“Now it hurts me to think you might never know…”*

By: Mónia C. Estima, Senior Assistant Director for Music Admissions

By now, many of you know that Juilliard is doing something different this year, with regard to application deadlines and audition periods for the music division. This year, we’ve got two of each! (OMG!) In the normal scheme of things, all orchestral instrument applicants would have had the December 1 deadline that we’ve had, like, forever, and they’d all audition during the first week of March. But not this year, oh no. This year, we’ve had to break things up (if you’re a graduating high school or college senior, you should already know the deadline and audition dates for your department). (Wait…you do know the deadline for your department, right?) (No c’mon, really? It’s, like, the end of October and you haven’t checked this stuff out yet?!) (*Sigh* OK, click here.)

So, if you clicked there, you saw that 12 music departments have a November 15 application deadline, and the other 13 have the typical December 1 deadline. The Nov. 15 folks have auditions in January and the rest audition in March (excepting Orchestral Conductors and Classical Guitarists, whose auditions will take place late February).

“What’s up with that?” you may ask. (Curiously, no one’s been asking. Admissions worried that applicants affected by this switcheroo would freak out but if they are, they’re keeping veeeeeewy quiet about it. Not that I want anyone to freak out, mind you, I’m just sayin’.) Well, what’s up with that is that the New York Philharmonic scheduled a tour over our March audition dates. Many of our faculty are in the Phil, as are faculty at both Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College The New School for Music. After the Associate Dean of Admissions and I heard about this (and after we recovered from our heart attacks), we got on the horn with the Admissions folks at MSM and Mannes and set up a meeting to figure out how we were going to handle what would surely turn into a scheduling nightmare for us all.

Many bottles of smelling salts and boxes of Kleenex tissues later, we emerged with the plan of scheduling the 12 affected departments in January (and, as much as possible, the three schools tried to keep departmental dates close together so that, say, a bassist interested in Juilliard AND Mannes AND MSM wouldn’t have to make separate trips to NY to audition at all three. See how much we all care about you guys?). We at Juilliard consulted with our faculty members to glean their availability for this time period during the 2008 March auditions (when they were more or less our captive audience), and thus came about the dates you saw if you clicked on the above link. The earlier application deadline reflects our need for sufficient time to process applications so we can schedule auditions and still give you enough time to make your travel and lodging arrangements.

The roughest part of it for you Nov. 15 deadliners is having to get your supporting documents (transcripts, letters of recommendation, TOEFL if applicable) to us by the time you audition (unless you’re a DMA applicant and have to get all of that stuff in by the Nov. 15 deadline). On the bright side, you’ll have some free time during your December breaks to do some intensive practicing so, theoretically, you’ll be fresher for your Juilliard audition. Plus, the bulk of these January auditions is taking place over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, so you may not have to worry about missing classes to take your audition with us (unlike some folks auditioning in March). Also, you’ll hear about your admissions decision from us earlier (though Financial Aid awards will not be determined until the end of March).

Anyway, I wanted you to know that we didn’t choose to do January auditions for funsies. It was one of those “desperate times call for desperate measures” kinda things. (To borrow a phrase from my esteemed colleague, Geoffrey Scott, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!)

*The title for this blog was filched from the song “Nice” by Duran Duran.

Drama Students: What I Wish I Had Known in High School

By: Grantham H. Coleman II, First Year Actor – Group 41, Drama Division

Senior year was by far the busiest year of my life. With shows, competitions, scholarship applications, college applications, and school work on top of that, finding the balance between all of them was absolutely necessary.

A guidance counselor’s job is to help you with this especially. They are there to guide you; take advantage of that. When I was deciding on what schools I should apply to I made a list and showed my counselor. She asked if there were any I left off because I didn’t think I could afford to go to them, and I replied yes. She then told me that at this point, money doesn’t matter. “What?” I said. “How could it possibly not matter?” But she explained to me that I shouldn’t limit myself from schools based on money matters before I even apply. I also learned about fee waivers, little gifts from heaven that (if you can’t afford to pay the fees required to apply and audition) waive the required payments of schools.

The next day, I applied to schools like there was no tomorrow, thanks to common apps. The Common Application is an application accepted by nearly 350 colleges and universities. All I needed to do was fill out one application, and send it to as many schools that I wanted to apply to out of the schools that accept the common app. Granted, not all schools accept it, and there are additional requirements from several schools that are members with the common app, but the amount of work it saved me from doing gave me time to focus on the those other important senior year events.

As drama students, we are usually required to do auditions for the schools we want to attend. When I realized the number of schools I applied to, and the number that required me to fly from this city to that city for auditions, I almost began to cry. But then another little birdie, who I am gratefully indebted to, told me of Unifieds. Actually, I believe it’s called National Unified Auditions, which are auditions held in New York, Chicago (I went to the ones in Chicago, I think the most theatre schools come to NY or Chicago), Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. Students come from all over to audition at these events. You have to set auditions up with your schools for when and where you will audition, but hopefully you can schedule them for the same city in the few days that the auditions are there. But still, don’t worry if you can’t schedule them all in one city. Judging by where you live, schools might come to the largest city near you for auditions. To know this, it is a matter of researching and asking questions, which you should do about any of the schools you plan on attending.

