The Application Process | The Audition | Financial Aid/Housing
Additional Training Opportunities at A.C.T. | Textbooks


If you still have questions after reading the 2018–19 bulletin, the FAQ, and the other application materials, please email conservatory@act-sf.org or call 415.439.2321.


The Application Process

Q: Do I need to take the GRE to be considered for admission?

A: No.

Q: Do I need to request official transcripts from my undergraduate institution or can I send unofficial copies?

A: If you are submitting your application online, you may upload an unofficial transcript. Please note: in the event that you are invited to final callbacks, you will be required to submit an official transcript from your school. If you are mailing in your application, all transcripts must be official—requested and issued directly from each school. Don't wait until the last minute; some universities take several weeks to process transcript requests. Consult your undergraduate institution for more information about its policies.

Q: Can I send recommendations and transcripts separately, or do I need to submit all of my application materials together?

A: If you are submitting your application online, you will be asked to provide the contact information for your recommender, including name, phone number and email address. Upon submission of your application, your recommender will be emailed instructions on how to submit their letters. You must upload a current transcript from your most recent school in order to submit your online application. If you are mailing in your application, we prefer to receive one envelope containing your complete application and all supporting materials; however, we do accept application materials that are submitted separately. Transcripts may be emailed directly from the school to conservatory@act-sf.org. Letters of recommendation may be emailed directly from recommenders to conservatory@act-sf.org.

Q: I have obtained more than two letters of recommendation. Should I send all of them?

A: No. Please include only the two letters we have requested. In the event that we receive more than two letters for any applicant, we will review only the first two letters we receive.

Q: Is each recommender required to include the recommendation form with his/her recommendation letter? Can I send the recommendation letters with my application packet?

A: If you are mailing in your application, please ask each recommender to fill out the recommendation form and include it with his/her recommendation letter. If you are sending your recommendations with your application packet, each recommendation letter and form should be sealed in a signed envelope by the recommender.

Q: I'm an international student and English is not my first language. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

A: No. However, your application materials must be in English, and you must demonstrate a fluent command of the English language during your audition and interview.

Q: I don't have much/any performance experience. Should I still submit a theatrical resume? Can I include any non-theater experience?

A: You must include a resume listing all theater work with your application materials. This can include acting classes, voice lessons, seminars, school productions, community productions, and/or professional productions.

Q: Can I transfer to A.C.T. from another graduate program?

A: The A.C.T. M.F.A. Program consists of a set curriculum—all courses are required. You may enter the program only at the first-year level. Please refer to the "Curriculum" tab for more information.

Q: Is there an age requirement?

A: During the application period for those matriculating during the 2018–19 school year, applicants must have graduated from high school by September 1, 2014, or have completed an undergraduate degree at an accredited institution.

Q: Is the deadline date a received-by deadline or a postmarked-by deadline?

A: We must receive your application on or before the deadline date.

Q: I sent in my application but haven't heard anything. Should I call the office?

A: Please wait at least one week after your application's estimated arrival date to call the office. When we process your application, we will send you an email telling you which documents, if any, we are still missing, and notifying you of your audition time. If you apply early, you can expect to hear from us within a few days of receiving your application. If you apply closer to the deadline date, expect to wait a little longer to hear from us.

Q: May I visit the school for a tour?

A: If you are in the area, the director of academic affairs or a conservatory associate will be happy to speak with you about our actor training programs. However, please read through the updated 2016–17 M.F.A. Program information on this website and familiarize yourself with the application materials before your visit. You can make an appointment by emailing conservatory@act-sf.org. Please note that all of our M.F.A. Program classes are closed to visitors. Schedule permitting, we will also show you around our main facility.

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The Audition

Q: Can I audition by sending in a DVD of my work? Or can I include a DVD of my work to support my application?

A: No. Given the unique nature of training actors for live theater, it is important that you audition for us in person. Please submit only the items requested on the application form.

Q: Does A.C.T. offer audition coaching?

