Acting Conservatories + Universities

Pick Your Site On Sight

A critical part of researching acting schools is visiting the campuses. Of course, the school's statistics should rate high in your list of considerations, but don't stop there. One of the final arbiters when choosing a school should be the campus visit. Visiting campuses gives you a unique opportunity to question the students who attend the school. You may schedule meetings with counselors or instructors as well. Don't underestimate the location of the campus as well. You'll be spending anywhere from six weeks to two years in this place, and if the physical environment doesn't feel right, chances are you won't be happy and your acting career will suffer.

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Scholarships for Acting Students

Scholarships are a wonderful way to help fund your acting education. Unlike Financial Aid, which often requires you work for the school in some capacity in exchange for reduced tuition, acting scholarships do not need to be repaid. Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis and may reflect artistic promise, as well as demonstrated financial need.

For example, the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in New York offers scholarships for acting students like The Sanford Meisner Merit Award and the Mary Doyle Memorial Scholarship, which are available to students who show exceptional talent. Awards can range from $500 to half the year’s tuition, depending on the scholarship.

Keep in mind that any drama scholarship you earn will most likely require you to maintain a GPA of 3.0., so be sure to take your studies seriously.

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Study Acting in the Big Apple

Many people think that they have to go to school in Los Angeles in order to get a foothold in the acting industry. The truth is that there are many fine acting schools in New York City that have strong ties to the industry. The NYCDA specializes in training actors for the industry. In recent years, New York has become a hub for casting TV pilots. The city also has one of the oldest theater communities in the US, making it an ideal place for studying acting of any kind. Other schools, like the Circle In The Square and Julliard, offer specialized acting courses for an aspiring New York thespian.

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The Business of Show Business

Remember that actor training isn't just about playing roles effectively. A good acting school shouldn't just teach you how to act, it should teach you how to become familiar with the entire industry. Performing is obviously the key to your education, but understanding all that makes up being an actor is essential to your long-term success.

Like any other career, you need skills in how to present yourself professionally -- from behavior to what clothing to wear to an audition. Interpersonal skills should be developed as well. You may have the talent to be the Next Big Thing on television or in film, but you won't get far without knowing how to market yourself effectively.

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The Conservatory Education

Looking for an acting school can be a daunting task. Many large universities offer courses and degrees in the field of acting. There are even opportunities to attend an acting university. For those looking for a more general educational setting or a larger student body with which to interact, universities are a great way to go.

If your needs are more specialized, an acting conservatory may be the best route. A conservatory education provides coursework geared specifically to the craft and business of acting. Typically, you can receive your degree in two years. (Some conservatories also offer internships after your coursework has been completed.)

If you go the conservatory route, make sure the school has modern facilities that meet professional standards. Examine the school's faculty, and make sure that they have plenty of experience in the industry. Look for acting schools that offers practical training and relatively small class settings so that you can get the most out of your two years.

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Your Teacher

Finding teachers at drama schools who challenge and inspire you is a critical part of your training. A good instructor will help you to build consistency in your acting. His or her constructive criticism is designed to help you improve your skills. During workshops and classes, most will not shy away from pointing out your flaws. In fact, be wary of teachers who only point out your positive attributes. Criticism of your work is not criticism of you as a person. Remember that everyone has weaknesses, and even the best actors have room to improve.

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