Next came the actual audition itself. The best thing to remember when auditioning for a school is that they want you to get in. They want you to be good. No school wants you to come in and not do well; they would be wasting their own time. Even though you are portraying characters during your theatre audition, there might be an interview session, and it is best to be yourself during this. The schools want to see who you are, and if you would make a good fit to their program.

As important as auditions are, it’s good to remember that you are auditioning the school just as much as they are auditioning you. Find out if they’re a good fit for you. Research the faculty, and ask questions during the interview. Not only does it show you’re interested, but you can find out so much more from the people who would know the program the best. You are picking a place to learn from for the next 4 years of your life, just as they are picking a pupil.

When it came to deciding what school was right for me, I chose the best fit for who I am now, and who I want to be as a professional. I began with ruling out the schools that I didn’t learn anything from at an audition. Even though auditions can be as short as 20 minutes sometimes, to not take something away from that reflects on either the effort I put in, or the effort provided by the faculty. Then came the financial aid aspect of selecting a school; once you’re in, money matters again. There are tons of scholarships offered by schools, and millions from outside sources. Government grants and loans are other options from which money can flow. As the price of education rises, so does the value of a good education. The amount of people who graduate without debt is few, and it is not worth it to sacrifice a substantially better education over taking out loans. After that process, I visited the schools on call back weekends and spoke to students who attended them, who are also a great source of information. Parents, teachers, and counselors are all tremendous helps in making the decision of which school to attend, but in the end it was my choice, as it will be yours.

I chose The Juilliard School because the discipline I want to have when it comes to approaching work and the discipline they instill in the actors they train go hand in hand. And as a conservatory, I am doing what I love everyday of the week. In the BFA program, the liberal arts courses are as intense, if not more so, than classes you would find at other colleges and universities across the country. Located in New York, NY, the epicenter of the arts community, every day I’m exposed to what it means to be human, and what it takes to present that through my craft.

Editor’s Note: The Juilliard School does not accept the Common Application, but we do offer fee waivers to qualified applicants. The Juilliard School does not participate in the National Unified Auditions; however, our New York and Chicago Drama audition periods overlap with the Unified dates in those cities.

She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain…

By: Geoffrey Scott, Senior Assistant Director for Recruitment

It has begun; I recently completed my first recruitment trip to the West coast. Katie and I were cooped up in a car for 4 days visiting schools and participating in college fairs. It has been a great trip, but can I just say that those GPS systems you get with the rental cars, they are just no good sometimes. There was a moment when I REALLY wanted to chuck “Jill” out the window. And I swear that robotic voice gets real testy with you if you miss your turn…”recalculating”. Like it’s my fault that her directions weren’t clear. But then I remembered that if we threw “Jill” out the window we wouldn’t be able to find our way down the mountain from Idyllwild. PS-that’s one of the roughest rides ever. And if you see Katie on the road and she tells you I screamed it’s because she was going into a sharp curve at 50MPH; I’m just saying – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (Editor’s Note: Katie obeyed all posted speed limits and other traffic laws. We cannot say the same for other members of the Admissions Staff.)

We just wrapped up our second Spotlight event for prospective applicants and their parents. This is the third year we have done Spotlights and they have proven to be quite the informational tool. By speaking with faculty, administrators, and current students, prospective applicants in their senior and junior years are able to get a clearer sense of Juilliard and the programs we offer, not to mention the brownies are pretty tasty. If you have not signed up for a Spotlight event and would like to, give us a call. If there is available space, we’ll be happy to register you.

Many students think that they HAVE to attend a Spotlight to have their questions answered and make a connection with Juilliard. Actually, when we can, we are happy to arrange a student visit at any point during the year (excepting holidays, school closings and my birthday) to help students gain a better sense of the School. Even if you can’t visit, you should feel free to contact us via e-mail or phone and start a dialogue. Much of the information you are searching for can be found on the Juilliard Web site, but nothing beats having personal contact with a school rep and getting information directly from the source. So if you have a question, contact a member of the admissions staff to get “the scoop.” Young artist message boards are also informative, but they can be misleading and often times do not tell the full story. Our Spotlight events are just another way for us to demystify our process.

So, if you can attend a Spotlight, sign up for one of the remaining events. Next up…Drama Spotlight!

