Question by Steve J: I was cut from my acting program and never finished college – 7 years later I want to go back. Any advice?
First some background: About ten years ago, right after graduating high school, I went to college. I had originally applied at a few Universities to their acting programs (only two due to financial reasons – there’s always an audition fee), and was accepted to the Universities themselves, but was not accepted into their acting programs (though I did get on the program waiting list at one major college). Another University came my way (which I was “okay” with) and it had a film production program without audition, so I thought I’d try that. I got in, and within a year, I couldn’t stand not being in the acting program. So I applied, auditioned, and was accepted.
However, due to non-school circumstances, I fell into a depression right after getting accepted (and never identified it until it was too late). My grades all around started falling in all classes, I had trouble focusing, and would often not feel like getting out of bed. So after two more years of the program, I was cut. However, at my mother’s insistance, I continued going to the college for the next year, and took as many theatre-related courses as I could to continue following my dream. BUT because I had no solid focus for those four years, I was not able to graduate. Money issues came up and I never thought of “transferring” as an option, so I never finished.
So now, I’ve been acting for the past three/four years consistently, and have gotten many paying jobs, and worked with many good theatres, and am well integrated into the local theatre scene. But I keep feeling like not having my degree is hindering me. Not just as an actor, but in life in general. I haven’t told many people what happened to me because I was ashamed and embarrassed.
So now I want to go back and fix this. Though I was unprepared for college years ago due to my emotional issues, I have grown (and gotten help) and feel ready now. My concern is that this “cut from acting” thing will be hovering over my head the entire time I am applying. I am scared because I worry that poor grades and/or being removed from another program will make it appear that I either have no talent or am not committed.
The other thing is I want to be able to go to one of the colleges I always WANTED to go to. I settled for my school because my mother and guidance counselor had not given me the help I needed in picking, and i was sort of “stuck” with my last choice. There are larger universities that have prestige behind them (or at least a truly solid acting program) that I probably could have attended had I be prepped better for my college search. But I worry I won’t be able to put all of these mistakes of the past ten years behind me.
On top of that, there are financial concerns. I’m married now. I have fallen into a bit of debt and my credit has been hurt by this recession.
But I feel so incomplete. And I want to attend a “good” college that actually has a name behind it. But being in competition with fresh-faced 18 year olds with nothing over them but a high school record and extracirricular activities is quite daunting. I fear they would always get first pick and I will have spent hundreds and/or thousands of dollars on audition fees and travel for naught.
Can anyone offer a bit of advice on how I can approach going back to school? Are my fears merely “fears” or is there a lot of relveance to them? I would appreciate any advice anyone has. I hate feeling like a failure in life and I want to get things back on track. Thanks for your help!
Answer by PE2008
So, let me get this straight. You’re an actor in “local theatre”. You’re in debt with a poor credit record, and you want to go back to school for a degree in acting, which will do nothing for you except put you further in debt? Do I have this right?
If you go back to school, get a real degree in a real, marketable subject. Acting can be a hobby.
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