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.Â 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.