Saturday, May 11, 2019

Junior Year Spring Break

By the second half of junior year in high school, the college search suddenly gets real. We've been told the ideal time to visit a school is when it is in session, which coincides with when Ashley is in school. She doesn't like to play catch up, so the only answer was to go during Spring Break. Unfortunately this year Spring Break was late and was the week before Tech Week for the spring show. We toured six colleges in three states over Spring Break, and missed two days of rehearsals.

Wagner College, Staten Island, NY
On paper, a truly wonderful match. On tour, a truly wonderful match. On return to see a play, a truly awful match. What happened? While Wagner College is a great school for aspiring Broadway actors, they do not have a set designer on staff. Since Ashley wants to really learn how to be a set designer, it was a bad match.

Followed the tour with seeing "Tootsie" in previews on Broadway with Cousin Laura. We wanted to see how easy it is to get from campus to New York City. The answer is very easy, and very cheap (shuttle from campus and Staten Island Ferry are both free).

Tuesday: rest day

Lehigh University and Desales University
There is nothing like touring a college on a perfect Spring Day. Lehigh is a stunning campus. It is a popularn stop on the round of college campuses to visit. We went to the introductory rah-rah talk and skipped the tour to meet with a friend of a friend who is a set design professor. She told us how students dive into the program. Students from all majors can work in Tech Theater. The engineering students love working with set design because there is an immediacy to the end result -- it is called opening night.

Desales University
Desales is a small Catholic college ten minutes from Lehigh University. On paper, it seemed like a perfect match. We met a performing arts student in November who raved about her school. We went to a show ("Pippin") and were blown away. We had a fabulous tour with two theater majors. In reality, I think Ashley is tired of Catholic education. There were other reasons, but she quickly wrote it off.

Rest day. Thank goodness!

Montclair University
After a three-hour generic  tour in the rain, Ashley was meh about the place. Okay, the tour wasn't really that long. After seeing a play at Wagner and talking to a recent alumnus, and scheduling a visit with the theater department on June 1, it is back on the list.

Ramapo University
Between the rain, the length of the Montclair tour, and my lack of ability to judge how long it will take to get from Place A to Place B, we were really late to the Ramapo Tour. They kindly gave us a student ambassador who gave us the quick tour as we caught up to the rest of the group. All we missed was the Freshman dorm. They are ranked #1 in NJ for dorms and was told it was worth returning to see them. The rest of the tour was good. At the end, someone took us back to the theater so we could have a look around. Looks like a nice stage. We really should return for a visit with someone from the department. The campus is only 50 years old (as of this November). It was a pleasant surprise.

Back to Wagner to see "Pirates of Penzance." Fabulous talent on stage. 

Rider University
Don and I returned to Rider. The tour was geared for theater majors, but did not take us backstage. We did see the theater dorm and checked out one of their two theaters (the other was in the middle of a rehearsal for a show). It is still on the list (this was at least our third visit), but as it is across the street from where I work, might be deemed too close.

The search continues.

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