Visiting the small, liberal arts school has its advantages. For one thing, the group auditioning will be inevitably smaller. This was the case when we visited Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. A relatively new BFA program, it has a nice staff and group of students who interacted with the auditionees. It was set-up similar to the other auditions, except there wasn't an informational session or time set aside for the parents. For whatever reason, this suited me better. I struggle sitting in these sessions where they get very detailed regarding a school where the odds are anywhere from 1 in 60 to 1 in 125. That means, of the 100 people there, maybe 1 will get in. However, I know there are kids who will make it into more than one of these programs. For them, their parents need to know as much as they can to make an educated decision. I guess the tricky part is, everyone arrives with the belief that their student is talented, special and belongs in a great program.
So, what do we do with our talented, special students if none of this works out?
I return from these weekends to my wonderful staff. Many listen to my experiences on the front lines and are dumbfounded. One shared with me today that he thinks its really wrong that kids have to go through all of this. He received a great BFA in Performing Arts from Western Kentucky University. He confirmed that their program still doesn't require an audition, but you sign-up for the program and if you arent growing or cant cut it, you're out. That sounds great to me right now. As part of my "job" and helping other students and families navigate these waters, I will be doing more research on the lesser-known programs that provide solid training.