University of North Carolina School of the Arts Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?


You will change. You will have experinces you never expected. Embrace them but never loose sight of yourself. This new environment will challenge you. Friends will lean on you and you will lean on your friends. These are some of the best people you will ever have the opportunity to come across. You went to film school because you have been passionate about movies ever since you can remember. You're learning about your first love every day here. Learn as much as you can before you have to graduate. Money will be tight, but always be gracious. Never think this will be the best time of your life, there's still a lot of life to live after. This is the first time you've ever had to pay to go to class, so go! Try to not live off noodles and fast food, take care of yourself and eat as healthy as you can. And most importantly, remember to call your parents. They let you go to art school, they love you more than you could ever know.


I would tell my high school self that I should have taken my AP courses more seriously and strived to get an A in the courses in place of a B. I would say that you need to push yourself more instead of doing the bare minimum because striving for excellence is extremely important in the real world which is out of school. Also, I would tell my senior high school self to research for a film school in state, instead of being so insistent of leaving home, for the most important reason that you will receive more financial aid in state. When arriving at school don’t try so hard to make friends but the genuine people will show themselves friendly.


Dear Symmone I could sit here for days and tell you all about college. The good, bad, the friendships you’ll make, lose and the work. But that’s not what college is about. Yes, it definitely has all of those things, but that’s not thebest advice I could give you. College is becoming the adult you want to be. You make the transition from dependent high school senior to independent adult and the way you handle situations and conflicts can make your life easy or hard. The one big piece of advice I could give you, is understanding that in this world, we’re born to make mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, then you aren’t going to learn anything. Make mistakes and don’t beat yourself up about it when you do. How are you supposed to know that you do or don’t like experiences if you don’t try them? But be careful; no one in this world is going to take care of you the exact way you want to be taken care of, so make sure you chose the people you want to have these experiences with carefully. Good luck, Symmone


Chill out, seriously, just stop. I understnad society is a crappy place in which a few monumental details can make or break your future, but you are a unique individual with a determination to succeed, so stop stressing. Applying for colleges will take forever, and be either heartbreaking or life changing. If you aren't accepted into a college, there are plenty others that actually want to give you and education and change your life. College will be everything you are expecting and more. If you want to reinvent yourself, find yourself, or finally thrive as the indivudual you are, college will give you that opportunity. But the most important advice I can give you, is to never give up, I know it's cliche, but it's true. College is a self motivated place where you can learn immesurable amounts, or waste your life and money, either way it's your choice as an adult. Just don't give up on the opportunities you're given, and learn that high school will be a figment of the past, so chill out.


I spent my time in high school focusing almost exclusively on my studies and grades and on my passion, which is ballet. I almost never socialized except at the dance studio and as a result I look back on my time in high school with mixed emotions. While my friendships were close in middle school, high school took a level of energy in terms of socialization and interactions with people that I never expected. So what would I tell myself? To chill out. To take each day as something to enjoy rather than something to survive. There is value and beauty in living one's life working to achieve a dream, but I lived four years of my life simply trying to make it to the next day. I look back now and I know I was unrealistic in how I approached the daily grind of life. There was no sense of balance, no give and take, no accpetance of imperfections, no reality in my own personal reality. I regret that. I wish in many ways I could try again. That is what I would tell myself... take a chance and truly live.


Direction, not intention, determines our destination. I intended on becoming great, becoming known, and becoming successful. I intended on going to college to receive a Bachelors in Fine Arts, and I ultimately intended on attending the greatest school in the world for modern dance, The Ailey School and dancing for the Alvin Ailey company. I have realized through my struggle, success, growth, and failure that my intentions are not enough. Every decision we make in our lifetime will affect the direction and pathway we go down even if we have the best intentions for our future. The choices that we make in each and every day will in the end lead us down a road that brings us success and happiness, or a road that leads to our darkest nightmares. It is today's decisions that will affect tomorrow's outcome.


