought it might be helpful to know Juilliard’s policies, expectations, and recommendations as you are preparing to record.  So here are the answers to the Pre-Screening Top 10:

  1. When is the deadline?  Pre-screening recordings must be post-marked December 1st.  However, it is better to try to get it in the mail earlier, because we always hear from someone that s/he made it to the post office at 1 minute after 5, and it was closed (and yes, that does make it late).
  2. What happens if my pre-screening is late?  A late pre-screening recording may have a serious affect on your consideration for an invitation to a live audition.  The faculty will first consider all on-time recordings, and if there are any audition spaces remaining (because we do have a limited amount of audition slots available), will then consider late pre-screening materials.  Therefore, it is possible that a late recording will simply not be reviewed at all.  That being said – refer back to #1!
  3. Do I have to have a pianist for the recording?  Yes – if a piece is accompanied, you must have accompaniment on the pre-screening, unless the requirements say otherwise (for example, flute specifies that the Mozart should be unaccompanied).
  4. Does the repertoire have to be in a specific order?  No – unless the requirements specify (to use flute as an example again, those requirements do state the order they should be in on the recording).  My recommendation is to choose the order according to what represents you the best – start the recording with your favorite work, or what you think is the strongest piece you recorded.  If the faculty like what they hear first, that may be enough for them!
  5. Should I go into a studio to make my recording?  We do not require you to use a studio to make your recording.  A recording device (such as a mini-disc or DAT player, or video for percussion and double bass), a good microphone, a fairly large room (such as a classroom or small recital hall), and a good pianist, will make a suitable recording.  You’ll need to be your own engineer – record one take, listen to it back for balance (make sure we can hear you, and not just the piano!) and sound quality (is the mic too close?  too far away?), adjust as needed, and then continue recording.  If you don’t have any of the above, be creative about asking friends and colleagues if you can borrow the recording devices, your school, church or youth orchestra if you can use a space, your teacher to recommend a pianist, etc.  We don’t require a studio recording because of the money involved – if you are invited to a live audition, you will have travel costs, and we understand how expensive it can be to travel to and stay in New York City.  There will still be some cost to doing it yourself (paying the pianist, and someone to transfer your recording to a CD), but not nearly as much as paying a studio.  If this sounds too complicated or overwhelming, it may be worth it for you to go into a studio and have a professional take care of everything – but it’s up to you.
  6. Does the repertoire for my live audition need to be the same as my pre-screening repertoire?  No, it doesn’t.  In the application, we are asking you to list your live audition repertoire (except for Jazz Studies, in which case you list your selections for the pre-screening).  The pre-screening repertoire can be different, but must still meet the requirements.  For example, a singer may want to sing a particular Italian aria for the live audition in March, but doesn’t feel quite ready to record it now.  Another Italian aria is completely acceptable.
  7. Are repertoire substitutions allowed?  In general, no.  The faculty set the repertoire requirements because they demonstrate something in particular that they need to hear in order to consider you for an invitation to a live audition.  If you have a valid reason for a substitution, then you can email repertoire@juilliard.edu with your request.  We will then check with the Department Chair for your instrument.  But please don’t ask just a few days before the deadline – it usually takes us about a week to get a response from the Chair and get back to you. (By the way – this is also the email address to use if you have questions about whether a particular piece meets a requirement).
  8. Where do I send my pre-screening materials?  This one’s easy:

The Juilliard School

Office of Admissions

[Your instrument here] – PRE-SCREENING MATERIALS

60 Lincoln Center Plaza

New York, NY10023

  1. I sent my recording already – should I call to make sure Juilliard received it, or will you send me an acknowledgement?  Actually – no to both!  If you applied online, then we will enter that your pre-screening materials are received in the “Track Status” section of your application.  Just log back into your application, and click on “Track Status” near the bottom of the first page.  Give us a bit of time, though – we get literally thousands of pieces of mail!  While we may delay entering your transcripts and letters of recommendations right now (since they’re not due until February 1, unless you’re a D.M.A. applicant, in which case they’re due January 15), we will “track” pre-screening materials as fast as we can open envelopes.
  2. When will I know the results of the pre-screening?  The faculty reviews the pre-screening materials in early and mid-January.  Usually, we have the results by the third week in January.  Notification of your pre-screening status, either passing or not, is sent both by email and hard copy.  We do not give out the results over the phone.  If you are being invited to a live audition, the audition date and time will be posted to your online application in the “Track Status” section – but don’t rush to check, as we won’t post that information until we send out the emails.

That’s a lot of information – but I still have a few more tips!

  • Please read the requirements carefully – not only for repertoire, but also for format requirements.  If you send the wrong format (e.g. a CD for percussion, which required a DVD or video) it could affect your consideration.  And if you send a format we specifically say not to send (PAL video, mini-disc, DAT, etc.) then we’re simply not going to be able to listen to it!
  • Listen to your recording – make sure we can hear you clearly, and the sound isn’t distorted or has any “buzz”.
  • If you’re burning a CD to send – listen to it before mailing.  We have gotten blank CD’s!  Also, check it in a CD player, not just a computer – some sound systems won’t play CD-R’s.
  • Write your full name and repertoire on the CD/DVD case (not the disc itself).  If it’s on only the disc, we can’t jump around as easily, since we won’t know what’s next.
  • Package your recording carefully – we have also received broken discs.
  • And finally – please send your pre-screening materials by a method that can be tracked.  If for any reason we tell you we don’t have your materials, we’re relying on you to be able to prove that you sent it.

