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Assistant Director of Admission at Walnut Hill School for the Arts Received Interview by BE

Added on: 2017-07-21Share on :

Recently, the Assistant Director of Admission at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, one of the oldest arts school in the United States, took an exclusive interview by BE Education.

Click the link below to watch the video 

https://v.qq.com/iframe/preview.html?vid=k0525fxc6xc&width=500&height=375&auto=0

 

 

 

BE Education (BE): Can you please give us a brief introduction of Walnut Hill School?

 

Lela Paultre (Lela): Okay, Walnut Hill School for the Arts was founded in 1893 by two Wellesley graduates. Walnut Hill started as a feeder for Wellesley College and then eventually throughout the years of our different identities we became an art school about 34 years ago. At Walnut Hill, we have about 300 students. About 35% of students are international. We offer classes for grades 9-12. And we have post grads here. One of the things that makes Walnut Hill unique is that we offer students the opportunity to study in one of our five Arts majors: Music, Theater, Dance, Visual Art, Writing, Film & Media Arts.

 

 

 

 

BE: Can you please explain the specific application requirements for a student entering one of these programs

 

 

Lela: So Walnut Hill again is unique because of our arts component. Just like any other schools we will complete an application by Gateway to Prep Schools. Then the student will do an interview via Vericant, the third party interview. One of our admission officers will also reach out a student for their interview, so you are not just a number through Vericant. We want to get to know the students' personality. 

 

In addition to the interview, the application of a student will also need to submit a TOEFL or TOEFL Junior score, if they are not an English native speaker. And the last component which makes us different from other schools is our art audition component. Depending on the major, there are specific requirements. For example, the Dance Department may either do auditions on campus, on the road for a dance audition tour in January. Or for students cannot do either, they can submit one digitally. 

 

 

The Theater Department, you can come on campus to do your audition one-on-one. Or students can submit that digitally as well. So all of our major, you can submit digitally. The Theatre Department requires a monologue and a song. The music department again, very specifically depending on the instrument that you are participating in or if you're doing voices or if you're very interested in composition. 

 

Visual Art we generally ask students to send 10-12 pieces from year to year it changes. Sometimes, they ask students to find an object in their home, dried or painted. Sometimes it's going in your closet and picking a piece from there as well. So I will check from our website to see if we've updated the requirements for portfolio and the requirements for that.  

 

 

For Writing, Film & Media Art, it's usually a piece of work that you have been doing in past year. You can submit it digitally. Or you can meet with the department head. She usually does a great job with giving students a little bit of critique, a conversation about how they fit within the department.    

 

 

 

BE: In addition to the traditional English or Maths recommendation letters, each student will also have to submit a letter of recommendation from, say for like a past art teacher.

 

Lela: Correct. And also if there's a student who has done our summer programs in the past, we usually ask our dance teacher, our theater teacher, our visual art teacher to give a recommendation to the student to see how they did and worked with the teacher, with the students' dorm master or the programs itself for the three or five weeks they participated in. 

 

 

 

 

BE:  Are all of the Chinese applicants that you receive very experienced in their field or will you sometimes accept student who is dedicated but maybe isn’t at professional level

 

 

Lela: I don't think we expect any of our students to be at professional level. For our students, we expect they have a passion for the art they've chosen. I would say the performing arts, music, theater and dance. Generally speaking, our students have been doing that for quite some time. However, for visual art, writing, film & media arts, we understand that students are exposed to those majors, mediums that early, so we have a little bit more leeway in those particular majors.

 

 

 

 

BE: What do you think are the major benefits to a student studying while also participating in your traditional college prep curriculum?

 

Lela: There are really so many. The great thing about our art is the way that we give structure from art to academics. With that academic programs students are mixed within their major. So they are getting ideas from theater department, from the dance department, from the music, visual art, writing, film & media arts. Our students are very creative, very open minded, and can see a project or an equation in a different way than many of your traditional students would. And I think that helps our students to really get to the root of the question or the problem that they are trying to figure out. 

 

 

I think our teachers do a great job understanding their mind of an artist, so that they can help them facilitate all of these different problems, ideas and making sure that they come out in the best way possible. I also feel like for the college process, art school like Walnut Hill really makes students unique, because they have chosen a path that is familiar or common to many others. 

 

So at school, they are exposed to many different people, cultures, things like that. Or the idea that it's my passion. And I think during the college process, they do a great job exposing and articulating why they've chosen the majors they do. Chosen colleges really appreciate that. 

 

 

 

 

BE: Speaking of university, do you know any statistics in terms of how many of your students continue to do traditional 4-year universities versus art schools?

 

 

Lela: Yeah. I would say it varies from major to major. I primarily work with dance majors in our office. We work with different majors. I work with dance department. Jason Hersom is the Director primarily with the Theater students. Nadine works with music. Andrew works with Visual Art & Writing, Film & Media Arts Admission. And what I've noticed is in the dance department is about a third, third to third. 

 

So a third of our students can go on to a conservatory like Boston Conservatory. We have a partnership with them. So our students accepted to Boston Conservatory can finish their degree in three years instead of four. And they can also get a grant. So while you also save money, and you also have the opportunity to advance your career a little bit faster. As we all know. Dancers are dancers. Their body is their instrument. So if they are interested in dancing professionally, they need to get along going ahead.  

 

 

Other people just try out going to their profession of dance. We had a student last year who was accepted into Jeoffrey. For us, that is absolutely wonderful. That is great. He did the audition process, and he got what he wanted exactly. And the last third will attend traditional universities. So last year we had a student get accepted to Columbia. So it really depends.

 

I'd say, our music students tend to lean more towards the conservatory. But if you look at our matriculations, you will definitely see a range of universities colleges and conservatories & art schools

 

 

 

 

 

BE: So besides the obvious art component, what do you personally think makes Walnut Hill unique from other boarding high schools?

 

 

Lela: Our openness, we always joke on campus sometimes that students can let their freak flag fly. That for us means that they're allowed to be themselves. We really value hearts, smarts and arts. Students at Walnut Hill can come here and be who they are. 

 

Hanging out in the dining hall, and students start singing. And instead of people turning around, telling them to be quiet, they're allowed to express their identity. Talking about the arts component, the ability if our students are able to be exposed to different arts. We require students to look at other performances or other screenings, but I really do feel like our students are interested in wanting to expose themselves to different arts, majors and different mediums.

 

 

 

 

Facts & Figures about Walnut Hill School for the Arts

 

 

 

Country: the United States

Founded in: 1893

Type: Boarding school for boys and girls

Location: Massachusetts

Distance: 3 hours’ drive from New York City

Number of students: 300

Percentage of international students: 35%

Website: https://www.walnuthillarts.org/

 

 

 

 

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