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If you have a deep and abiding love of film or the stage, you may want to consider pursuing an acting career. Although it is possible to just start showing up at auditions and trying your luck, many film and theater professionals recommend that you undergo some type of training before trying to start a professional career. Training can be practical, such as taking parts in community theater, but acting is more often taught in a classroom setting. If you would like to pursue a degree in the field, there are several different types of acting colleges to consider.
Most community colleges offer a theater or film department with acting classes. If your schedule does not allow you to be a full-time student, community college classes may be an excellent substitute. Teachers at these institutions often have Master of Fine Arts (MFA) post-graduate degrees, and are usually highly accomplished in their field. Community college classes also allow you to work with other actors from a wide age and experience range, which may be comforting to some new students. Community acting college can also be very affordable compared to other acting programs.
Many large universities offer degree programs in film or theater acting. If you choose acting as your major, you will most likely be eligible to receive a four-year Bachelor's or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. If you choose this type of acting college, be aware that you will have to take general education classes as well to qualify for a degree. In your last two years of undergraduate study, you will be able to spend more time in intensive acting work in both classes and productions.
There are some institutions that focus solely on performing programs. These schools, such as the prestigious Juilliard School, train students in an intense, multi-year program. Degrees awarded from these schools vary depending on the requirements of each course of study. Performing arts schools are often very expensive and have extremely difficult admission requirements.
If you already have an undergraduate degree and would like to pursue a post-graduate degree in acting, you have many options. Many acting colleges offer graduate school training in two or three year programs. Tuition for these programs is typically higher than that for undergraduates, but more scholarships, loans, and grants may be available. Graduate acting colleges typically result in an MFA degree and require a thesis, such as a research paper, performance, or other type of project, before granting a diploma.
Acting colleges are a wonderful way to achieve both a scholarly and practical understanding of the business of actors. In all of the above options, you will be given opportunities to learn and grow tremendously as an actor. Remember that Hollywood and Broadway require luck as much as skill, and even the best education cannot guarantee a successful acting career. Consider a variety of acting colleges very carefully, and choose the experience that you believe will put you in the best position to achieve your personal acting goals.