College Decision

Hello, My name is Megan and I am the head of sound at my High School. I am very interested in going to college for a sound design major in either theater or film. Im not sure yet. But if anyone can recommend any 4 year colleges that they went to or know of that will be great. I have looked at Ball State in Indiana and Emerson in Boston. Im also looking at Full Sail in Florida but I know very little of their programs for sound. Any guidance will help. Thank you.
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Location
NYC
First and foremost - remember that it's college. Find a program where you feel valued, safe and welcome to participate. Most of all find a college/town where you can make friends and have fun. Then... Narrow down your list to a top hits and go for campus visits. Take tours and reach out to the department for an individualized department tour. Ask to sit in on a class and meet with the sound professor or program head. It's more than a 4 year investment it's an investment in what could become your career. Have you done the shuffle at USITT or SETC and taken the shopping cart tour of programs? Definitely worth it. Find a program/town/school that you can call home and you won't go wrong.
 

TuckerD

Active Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
Location
Rochester, NY
When I was in highschool / early college I was considering majoring in lighting design. While I didn't end up making that decision I did receive some great advice from which has served me well in other areas. First: College is expensive. You should avoid debt reasonably consider schools close to you. Second: there are very very few lighting design programs in the US from which you can succeed by name recognition. At the time I think I was given 3-4 universities who had such important art programs that there was a realizable difference between going to those schools and going to any other. Outside of these kinds of schools, college is what you make of it. It doesn't matter very much where you go, as long as you work hard, have passion for your studies, and do some networking when possible (it's easy! Send emails) you can succeed from anywhere. Focus on things like @MRW Lights suggested. Do you feel safe in this program? Do you like the professors, environment? Do they have facilities and tools that you would be excited to work with? If you have those things then you have the power to make your college education as good as one you could get anywhere else.
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
Echoing the above about networking. Also, choosing a school that's close to places where you can get experience is useful. If you can meet people who work at theme parks, casinos, theatres, churches or conference venues, you'll have one leg in the door when you're ready to work fulltime. If you go to college in a town with no entertainment industry, it'll be tough to meet people who have influence.

I also had a friend who went to UCLA and wasn't a theatre major. But the extracurricular theatre system was fantastic. He ended up designing 3-4 shows a year and producing 1-2. Incredible experience but completely unrelated to the actual "college curriculum."
 

Lalaith

Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
Location
Boston
Agreed, finding a place where you are comfortable and safe and can get a jumping-off point for potential careers is priority. I also applied to different places for theater tech and/or film just a year ago.
When I was applying, I found that a lot of programs had interviews, either as requirements or as options. In interviews, remember that you can ask them questions too. Find out as much as you can, you are shopping for them just as much as they are shopping for you. And go on tours! Getting a visual is really helpful.

Emerson is great, I would also advise taking a peak at SUNY Purchase(State University of New York), DePaul(Chicago), and Boston University. I myself ended up at BU, and I've just had my first semester there. We have a wonderful, but intense theater tech program, including Sound Design. The facilities are fantastic, and I was able to find a great extra-curricular work-study that is is all about setting up and running event technology. BU also has a good School of Communications.

Shameless plug, I plan to be putting more videos specifically about the School of Theater on my YouTube channel that chronicles my experience at BU. There are already a few SOT things there, but I've only had one semester so far after all.

But in the end, have confidence in yourself and make a decision that is right for you. Put time and energy into the application process, and the right place will reveal itself. May the Force Be with You!
 

egilson1

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Location
Boston, MA
If you can, visit the schools you want to apply too. Experience them for yourself. This may be the greatest way to help you make your decision.

Disclaimer, I went to Emerson.
 

Darin

Member
Joined
May 28, 2019
Location
Ohio
I just attended the Ohio Unified Auditions and Portfolio Review yesterday (as a professor), so I've seen both sides of the college selection process. I'm happy to answer any questions about what the colleges are looking for when it comes to campus visits, interviews, etc.
 

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Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Hello, My name is Megan and I am the head of sound at my High School. I am very interested in going to college for a sound design major in either theater or film. Im not sure yet. But if anyone can recommend any 4 year colleges that they went to or know of that will be great. I have looked at Ball State in Indiana and Emerson in Boston. Im also looking at Full Sail in Florida but I know very little of their programs for sound. Any guidance will help. Thank you.
What year are you in school? Does your school participate in the all-state theatre festival? If so, hit those auditions and hit them hard.

I'd also throw in a mention of Webster in St. Louis. Its the only sound design program I know of where graduates are actually working in sound design. Most college sound design programs are the red headed bastard child of the program.

I'd also warn you a bit about what "real" sound design looks like in both academia and the real world. For musicals, its about what you are probably doing now. Placing speakers/mics, mixing shows, etc. For theatre, its a totally different ballgame. You basically become the composer for the show. In order to train you for that expect to spend half your time in college as basically a music major. Music theory classes and probably an instrument will be in your future. This training will also help you mix musicals as well. I have a friend who is an A2 and subbing for A1's on Broadway who has a music degree, spent 10 years working in an audio shop while musical directing a various community theaters before he got picked up for his first broadway tour. The music background is extremely useful in the real world.

Ask yourself what you want to do when you graduate and then we can help guide you. What kind of program you end up in or if you should even go to college will be guided by that.