Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions after reading the FAQ and the other program materials, please email
*Please note: San Francisco Semester is temporarily moving online for our Spring 2021 semester.
We will resume in-person classes and training in San Francisco once it is safe to do so.
“A.C.T.’s San Francisco Semester not only helped me get back in touch with the fundamentals of my craft, but expand upon them, dive deeper, and reenter the theater world with confidence.”
—Nicholas Yenson, SFS Spring 2017
(Anything Goes, Arena Stage)
Q: Is the San Francisco Semester actor training program switching to online?
A: The latter half of the Spring 2020 went online as a way to accommodate for restrictions due to COVID-19. Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters of the SFS program will be taught online for the same reason.
During the current period of temporary online instruction due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program's regular tuition is $12,500. Students are responsible for an application fee of $50; a Cultural Landscapes course fee of $400; and a library fee of $25. During a typical in-person year, tuition is $15,000 in addition to the fees listed above. Housing and living expenses approximately $8,490 (A.C.T. will recommend housing options in downtown San Francisco); Tuition for those applying for early bird admission is $10,00 (online) or $12,500 (in-person)—a savings of $2,500!
Q: Is the San Francisco Semester permanently switching to online?
A: No, the SFS training program will return to an in-person training program held in San Francisco, CA when the program director has deemed it safe and healthy for its community to gather.
Q: Will online training affect the curriculum?
A: The foundation of the curriculum and faculty will remain the same. The SFS program shifted to an online platform halfway through the Spring 2020 semester. The faculty quickly adjusted to this new platform to get A.C.T.’s quality training to its students.
Q: Part of my interest in SFS is its relationship to A.C.T. and the Bay Area, will this continue?
A: While the program will not be meeting in-person in San Francisco, the curriculum, faculty, and guest speakers will continue to incorporate the robust talent and artistic cultural scene of the Bay Area. Students will still have opportunities to digitally meet with professional artists from A.C.T.'s mainstage programing, as well as the students and core faculty of A.C.T.’s prestigious MFA program.
Q: Do I need to move to the Bay Area for the program?
A: For this temporary online experience, you do not need to live in the Bay Area. In fact, we encourage students all over the world to get involved with the program from where they are living. Please be aware, class schedules are built based on the Pacific time zone (generally 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. PST; with some evening or weekend sessions). Please take that into consideration when considering how the program’s schedule may fit in your daily lifestyle.
Q: Are there special requirements for participants in the program online?
Yes, you must have a device with a camera, screen, speakers, and a microphone that can stream video. This can be a phone, laptop, or tablet. The ability to view class on a medium to large screen is ideal. This device will need reliable internet connection (wireless or cabled). It is also recommended that you have a private space for you to be able to engage in classes, with an ability to transform the space for movement (Ideally an empty 5’x’5 square.)
Q: What is the Refund Policy?
Students who withdraw or are dismissed from the San Francisco Semester MUST reapply if they wish to attend any subsequent San Francisco Semesters.
Upon written cancellation received by A.C.T. before the date classes are to begin, the student will be refunded all deposits minus a processing fee of $500. If the student re-applies and is accepted into the program, $225 of that fee will be applied to their future tuition.
Students who withdraw completely from A.C.T.’s San Francisco Semester before completing more than 60% of the semester, are entitled to a refund of tuition. The calculation of the amount of the refund will be based on a daily proration of the unearned tuition through the 60% period of the semester. No refund will be made after the 60% period of the semester. The library fee and the Cultural Landscapes fee are non-refundable.
Q: How do I apply for the San Francisco Semester?
A: Please submit the online application and be prepared to provide the following:
- One full-face photograph or headshot
- Current résumé of theatrical experience
- Contact information for two recommenders (including name, email address, and phone number)
- Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended
- An essay (no longer than one typewritten page) describing why you are pursuing training in theater
- A completed approval form (for those seeking undergraduate credit). Completed forms should be emailed to email@example.com.
Prior to submission you will be required to pay a nonrefundable, nonwaivable $50 application fee via credit card or PayPal.
Q: What are the application requirements?
A: Applicants for The San Francisco Semester must:
- be at least 18 years of age by the chosen class start date.
- have a secondary (US high school equivalent) education degree.
- have proof of current health insurance.
Q: What is the advantage of early bird admission?
A: You will save $2,500 off the price of tuition!
Q: Should I submit a theatrical résumé? Can I include any non-theater experience?
A: You must include a résumé 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: Do I need to request official transcripts from my most recent school or can I send unofficial copies?
A: You may submit an unofficial transcript as part of your online application. If you are accepted into the program you may be required to provide an official transcript.
Q: Can I send recommendations and transcripts separately, or do I need to submit all of my application materials together?
A: You will be required to upload your unofficial transcript(s) and provide contact information for your two recommenders before you are able to submit your online application. Please be prepared to provide the following information for each of your recommenders: name, phone number, email address.
