Very recently the question of whether drama school is a good choice or not has came up in British media, and received a multitude of various responses from different professionals in the field. The very same question has been raised many times on this website as well, and as we have established in Acting Schools and Acting Classes, both choices of either attending one or not have their pros and cons.
Those who belong to a group of people in support of skipping drama school training and instead attending acting classes but still would love to have a degree in some other field of expertise (as a plan B), here are some of the things to consider when choosing a University or College to go to.
6 Things to Consider When Choosing a University
University with Acting/Film programs
As a future actor who’s not studying anything related to theatre arts it’s still very beneficial if you find an institution that has an acting and/or film courses. This way on your free time you might be able to attend some of their open-door classes or seminars. It will also means that students of these courses will be staging productions and doing student films for which you can apply to enhance your future acting resume.
Consider a course beneficial to your acting career
Psychology might one of those top-notch choices which will not only help you as a plan-B career move (or raise your chance for finding a survival job) but also help enhance your understanding of human mind which consequentially might make you a better actor. Sanford Meisner always loved reading Freud and found his teachings highly beneficial to an actor. If you’re planning to become a physical theatre practitioner, then something to do with sports might be another good way to go.
Find out all about scheduling in advance
It’s good if you can learn how busy your course is going to be. If you can pick a subject that you like in an institution with plenty of flexibility in one of the major acting cities, then you’re in big luck. This way you’ll have plenty of time to kick off your acting career early on while still studying something else.
Research people who graduated that University
Don’t just find famous names that you’ve heard about (although that of course gives the institution some credibility); use this research to come in contact with people who’ve graduated from your University and connect with them. You never know — some of them may have happen to become actors, directors, producers, etc. And even if they don’t have anything to do with the career you’re ultimately going to pursue, having a relationship with an expert in another field will always be of great benefit to an actor.
Prioritize Universities with a lot of artistic background
These institutions will usually have plenty of additional, non-academic courses for students passionate about many artistic forms. You might be able to join a drama club or a film production class, screenwriting class, etc. For the 3-4 years of studying your primary subject you will also gain plenty of experience in the area that you are hoping to go after once you’re done with your studies. And obviously this might also bring some valuable connections.
Don’t forget about the student’s life experience
A strong focus will be required, no doubt, because studying an academic subject full-time while also trying to find opportunities for acting work and acting classes is no easy task for anybody. However, try and use the time of being a student when you can and look for adventures, live life, experience things, love, laugh, cry, enjoy yourself and get the most out of those 3-4 years. This will come to be extremely handy to you as an actor in the future, because just like Ernest Hemingway said…
“In order to write about life first you must live it.” – Ernest Hemingway