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The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts

The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts

The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts


Welcome to The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts!

We understand that deciding how and where to pursue your professional acting career is one of life’s biggest decisions.

We offer an individualized and collaborative learning experience where you can grow and reach your unique potential and transform from a student into an actor that works. Our Two-Year Associate Degree (AOS) Programs in Film and Television Performance, Musical Theatre Performance, Theatre Performance and New Media for Actors will help you build your brand and launch your career.

Our faculty are professionals currently working in the industry in New York and around the world, and they take great joy in passing their knowledge on to you. They know how today’s entertainment industry works and will help you to make an individualized plan to reach your goals.

You'll join our vibrant student community, who come to live and work in New York City from all over the world. You'll be able to dedicate to living as an actor every day, and work towards the experience of performing in a professionally produced on-camera scene, or in a performance on a New York City stage. You'll graduate with the tools in hand to get work—including a resume and network of industry contacts.

It’s essential for professional actors to be multifaceted, and now you have the opportunity to diversify and build your actor’s toolbox by continuing your training at The New York Conservatory – you can work towards a second Associate Degree in as little as one year with our Pathways to Plus One programs.

Our four-week Summer Intensive Training courses in Acting for Film and Television or Musical Theatre Performance enable experienced performers to work on skill-building, and novice performers to sample the life of an actor living and working in New York City.


The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts began its journey in 1981 as The Actors in Advertising School, created by commercial actress Joan See, and offering classes that translated the stage techniques of Sanford Meisner, her former teacher, to acting in front of a camera.

The school grew to meet the demands of its growing client base who wanted to learn the business of acting. It was renamed The School for Film and Television.

It soon evolved into a two-year degree program, and became The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, adding programs in Musical Theatre, Theatre, and New Media for Actors.

From the start, our focus has been teaching actors how to succeed in the business of the acting industry; providing insights, experiences and connections that help launch their careers.

Our programs, led by professionals in the industry, are dedicated to guiding each student to grow and reach their unique potential, transforming them into actors that work.


The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts is an institutionally accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Our Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) degree programs in Film and Television Performance, Musical Theater Performance, Theatre Performance and New Media are registered by the New York State Board of Regents.

Campus Features

Our campus is located in Manhattan’s historic Flatiron district in central Manhattan, occupying three bright floors of performance studios, dance studios, camera studios, private voice studios, a voice-over studio, two student lounges with vending machines, and a library. Wi-Fi access is available throughout.

Classrooms and studios can be reserved for rehearsal and practice time as available.


    2-Year Degree Programs

    Applications are processed on a rolling basis. These steps do not have to be completed in sequence, but all are required for us to render a decision on your acceptance:

    1. Complete the Online Application
    2. Audition in person, or by Zoom
    3. Send Official High School Transcripts
    4. Submit an Essay
    5. Provide Two Recommendation Letters
    6. Pay a $50.00 application fee (this can be waived by your admissions advisor)

    Summer Intensives

    No application is necessary for summer programs, but an audition is required. Students will be assigned to 16-person sections based on a placement audition and interview after enrollment.

    1. Complete the Online Registration Form
    2. Schedule your audition for acceptance and to win scholarships.
    3. Pay a $400 tuition deposit to hold your place
    4. Deposit $300 for housing (optional)

    High School Transcripts

    Every application must be accompanied by an original, complete high school transcript sent directly from the school. High school seniors can send current transcripts and are expected to request that an official, final transcript be sent upon graduation.

    All official, final high school transcripts submitted must indicate degree completion and conferral date. GED diplomas must be accompanied by GED test scores. The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts welcomes applications from home-schooled students. A complete transcript with grades is still required. All students must provide proof of secondary education completion.

    Recommendation Letters

    Every application must include two letters of recommendation that attest to the applicant’s personal character, work ethic, and passion for the performing arts. Recommendation letters should be from industry professionals, teachers, guidance counselors, academic advisors, or a supervisor from a current or previous job. Letters from family members or friends will not be accepted.

    Visa Requirements

    International Student Timeline

    Step 1: Apply for Admission

    2-Year Degree Program

    Application steps do not have to be completed in sequence, but all are required for us to make an admissions decision:

    1) Complete the Online Application

    2) Schedule a Zoom audition, or audition at an in-person event.

    3) Send copies of your academic records/transcripts.

    • Examples of high school records: secondary certificate/diploma, reports showing subjects taken and marks received, GCSEs, leaving exams, etc.
    • Examples of university records: university reports, A-levels, BTEC certificates, etc.

    4) Submit your essay

    • Please respond to the prompt in roughly ~400-500 words
      • What do you think are the three most important qualities required to be successful in an acting career, and how do you embody or demonstrate those qualities?

    5) Provide two letters of recommendation

    • We require these to be from a contact such as a teacher, guidance counselor, advisor, mentor, coach, employer (supervisor, manager, etc.), director, volunteer coordinator, etc. In these letters, your contact will attest to your personal character and work ethic. We will not accept recommendation letters from family members or friends.

    6) Pay a $50.00 application fee

    4-Week Summer Intensive Program

    1. Complete the Online Registration Form
    2. Submit an audition self-tape or schedule a Zoom audition

    Step 2: Apply for the I-20 Form (Proof of Funding)

    1-20 Application Information

    This step is by far the biggest hurdle for international students and this can take a lot of time. We hope to coach students through the I-20 application and F-1 visa application as soon as possible for their best outcome and the best timeline in getting everything sorted in time for their desired intake.
    Review Costs
    Explore Financial Aid Opportunities
    I-20 Application (Degree Program) Example
    I-20 Application (Summer Intensives) Example

    Step 3: Apply for F-1 Student Visa

    F-1 Student Visa

    Once a student has been issued their official I-20 form, we will work together to begin the F-1 Student Visa application process.

