You’ve graduated from High School and decided you want to become an actor. So the next logical step you come up with is to enroll to major in theater so that you can graduate with a theater degree which will put you in a position enter enter the Acting workforce.
Makes sense I'm sure because that's always been what is taught right? College degree = Profession.
The thing you didn’t do is ask yourself what are all the alternatives ways to entering into that career? Is college necessary? Do I need a degree? Will having a degree get me something verses not having a degree? Does a degree offer me a higher position and more pay? The answer to these questions are similar to the experiences you'll face when your casting journey begins, 1 yes followed by a lot of no’s.
The reason I say this is because Acting is one career where you don't need a degree.
In fact if you're convinced that becoming an Actor is one hundred percent what you want to do and be but you feel its important to have a college degree my advice is to get a fall back degree and not a performance art degree.
The reason for my advice is because two thirds of college students graduate owing debt and second is because the amount of students who find work often find it in jobs that don’t require a college degree.
The worries most college grads think about when they first graduate from college, the first is Employment and the second is paying back student loans.
Its not common for actors to endure long periods of unemployment which means most must hold other jobs in order to survive.
The percentage of unemployment for actors is said to be around 90 percent. As most actors will tell you there are times where they go through long periods of time between gigs with the average job lasting typically 1 day
Lets look at the costs of going to college verses doing the alternative
According to the Hollywood Reporter there are an average of 17,000 students getting an MFA Degree a Year with the annual cost being around 38,000. Times that number by 4 years that is about 152,000 in tuition cost.
Think about the advantages $152,000 dollars would get you if applied to your career as an Actor.
This includes training, audition materials e.g. Headshots, COL(Cost of Living) what if instead of having 5 to 6 figure debt hanging over your head forcing you to have to find a job, you had 5 to 6 figure savings built up so that you only had to focus on Acting.
So what is the Alternative that I am suggesting? That alternative would to find an Acting Class to enroll in.
The annual cost of attending a good acting class on average is around $4,500. Even after four years that's still 20,000 less than just one year tuition at a College where you major in Acting.
Another benefit of attending an acting class is that you're learning first hand from experienced Acting Teachers who have connections in the entertainment industry and the people that you want to know that can help you get your career started. At the same time your peers are also actors who may also have built up some knowledge as well as connections of their own.
Also instead of waiting Four years to graduate before starting your career as an actor, by taking the alternative learning route an acting class gives you, you can start the same year you graduate.
So in conclusion, If you want to go to college then go for the experience of college. Go if you want to obtain that degree to make your parents or even yourself happy. Go if you understand how hard it is to find employment after graduation so you decide to get a degree that allows for a better chance at employment e.g. Lawyer, Computer Programmer, but don’t go to college to be an actor.
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