Five Reasons Why You Should Choose NTSA Over Traditional Pre-College Programs

5 reasons over precollege programs

We know that you have tons of options when it comes to summer programs — and some of the most enticing are traditional pre-college programs. In these programs, you’ll have the opportunity to spend the summer on a college campus, experiencing what BFA theatre classes are like. There are lots of fantastic reasons to attend one of these traditional pre-college programs: you don’t know if the BFA track’s right for you, you’re not sure about applying to that particular university, etc. However, we believe that NTSA’s usually the better option, and we’re here to give you five reasons why.

1. We learn through performance.

There are countless BFA programs that won’t even put you onstage until you’re halfway through your training. At NTSA, we believe that the best way to learn about theatre is to actually make theatre. What happens on opening night when your heel gets caught on a loose floorboard, your scene partner forgets his line, and one of the gels slips out of a lighting fixture and flutters (oh-so-gracefully) onto the stage? Real actors know how to get out of these situations without breaking a sweat — and that only comes through practice. While you will receive rigorous training and one-on-one coaching at NTSA, you’ll also be making bold new productions on professional stages, which we believe is the most effective teaching method of them all.

2. You’ll meet your future collaborators here.

One of the things we’re most proud of at NTSA is how many of our students have gone on to work together. During their NTSA program, Parade Stone, Jonathan Rodriguez, and Micheal Blasini (NTSA ’14) become close friends — and three years later, they decided to start the Great Room Company together (named after the space where NTSA used to rehearse). Later this year, Benjamin Viertel (NTSA '13) will be directing the world premiere of Kragtar: An American Monster Musical off-Broadway, written by Kyle Wilson (NTSA '14) and Sam French (NTSA '14). We aren’t just going to introduce you to your best friends; we’re going to introduce you to the stage manager that you’ll hire for your first New York Fringe Festival show, the lighting designer who will help load in your 4Wall rental on his day off, and the director that you’ll team up with to start your own off-Broadway theatre company. Even if you go straight to Broadway after college, you may still find yourself coming back to your NTSA collaborators. Marla Louissaint (NTSA ’14) recently originated a role in a Lisa Kron (Fun Home) musical, directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening), and still found time to perform in the Great Room Company’s first musical revue!

3. You get all the benefits of pre-college with NTSA.

Transitioning to college life can be challenging, even for the highest-achieving students. At NTSA, you’ll get the same “taste” of college life that you would in a traditional pre-college program. You’ll be living in the dormitories at Daemen College and have access the same dining halls, libraries, and other facilities as their full-time students. You’re also going to have the opportunity to master some of the essential life skills that you’ll need for a successful freshman year — setting your own bedtime, organizing your dorm room, monitoring your own learning, practicing self-advocacy in the classroom, and even doing your own laundry. (Don’t worry. We provide the detergent and dryer sheets!) The confidence that you’ll gain from living on your own over the summer will give you an immeasurable advantage during those critical first few months of college.

4. Attending a traditional pre-college program may not help you get into that specific university.

Publications ranging from Forbes to Business Insider to PBS have investigated traditional pre-college programs and found that they probably don’t improve your chances of getting accepted to a specific university. (Business Insider argues that putting a traditional pre-college program on your resume is “neutral at best and harmful at worst” come admissions season.) Sometimes, the admissions staff making the decision on whether you get in doesn’t even know if you attended their university’s pre-college program. While NTSA can’t guarantee admission to your dream school, we can tell you where our alumni have gone: Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern University, Boston University, New York University, Columbia University, Emerson College, Pace University, SUNY Purchase, and many others. Our students consistently enroll in top-tier theatre programs across the United States.

5. You are our entire world.

For most of these universities, their pre-college program is only a small part of what they do. When the summer ends, your instructors will go back to their BFA/MFA programs. But at NTSA, you are our entire world. We’ve spent countless hours in coffee shops and Skype conferences helping our students roadmap their careers — whether that means writing them recommendation letters for prestigious internships, introducing them to future mentors and collaborators, taking them on college tours and interviews, helping them learn the nuts-and-bolts of theatre management, or even just bringing cupcakes to their opening night receptions. We deeply value all of our students at NTSA and are committed to their dreams for the next generation of the American theatre.

Posted on Nov 11, 2017 in About NTSA  

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