A: No, but we do keep a list of actors/instructors we regularly work with who offer private audition coaching. To request that information, please email conservatory@act-sf.org. All of these coaches work out of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Q: What constitutes a classical or contemporary monologue? How long should my pieces be?

A: Your classical monologue should be in verse—plays by Shakespeare and Molière are good resources. Successful contemporary monologues typically come from plays written from 1970 to the present. Combined together, the total time of BOTH monologues should be no longer than four (4) minutes. We recommend that you consult a current instructor or advisor, who can help you determine if your chosen monologues best represent your abilities.

Q: Does A.C.T. offer walk-in auditions?

A: Yes. Once the initial deadline has passed, a walk-in application form will be available on the website. Instructions for walk-in applicants, including a list of available audition times, will be posted just outside the audition room at each site on the day of the audition. Please be prepared to wait for a slot to open. We do not schedule appointment times for walk-in auditions in advance.

As instructed on the website, please bring two copies of your headshot and resume to your audition.

As a reminder, submitting an application does not guarantee you an audition time. You must arrive the day-of and check availability with the auditors.

You will be asked to present proof of your walk-in application and online payment of the fee by showing your submission confirmation email, either digitally or in hard-copy form. If you are unable to provide this evidence, you will not be permitted to audition. We do not accept cash, check or money orders.

If you participate in preliminary callbacks, you will be required to upload all supplementary materials, including headshot and resume, essay, current transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Q: When are callbacks?

A: Preliminary callbacks are held at the end of each audition day. At the end of the morning and afternoon sessions, we will post a callback list just outside the door of the audition room. Final callbacks are held in San Francisco

Q: If I don't receive a preliminary callback, does that mean that I will not be accepted to the A.C.T. M.F.A. Program in Acting

A: In all likelihood, if you have not received a preliminary callback, you will not be invited to final callbacks for the program.

Q: Once the audition process is over, can I receive feedback on my audition?

A: Unfortunately, no. Given the number of auditions, we are unable to offer critiques of individual auditions.

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Financial Aid/Housing

Q: I'm an international student. What are my financial aid options?

A: As an international student, your financial aid options are restricted to non-Federal awards. We do offer a small number of merit- and need-based scholarships each year, but international students should consult their country of citizenship for government-provided financial aid.

Q: Are fee waivers available to cover my application fee?

A: Unfortunately, we do not offer fee waivers. Each applicant must pay the $90 application fee. There are no exceptions.

Q: Can I work while attending the program?

A: The A.C.T. M.F.A. Program in Acting curriculum is an intense, full-time course of study. We do not recommend seeking regular outside employment during the school year. For qualified students, we offer Federal work-study positions, when available, in the theater and in the office, on an hourly basis.

Q: Does A.C.T. offer student housing?

A: No. All students are responsible for finding their own housing for the duration of the program.


If you still have questions after reading the 2018–19 bulletin, the FAQ, and the other application materials, please email conservatory@act-sf.org or call 415.439.2321.

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Additional Training Opportunities at A.C.T.

Q: Does A.C.T. offer other actor training programs?

A: Yes. Our annual Summer Training Congress offers students an intensive program in acting with a focus on core skills, classical acting, or both. From acting and improvisation to musical theater and monologues, adult classes are also available throughout the year in Studio A.C.T. A.C.T. also introduces young theater artists to an active, ongoing engagement with the eclectic and energetic arts community of San Francisco and the Bay Area through The San Francisco Semester, a 15-week study away program for undergraduates.

Embark on a 15-week theatrical and cultural immersion for undergraduates—a rich academic curriculum that will lead you to cultural destinations throughout the Bay Area.



Q: Does A.C.T. operate a bookstore?

A: No. M.F.A. Program students are informed well in advance of the start of courses of the titles, authors, publishers, and ISBN numbers of the books they will need. Students may purchase books at a vendor of their choice. Several vendors that sell new and used books include:


Local booksellers with extensive selections of used theater books include:


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