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Why I Chose Music School (again...)

Much to my surprise, my most viewed blog post has been all about my Eastman bucket list. If you haven't gotten a chance yet, please check that post out before reading this one!

While hopping around from long-term subbing gig to long-term subbing gig, I had simultaneously been applying to several institutions in pursuit of a masters degree (and - duh - a full-time job).

What programs did I apply to?

Where did I apply?

When did I begin this process?

Why did I go through such a hefty application process?

How did I ultimately decide to go back to music school over journalism acceptances?


Programs I Applied For:

1. Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY) - Arts Journalism

2. Harvard University's School of Continuing Education (Online / Cambridge, MA) - Journalism with focus on the Arts

3. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) - Arts Journalism

4. Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) - Music Education with State Certification

When This Process Began:

In seeking to begin a program circa Fall 2019, I actually began my research while I was a temporary admissions assistant at the school I substitute teach at (January 2018). I know, it sounds absolutely crazy that I looked this far ahead, but it's true and I'm so glad that I did! Several months earlier, I was getting out of the hospital with my new type one diabetic diagnosis and I wanted to make sure I gave myself plenty of time to mentally prep before just jumping into a program blindsided.

The Application Process:

Was incredibly rigorous. In May 2018, I had begun studying for the GRE exams (I will be getting none of that studying time back and I wholeheartedly regret stressing over this test). I ended up taking the exam in January 2019. Only Eastman and USC needed these exam scores. If there's any way you can get out of not taking it, I highly recommend.

Eastman's applications were due December 1 with an option for early decision due November 1. Around the early decision deadline, I had second-guessed myself once again and held off on submitting my application until literally the night before it was due...

The reason for this was because I was incredibly torn on whether or not to apply as an MM student or an MA student. An MM student meant I would have had to become part of the flute studio at Eastman (twist my arm). Even though I still practice on a regular basis, I chickened out with going through the audition process as an MM student and decided to apply for the MA program. This translates to Master of Arts which is very research-heavy. In hindsight, I'm glad I took this approach on account of already having a reputation as a woodwind doubler in the greater Rochester area. I know how to play. I already have a bachelors degree in flute performance. I don't need another degree to let the world know that I know how to play the flute. Though it coulda/shoulda/woulda been nice to pursue a DMA as opposed to a PhD (I'm going to need a new eyeglass script after all this reading).

The Outcome:

February 2019:

Acceptance from Syracuse University with a Graduate Assistant position teaching an undergraduate COMM course, plus scholarship.

Program duration: 11 months

Cost after scholarships & stipend: $34,000

March 2019:

Acceptance from the Eastman School of Music with scholarship plus

Program duration: 24+ months (depending on student teaching semester)

Cost after scholarships & stipend: $--,--- (in between the cheapest & most expensive program)

April 12, 2019 - 1:00pm:

Locked in initial deposit to claim position at the Eastman School of Music

April 12, 2019 - 4:00pm:

Acceptance to enroll in first two of twelve courses through Harvard's School of Continuing Education (must score a B or higher in order to gain official acceptance into the HES Journalism program).

Program duration: up to five full years to complete everything online with the exception of one mandatory course on campus (could be during a winterim or summer session)

Cost of attendance: $34,000

May 2019:

Respectful letter of decline from USC's Arts Journalism School after weeks of nagging them for my rejection letter.

Program duration: 10 months

Cost of attendance that I thankfully dodged: $84,000

Why I Opt'd For Music School Round Two:

Numerous reasons: Rochester. Maintaining this freelance lifestyle with a tad more financial stability by becoming a full-time educator over a freelance substitute, finally coming to terms with the fact that I like teaching (there, I said