Oberlin Conservatory Of Music Admissions Essay

 

Oberlin College Application Essay Prompt

 

How did your interest in Oberlin develop, and what aspects of our college community most excite you? (250 word limit).

 

The best part about writing the supplemental essay for Oberlin is that there’s only one prompt and it’s fairly short. This means, however, that you should focus extra attention on the prompt and make sure that every word and phrase is chosen with care.

 

At its core, this prompt is essentially asking you “Why Oberlin?” Generally, with “Why us?” prompts, there are two key factors that are necessary to writing a good essay: specificity and tone. Some degree of research into Oberlin as a school and details about the particular programs or majors that you’re interested in will be an important part of this essay.

 

The tone is also important in this essay. Given the short length, you should utilize every writing tool that will help you craft a better essay. The tone of this should convey a true and genuine desire to study at Oberlin College — it should include a few adjectives that stress commitment and conviction about wanting to becoming an Oberlin student.

 

A necessary challenge is to convince the reader that you have thought deeply about the school, done your homework on the school, and would be an amazing fit for the school. Look into the specific programs or majors that appeal to you and even go so far as to mention a specific professor or class that really draws you to Oberlin.

 

It’s important to note that a part of this prompt is also personal — they’re also asking you how your interest in the college developed. This is an opportunity to connect a short personal anecdote about a particular passion or interest of yours and connect it to specific traits that appeal to you at Oberlin College.

 










 

That being said, we would advise you not to focus too much on the first part that asks about how your interest in the school developed. Although it can be a useful starting point and provide a nice personal touch, given the required brevity of your response, it is more prudent to focus on the part of the prompt that asks you why you want to attend Oberlin, as this is likely to be more helpful.

 

If you’re someone who grew up playing an instrument, you can write a short story about how you are passionate about music as a complement to a rigorous academic curriculum. That kind of story would resonate with Oberlin admissions people in particular, given the musical tradition on campus. Alternatively, if you’re someone who’s really interested in social justice, consider mentioning Oberlin’s strong tradition of activism and protests about the issues facing the nation.

 

It’s generally not a good idea to speak generally of the values of a liberal arts education, given how nonspecific a liberal arts education in general is to an Oberlin education. Although it might be okay to briefly reference them, Oberlin knows that a large portion of the students who apply are also applying to other liberal arts schools; they already know that’s what you want. They want to know why Oberlin College specifically is the best liberal arts school for you and what about the school’s unique identity excites you the most.

 

Ultimately, the college draws some of the most competitive liberal arts applicants. Given that there’s only one prompt and it is fairly short, making sure that you have a strong supplement is ever more important in this application. CollegeVine’s team of highly trained essay specialists from the nation’s top schools are here to give you the detailed attention required to craft a quality Oberlin College supplement.










Application Deadline: January 15, 2017

MMT On Campus Interview Date

TBD


Admissions Review Process

Prior to any invitation being extended to a candidate, the Music Education Division faculty will review all application documents. Additionally, a panel of Applied Conservatory faculty will review applicants' performance recordings.

The combination of assessments prior to and during the audition and interview processes reflect the Music Education Division's desire to bring into the Master of Music Teaching program only those students who already possess a history of demonstrating excellence in their musicianship, pedagogy, and scholarship.

How to Apply

Applicants to the Master of Music Teaching program submit the following information to the Conservatory Admissions Office. Material must be submitted prior to being invited to campus to meet the Music Education faculty.

Continuing Oberlin Students

Continuing Conservatory students do not apply for the MMT program until the first semester of their fourth year of undergraduate study. Students in their first, second, third, or fourth years are encouraged, but not required, to take MUED 100: The Art of Teaching in preparation for the MMT program. Other "core" music education courses that could transfer into the MMT program, but cannot count toward fulfulling undergraduate credit requirements, include: MUED 505: "Music Teaching in Practice;" EDUC 300: "Principles of Education," MUED 510: "Community Music Teaching Winter Term Internship," MUED 517: "Psychology of Musical Behaviors," and MUED 516: "Reading in the Content Area." Please see the Associate Dean in order to be assigned to a Music Education faculty adviser as a "secondary adviser" for your undergraduate program.

