Explaining The NSLC Theatre Program

As the session gets closer and closer, my excitement for New York is only growing. Packing lists are being made, money is being saved, and other preparations are being placed to get ready to take my flight to New York City.

While I’m so undeniably excited about the trip, I can’t forget who got me there. My Mom and Dad, who paid for the whole thing because they love me so much. (They’re gonna make so much fun of me for that later.)

Before I got the invitation for the National Student Leadership Conference, I had applied for and been accepted to another summer program closer to home in LA, with a performing arts college and conservatory. It was for two weeks and seemed like a great experience to have, a very expensive one at that.

I applied for the scholarship and got an email that I received both admission and the scholarship. I sat down with my parents and we worked out a system to pay them back for the program, with compromises and other sacrifices. Their end of the deal was obviously heavier. Four thousand, five hundred dollars heavier.

Everything was fitting into place and a lot of things were happening for me theatre-wise. Lots of new, very good things.

One day, I found a gigantic envelope from something called the National Student Leadership Conference in the mess of mail on the table. I sat on the couch across from my Dad and dumped everything that was in the envelope onto the cushions.

Pouring out came information brochures, scholarship opportunities, and a letter. I unfolded it and it informed that I had been anonymously nominated by someone who worked at or went to my school for a program in the performing arts category with the National Student Leadership Conference.

I frantically looked over it and got incredibly excited about the opportunity. I looked at the two programs for theatre: the Acting Intensive at Yale and the Musical Theatre at Fordham, IN. NEW. YORK.

I told my dad very quickly that I had changed my mind and wanted to do this instead. He told me that I needed to a)do extensive research and b)convince my Mom.

Off to work I went, researching first the legitimacy of the program, then the individual programs themselves, and finally, finances.

I decided that Musical Theatre would be the best experience I could have, considering the fact that that was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It was a way for me to get training, a way to meet more people who wanted the same thing I did, and best of all, a way to see New York.

After extensive research, I concluded the following to bring to my parents and, to the benefit of you guys!

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Musical Theatre At Fordham University 

First, to make this very clear, the National Student Leadership Conference has so many other programs than just theatre. To find them, follow the link here to explore the plethora of other academic and non-academic summer programs they have to offer for middle and high school students alike. These programs all differ in subject, area, time, and cost.

While there were so many options to choose from, the one that obviously grabbed my attention was the Musical Theatre Program in New York City.

For someone who dreams of being on a Broadway stage, Broadway is the place to be and New York is where to find it.

When I looked into the program and planned for this mini family meeting, I jotted down all the reasons why they should consider allowing me to switch summer intensives and why it would be a better benefit for me in the long-run. That list is how I’m going to structure this little Information Session.

Welcome To NSLC Theatre 101!
(to be updated when I return from the intensive!)

The categories will be:

a) Invitation and Enrollment

b) Program Description

c) Cost and Scholarships

See you on the other side.

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a) Invitation and Enrollment

There are many ways to get involved with NSLC, but the most common and easiest way to participate is by invitation. Because I was nominated/recommended/whatever you want to call it, I went through what I assume is a much less difficult way of enrolling. However, you can apply to the programs by following the information on their website, accessible here.

Once I got my invitation, I emailed my interest to potentially save a spot while I looked into it and discussed it with my parents.

I gathered my information on the process and jotted it all down, in means of finances. Finances were a tool I knew was going to be most useful in supporting my argument to switch because getting the best for what was spent was one of my concerns. Plus, the less money they drained, the better we’d all feel.

I found out that first, I’d have to enroll, and then would I be allowed to apply for a scholarship, all before placing a deposit. With this in mind, I moved on to the next area to cover. Value.

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b) Program Description

One of the big reasons that I wanted to switch was because of the bigger opportunities that the intensive offered.

  1. I would be in New York City
  2. I would see 2-3 Broadway/off-Broadway shows
  3. I would be speaking to entire Broadway casts, casting directors and other professionals who have been through the wringer
  4. It would be my first time truly out of state
  5. It would be world exploration without truly being alone
  6. I would gain leadership skills, life experience, and a new show under my belt
  7. Did I mention that I would be in NEW YORK CITY?
  8. My schedule would be filled to the brim with classes and activities
  9. I’d meet more people with different interests
  10. I’d meet people from all over and out of the country

Needless to say, I was stoked about this opportunity. I’d be getting more for what my parents paid for, I had a better chance at a larger scholarship, AND I would also have the chance at a college scholarship for being an NSLC Alumni.

It was a win-win-win.

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c) Cost and Scholarships

So, you all may not know this, but I am incredibly uncomfortable with asking for money. Or, discussing money, really. It’s not because I’m ashamed or too proud, but simply because money leads to a lot of conflict and trouble, and I generally like to stay out of both of those.

Because of this, asking about the program I had first applied for was already a big scare for me. But I had brought a mental checklist along with me, as well as a fight inside me that wanted it more than anything. So when they said yes, I was thrilled.

This same fight centered itself in my stomach again, only this time, with the cost being much lower than the $4,500 program before it, the fight was stronger.

I sat down with my mom and reiterated all the things I stated in point B. I strengthened the argument that it was a much better opportunity for me and emphasized the fact about how much less the cost would be.

I told her that the program was almost $1,500 less and that it was in New York and gave me a better opportunity at reaching a more polished talent and blah blah blah. Point is, I made my case. I begged and pleaded, bargained, even, to let one more thing go: Improv.

It was at this point that I think she knew I was serious because Improv was one of the things I loved best. I had made a lot of friends and grown a lot creatively. But if I was willing to let it go to have this experience, I must have really wanted it.

And I did. And I do.

And I’m going to have it. Because my parents are so incredibly giving, and because I am so annoyingly persistent, they granted me this wonderful gift. That is something I can never truly repay them for.

In ten short days, I’ll be in on a plane to New York to start what I hope will be one of the best experiences of my life.  I am so unbelievably excited that I could (and have…many times) cry.

I am really looking forward to it, and to sharing it with all of you.

Until then!

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Hi guys! Thanks so much for reading my blog post!

Lots of fun things are coming up, and I’m really excited to bring you along with me to experience and read about them!

If you can, please take the time to check out NSLC. All of the programs seem amazing and I’m sure they are. Fundraise, apply for the scholarship (awards range from $350-$750), and talk to your parents!

Thank you all so much, and I’ll be back on Sunday with Show Tune Sunday!

Until then!

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Kate Santos

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