Creative Kid College Coach

CKCC blog

Posts tagged college counseling for the performing arts
CreativeKCC Introduces New College Counseling Assistance Products

The process of applying to college visual and performing art programs is complicated and fraught with many decisions and barriers. More often than not these barriers arise just because people don’t understand all of the requirements, or how students are assessed by art programs. It can be difficult to find the correct information and then make the best decision, and the cost can be anything from missed opportunities to missed deadlines. 

Here at Creative Kid College Coach we’re constantly working to provide the newest information and most comprehensive support to our students. However, we recognize that it’s difficult for all families in this situation to find helpful resources, and as much as we’d like to, we just can't work with every single student that comes our way. That’s why we’ve revamped our website to include a variety of products and services designed to expand access to college counseling that is tailored to the needs of creative students. 

We have three new video and document packages that were made to give you a comprehensive guide to applying to visual and performing art programs. Together they provide a detailed overview of the application process and break down some of the most common components. In our first free video, Harriet Katz, the head of Creative KCC, gives a broad explanation of how to apply to visual and performing arts programs. She covers a variety of topics, everything from how to begin researching schools to practical tips for applying to majors in digital, fine and performing arts. You’ll find out when to start, what you need to know to prepare yourself, and most importantly, you’ll become aware of all-too-common pitfalls.

In our second tutorial, Harriet walks you through our detailed guide on how to make a visual arts portfolio. She gives examples and practical suggestions for different programs ranging from fine arts to film and fashion, along with comprehensive tips for documenting the work. More importantly, Harriet explains how to use the "Additional Comments" section of Slideroom to discuss technique and concept so that admissions counselors understand essential context about your work. Once you’ve put together a memorable visual profile, she shows you how to craft an artist statement that is proof of your ability to communicate your ideas and support your enthusiasm for your artistic practice. Her advice along with our thorough questionnaire helps you identify your unique point of view, influences and skill set, and then describe them in a way admission counselors will connect with and remember.

Of course, we also give students and parents the opportunity to request one-on-one counseling with Creative Kid College Coach as they go through the college application process. We work intensively with High School Juniors and Seniors on all aspects of college program selection, applications, essays, auditions, and portfolios.

The journey to an arts education doesn’t have to be fraught, but you do need to equip yourself with the right tools. Check out all of our tutorials here, and best of luck!

Summer Programs in Acting and Musical Theatre by Robynne O'Byrne

Hey Juniors! If you are seriously considering applying to college for acting or musical theatre, now is the time to start thinking about doing a summer theatre program. The vast majority of kids who are accepted into the top acting and musical theatre programs have participated in at least one rigorous summer program. Attending one of these programs offers you several benefits.

- Many of the more competitive summer programs offer serious training by experienced faculty. Often the faculty come from BFA programs at colleges around the country. By participating in a summer program you can receive excellent training around monologue work, acting, voice and dance technique and audition preparation.

- Some of the programs are offered at universities with strong BA or BFA programs. Attending one of these programs can give you a good sense of the program at the school in which it is offered. For example, UCLA has a summer program that is staffed by the UCLA faculty. Students attending the UCLA summer program have an opportunity to learn a great deal about the program as well as to become familiar with the faculty. The faculty also has a chance to become familiar with you, which can be an advantage when you’re auditioning down the line (if you made a good impression that is!).

- Many summer programs allow you to meet faculty from different BFA programs across the country. You can get exposure to many different teaching styles and learn a great deal about the programs in which the faculty teaches. For example, The Performing Arts Project (TPAP) offers an excellent summer program for both theatre and musical theatre and the teaching faculty is comprised of professional actors and faculty members from a wide variety of BFA programs. Attending a program such as TPAP will allow you to make connections with all of these faculty members and also help you decide if you are interested in applying to their programs.

- Attending a rigorous summer program also gives you an opportunity to discover whether or not a conservatory style program is interesting to you and whether you are more inclined toward pursuing a BA or a BFA. For example, my son Sam (currently a sophomore in the Acting program at Carnegie Mellon) attended the musical theatre summer program at the University of Michigan the summer after his junior year in high school. Heading into the summer Sam was convinced he wanted to pursue a BA so that he could get a broad education while also focusing on theatre. After spending three intensive weeks at MPulse Sam realized that he really wanted to pursue a BFA. He also learned quite a bit about both the University of Michigan and the industry as a whole. Sam was exposed to people involved in many aspects of the industry and realized that pursuing a BFA in Acting would prepare him for many possible jobs within the industry.

