Committed to College

Madalyn Cottrell, MVCurrent Writer

They say junior year is hard, but for me, I have never lived a harder 18 weeks than the first semester of my senior year. No one told me how stressful it is looking at colleges, how difficult it was going to be when I started applying, or what I needed to prepare for. I kind of did this whole college thing all on my own. Thankfully, my search is over. I am finally committed to the University of Southern Indiana for Theatre Performance, but the story of how I got where I am is honestly far from intriguing. But, the moral of the story is, searching for a college really does not have to be, and is not, that hard. 

I had every intention of leaving Indiana and going to a big city for musical theatre. My heart was set on New York City, but my mom talked me out of the expense of living in the city on a college student’s budget. AMDA, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy was my dream school, and it was a hard pill to swallow knowing I would have to tame my ambitions. I looked at affordable, but competitive options, like the University of Cincinnati and the University of Texas. It all came down to the audition process and since I´m not a triple threat, I had to wean myself off of the idea of attending either of those schools as my chances of getting in were slim. 

My parents were honest with me, and being realistic with myself, I was limited to state schools. How I found my college was also super easy and underwhelming, and I wish I could say that it is this easy for everyone. I was doing some research early in September after coming to the grim conclusion that I was stuck in state for college. So, I literally just typed “best college musical theatre programs in Indiana” into my search bar and saw the University of Southern Indiana was ranked at 7. The tuition is affordable, and the program is non-competitive with a heavy focus on acting. It seemed like a great fit for me. After researching the program and meeting the professor on Zoom, I was sold, and thank God my parents were too. 

I only visited one school, and I only applied to one school. I was really set on USI. My friends turned their noses up at my choices, pushing me to audition for bigger programs that I cannot afford. Truth is, fancy schools can only get you so far in life. Yeah, big schools like The Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and  Pace University train you and mold you into what the industry desires, but I do not want to be some hallowed out Betty-Sue who feels she needs a pair of LaDuca dance shoes to feel validated. I do not want to spend 40k a year to be a part of an inherently racist program that only admits skinny triple threats. The competitive atmosphere of big-name theatre programs is honestly just so toxic. Why would I do that to myself when I could commit somewhere I feel valued? So, that is what I did.

I visited the USI campus over fall break and was immediately embraced. The students were amazing, the staff was so helpful, and the professors I met were extremely personable and shared with me everything I needed to know. I really envisioned myself on campus, and I did not see the need to tour anywhere else. I liked USI. It felt safe. It´s a smaller school, but not too small to the point where it still feels like high school. Best of all, I only had to share my dorm bathroom with one other person. I applied the week after my visit, committed in November, and just recently had my first admissions meeting. 

I am happy with my choice, and I am literally counting down the days until I move into my dorm. College can be scary, but just stick true to what you want in a school, and you will find the right program.