    • Please take note of the additional visa fees:
    • SEVIS I-901 visa fee: $350 USD
    • DS-160 visa processing fee: USD 160

    Additional International Requirements

    Proof of English Proficiency

    English is the language of instruction for all New York Conservatory programs. The better your command of English, the more likely you are to succeed! Therefore, all international students from non-English speaking countries are required to provide proof of an acceptable level of English proficiency (including speaking and comprehension).

    Approved Language Proficiency Tests (and corresponding acceptable score):

    • TOEFL – 70 iBT
    • IELTS – 6
    • Duolingo English Test – 95
    • Cambridge English Language Assessment – B2
    • SAT redesigned (2016 and after) – 550 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing exam
    • SAT (before 2016) – 500 on SAT Critical Reading
    • ACT – 20 on the ACT English exam
    • Cambridge Certificate of Education in one of the following exams: GCSE, IGCSE, CSEC, O-Levels, AS-Level, or A-Levels – ‘C’ or better in English.

    Third-Party Credential Evaluation (to be completed after acceptance)

    To complete enrollment, international students must submit a credential evaluation (with English translation) of high school transcripts/secondary school leaving certificates/diplomas. The evaluation must indicate that the student has received the equivalency of a U.S. high school diploma.

    It is encouraged you check in with the Director of International Admissions, Elaine Capella, before moving forward with this process.

    Applicants can use any of the following credential evaluation services:

    Recommended: SpanTran Educational Services, Inc – SpanTran Pathways – New York Conservatory for
    Dramatic Arts (NYCDA applicants will receive their evaluation at a discounted rate and SpanTran will send a copy of the official evaluation report directly to NYCDA at no extra charge)

    Scholarships and Funding

    International Financial Aid Opportunities

    NYCDA Scholarships

    NYCDA offers merit-based scholarships up to $14,000 each year (for the degree program) based on the
    strength of an applicant’s auditions and the overall application submissions. For scholarship
    consideration, international applicants must audition in-person or via Zoom, complete all NYCDA
    application requirements and meet our GPA requirements.

    External International Financial Aid Options

    All of these financial aid opportunities below have different application requirements and deadlines. It is
    strongly recommended that you contact the financial aid providers directly for more information.

    • Foundation Center:
    • Institute of International Education:
    • IEFA - International Education Financial Aid:
    • UNESCO - United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization:
    • OAS - Organization of American States: (financial aid opportunities for Latin America and
    Caribbean citizens)

    Although challenging, obtaining outside scholarships is not impossible. Remember that they depend on a
    wide range of factors, including:

    • DEGREE
    • AGE

    We recommend narrowing your search with terms such as "scholarships for international students in
    the United States," "international performing arts/theatre/drama scholarships," "international
    undergraduate scholarships," and so on.

    NYCDA Tuition & Housing Payment Plan Option

    We offer students the option to select a standard 6-month payment plan or explore extended payment
    plans with our Bursar (billing department). Please contact Student Accounts ([email protected]) to
    discuss further.

    ***US Federal Aid and Student Loan Restrictions

    Please be advised that international students are not eligible to apply for or receive US federal or state financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

    US Domestic Students

    If you think you want to use financial aid to help pay for your education, the best time to start the process is when you begin applying to colleges.

    1. Get your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID)

    The FSA ID serves as your identifier so you can access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems throughout the process. Because your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature, you should not give it to anyone. If your parents are considering taking a Direct PLUS loan, they should also apply for their own FSA IDs.

    2. Create your Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA)

    You can file the FAFSA as early as January 1 of the academic year in which you plan to enroll. You must file by May 6 to receive a financial aid package reflecting your maximum eligibility for Federal, and New York Conservatory funds. Some funds are dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis and will run out. Don’t miss out, file your FAFSA early.

    FAFSA applications are processed on a rolling basis, but it may take up to 6 weeks to begin receiving aid. Best filing period: January 1 to May 6.

    3. Review your Student Aid Report

    Carefully review the Student Aid Report (SAR) that you receive from the U.S. Department of Education. The SAR may include important information about the status of your application, including missing information. If you file online, your SAR will come by e-mail.

    Follow the instructions to make corrections if necessary, and then keep the final SAR for your records. Do this even if you are not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.


    Financial Aid is disbursed to students at the beginning of each term. Thereafter, NYCDA will disburse financial aid awards on a weekly basis, except during periods of non-enrollment and recess periods.

    Documentation and Updates

    Keep a copy of all documents that you submit to the Financial Aid Office. Be certain that you understand the conditions of the awards. Advise the Financial Aid Office immediately if you receive an award of financial aid from any other source. A change in your resources may affect your financial aid.

    If Selected for Verification

    The Federal Government and NYCDA randomly select some financial aid applications for verification. If your application is selected for verification, you will receive a letter containing a verification worksheet and instructions on how to submit the required documents. Once the verification process is complete, funds will be disbursed to your account.


    If a student applies for Federal financial aid and NYCDA denies their application, the student has the right to appeal NYCDA’s decision. Appeal forms are available from our Financial Aid Office.


    • #1 Highest Paid Associate Degree Visual & Performing Arts Graduates
    • #1 Highest Paid Associate Degree Drama & Theater Arts Graduates
    • #1 Highest Paid Associate Degree Acting Graduates

    Student Testimonials


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