- Attending a summer program away from home indicates to faculty and admissions counselors that you are capable of being away from home and that you are serious about your discipline. Also, you will have an opportunity to experience what it is like to study your craft full time. You’ll make connections with other students interested in pursuing the arts and get a sense of how your skills and talent compares with other students auditioning for top programs.

There a many good summer programs out there. Some are audition based and some simply require an application. Which sort of program you choose depends a great deal on your objectives. If you are interested in learning more about summer program opportunities here is a good resource:

http://www.backstage.com/advice-for-actors/resources/15-amazing-pre-college-summer-theater-programs/

This is not a comprehensive list. If you would like some advice or guidance on choosing and applying for a summer program feel free to contact me at: robynne@creativekcc.com.

Guiding A Child Through the Application/Audition Process for the Performing Arts

On the last night before the Unified auditions, I sat alone in my hotel room, reflecting on what the previous year had been like. I almost couldn’t believe the whole crazy experience would soon be over. Somewhere in the hall my son Sam was filming a silly Snapchat story with one of his friends. As the night wore on, I fought the urge to tell him it was time to come in and get some rest. Eventually I texted him and suggested that perhaps it was time to call it a night. Predictably he sent back a text telling me not to worry, that he “had it under control”. This had been the dance we’d been doing for the last 7 or 8 months. Sometimes he took my advice, sometimes I didn’t give him a choice, and sometimes he would push back hard and I would back off. If there is anything I see other parents struggle with as they try to help their children navigate this process, it’s finding that balance between helping and controlling, doing too much or not doing enough. Figuring out the “right” way to be involved is tough. Every child is different and what works for one may not work for another. But the important thing is to be involved. Most kids cannot handle all the demands of this process alone. In addition to getting through their senior year, theatre students are also performing in shows and managing the complicated and confusing application and audition process. In order for kids to be successful in this endeavor, they need to truly understand the programs they are applying to and carefully prepare for their auditions. They need to present their best selves and remain poised under enormous pressure. In order to do this they need tremendous support from the important figures in their lives.

I spent a great deal of time considering when and how to be helpful to Sam. I wanted to make sure he was engaged in the process and that it was his process, not mine. I knew that if I took on too much responsibility, or did the work for him instead of with him, he wouldn’t feel ownership over it. On the other hand, I could see how overwhelmed he was becoming as he tried to balance the demands of his senior year, school performances and the application/audition process. So I began to think of myself as a scaffold, there to support him and hold things together. I wanted to make sure nothing fell through the cracks.

I saw my primary role as that of a consultant. I offered him advice when he asked and sometimes even when he didn’t. Occasionally he needed an assistant and I would do the busywork of the applications so that he could focus on his audition material or his essay writing. Sometimes he needed a manager, so on a few occasions I set limits around social activities when I knew there were important deadlines coming up. And sometimes we argued. More times than not I let him choose how he wanted to handle things. When I thought it was really important, I pushed harder for him to prioritize his applications or audition prep. We had countless conversations about deadlines, priorities, preparation, rest, focus, commitment, and many other application/audition related topics. Those conversations didn’t always translate into the action I was hoping for, but more times than not Sam did what he needed to do. I could see that he was learning from his mistakes and even though it wasn’t always obvious, he was listening to me. Together we muddled through and in the end it made us closer.

Supporting my son through the application/audition process was one of the most challenging and gratifying experiences I have had as a parent.  Watching him handle the ups and downs, push past his fears and ultimately succeed in finding his way was exciting to witness and share.  Along the way Sam needed to know he had a touchstone, a steady hand to guide him. This gave him the grounding he needed to hang in there when it all felt like too much or when he felt an audition hadn’t gone well. More than once he said “thanks Mom, I couldn’t have done this without you”.  All children need that steady hand. Exactly how your hand will guide your child may be different than how I guided mine, but with gentle and persistent support your child will also find the way. In the end, you, and they, will be richer for the experience. My next few blogs will focus on the technical aspects of the application process and how to navigate the many minefields your student may encounter along the way. I will talk about how to make a balanced list of schools, when to start preparing audition pieces and a variety of other important topics that can help you and your student stay on track. Robynne O'Byrne