Dear Estelle. Is it true that attending a summer program at a college could be beneficial to my son, a junior, who aspires to be an actor? We would like to plan a family vacation this summer but will forego it if you think there are definite advantages to summer programs. N.D. Littleton, CO
There is no need to forego your vacation. Your son can do both! The summer experience has become a major pre-collegiate process for many students, particularly for those applying to highly selective colleges or specialized majors, such as theatre. Parents hope the sessions will give their children an edge in the race to get into elite schools or very competitive programs such as theatre and film, which typically accept only a small percentage of applicants. As the number of college students continue to grow, the competition continues to heat up as fewer students can be accepted to any given college or program.
Think of the advantages your son would likely have in attending a summer theatre program, which provides training with working professionals and participating in acting, improvisation, singing, movement, dance and stagecraft. A significant feature of the summer program is developing a basic understanding of the audition process, a key component of the application for most undergraduate theatre programs. An experiential program would also help your son gain an understanding of the work involved becoming an actor. Remember, however, there are no guarantees to being accepted into a college program just because a student attends its summer workshop.