  1. Oberlin Conservatory Application for Admission
  2. Recordings of musical performance on applied instrument or voice (visit the Conservatory Admissions site for repertoire requirements). Keyboardists and orchestral/band instrumentalists should prepare a vocal selection to sing (i.e., art song, aria, hymn, folk tune, children's song). All applicants except keyboard majors will also record a piano solo to represent basic proficiency at the keyboard. Recordings should be submitted to the Oberlin Conservatory Audition Dropbox.
  3. Written essays (see MMT Supplement below for details).
  4. Official undergraduate transcript.
  5. Letters of recommendation from three sources:
    1. principal applied teacher
    2. theory or aural skills teacher
    3. other non-applied or liberal arts teacher
    Letters should comment on the applicant's performance in instructional, tutoring, or mentoring roles; personal, professional, and musical strengths and challenges.
  6. Prerequisite course for the MMT:
  •   Ethnomusicology (at least 3 credits)
  •   Basic/elementary conducting (at least 2 credits/one semester)
  •   Mathematics (at least 3 credits)
  •   Science (at least 3 credits; does not need to include a laboratory science)
  •   Distribution of liberal arts courses


The $100.00 application fee is waived for continuing Conservatory students. Please email Beth.Weiss@oberlin.edu to request a waiver.

Applicants With Undergraduate Performance Degrees

  1. Oberlin Conservatory Application for Admission
  2. Recordings of musical performance on applied instrument or voice (visit the Conservatory Admissions site for repertoire requirements). Keyboardists and orchestral/band instrumentalists should prepare a vocal selection to sing (i.e., art song, aria, hymn, folk tune, children's song). All applicants except keyboard majors will also record a piano solo to represent basic proficiency at the keyboard. Recordings should be submitted to the Oberlin Conservatory Audition Dropbox.
  3. Written essays (see MMT Supplement below for details).
  4. Official undergraduate transcript.
  5. Letters of recommendation from three sources:
    1. principal applied teacher
    2. theory or aural skills teacher
    3. other non-applied or liberal arts teacher
    Letters should comment on the applicant's performance in instructional, tutoring, or mentoring roles; personal, professional, and musical strengths and challenges.
  6. Completed courses in:  Ethnomusicology (3 credits), basic/elementary conducting; one course (3-4 credits each) in mathematics and science (does not need to include a laboratory); distribution of other liberal arts courses can include courses in the arts, communication, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, science, & social sciences.
  7. $100.00 application fee.

MMT Supplement (part of the Oberlin Conservatory Application for Admission)

Prior to completing the Oberlin Conservatory Application for Admission, you will want to read the following article by Don Hodges (click here) (with permission from Sage Publications) and prepare to respond to the following questions in the form of a scholarly essay:

  • What implications for music education are suggested by the statement "all human beings are musical"?
  • What are some ways in which musical training helps the brain organize?
  • What idea from this reading had the most meaning for you? Why?

In addition to the above essay, the following essays will also be required as part of the Application for Admission:

  • Describe the pedagogical, musical, and personal traits that you bring to your music students.
  • Describe the pedagogical, musical, and personal traits that you wish to develop during your time in the Master of Music Teaching program at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

There may also be additional essays required of all applicants on the Application for Admission.

On-Campus Interview

Applicants will meet with the Music Education faculty. Applicants will be asked to describe their reasons for wanting to teach and for entering the graduate music teaching program at Oberlin, as well as to describe their prior music teaching experience (if any). This interview conversation will assist faculty in determining whether or not the applicants are sincere, caring, flexible, and motivated in their quests for pursuing a graduate degree in music teaching. Additionally, the conversation will allow faculty to assess applicants' oral communication skills.

Also at the meeting, applicants will demonstrate their skills (i.e.,  harmonization, sight-singing, and rhythm-reading). Further, applicants will prepare a written lesson plan and teach a lesson (private or group/class instruction) segment to the Music Education faculty.

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