Conservatory vs. College

If you are interested in the arts, you may have to decide between college and conservatory. Here we will cover the ways conservatory differs from college arts programs. We will also talk about how you can make the choice for yourself. 

How Does Conservatory Differ from College?

First things first, what is conservatory? It’s a program that is focused on high musical or artistic achievement. For students that are concerned only with the mastery of their craft, conservatory might be the right decision. Extracurriculars are likely related to the arts. The curriculum won’t have as large of a selection as that of a university. Some students may find that they have other interests outside of visual or performing arts. If you want to take science classes or join a sports team, find a college with a strong arts program. 

Deciding Between the Two

Think about your focus

Do you want it to be wide or narrow? In pursuing an education provided by a conservatory, you will earn a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts). In attending a university with a liberal arts program, you will earn a BA (Bachelor of Arts). The difference: BA degrees include the study of more general liberal arts courses. (This includes literature, history, or philosophy). BFA degrees allow you to immerse yourself in your artistic talent and focus ONLY on that. 

Consider the set-up you want

Conservatories concentrate on training their students to refine their artistic skills. This focus on skill may result in a regimented curriculum that lacks flexibility. For universities with BA programs, students tend to design their own path. If you like the idea of choosing your own experience, a college curriculum may be a better alternative. If you want that detail-oriented attention to your techniques, conservatory may suit your needs better. 

Pay attention to your other college search factors

We know, the debate between conservatory and college presents a tough decision. Don’t forget to think about the other important aspects of your college decision. What does the affordability and financial aid packages look like for each school? How about location? Are the schools in an environment where you will thrive? Where will you find the perfect challenge?

All in all, the decision between conservatory and college is completely dependent on your goals. If you only see yourself as an artist, conservatory might be right for you. If you crave a well-rounded college experience, consider a strong arts program at a liberal arts college. No matter what you choose, there are all kinds of amazing arts programs out there. You will find the one that works for you!