New York, New York
School size: Small
Distance from home: 1170 miles NE
Two-year theatre conservatory
Admission difficulty: The school usually auditions between 600-700 people for the professional program and accepts 54 people, divided between acting and musical theatre tracks.
Tuition: $11,500. There is no housing, meal plan or health care — you're on your own for those things.
Who goes there: early-mid 20s; students who want to escape traditional academics and immerse themselves in an intense, survival-of-the-fittest, acting-based program. Someone who enjoys being "private in public," who doesn't mind being urged to "commune," who likes being a kindergartner, jungle animal or caveman. People who need actual therapy.
Pros: Going to a school affiliated with a Broadway theatre (and taking class on the stage); living in New York City; feeling you have the right to call Phillip Seymour Hoffman "Phil Hoffman" since all your teachers do; an eclectic curriculum so you're not suffocated by a single method; watching the international students try to do an American accent; jumping off the concession stand in the lobby during stage combat; an industry showcase.
Cons: Inhaling New York's heavily-polluted air; cursing the subway for making you late; not having a Chick-fil-a; having only two items to choose from on the McDonald's dollar menu; all of your classes being underground so you never see the light of day; 28-35 actual in-class hours per week (rehearsal and homework not included!); TOURISTS.
Social Scene: Not too much partying, but there is the occasional holiday gathering, and of course, Starbucks breaks between rehearsal.
Athletics: Technically it's nonexistent, but you'll certainly get in shape with classes like, physical acting, dance, stage combat, and other classes that shouldn't involve physical activity… but somehow always manage to do so.
Campus: The Circle in the Square Theatre and classroom space below. Dance studio on West 54th. Central Park for rehearsal space. It's New York. Enough said.
Added plus: Having multiple teachers who work at Juilliard without having to pay the Juilliard price.
Added minus: Being thought of as "the [...] child of Juilliard."
Reviewed by: Alex Jennings, a 2008 graduate of Gibbs High School and a second year student at Circle in the Square Theatre School.