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Charc's College Thread

Discussion in 'Education and Career Development' started by Charc, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    So I figured I'd create a thread for my college stuff, similar to what I did with my internship, where I'll update it as I go along.

    So yesterday I saw Oberlin, today I saw Case-Western, and tomorrow I'll take the campus tour and information session for Kenyon (though their theatre dept secretary declined to setup a time for me to meet with faculty/students).

    After a one-day break I'll be going to Vassar, Wesleyan, and Skidmore.

    (Let me preface this by saying I do not mean to bash anyone's alma mater here, so keep that in mind.)

    Oberlin:
    My initial impression of the campus was not favorable. The area was too flat/wet-landsy, I did not like the surrounding area as well. The college and I don't seem to be a good fit. As for their theatre dept, the same thing. Didn't seem like a good fit for me, but I did meet with a faculty member there. Doesn't look like a good option. (I can go indepth if anyone is curious, but I'm just jotting this down before dinner.)

    Case-Western:
    I really liked the college, it seemed like a nice place, there were some really appealing features. However, the theatre dept is quite small. As a word association I would throw out the word "limited". Doesn't look like a good option. A good option for Noah though: 6x6 Kliegls and scoops. Though I don't think Derek would like the faux FOH lighting positions.

    Kenyon:
    While I've yet to take the campus tour and information session I did just stumble onto campus not too long ago. They have two main theaters, the newer of the two is quite nice. Not to base anything on gear, but they had scrollers and I-cues in the air, but control was by an ETC Express. I did walk into the costume shop, find a Freshman, who showed me around, I talked with some design students and other theatre majors who were painting on stage. They said some cool stuff. The campus has a good feel, and I'm actually in the middle of it now. I'm looking forward to their spiel tomorrow.

    Three more to come. Upenn in a week, and possibly Bucknell in a couple more.

    Thoughts, opinions?

    ~Charlie
     
  2. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Have you thought about BSU (Boston State)? That's my son's alma mater and he really enjoyed it (for the most part). The contacts he made has really helped him, he's even gotten to work with some pretty important folk along the way.

    Charlie
     
  3. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Case Western Reserve University - my alma mater!

    But, unless things have changed, it's not a college for theatre, if that's one's primary interest.


    Joe

    (That part of Ohio was in Connecticut's "western reserve" back when the King was laying out the colonies.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2008
  4. bcfcst4

    bcfcst4 Member

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    Oberlin's my top choice currently, but I'm only planning on being involved in theater as an extra-curricular or minor, I'm majoring in biology.

    Of course I haven't heard if I've gotten in yet, but I've got my fingers crossed!
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    [user]Charc[/user], just curious as to why you choose Oberlin, Kenyon, and CWRU, but didn't look at Kent State? Or WSU, OSU, OU, CCM, or MU for that matter? Lots of decent theatre schools in Ohio.
     
  6. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Charc, you know my opinions on this - stop by sometime and you'll get the full tour here!
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Just be aware that "small liberal arts" may be incongruous with "professional theatre training" schools. (Bucknell, Ithaca, and Cornell excepted, of course). We still think you should major in Business Administration, however.:cool:
     
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Hey! I learned with Kliegls; and PARs, DJ quality or not, weren't even in use in the theatre yet. Judge a potential school by its faculty, not its facilities. The former can compensate for the shortcomings of the latter, but not the converse. I wouldn't even consider a school where I didn't have an in-depth meeting with the Resident Lighting Designer and/or Technical Director. You're interviewing them more than they're interviewing you at this point. Also talk to current and former students.
     
  9. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Hey, there is the awesome school in St. Louis, called Webster University. You should come check it out. Yes it is a conservatory and will eat your soul, but like me you can work hard a pick up a minor. I for instance am in the entreprenuership program. Also for being a small school we have a big theatre program.
     
  10. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Well, I was refraining from posting on account of many CB'ers knowing my position on schools, but now I have an excuse.

    As for the U of U. Their theatre department used to be in the top 10 undergrad programs in the country, then they had some time with a not so great department head and they are now trying to work back up to that position. They have good performance spaces and good equipment. There is no tech major, only design. I see that as the fatal flaw in the non acting side of the program here. This may change in the future as some of the more stubborn faculty are reaching towards retirement.

