CAP Blog

Our latest thoughts on just about everything



Let’s talk about the elephant in the room… Financial Aid

 Luanne Lee is a College Planning Coach with about 15 years of experience in the field. She started out as a financial planner, but realized she could help families a lot more by showing them how to save on cost of education. And boy does she!

So, the FAFSA. What is it? Luanne clears this up by explaining that the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is simply an application that can be found at  It is not an actual grant or loan application. This application is in place to help the federal government see where you fall on the poverty line scale, which can help determine if you qualify for federal school loans.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But what if I know I’m not near that poverty line, what’s the point in filling this out?” Well, Luanne answers that as well. “Why not?” It certainly couldn’t hurt, and if we look back at this past year and a half with the pandemic, we know things can change in an instant. Why not be prepared? And there’s always the possibility of qualifying for some of that federal money. It would be a huge bummer to miss out on that $5,000 because you didn’t want to take the time to fill out the application, right? If you do fall below that poverty line, you could qualify for the free Federal Pell Grant up to $6,495. Through the CARES Act, schools, even theatre colleges, received government funding as well… why not use it? Not to mention, some schools may require a FAFSA to be filled out to apply for financial aid through them.

So, what do you need to apply for the FAFSA and set up your FSA ID? You’ll need paystubs/asset balances, your 2020 tax return… yes, I did say your 2020 tax return, social security card/number, investment account information, mortgage statements/investment real estate information, and 529 plans which are considered parent assets not student assets. Be sure you pull all this information for you and your student! You will both need to create FSA ID’s.

With all that said- keep in mind that the priority date for financial aid from schools differs tremendously from the FASFA date. FAFSA goes out about two years, while schools will be within a few months. Check the schools financial aid information for their specified date.

If you would like more in-depth information from Luanne, she does have another video available on her website and

You can also JOIN THE CAP PARENT SUPPORT GROUP to see this video and receive even more helpful information for this amazing journey you and your student are on leading up to their college auditions, and BFA programs they are working hard to take part in.

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Theatre majors: What should you minor in?
The short answer is: either something that you love, or something that will give you a leg up once you're out of school.
If you are really passionate about political science, minor in it! Or physics, or engineering! You'll be doing theatre 50 hours a week, so having different subjects you love learning about on your plate will be a welcome break for you.
Now, what minors get you the most bang for your buck post-graduation?
1. Computer Science, specifically coding. You'll design your own website and it won't cost a thing. You'll make casting directors & agents & managers want to keep exploring your media & credits.
You'll also be the go-to website builder for other actors in your circle, and bring it continuous income.
2. Video editing. Imagine being able to cover all your living expenses & put some away for savings! Video editing is a precise skill in demand, and sometimes one project can pay your bill for months!
Now which minors can help you be prepared to manage your business--yourself--the best?
1. Pre-Law, specifically business law. You'll be working with a myriad of different employers as a professional entertainer. Know how to read contracts and how to manage your taxes as a sole proprietorship or S-Corp. You'll also be able to fight against unlawful working conditions, and negotiate your contracts with greater authority
2. Business. You'll get a bevy of tools to master your own business including marketing, finance, and agreements.
3. Biology/Anatomy: As a dancer, singer or actor, your body is your instrument for sharing your story. Knowing the inner mechanics is a huge boost for your longevity. In addition, if you decide to get your master's degree is voice, vocal pedagogy, speech language pathology, or dance, you will be required to have undergraduate classes in biology and anatomy.
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It's the Season of "No," but not for long

It's December 20th, and while everyone else is doing their Christmas shopping and wrapping up finals, you're wrapped in a blanket of anxiety because you've received almost all "no" responses from your college audition pre-screens. 

I'm here to tell you...this is exactly how it's supposed to happen. 

The "no's" come first. It's just pragmatic, not personal. If a school doesn't think you're a fit, there's nothing else for them to consider, and you get an email right away. 

If a school is considering you, they've got things to think about. Where do you fit with the season they've got planned, and the season after that? What kind of aid package can they offer you on top of the admissions office aid? Are they mulling over redirecting you to the acting program so they can keep you in the program?

That stuff takes time. So if you haven't heard from your school yet--good!!

In the meantime, you're going to get a hundred 'no' responses from schools. I'm waiting on 475 responses for my students. We have three 'yes' answers thus far. Everyone is trudging through 'no' right now. It's universal. Wade through it. Wait through it, because the season of yes starts next month and goes through March. And it's so glorious. 

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 Greetings from chilly NYC as our tour is snowed in for a few days. This east coast snow is no joke!

 If you want to go to college for acting or musical theatre, and you want to stand out to every school, from the safeties to the tip-top reaches, read on!
 If you are a performer with talent, passion, and drive but you want top consideration in every school you audition for, read on!

 When I was talking with the head of musical theatre at the University of Michigan, Vincent J Cardinal, he asked about me and CAP. Then I asked about Michigan. What don't I know from the your website, reputation and auditions?

 What he said blew my mind. "Have two out of three."

 Meaning, you don't have to be an insane triple thread. Just have two out of three skills, and they'll help you hone the rest.

