The School of Drama - The New School Reviews
The New School talks a big game with aggressive marketing and good visitor experiences, but the reality is that the only school worth all the talk is Parsons, and even then just for the professional connections. The School for Drama, especially the BFA program, is an underwhelming, unsupportive mess. The actual amount of studio classes is incredibly low and are taught by subpar teachers. It is near impossible to sign up for any productive electives to supplement the sparse theater education that they do give, as the upperclassmen and MFA students snatch them up before anyone else. While there is occasionally a decent and focused teacher, the majority of them are too disorganized with their lesson plans to provide any real benefit. The administration is unresponsive and unaware of the problematic nature of this program. My class was frequently told that if we were unsatisfied with the tiny amount of acting classes we could sign up for classes outside the school instead of offering constructive solutions. Still, this seems to suit most of the students, who tend to be just as distracted and unconcerned with their academic experience. There was always a consistent number of students who arrive late or not show up at all. Group projects were frustrating and I frequently heard the suggestion that drugs would help improve our work. Any kind of work ethic and self motivation that I've seen in other theater artists just wasn't there. It became clear to me that for the majority of students, this was a place to hang out to placate their parents while partying and taking on meaningless pet projects. On top of all this, the housing is expensive and subpar, with peeling paint, mice, cockroaches, and terrible roommates, and the food service is a joke (think EIGHT DOLLARS for a PB&J).
Class sizes are generally small, which creates a team-like atmosphere that has lasted throughout the entirety of the school-year. Students are outgoing, ambitious, and hard-working - more so than any other student population I have interacted with or been a part of before. The professors have thus far been unbiased, driven professionals in their respective fields, the facilities are modern and easily accessible, the workload is difficult but manageable; I truly have nothing but positive things to say about my experience here.
Housing is extremely convenient. It is over priced, clearly, but it is Manhattan. Convenience is really the only reason to live on campus. Residences are close to central campus, with laundry facilities, art study rooms, music practice rooms, fitness facilities, though for the price it is absolutely a strain on the majority of students. Housing is over half the amount of tuition and all financial aid goes directly to tuition so there is never really assistance for housing.