Ok, first, let's stop right there before this becomes like every other top theatre college list.
Instead let's look at it from the perspective of finding the TOP Theatre College for YOU.
Each actor is different and they have different needs when they are looking for a school to go to. This is coming from someone who attending two great theatre schools for my BA in Theatre Arts and from someone who transferred after two years at their university.
So, let's look at it from what to look for in theatre programs and what differences in programs can help you find YOUR MATCH.
Is the program a BA or BFA program? While schools that offer both a BA and BFA say that their programs are structured similarly, they often are quite different. BA programs allow more flexibility to explore topics outside the direct Theatre path, however if your BA program is in the same fine arts field as a BFA, the BA students will struggle taking additional fine arts courses that aren't on their curriculum because BFA students are required to take it.... so capacity reasons and such.
Does the program offer student-led theatre? A lot of schools offer new-works festivals or student run theatre companies that allow more performance opportunities than typical "main stage opportunities". This allows you as a student to collaborate with the playwrights and directors of tomorrow, (AKA your fellow students).
Student to teacher ratio: If it is a giant student to teacher ratio, there is the less likely possibility of one-on-one training with your professors. Not to mention, there will be more competition when it comes to auditioning for shows for the school. Smaller student to teacher ratios will allow for more personalized attention and lessons.
How many required courses are there outside your major? Depending on the school and program, the number of required General Education courses may vary. How much time do you want to spend taking classes outside of your major? (pro tip: consider virtual summer school at community colleges that will transfer to your university so you can primarily take courses that relate to your major or field of interest)
Transferring schools is A-OK: Making a decision at 17 or 18 about where you will spend the next 4 years is kinda crazy. But no worries, if the program is not a good fit, you are more than welcome to transfer. Not every program is for everyone and maybe the program that you were at two years ago was a good fit then, but now you are ready for something different. That is ok! This is your time to figure out who you are as an artist. If you are burnt out at a particular acting school, you will not be able to figure out what possibilities are out there for you unless your are open to the idea of transferring.
I hope these tips bring some reassurance to you and your college search! This is an exciting time!
Make sure to sign up with KO Consultations College Audition Prep to be as prepared as possible for your college auditions!
KO Consultations Actor's Read: Confessions of a Casting Director
That is all for now,