    In terms of design they do do a good job. The program is geared more towards getting their designers into grad schools, but this is not a bad thing. There are plenty of U of U students who have gone on to big things. The students I have worked with like the program and faculty, and the work that I have seen them do is very high quality.

    I do have some gripes about the way the department is structured and run, but this is not the forum for that.


    now, on to my usual college discussion. Charc already knows my opinion, and since Derek brought up my alma mater, Ithaca, I will try to be brief. Ithaca is a great school for theatre, and while the tech and design programs are BFA programs you still have time and are required to broaden your mind outside of the department. The class sizes are generally small, and the student to faculty ratio is very nice.

    I thought the faculty was just amazing. These are people who are there for you no matter what you need. They will help you with your studies and they will help you with life. They will also be friends for life. I still stay in touch with many of my former profs. We trade stories and advice, and sometimes just soot the breeze. These were people who invited you to their homes for dinner, wanted to be your friends, and had real vested interest in you. it just made for a very warm and inviting atmosphere (and Linda in the office really does know everything about everyone in the department). I am sure that there are other schools that have a faculty like that, I just can't speak to them.

    Ithaca is also a great location. It is beautiful. It is also a hippie town in the middle of nowhere, which doesn't suit everyone. However, there is always something going on, from concerts to shows, to applefest and chilifest. You can go boating on the lake or play paintball at Ithaca Paintball. Or you can go enjoy nature in the state parks, visit the many waterfalls and go geocaching and hiking and such.

    I don't think that I need to go on, if you want more of my thoughts on IC I am sure that you can search it.
     
  11. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Charc, listen to Derek. TALK to the students, the faculty. See what their graduations are doing/what they have done. Don't worry if they don't have enough Source 4's for your liking. I have enough Source 4's AND 360Q's. Yes, I said enough. Sure, we always want more, but one must first develop their skills. You must learn to work with what you have and make it work before you can spec your own custom rig. (Might be time for me to respond to that other thread)

    I remember being in your shoes. I shied away from the big State schools because I felt I would get lost in such huge departments. No department is perfect, but I feel I get the attention I want in my chosen school. No doubt I get the opportunities I desire.

    What I want to know is: do you want big city life or small isolated campus?

    Most of the schools you seem to be looking at have their "own little world". One of the first schools I ever looked at was Ohio Northern. NOT the school for me. While I know a man who graduated from their theatre department and is doing very well for himself, the "middle of the cornfield" life was not for me.

    The biggest factor is YOU! YOU are getting training as an artist (designer or electrician, all forms of theatre craft and entertainment have the 'art' factor). Find the department that will challenge and develop YOU creatively.

    Also, consider the connections of the school. Who do they work with? Who are their partners? Do they have connections with successful working artists? With established local or regional theatres?

    It's also nice to find a school that wants you, it's nice to be wanted and find a place where you 'fit'. Again, nice but not always necessary.

    Good luck. ;)

    Choose wisely grasshopper.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  12. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Here you go, the top 723 colleges/universities for theatre/drama. Three down, 720 to go. [Thread moved to "student Feedback" forum.]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  13. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Charc I lived in the only town of more than 500 people in the county and we were just over 8k total population, I walked with 130 people, that was one of the biggest classes ever and included people from a small christian school and GED earners. I understand why you might want to stay in the environment but I'm here at the U of U where there's more people on campus on any given day than live in my country and it's not bad. One major thing is that most theatre's that you'll want to work for will be in cities, not all but most. College is a learning experience and i would say no more than half of that learning has anything to do with a degree. You have to learn how to change environments, maybe time in a bigger city would change the way you think, you might just like it. Also you said you don't like the "let's get drunk and go to the football game!" and that's respectable but you can only spend so much time in class/the theatre you will eventually have to have a social life.

    One thing that came as a surprise to me is how diverse the requirements for a degree are. I'm a Computer Engineering major, but I'm in a grad level Healthy and Diversity class right now. It's really hard to stick solely to your major, I don't think branching out will be a problem for you. That being said sometimes when your in a school where you have classes with 100+ students that's not a bad thing. You will inevitably run into a class that you take and really don't like, maybe it's not what you though, maybe its required and easy, whatever I really like big classes for this cause I that way I don't feel like I have to be so attached.

