Will I Get Accepted to Any College Music Programs?

I’m going to be a Senior this fall, and I’m worried I won’t get accepted to any universities in CA because I have a 3.0 GPA. I’ve done choir, taken film and vocal classes, done track and field, and I go to a performing arts charter school. I want to major in music, specifically vocal performance. I’ve talked to my college counselor about it but she just tells me to get good grades and doesn’t really suggest colleges with my major. Any suggestions on where to look or what to do?

Dear MusicMan,

It’s great that you’re already looking ahead. Senior year goes by fast and it’s important to consider your options and look at how you can start improving before it’s too late. I’m guessing you’ve already heard that colleges look at more than your GPA, so the fact that you’ve engaged in different activities to show your interests and talents is great. Getting involved in community service and/or leadership activities looks good too. Your GPA and test scores are taken into consideration, as are your letters of recommendation and your personal statement (essay). So, be sure to do everything you can to put your best foot forward in those areas too.

Since you seem to be set on earning a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis or concentration in vocal performance, it’s important to know that you will be required to go through an audition process.

Consider applying to colleges with an undecided or undeclared major and then checking out that school’s music program by taking a class or two before auditioning for them. That way, you’ve already been accepted to the college, you’ll have an even better idea of what their program is like, and you will be keeping your options open. You might discover you’re interested in something else and want to minor in music or simply get involved in the music scene through clubs, choir, A capella, etc.

You might want to look at going to a California Community College that has a music program and then transferring to a Cal State or UC. This is a cheaper option that would give you time to knock out a bunch of your general education classes, boost your GPA, and takes some music classes. Like most states, the transfer process in California is geared towards helping in-state community college students transition to an in-state university. In CA that program is called TAG (Transfer Admission Guarantee). It basically states that seven UC’s guarantee admission to CA community college students who meet specific requirements when they apply to transfer.

Two Examples of CA Community Colleges with Music Programs:                                                     American River College and Santa Ana College

Here are some CA universities that match your criteria. I also listed the average GPA of accepted Freshmen so that you can get a better idea of what you want to strive for and see how you would fit into the applicant pool.

Average GPA: 3.37 
Click here for an overview of CSULB, including cost and percent admitted.


Average GPA: 3.3
Click here for an overview of Cal State Fullerton, including cost and percent admitted.


Average GPA: 3.15
Click here for an overview of Cal State Northridge, including cost and percent admitted. 




For more information read the articles listed below.

5 Tips for Applying to College Alone

Top Singing and Voice Colleges

Colleges for a Singing Career

Music Schools and Colleges in California with Course Info

Performing Arts Colleges in California



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