The advice I would give to my highschool self is to really evaluate the timing of your career and maybe have gone to UNCSA imediatley after graduating instead of taking a year off and joing a company when you shoud have made sure that your training at that time in your life was really up to par with that field. But know after recieving the proper training that you need to pursue a promising career in the field of classical ballet you could have had a better chance of doing this instead of wasting a year in an already short career field.


If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself that it is not going to be as easy as I thought it would be. Coming from several academically gifted programs it is terrifying to get to UNCSA and realize you are not as smart as you thought you were. It's almost crippling to realize that you are wrong. I would remind myself that it is okay to make mistakes and that it is all part of learning how to be a better sound designer and engineer.


if i could go back to my high school self i would tell her to get involved in as many groups at school as possible. Surround yourself with all types of people so you can interact and learn about how each types differ. I would tell her not to sweat the small stuff as high school is temporary and not lasting. The big issues in high school mean nothing once you get to college.


Dear myself, Always do what you love and make sure that you surround yourself with people and a place that nurtures that desire. Don’t worry about those who don’t believe in you. Doubt can spread like a disease to those who give it the time of day. You are a child who is walking for the first time. You will fall time and time again. Eventually you will discover that taking a step is going through that same process of falling, only catching yourself at the end. If you fail more times then your peers and pay attention to why, you will have truly been successful. Keep an open mind and don’t judge anyone based on what you have heard. There is not a single person in the world that you cannot learn a great deal from, so do not limit anyone’s potential. Don’t feel inadequate when you are learning for the first time what others have known since childhood and don’t let your pride block you from absorbing the simple lessons that life teaches you. Yours truly,Yourself. P.S. There will always be other girls.


I would tell my high school senior self to not take everything so seriously all the time. Stay focus, but don't stress every little thing it will exahaust you being so stressed. Stop comparing yourself to other people. Focus on you and your education. Work hard and talk to everyone. You don't have to focus with one group only. Don't let relationships define you. You need to define yourself. You can be amazing here, but you have to be fearless to get there.


Dear Younger Version of Me, You know what you should do while you're still in high school? Just do stuff. Do extra curriculars, talk to people NOT in your social norm, and get out. Yeah, I know. People? Conversing? I say this jokingly, but I mean it. Not because it looks good on your college application, not because you get community service hours for helping people, and not because you stay cooped up in your house everyday (because I know you don't). It's because you need the exerience. No, I don't mean job experience. I mean it from a writing standpoint. You get into the first and most intense arts conservatory in the Unted States. And you write screenplays for films that the school spends their money on. And you know nothing about the outside world. You don't know how to write about people other than yourself. You're learning quickly, mind you, but it would have been helpful if you had done so sooner. So please interact with those you normally wouldn't. It's going to help you, I promise. Editor you of the Future, Aneesa Mahboob


When people tell you it all gets better in college, they really mean it. High school is four years of awkwardness, cliques, busy work, and silly stresses and by the time you get to college, it’s everything you hoped for; those four years don’t seem so traumatizing. College is a fresh start, a new beginning. It’s a place to figure out who you are going to be in your adult life, and with the encouragement of everyone around you, knowing that that journey is a process. Your professors become strong friends and you get to live with interesting people with different backgrounds and strong opinions. College is a place to experience and discover new things about yourself and learn more about who you are, and who you are becoming, instead of just a bunch of new classes. Don’t fret, high school-me, college is exactly want you’ve been dreaming it up to be and actually, even better.


Having been a perfectionist in high school, given the chance to advise my high-school self, I would tell myself that academic classes are only one of the many things you learn from in college. I'd remind myself that, during these most formative years, you learn the most from a balance between both academic work and the other wealth of experiences available to college students. I'd also encourage myself not to be intimidated by the difficult and demanding schedule, not to see classes just as work, but rather to take everything in stride, enjoy the journey and trust that my college knows what it's important for me to learn. College isn't really about getting a degree (although having one opens many doors). It's about self-discovery and growth - that is, discovering who you are and growing into the person you'll become.