    One last thought and then I'm done ranting. You really do have to talk to students. I have a professor that teaches 3 classes a semester, both semesters one of them is 100+ students (first 2 classes for the major) I took the first one, took a year off, came back took the second class, asked a question in like week 2 of class and what happens? He calls on me by name. I have another one that is teaching 150 student video game programming classes and we all call him Bob and he recognizes all of us when we cross paths in the engineering complex. Good teachers can do amazing things even with big classes and good departments/schools will higher those teachers.

    Long and short (or made short(er)): numbers do lie, talk to people. Whatever you think you're getting into, you're wrong, be prepared for new things. And in the words of Mark Twain "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
     
  14. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    wow - This is an educational thread. I just learned that CWRU has a Drama program, and that it can be considered a "liberal arts" (!?!?) college!

    The engineering and science at CWRU pretty much bulldoze over anything else there. [Charc - I think someone lead you astray pointing you there.]


    Joe
     
  15. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Ya, I had an X who wanted to go there years back for Chem E. Didn't even know they had a theatre program.
     
  16. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    I resent that, it is not.
    That's a almost a "city" compared to the next county East.:rolleyes:
     
  17. CynicWhisper

    CynicWhisper Member

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    Ahh, I like the idea of this thread. I wish there had been this sort of thing a few months ago when I was still looking.

    Originally, my list of considerations was SUNY Purchase, Emerson College, Webster, Depaul, Ithaca, university of northern colorado, Southern Methodist University , USC and Carnegie-Mellon.

    So far I've visited Emerson and SUNY, here's what I tought

    SUNY Purchase is in a lovely, small city in New York. The campus itself was big and quite pleasant, though it seemed oddly quiet. I guess the campus just felt weird to me. The main theatre was lovely, but apparently students never actually get to use it. The blackbox theatre seemed alright, not that I could see it, given the tour guide had no idea how to turn on the lights =P Overall, I wasn't totally wowed. There was just the one theatre that students get to use and given how small the town was, it seemed to me that I could get bored. Though, if I recall, it's an undergrad only program, which could give more opportunity

    Emerson College was one of my top choices. It's in downtown boston, middle of the theatre district, right across from boston commons. The facilities are gorgeous, all state of the art, brand new stuff for everything from film to theatre. The main theatre, is BEAUTIFUL, it's a restored theatre from the last century. There is also a black box which I didn't see, but heard good things about. I know I wouldn't get bored with this school. There are countless opportunities to play with film, theatre, comedy, radio, everything you could imagine. You can make connections in the boston area. I was very impressed with this school and it's been one of my top two choices. Aside from the freezing weather and totally urban campus, this school looked spectacular to me.

    My other top choice is SMU. They're starting a brand new design program and it's very selective. I've heard that since the program is so selective and still so small, you can get graduate level training as an undergrad. You also get to design as an undergrad. I'm visiting this one next week, it should be interested.

    Anyone have any opinions about SMU?
     
  18. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    what about AUS charc

    we have kangaroos and the like.

    and we got rid of that trash ex prime minister known as "Howars" :shifty:
     
  19. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Having grown up in Boston I have heard mixed reviews of Emerson. Now, take this with a grain of salt because I did not go there myself. I have heard that their graduate programs are much better than their undergrad, and that sometimes the undergrads just end up picking up the scraps. Now, this could have changed since I was doing the college thing, but may be worth investigating.

    I don't know anything about SMU except what I gathered from their website. now, it could be just that I missed something, but it doesn't look like they offer a degree that focuses in tech/design (at least is isn't listed on their site). However (and here is another shameless plug), all that you say about the way they teach at SMU is the same philosophy at Ithaca: small class size, demanding, selective, and graduate level training.
     
  20. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    One other overall consideration is distance from home. There is a distance (and it varies from individual to individual) where it will become cost- and/or time-prohibitive to return home during the school year, or for having your parents visit you. For me it was a 3 hour drive, so I got home at all the breaks and my parents visited a couple times. And I had a few friends from Pittsburgh and could get a ride with them rather taking Greyhound. On the other hand, I had a couple fraternity brothers from Hawaii and they only went home at the end of the school year and occassionally at Christmas break.

    Joe
     

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