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The Ultimate Guide to Researching College MT & Theatre Programs

Summer is the perfect time to get a leg up on preparing for your college process. When else will your performance schedule provide a little extra time? Extra research now will provide much-needed answers to questions that will surface later in your college audition process.

Step 1: Which Degree?

One starting point is to begin with the type of degree you'd like to pursue. You might know you want to study Musical Theatre, but do you know which type of degree you want to pursue? BFA? BMus? BA? Something else? Though not the ultimate answer to this question, this BuzzFeed quiz is an interesting way to help you begin to determine which degree to consider within the performing arts:

Step 2: WHERE do you want to study? (or do you even care?)

Some students aren't as particular about the location of the school where they study. For others it's extremely important. Others haven't considered this factor at all. Remember, starting your list is the key at this stage of the game. If any of the answers to the following questions help rule out schools or move them into your list, it's worth the effort.

  • In state? Out of state? International?

  • Urban? Suburban? Rural? (and, do you know how these campus types differ?)

  • Close to family? Far from family?

  • East coast? West coast? Midwest? Anywhere, don't care?

  • Don't care where it is, as long as the program is great?

  • Are there places you wouldn't go?

  • Can you afford travel to/from certain places? (Many dorms shut-down for breaks, so you need a plan B if you can't stay in the dorm.)

Start with a map like the one below and have a frank conversation with your parents about the "where".

Step 3: Explore Your Program Options

Don't know which schools have musical theatre programs? Look no further! Your guide has provided a comprehensive list with direct links to the school websites on my LIST OF COLLEGE PROGRAMS which can help make this daunting task a bit easier. Make sure you don't just look at the "Highly Selective Programs". Many of these programs are more difficult to get into than gaining acceptance into Harvard or Yale. You'll need a wide range of options in order to find your best fit making this quest worth your time, money, and effort. Oh, and check-out our exclusive COLLEGE PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS, which highlight programs you may not know about.

Step 4: What to Look for and Where to Look

Most musical theatre program pages are easily accessed by searching the school name and "musical theatre". Look over the school's website. Read the information the program has placed on their landing page. Do the performance images or video clips resonate with you? Who teaches there? Do they offer specialized training? How many students are in the program? What performance opportunities do they offer? Check-out their social media presence. What's the vibe? Could you see yourself there? Our popular blog post 10 QUESTIONS TO ASK A MUSICAL THEATRE PROGRAM provides further guidance in this area.

Step 5: Ask "What Will I Learn?"

Answering the question, "What will I learn in this program?" is an important part of the selection process and the answer isn't always the easiest to find. Visit the program website and if the curriculum isn't posted there, use the search bar on the school's site (not the browser search bar) and type in terms like: "curriculum", "academic catalog", "course bulletin", or "course catalog".

I created a video guide, accessible through the image below or this link: COLLEGE MT CURRICULUM SEARCH, to help bring some clarity to this important task.

The aforementioned steps will start you on your search for program options and are easily completed virtually. Taking the time now can help drive your next steps of the narrowing-down process.

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