Is It Too Late To Apply for Drama School?

It might not be!
Young performer auditioning for drama school

Is It Too Late To Apply for Drama School?

Our official application advice here at Stagepunch is “always apply early.” There are several advantages to this. For one, you probably have a higher chance of getting the audition or interview slot of your choice. As one of the earlier applicants, you will also be competing for more (and bigger) scholarships. We feel so strongly about this topic we included a section about it in the Stagepunch Guidebook (Pro and VIP members can access that specific scene HERE.) But let’s get real, the reason you have come to our blog asking the question “is it too late to apply for drama school?” is probably not to be lectured on why you should have already applied.

What if you missed the deadline for your dream school without meaning to? 
Something unforeseen could have happened, keeping your mind occupied somewhere else until it was too late. Maybe you were too selective with your applications and didn’t end up with the callbacks or offers you were hoping for. Or you had another set of plans that fell through.

Whatever the case, you are finding yourself at a crossroads. So what options are you left with? You could wait for the next round of applications to open. Take a gap year, travel, work and save up some money. You could even attend a shorter course in the meantime. I recommend checking out The New York Teen Shakespeare Intensive Online. Waiting a year is a more than valid option. You will gain experiences and maturity that can only help you on your artistic journey. But if you feel like now is the right time, our advice is, GO FOR IT!

Keep on Rolling

Several schools operate with rolling admissions. This means you can apply at pretty much any time of the year and (if you are accepted) begin your studies in the next upcoming semester. If you’re looking to start in the fall, you can often apply for these programs all the way into August. In the US, you will typically find that larger (often public) universities operate with rolling admissions. For performing arts degrees, you are more likely to find BA programs offering rolling admissions. BFA programs often have several rounds of auditions, requiring earlier deadlines. 

Pro tip: Most performing arts departments operate with their own separate deadlines. If you are looking at programs requiring an audition, the school’s official application deadline might be after the final audition date or video submission deadline. Make sure to read up on the fine print before applying. You don’t want to pay the application fee, only to find out you won’t be able to audition.

A Global Perspective

Another thing you could consider is studying abroad as an international student. Some countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, actually begin their school year at the same time as the calendar year (it kind of makes sense, if you think about it.) This means their applications open around the same time they are closing in places like the US and the UK. Studying abroad is a great way to learn more about a new culture while growing both artistically and personally. There are great performing arts colleges located all over the world, and most of them have long and proud histories of welcoming international students. Head over to the Programs Database and use the filter option to see our selection of international programs that might be the right fit for you.

Pro tip: You might not believe it, but it can actually end up being cheaper to study abroad. Many countries operate with set fees meaning the universities can’t decide their own tuition. Some countries even offer free education to everyone, including international students.

The Secret Deadlines of UCAS

If you are based in the UK (or interested in studying there as an international student,) you’re probably familiar with UCAS. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service is the system used to apply for almost all higher education in the United Kingdom. The regular application deadline is typically set in the last week of January. What you might not know is that this is not the definitive deadline; there are two additional rounds to consider. 

First, we have the final deadline, where late applications can be submitted through the end of June. UCAS suggests contacting the school(s) you want to apply for in advance to see if they have any vacancies. Drama schools and performing arts programs are highly competitive. After the official deadline, the major players won’t have any available spots left. But with a bit of digging and determination, you should be able to find drama schools and universities still accepting applications.

But what if you didn’t make the final June deadline? Or you did, but didn’t receive any offers? Enter UCAS Clearing (stage left.) Clearing is where UK universities and colleges can post courses with available places they want to fill. UCAS keeps an updated list of vacancies during all of clearing (July 5 through October 18.) They still recommend you reach out to the school and request an informal offer before adding them to your clearing application.

A Few Final Thoughts

So, is it too late to apply for drama school? The short answer is no!

Sure, you might not be able to go to your dream school this year. But it is not too late to get accepted into a program that could end up being just as good (or even better) for your personal artistic journey. Things have a funny way of working out in the end. Don’t beat yourself up over the circumstances you find yourself in. A few of us here at Stagepunch missed deadlines too (Chat with us anytime, we are happy to talk about it!) 

You can’t change what has already happened. Instead, let that frustration fuel and inspire the rest of your application process. Wherever you end up going, know that Stagepunch believes in you. You’ve got this!

Jonas Kobberdal

Jonas is the Content King at Stagepunch. He leads the research team, writes blog posts, and one time even got PUNCHED in the face for the good cause. Jonas is an actor and artist originally from Norway, currently a world traveler, and a New Yorker at heart. After getting rid of his remaining hair, he now spends most of his spare time channeling his inner Bruce Willis. Having studied for an acting degree himself, Jonas knows the many joys the right program can bring your life. He is passionate about supporting young artists who are chasing their dreams!

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