SFS: Fall 2021—
Early-bird (save $2500 on tuition) applications due:
April 16, 2021
For most serious consideration, apply by:
May 16, 2021
International students deadline:
July 16, 2021
Registration and Orientation:
August 27, 2021
August 30, 2021
December 10, 2021
Q: When on the deadline date will the application no longer be available?
A: The application will no longer be available as of 12 a.m. midnight (PST) on the day of the deadline.
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 about the program and familiarize yourself with the application materials before your visit. You can make an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: I sent in my application but haven't heard anything. Should I call the office?
A: Please wait at least two weeks after your application has been submitted completely. When we process your application, we will send you an email to tell you which documents, if any, we are still missing. We will schedule a telephone interview after all application materials have been received.
Q: Where do classes meet?
A: Classes take place at A.C.T.'s studios in the heart of San Francisco's theater district. Students will attend cultural outings across the city.
Q: What is the curriculum, and what is the daily class schedule? Are classes held on the weekend or just during the week?
A: Please visit our curriculum page for a complete listing and description of courses, as well as a sample weekly schedule. Some Cultural Landscaping classes occur on evenings and weekends.
Q: Who teaches the classes?
A: The faculty is comprised of working theater professionals, from directors and dramaturgs to actors and casting directors. Visiting artists will also teach master classes throughout the semester.
Q: Will we attend plays or other events?
A: Yes—as part of the Cultural Landscapes course, students will attend the plays scheduled as part of A.C.T.'s professional season, selected A.C.T. conservatory performances, as well as outings to other Bay Area theaters, concerts, dance performances, and museums each week.
Q: Where do students live?
A: A.C.T. does not find housing for students and has no housing available. Apartments, rooms, and residence clubs are located within walking distance of the A.C.T. studios in downtown San Francisco. Other housing is available a short bus ride away, and San Francisco has an excellent public transportation system. We recommend that applicants use various online options to explore these possibilities. Residence clubs within walking distance include the Kenmore Residence Club, the Columbus Residence Club and the Monroe Residence Club.
If you have any questions about housing, please contact email@example.com.
Q: What forms of transportation are available to students?
A: Students may purchase monthly passes for BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) trains and MUNI trains and buses, which offer access to San Francisco and much of the Bay Area.
Q: How much does the program cost?
A: Students are responsible for an application fee of $50; tuition of $15,000; housing and living expenses approximately $8,490 (A.C.T. will recommend housing options in downtown San Francisco); a Cultural Landscapes course fee of $400; and a library fee of $25. Tuition for those applying for early bird admission is $12,500—a savings of $2,500!
Q: Is financial aid available?
A: Yes. A.C.T. offers a limited number of scholarships to students enrolled in the San Francisco Semester. While no federal or state aid—such as a Pell Grant or a Stafford Loan—is available, A.C.T. can work with your current/home college to develop a consortium agreement if you are eligible. Students applying for an A.C.T. scholarship must complete their enrollment application package and submit an online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (available at fafsa.ed.gov). Private educational loans are also available if you qualify. If you have any questions, please contact A.C.T.'s financial aid office at 415.439.2411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Are fee waivers available to cover my application fee?
A: Unfortunately, we do not offer fee waivers. Each applicant must pay the application fee. There are no exceptions.
Q: Is there a separate application for financial aid?
A: Students interested in financial aid must complete the FAFSA (fafsa.gov) and the regular San Francisco Semester application by the deadline. There are no other required forms. If you are accepted into the program, you will then be considered for financial aid.
Q: I am completing the FAFSA. What is A.C.T.'s school code?
A: Our school code is 014545. Please see the application information page for more information.
Q:How do I apply for a private (educational) loan?
A: Contact the financial aid office for information on researching private (educational) loans.
Q: What if I am currently receiving financial aid at my school?
A: If you are currently enrolled (including being on a summer break) at another college while attending A.C.T., you should contact that school's financial aid office and ask if you can arrange a financial aid consortium agreement.
Q: What is a financial aid consortium agreement?
A: A financial aid consortium agreement means that you can use financial aid (like a Stafford loan) from your home college to attend the San Francisco Semester. Again, please contact your school's financial aid office to make these arrangements.
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 scholarships each year, but international students should consult their country of citizenship for government-provided financial aid.
Q: What if I have other financial aid questions?
A: Please email Jerry Lopez at email@example.com or call 415.439.2411.
Q: Does A.C.T. provide health insurance?
A: All students entering the program are required to carry their own health insurance or be covered under their parents' plan while in San Francisco. Proof of coverage must be submitted in writing prior to registration.
Still have questions?
If you still have questions after reading the FAQ and the other program materials, please email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415.439.2426.
© 2019 American Conservatory Theater-a tax-exempt 501c3 nonprofit organization. Number 94-6135772.