 The head of MT at Michigan isn't looking for triple theats--just for double threats!

 Having said that, here's the secret trick to stand out: identify what your "second" skill is and spend the next year(s) honing it. 

 If you're a singer first, an actor second, and a dancer third, GET IN THOSE ACTING CLASSES. 

 Be really really sharp on your first two skills, and shake the rust off the third one. 

 For instance, I'm an actor first, a singer second, and a dancer third, I would:
 -continue my acting classes
 -get into great shape vocally with lots of vocal technique training
 -get into dance classes to improve that skill, but don't go bananas about it. 

 Having two out of three skills in top-notch shape will make you an asset to every program you audition for.


For voice, get into private voice now. I have recommendations, so message me and I"ll help you find a teacher. 

For dance, find a local studio for ballet, jazz, and tap. 

For acting, find a summer program. There are some wonderful college summer programs and regional theatre programs. My top recommendations are UCLA, Boston University, ArtsBridge, and my own summer intensive in Orange County. We'll be joined by five top-tier MT and acting programs and a Broadway Superstar. 

Questions? Don't hesitate to comment and message me!

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Not getting the callbacks you want from your pre-screen college auditions? Good news! Those schools aren't off the table at unified auditions!

If you've finished submitting your pre-screen auditions and you haven't gotten the callback you were hoping for, I know it feels like you're fighting an uphill battle, like you're climbing up a wet slippery rock in loafers. 
BUT what if I told you, that those schools aren't actually off the table--that you can still end up being asked to attend a school that didn't call you back?
HOW, you ask?
If you want to keep those schools in play, read on!
When you get the unified college auditions, (NY, CHI, and, LA), you'll have appointments with the schools who called you back, and the schools who asked you to audition without a pre-screen. But what about the schools who will be there who didn't offer you a callback? Won't they be there too? Yes, and you're in luck!

Many schools, including some BIG musical theatre colleges offer walk-in auditions without an appointment. You can see when they have open spots on their daily schedule and write in your name (and possibly pay a small audition fee) and that's it!

Here's my advice: do this with all the schools you're interested in. Including the ones that didn't call you back. If they have open spots, it means they need to see more talented passionate people: that's you!

And they may need you now, even though they didn't before. A college is casting a stable of actors for their season(s). So maybe you are a tall handsome baritone, and when they saw your pre-screen they had enough tall handsome baritones so they passed on you. 

But here's the thing: people leave college theatre programs all the time. 

So by the time you show up at the in-person auditions, they may need exactly you! You'll be doing them a big favor by coming in and reminding them you exist and have so much to offer. YOU SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM. 
I've had students who have not been called back from a school via their pre-screen audition, and then at unified auditions been offered admissions at the same school! 

Also, to maximize dollars, audition for schools you may potentially be interested in, even if you've never heard of them.
Worst case scenario is you don't go to a school you've never heard of. Best case is they offer you a ton of money to go there and you end up loving it. OR they offer you a ton of money and you can use it as leverage money for other schools. The possibilities are endless!

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fry stressed.pngIf you're anything like I was when I was a senior in high school, you're looking at college applications for theatre programs, hyperventilating, and turning on HGTV instead.

While deciding which colleges to apply to may seem daunting, you can simplify your selections by answering the following questions:

Where do I want to be: 

Quick! What do you think of when you think of 'college?' Did you see a beautiful serene campus with quaint dormitories? Or jumping on your bike and navigating through the streets of a big city to get your class across town?

What excites you more--a mega-campus with 30,000 people, or a small grounds where everybody knows your name?

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Do I want an academic life outside of theatre?

If everything but theatre, food, and Netflix bores you, then a BFA is your kind of program. It means theatre is about 80% of your academic commitment.

If you are like me, and still want to be a paleontologist, astronaut and president, then a BA is what awaits you. It means between 50-70% of your studies are theatre, but you can have a minor, and in some cases a double-major. (Again, paleontology requires some serious study)


Where do I want to study abroad?

Some theatre programs have dedicated study abroad locations for theatre, often England, because, well, Shakespeare. And the whole speaking the language you're acting in. 

Some programs give you a semester in New York City

Some have a veritable plethora of study abroad locations, though not necessarily all for theatre.

And some, especially conservatory-style schools, have none. 


What can I afford?

College selection is a collaboration between you and your parents. Money is a necessary factor in determining your school selection.

If your parents have a hard limit on what is affordable, check out, and for what scholarships and grants are available. And contact the theatre departments to find out what talent based scholarships are available. 


And the most important much do I want to do??

Regardless of your choice of colleges, you determine what you get out of it. 

If you're at a less-than-stellar school in NYC, use your location to your advantage. Start auditioning and building connections.

If you're in the midwest at a great conservatory, take all the additional master classes offered. 

If you're at a general BA program, contribute to the student theatre company.

A degree shows the world where you graduated, but the diploma doesn't make you a better performer, or a more interesting actor, or make you happier with your work or your experiences. Invest in your happiness when you choose a school. 

The question is not which college will make you a better performer, but where you will be happiest proactively making yourself better?

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