Never give up. You are so much stronger than you know, and the people in your high school were just jerks. Try to find ways to stay motivated and don't party too much. You will meet a lot of great friends, but you have to learn to love yourself before you can reap the full benefits of that friendship. Staying involved is what will make or break your experience in college, so don't be lazy and spend all your time in your room. The teachers are there to help you, so talk with them often. It would be smart for you to get a work study job right away, you'll be glad you did. Treat everyday and every moment in life like a learning experience. Know that you don't know everything just yet. Believe in yourself even though you feel like no one else does, because you can have a successful life. But most importantly, never give up on the dreams that we have had since childhood.


The advice I would give myself if I could go back in time and talk to myself as a high school senior would be to work hard in all my classes to prepare for the rigor of college classes. I worked very hard in high school but many times it felt too easy for me. College classes do not feel hard as my high school teachers prepared me greatly for them but the difference is that there is much more due at one time and a very heavy schedule. Looking back I would have taken more AP classes to prepare myself for a fuller schedule. I worked while I was in high school and work now on breaks and here on campus. In my field of study which is Design and Production-Tech Design and Directing, we work a daily schedule in the construction shop to build the sets for the upcoming plays that the Drama students are preparing for in their field of study. So, looking back I would applaude myself for working hard to prepare for a rigorous schedule but I would also highly encourage college preparotory classes to feel prepared for the rigor and time management needed.


I would tell myself that the changes that happen freshman year are unreal. By May you feel as if you have been squeezed through a tunnel, but you made it out the other side. Freshman year you will prove to yourself that you are stronger than you ever thought and that you have a talent that people wish for, so trust yourself and trust that you are in the right place. I would tell myself that no matter what stay true to yourself and follow your instincts. Remember that your family is always there for you when you need them (even if throughout the semester you were bad at calling them except for when you needed them) and your true friends are the ones that support you and tell you “You can do it.” You will learn what it means to really trust someone and you will learn what it is like to have trust completely shattered. But most of all I would tell myself that freshman year of college is AMAZING and to experience every part of it to the fullest and to not take it for granted because the years that follow might not be as fantastic.


There are countless things I could say about the process of applying and the stress of moving and the emotion of leaving family and friends behind, but the best advice I can give for all of those is this: be still. No matter how crazy life gets, everything is going to work out how it's meant to if you have a little faith. For a teenager, the transition into college from everything you have ever known is the most terrifying, wonderful thing imaginable. Terrible and beautiful things will happen along the way, but you just have to dig in and hold on. Choose wisely, and choose for yourself. Not to please your parents or grandparents by choosing the "safest" path, but by choosing what is going to make you happy. Filmmaker Olan Rogers said that "What you do shouldn't be defined by how much money, fame, or wordly desires you acquire, but by how much fun it is to be doing what you love." Remember that, and do not be afraid of what lies ahead of you. Your life is what you make it, so choose for you, be still, and enjoy every moment of this beautiful journey.


Be a little kid. I know that sounds backwards, because you’re supposed to give all that up, forge your new adult lifestyle, and undertake this huge responsibility. Everyone’s telling you to grow up, and so I’m telling you to forget it. See, high school’s not like college, not like you’d think. People here are still popular, but it’s because they’re good people. Being smart is good, as is being funny, and sociable. But everybody’s trying so hard to “do-the-right-thing” as opposed to doing the thing they think is best. And for you, that’s remembering it’s okay to be a little kid. Do silly things. Sleep in the grass. Be amazed by pinecones. Work your butt off, and play your butt off, too. Be kind. Little kids don’t care if you’re fat or old or in pre-med, and neither should you. Smile too much, until it hurts. Adults forget that part of happiness, thinking it’s always some introspective cup of coffee on a quiet morning. It’s also a big, goofy grin to someone you’ve never met before. And always, always say thanks.


Throughout this college experience I have gained great knowledge from my intructors and fellow classmates, that would help me and many woderful ways. They are people who have the same passion and goals that I have for myself in the future. To many of us this is a hobby we love to do and will never be just a job.