Good luck with your recording, and we look forward to listening to you in January!

Welcome to Drama

By: Kathy Hood, Administrative Director of the Drama Division

Hello! Welcome to our very first blog entry for the Drama Division. I am Kathy Hood, the Administrative Director of the Drama Division and I oversee the admissions process for acting. Our entire division is thrilled to begin these communications with you, our prospective students, and give you all the information you need to take you from submitting the application, to auditioning, to perhaps even accepting admission!

It is one of the great joys of my work life to be involved in this process and to assist you with each step along the way. Many of us have been in your shoes before and we understand what it is like to be uncertain, nervous, and excited about auditioning for a conservatory program. We have tremendous respect for each of you and recognize the courage it takes to go through these school auditions. Remember: we are on your side and want you to do well! We are looking for every reason to say “yes” to you. The audition day will be structured to help enable you to present yourself and your talent in the best possible manner.

These blogs will be another great way, in addition to the Juilliard Web site, for you to get the information about the audition process and our training program. I know we are also eager to share with you the many exciting new initiatives and activities that are taking place at the school under the new leadership of our Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division, James Houghton.

In the coming months, you will be introduced to Drama Division faculty, students, and my staff who will be talking about a wide variety of topics of interest. There will also be specific information posted about our Playwriting Program. Our next few blogs will be from my wonderful staff: Jerry Shafnisky, Julianne Just, and Bradley Diuguid, who play a critical role in the entire process. We are all here to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to be in contact with us. The most direct way to reach us is by phone: (212) 799-5000, ext. 251. Our office hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. We look forward to speaking to you and eventually meeting you in person at the auditions.

Important reminder: The application deadline is December 1st. That leaves just 24 days to submit your materials, so don’t delay as individuals are scheduled for auditions on a first-come basis. It is an understatement to say I love the Drama Division and its students and faculty (this is my 19th year at Juilliard!) and I am very fortunate to be a part of this nurturing, inspiring and supportive community. I thank you for taking the time to get to know a little more about us.

Wishing you all the best,

Kathy Hood

Welcome to the Juilliard Admissions Blog

Welcome, welcome and more welcome to the new Juilliard Admissions Blog! My name is Lee Cioppa, and I am the Associate Dean for Admissions at The Juilliard School. I am very excited to be launching this blog, as a new step in communications with prospective students and their families.

Why a blog? Since it is somewhat inherent among admissions folk that we love to talk, and (at least in my opinion) the best part of our job is when we do get to sit down and answer questions about Juilliard, writing about Juilliard is not a far stretch. A blog is essentially storytelling, and there are a lot of great stories that happen here.

Who will blog? Mostly, this blog will be by Admissions staff, to share our experiences and advice about applying and auditioning for Juilliard. But it’s our students that can tell the real story about the Juilliard experience, so I’ll be inviting some of them to write too.

What will we blog about?What I hope we will accomplish in this blog is answer your questions as you consider applying to Juilliard, or are actually applying. Recently, I traveled to a high school to talk to juniors and seniors (more about our travels in a future blog), and brought a student who was a graduate of that school. When I asked if anyone had questions for him, there was a short silence. My response was, “That’s O.K. I have a lot of questions that I think you should ask him, and I’ll just go ahead and get started for you!”

What did I ask? For starters, I asked him what was different about attending Juilliard than he had expected. His response: the community, that it was much more of a warm and caring place than he had thought it would be, based on a reputation of being “cold and cutthroat.” Then I asked him what advice he would give them, from his experience applying and auditioning the previous year. His answer was funny. He said, “Well, she [meaning me] makes it sound harder than I think it is!”

After some laughter, and many more questions, I began to wonder about that comment. Did I make it sound harder than it is? Getting into college seems like an enormous endeavor nowadays. A perfect GPA, 2400 SAT’s – they aren’t a guarantee. So how do you advise students about admission to a conservatory? Mostly, I get asked about openings, as in: how many drama students do you admit each year? (Usually, 18) How many apply? (Typically, over 1,000). Or, how many flutists? violinists? singers? But what do those admittedly scary numbers tell you?

I love to tell the anecdote about a Juilliard faculty member who was asked about openings a few years ago. In that year, there were only two openings for that faculty member’s instrument. The prospective student echoed the answer in a tone of despair: “Only two?” The faculty member replied, “That’s not what you need to say! You need to say: There’s only one opening – me, and another person.”

Unrealistic? Over-confident? Maybe. But I’d like to think there’s a middle ground between “impossible” and “slam-dunk”. And that middle ground is based on information and preparation. On this blog, we’re going to try to give you the information you need. The preparation is up to you.