- Hi there - My name is Kacie, I'm a sophomore in college at Boston
Univeristy - I'm a costume production major. I know your plea all to well -
my high school counselor wasn't much help either. (I applied to both
costume production/technology programs and costume design programs)
The best site I found was
http://www.usitt.org/commissions/cos.survey/home.htm - it's the USITT's list
of costume design and production programs in the US. Very good, very
complete and gives you the answers you can never find easily in a
Universities general information.
Regarding some of the advice on the list - have a goal school in mind if you
plan to do your generals at a state school or junior college first. The
program I am in is a four year program - and although I might be able to
fill a semester with general classes - I would have to be very specific in
the ones chosen in order for them to transfer over. In most conservatory
programs, it's not really beneficial to do your generals somewhere else.
They won't transfer easily and you'll be behind in the grand scheme of
things. If you plan, rather, to go into a BA program that requires more
generals, this may be the way to go. I just know personally, junior college
classes would have been a waste of time and money for me.
Some other random advice: As with any major - visit the school! It's the
only way to get a feel for it all. Email or speaking with students is also
a good way to guage the program - students will tell you the bad parts about
the program as well as the positives. Look at the schools list of required
classes. Some schools are heavy on graphic skills (drawing, painting,
rendering, etc) Some schools have a great production/technology department
(patternmaking, draping, etc) and if that's important to you make sure you
find a school with one. If you are interested in other disciplines (scene
design, lighting design, etc) make sure the schools allows/requires you to
experiment in other areas if you're looking for that. Also look at see what
the balance between theoretical productions and realized productions is.
The balance differs greatly between schools. Look at the faculty - if
you're professors are working professionals, it means they have great
connections you can use and benefit from. This also means they are very
busy, not available much outside of class and are not around as much.
Professors who mostly teach and don't work much professionaly make great
advisors, and may be of more use to you - but they don't have the
connections to help you get work after college.
In my experience - BFA (mostly four-year conservatory programs, but there
are exceptions) are more focused. You'll graduate with more classes within
your major, and more theatre classes. But in return, you are a slave to the
theatre department and don't get the full college experience. Usually,
minoring or double majoring is extremely difficult if not completely out of
the question. Being in a BFA program myself, I don't have time for
extracurricular clubs or an outside job. I have 20 hours of required
production hours a week (for about 1/2-2/3 of the year) If you're not sure
you want to go into theatre, this probably isn't the right route. Most of
the credits will not transfer into other programs. It one way to success,
but not the only one.
BA programs let you experiement more outside your major in generals. You
have time to be a college studnet and all the things that brings with it.
You have time to minor or double major. To be in clubs, sports, etc. If
you have other strong interests, (love history, want to take a foreign
language, etc) this is a good way to go. You're more well rounded, but
don't graduate with as much experience within your major. I've heard it's
harder to get work coming out of a BA program - and that many people go
right into graduate school (but that concept may be unfounded)
(Here's the stat I've heard - in BFA programs you have 2/3 classes in your
major, 1/3 other. In BA programs you have 1/3 classes in your major, 2/3
Sorry this has gotten so long. I'll stop my rambling for the sake of the
rest of you on the list. Casey, feel free to email me personally if you
have any questions. Half the battle is just understanding what you want and
what to look for. 'd be happy to help.