Music Students: What I Wish I Had Known in High School

By: Lyn Schoch, First-Year Orchestral Music Student and Office of Admissions Work-Study Student

First of all, Hello! I am a first-year classical trumpet major, and so far I absolutely love everything about Juilliard. Last week I was thinking about how Juilliard is kind of like Olive Garden: When you’re here, you’re family! Although I’ve only been here for a little over a month, I hope I can provide you with useful information about getting information about and applying to Juilliard. For me, that whole process happened less than a year ago, so I remember it well.

If you haven’t visited Juilliard yet, consider scheduling a visit or checking out the virtual tour online so you can get a feel for the school. It’s important to visit Juilliard to see how you feel walking through the buildings– the vibe you get when you’re here can tell you a lot about whether it is a good fit for you.

One of the most important things you can do is contact a teacher in your desired major. E-mail them to let them know who you are, your interest in Juilliard, and any questions you may have. The teachers here are happy to hear from you, and they are eager to answer any questions you may have. Contact information can be found on the Juilliard website, and if you can’t find what you need, any member of Admissions would be happy to help you.

To find out more about life at Juilliard, contact current students! Nearly everyone here is more than happy to answer any questions you might have about Juilliard. Do a search on whatever social network you’re on or ask the Office of Admissions about current students who would be willing to answer questions from prospective students. If you haven’t read other blog entries from the Office of Admissions yet, take the time to at least skim through some of them now. Current students have written about what life is REALLY like at Juilliard, and some staff have posted some very important information (such as the fact that some of you will have a November 15 application deadline).

If you’re wondering whether or not you should apply to Juilliard, there are a couple things to consider. For some people, the application fee combined with the cost of flying to New York City for an audition can be daunting. You might also be wondering if you are good enough to be considered for acceptance to Juilliard. All of this is completely normal, and I encourage you to discuss everything with your parents and your private teacher.

As far as the application process, the most important thing to do is BE ORGANIZED. If you have any questions, contact the Admissions Office. Guidance counselors, teachers, and mentors at your current high school should be able to help you as well. Fill out each part of the Juilliard Application for Admission with care, paying attention to each little detail. You’ll have to write a personal statement and/or essay as part of the application, and just remember that the Admissions committee wants to know who YOU are. Also, you don’t have to stress out about it too much, because after all, something like 95% of the decision is based on your audition. But don’t just blow off the essay, either.

In addition to the application for admission, you might decide to fill out the Financial Aid application, which can be found on the Juilliard Web site. This deadline is later than the application for admission, so don’t sweat about it quite yet, but don’t forget about it! It’s perfectly acceptable (if not preferred) to send in your Financial Aid application early, too – but not too early because you’ll need your family’s 2008 tax information.

A couple of my friends who are going through the application process this year have expressed their concerns about a few things, so I thought I would talk about those. First, I understand it can be very nerve-wracking to press the “next” button on the online application for fear that your information will be lost or you will accidentally submit your application. The chance of your information being lost is very slim, however I always recommend that you save essays and other information in a document outside of your internet browser. Technology can sometimes be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to save your college application stuff in multiple places. As for submitting your application, I don’t remember the Juilliard application specifically, but it should be extremely obvious when you have the option to submit your application online. I’m pretty sure there will be a place for you to “sign” it (just type in your full name) and date it, and then I’m pretty sure you are asked “Are you sure you want to submit your application?” So don’t worry about that– just be alert and attentive to what buttons you’re clicking!

Don’t forget to look at the supplemental forms that you are required to fill out and send in as well. You are asked to submit a recommendation from an English teacher– don’t forget this one.

Now let’s talk about why you should send in your application and recommendations earlier rather than later. If there’s anything missing from your application, you want to know that as soon as possible. If the application deadline has passed and the Office of Admissions doesn’t have all the forms they need from you – most importantly the pre-screening recording! – you’re pretty much out of luck. Also, it’s no fun for the Office of Admissions to receive 95% of the applications on the day of the deadline. Really, it’s not. The entire office would be a lot happier if applications were received weeks before the deadline so we can have all of your information in our system to schedule your auditions and all that good stuff. Wouldn’t you like the Juilliard Office of Admissions to be happy when they’re reviewing your application? ;-)

If we write it, will they read it?

We’ve been blogging for almost a year now in Juilliard Admissions, and sincerely hope that we’re not just posting in a void of cyberspace – but one can never really be sure!  We had to turn off the “comments” because blogs tend to get hugely spammed, and it was overwhelming to sort through hundreds of pages of gobbledygook to see if a real person had actually commented.   Once and a while, we hear from individuals that s/he read a blog, and it makes us very happy – because all else aside, we have a great time writing!  But seriously – we are trying to make sure that important and helpful information is getting to students and their families, and it is rewarding to know that the blog is successful.

So, in the interest of sharing even more information, I thought I’d direct our (we hope) Juilliard blog readers to the blog of a colleague from the University of Illinois.  Dan is blogging in a more general way about music admissions, and has already covered a variety of useful topics.  Visit The Music Admissions Blog for some interesting reading!