Welcome back to our View from the ArtsBridge series, where we highlight the success of our college consulting clients and ArtsBridge Summer alumni. We are very proud of our ArtsBridge Class of 2017, who will be attending the following colleges this fall!
(Number of students attending indicated in parenthesis)
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We’ve found that college students have great advice for our current high school students on making it through the college application process unscathed. This spring we caught up with our current Administrative Assistant and Director of Operations for ArtsBridge Summer 2017, Erin Craig, about her unique experience applying to colleges as a transfer student.
Erin is 19, originally from Bethesda, Maryland, and currently living in Cambridge, Massachusetts while on a gap year. She was an ArtsBridge client in high school and attended ArtsBridge Summer in the musical theater program. She then went on to attend Middlebury College in Vermont for her freshman year, pursuing a BA in theater. After deciding that she wanted to transfer to a BFA program, Erin moved to Boston to spend a gap year working for ArtsBridge and focusing on her transfer auditions. After a very successful year and many acceptance offers, she has decided to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in the fall to pursue a BFA in Drama.
ArtsBridge: So Erin, you have been a client of ArtsBridge two times now. How come?
Erin Craig: When I decided that I wanted to leave Middlebury and transfer to a BFA program, I knew it was going to be a huge endeavor to take on. ArtsBridge did so much for me while I was in high school, and I knew I couldn’t do this without them. Halley was actually the first person I told that I was thinking of transferring and after that conversation and the guidance she gave me, it was clear right away that she was the best person to assist me in this process. The wealth of knowledge and support I found at ArtsBridge while in high school assured me that I could be completely confident working with ArtsBridge again as a transfer student.
AB: You spent your freshman year at Middlebury. What made you originally want to go there?
EC: I think it’s incredibly difficult to ask a 17-year-old to pursue a highly-specialized degree, such as a BFA in theater, where the exposure to other subjects and opportunities outside of theater will be limited. Some high school seniors know exactly the direction they want to head in, but it’s totally normal to feel some confusion, and my journey can really attest to that. I always loved school and I wasn’t ready to let go of the kind of academic rigor that would be offered to me at Middlebury. I knew that I loved theater, but I wasn’t sure if a conservatory style program was where I belonged. I spent an amazing year taking academic classes such as The Intersection of Philosophy and Feminism, and Foundations of Sociocultural Anthropology. I can’t speak highly enough about the professors and students at Middlebury – I found them to be engaging and kind. I cherish the time I spent at Middlebury, even if it ended up not being the right place for me to settle for a full four years.
AB: It sounds like you really loved Middlebury. So why did you leave?
EC: My year at Middlebury answered a lot of questions for me. While I did love the classes I was taking, I would see my friends on Facebook who were in BFA programs posting about what they had done that day in their Meisner class or had worked on in their songs and rep class, and I felt such a deep sense of longing to be there studying alongside them. I had been so worried that I wouldn’t thrive in a BFA program, but Middlebury showed me that a BFA was what I had been craving all along. It was important for me to go and experience the BA approach because now I have absolutely no reservations about diving into a BFA program.
AB: Do you have any advice for students who are struggling to choose between a BA and a BFA program?
EC: The first thing I would say is that feeling confusion or doubt about where you belong is totally normal. We put so much pressure on ourselves and on others to know exactly what we want and to not waver. But I have grown so much through my own personal journey of doubt and self-examination, and I am a much better artist for it. We need to make it more acceptable to say, “I don’t know where I belong. I don’t know what the next step is.” That’s something you’re going to deal with a lot in life, and learning how to deal with that instead of denying it is an invaluable skill. There are some simple ways to help you make up your mind. I found making a pro/con list for schools was incredibly helpful. I also found that visiting the school and talking to students and professors really helped me find the schools that I could see myself at. If even after all of that you still don’t know where you belong, don’t panic. I didn’t either. Make the best choice you can at the time, but know that it doesn’t have to be forever. If it isn’t a perfect fit, you can always transfer!