I believe my college experience has helped improve my social communication skills through speech presentations and collaborative projects. This particular skill will have a major importance during the production of motion pictures which emphasizes working together as a team effort. Additionally, it has improved my leadership skills where I was able to provide direction and establish communication amongst fellow group members. The college experience has, again, advanced another value skill neccessary for my future profession. Being able to further progress my education has also given me the opportunity to obtain a further understanding and appreciation for art, especially film, through respective aesthetic-based classes. Thanks to the college experience, I've been able to improve upon truly valuable skills that are absolutely essential in following my dream profession and I deeply appreciative of this fortunate opporunity to pursue my career provided by the college.


I attended the high school program at UNCSA for my junior and senior year as a visual arts student. I lived on campus and fulfillled my high school education while taking intensive training courses in design, drawing, and sculpture. consequently, the transition form high school to the college film/animation program wasn't a huge transition, but if I could talk to my past senior self, I'd tell me to work harder during the summer. Though I worked 6 weeks as a residence counselor, I could have simultaniously completed far more paintings and sculptures which would have further advanced my skill and given me more confidence entering the film program.


I would tell myself to not be afraid. People are people, the same as me. Enough of the timidity of speaking to someone who merely "looks" unapproachable. To make friends, I have to be a friend. Everyone has the capiblity to be a friend. So even if I am terrified of introducing myself to the girl who sits next to me in my writing class, or the guy who lives in the dorm next to me, I have no reason to be that way. College is the greatest learning experience anyone can ever get, so learn about everyone, and do not hold back an inch of yourself, because you have everything to give.


First and foremost, I would tell myself to get onto a normal sleep-cycle so that once I got to college I wouldn't have the sleep and health issues I started out with. I would also tell myself to get everything done as soon as possible after it's assigned, instead of procrastinating and waiting until the last minute. The final thing I would tell myself would be to practice more every day. The voice is a very fragile muscle and not using it causes it to weaken and become inconsistant. I have so much more potential than I allowed myself to achieve in high school, and I wish I hadn't inhibited myself by putting roadblocks in my own way.


Keep your mind open, and CHALLENGE your desired direction.


It is very important to do your research about the school before applying. It is also important to find out the faculty and their background as well as the surroundings of the school.


As a recent college graduate the only advice that I could give is find a school that best suits you and your needs. Never settle for, always keep your head held high and be motivative to do things, where you fullfill a potential colege/university requirements to be accepted. My university that I graduated from was and still is simply the best! I chosen a study where self-discipline must be balanced with the freedom to grow and create. Along with rigorous training and a commitment to your performing and liberal arts. I found a school that suit my aspirations and goals, which I hope one will do the same. I wish you the best in whatever endeavor you may fortake.


You should talk to current students as well as alumni as you try to determine whether or not a school is right for you. The faculty and administrators are much more likely to try to paint an idyllic picture of the school as a whole (in addition to being much more out-of-touch with the day-to-day life of a student), whereas actual students are much more informed and much more open about the real situation the institution finds itself in. Also, it helps to have a very clear idea of what you intend to get out of the collegiate experience and where you want to go (and what you want to do) with the knowledge acquired.


Don't just look at the schools and facilities and perspective job offers, look into the lives of current students and get the low-down on life at that school. Not all schools are created equally. Find out what that school supports and think long and hard about your dicission to attend this school or another.


Finding the right collge takes one thing: experience. Go to the school and experience the environment, takes to random students and look around the facilities. Go to a class, eat in the cafeteria. Really get to know the school by not going on a usual tour day. Make the most of the college tour and experience by not being afraid to try new things. Go out and have fun without limits.. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. They may avoid suffereing and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. This is what the college experience is about. Go out and really live. Learn about yourself and everything you can. Change and grow through your experiences and other people. Love unconditionally. Live life to the fullest and know that there is no such thing as a regret, just something to be learned from an experience. Live life, don't hide from it and you will have the time of your life.


