Becoming an actor takes hard work, dedication, passion, and drive. For high school students thinking seriously about a career in acting, now is the time to prepare for the training you will need to help you succeed. After all, high school is a time when you have opportunities that may be harder to find or simply will not exist later on.
Most of the actors you see on television, film, and even the stage have gone through years of education and training, and getting into one of the best acting schools can tip the odds of success in your favor. It takes talent and passion to get into a good acting school – so it’s time to get to work!
What are Some of the Best Acting Schools?
The Hollywood Reporter has an excellent list of the best acting schools around the world. The criteria for the list include programs with top-notch training and an impressive list of alumni. Juilliard is one of the schools on the list, with famous alumni including Robin Williams, Kevin Kline, Kevin Spacy, and Viola Davis – just to name a few!
Of course, the United States is not the only place to find excellent acting schools. The UK is also world-renowned for being home to some of the best acting schools, such as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). These institutions boast alumni such as Rhys Ifans, Daniel Craig, Ewan McGregor, Orlando Bloom, and John Lithgow.
How Do You Get Accepted?
Most actor training programs have a limited number of spots, so admissions can be extremely competitive. The best acting schools want to see talent. In fact, schools like the LAMDA and Oxford do not have academic requirements for their courses – entrance to their programs is based solely on auditions. These schools also want to see commitment. Recruiters want to know that the students they are admitting are going to take their training seriously.
To that end, high school is an excellent time to collect experience and develop the skills for which schools are looking. The best way to do this is to get involved with school plays and local theater. Consider going to drama camps, or working one-on-one with an acting coach. Anything you can do to gain experience and improve your craft will be valuable to you.
How Will You Pay for Your Education?
The best acting schools are rarely inexpensive. But luckily, most offer financial aid and scholarships. Finding scholarships may take some research on your part, but here are a few to get you started:
Irene Ryan Scholarship
The Irene Ryan Scholarship is awarded to outstanding performers at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, held both nationally and regionally. There are a host of scholarships associated with the Irene Ryan Scholarship also awarded at the KCACTF, so this is definitely a festival worth attending. For more information, visit the Irene Ryan Scholarship website.
Donna Reed Performing Arts Scholarship
The Donna Reed Scholarship was created for students who wish to pursue a career in acting. Scholarships are awarded to notable performers through a series of regional and national festivals. For more information visit the Donna Reed Scholarship website.
CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship
Applicants must be pursuing full-time study in the performing arts, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, exhibit leadership skills, and show evidence of public service. For a full list of required application materials, visit their website.
Princess Grace Awards Program
Applicants for grants through the Princess Grace Foundation must be nominated through a non-profit organization by school department chair or dean, or by a company artistic director. For more information, visit the Princess Grace Foundation’s website.
You can also check out the following databases for more resources:
How to Increase Your Chances
Don’t think that because many arts scholarship and training programs base acceptance heavily on talent that you can allow your grades to slip! In order to round out your education and make you more appealing to scholarship committees, make sure to do the following while in high school:
- Keep up your GPA. Many performing arts scholarships may be based on artistic talent, but there are plenty of other types of scholarships that take your academic record into consideration.
- Participate in productions. Every production and performance is an opportunity to learn and expand — whether it’s a school play, community theater, or even semi-professional productions.
- Study acting. You’ll need professional guidance and feedback to really develop your craft. Consider taking private acting lessons and attending theater camps in the summer.
Study hard, work hard, and maintain a positive attitude as you apply for scholarships and prepare for your college education. Good luck!
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