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How to… get data on the courses on offer

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1. Study written prospectuses

Most colleges produce a written prospectus which will almost certainly also be available online via their website. Read it carefully so that you can ask informed questions. Make a list of everything you want to know. This will prepare you for face-to-face discussion. There’s a list of accredited colleges with links on Drama UK’s website at www.dramauk.co.uk, as well as a wealth of information on The Stage’s own training directory at www.thestage.co.uk/training/

2. Attend an open day

Many colleges run open days when you can talk to staff informally. Use them. It’s a good opportunity to get inside the college for a taste of its atmosphere and facilities. There might also be workshops that you can take part in, which is a useful way of assessing the level and style of the teaching.

3. Go to careers fairs

Events such as TheatreCraft and Move It/Perform can provide useful opportunities to gather information too. Many of the major schools take stands and you can usually talk to staff and students about courses at all levels.

4. Question staff

Quiz course leaders and other staff in detail. Ask about course content, hours of teaching and outcomes. Make direct contact if you can – some drama schools’ websites provide staff emails. Take nothing that you read in a prospectus or on a website at face value. The staff of any good school are happy to talk to prospective students, so don’t be daunted.

5. Contact current/former students

Use social networking to find people who’ve done or are doing the course – as well as the ones the college itself may introduce you to. But bear in mind that the latter will be hand-picked ‘satisfied customers’. How do the former reckon the course? Where has it led them?

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