First, I think that finding your college of choice has to be based on the direction you are leaning in major-wise, if you have one. If you don't have one, then it should be based on a general area of subject matter that you are interested in. Secondly, I would say that if you have a specialized area you are interested in, find out about it and go for it! I am in film school, and was lucky enough to have parents who supported my decision to enter into such an 'artsy' field. No, there aren't a huge amount of options for film school (especially if you aren't financially advantaged), but there are a handful, and you'll probably find what you're looking for at one of them. This goes for all specialized fields. And for people like me who are in that 'lower' financial bracket, financial aid is much more prevalent than you think. Find out everything you can before discounting a school as 'out of your range.' One last thing--don't judge an entire school based on your experience with one or two people you meet when you visit, or heresay.


Three words: Do not settle. If you have a passion, persue it wholeheartedly. If you are unsure of what to do, do not worry. The school which seems best at first may turn out not to be, and that is okay. You must keep in mind that although schools are often chosen for their academic excellence, an enormous part of the learning experience in college happens outside of the classroom. For most students, this is where they will get their first taste of independence. Choose a school that you connect with--academically, emotionally, and mentally; a place where you can explore yourself and really discover who you are.


Follow your heart.


Sure, academics are important. Sure, choosing the name of the school on the diploma is something to consider. Sure, money is a major factor. But remember, choosing a college is more than that. Unlike high school, college isn't somewhere you leave at the end of the day. College is where you eat, where you sleep, where you work, where you play. College is where you live. Make sure, when you choose the college, that you are also choosing a place that you will call home for the next few years. This is the place where you will do your laundry, where you will get sick, where you will meet your life-long friends. When visiting a campus, ask yourself, "Can I really see myself here, in this place, with these people day after day and year after year?" And if the answer isn't a resounding "Yes!" then it's time to keep looking. And once you've found it, and you've made it there, take advantage of it! Get to know all the new people around you. Check out everything going on in the area. Remember, it's more than your school, it's your home.


The best piece of advice that I could possibly bestow upon anbody in the process of picking a college, is to "Go with your gut feeling." Yes, you need to pick the school where you know you will get the best education you possibly can, and your gut instict will almost always point to that school. You need a place where you can socially fit in. For example, if you go to a school that has a reputation for being extremely conservative, you wouldn't want to go there if you didn't fit the role as a quintessential student for that school. Also, don't let anybody influence your decision. It's your education, and ultimately your future that you're deciding on, so any outside influences or "distractions" could be detrimental in the long-run. Nobody is as capable of making the decision as to which college you should attend as you are. Good luck!


Since every college has something to offer, choosing one is not only practical but personal. Start by meeting with faculty and then students to guage how you will fit in. Visit the school two weeks after open house if possible. Get details about scholarship opportunities and course requirements so that you know what your getting yourself into. I the end, follow up with trying to meet with proffessors and discussing how they plan to help your career. Every facet of the school from campus life to academic integrity will affect you in your first few years away from home, so weigh them heavily and go for what feels best.


I believe one of the most positive experiences about choosing colleges is visiting them. Even if they are across the country, try and visit so you can get a feel for the campus and the overall atmosphere. Pictures wont do any place enough justice, and risking moving your like for the next four years to a place where you do not feel comfortable can really bring down your grades, social life, and entire outlook on life. Another option I would recommend for choosing the best college is looking through the classes they offer because you never know what you might end up enjoying and pursuing a career in. I know plenty of students who chose a major that they loved and then discovered new and completely unrelated interests that made them change majors and even schools. Lastly meeting with your potential teachers and classmates is a huge part of getting to know the campus and social life. Those conversations during my visit to the school were what mostly helped me make my decision.


Take your time but do realize you can always change your mind. Stick with your decision for at least a year to honestly jusdge the campus and people there.


You can't pick a college because of it's name. you have to go and see the environment you will be learning in, the most important thing is your environment because if you don't like it you won't thrive. I love NCSA becuase it isn't a college but a second home, that kicks your but every day and brings out the best in you!