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Founded in 1924, the Curtis Institute of Music is one of the most prestigious music schools in the nation. Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist, its founder, loved music and wanted to help gifted and talented musicians. After meeting with professional musicians to learn what students would need in a new school, she purchased several buildings in Philadelphia and paid for the renovation of those buildings to form a new school. She also selected its name to honor her father and left behind millions of dollars to pay for future support of the school. Violinists, bassists, pianists and opera singers from around the world attended the Curtis Institute of Music before gaining fame in their fields.

Many know the institute because of its selection process. While music schools are often more selective than traditional colleges, the Curtis Institute of Music is one of the most selective in the world. It accepts fewer than 5% of the applications that arrive every year. The school operates its own opera company and orchestra and will only admit as many students as it needs to fill the number of open spaces within those fields, which limits admission to 170 or fewer students. Students can also enroll in the school and study composing or specific instruments like guitar and piano.

Curtis Institute of Music Accreditation Details

Though music schools do not often have the same type of accreditation that traditional colleges do, the Curtis Institute of Music is different. It has regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which also grants accreditation to standard colleges. The MSCHE did extensive research on the campus, talked to alumni and current students and look at overall factors like placement and acceptance rates before giving the school accreditation. The school passed the renewal that the MSCHE requires it go through every time as well. The Curtis Institute of Music also has accreditation the National Association of Schools of Music, which allows students to complete a program and earn a degree. The State Council of Education in Pennsylvania granted this school the right to award both certificates and degrees too.

Curtis Institute of Music Application Requirements

Students hoping to take classes from the Curtis Institute of Music must go through both the application process and an audition. The application itself is due by the middle of December, the school will add a late fee of $75 to applications received after that deadline. There is also a nonrefundable $150 application fee due at the time of submission. Even if the school does not contact you about an audition, you must pay this fee. The application asks for information about your parents, private teachers or tutors and your high school. You also need to make a list of any awards or scholarships you received and the amount you won. The application includes an essay section that asks you to write short answers to two of the four questions given. Other requirements include an official transcript, a copy of a program that features your name and a short description of some of the music you performed in the past.

Once the school receives your application and processes it, it will contact you as to whether it picked you for an audition. All those chosen for an audition must pay a $150 fee at the time they schedule the audition. Students can also submit letters of recommendation from teachers, an SAT score or concert programs. the Curtis Institute of Music uses the information you submit and your audition to determine whether you award you an acceptance letter.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The annual fees charged by the Curtis Institute of Music come in at around $2,500. This includes one low price for tuition and a second price for using its health services. Students must have a comprehensive health insurance policy that will cover them for a full year. Anyone who lacks insurance can purchase a plan through the school for around $3,400 a year. You will need to either present proof that you have health coverage or purchase a plan when you enroll.

Students attending this school will find that the school offers a number of types of financial aid packages to assist those who cannot afford its annual fees. Merit-based scholarships go out to students every year who are the best players and composers. Those scholarships can cover the total cost of their tuition plus any other expenses they have, including the cost of tuning a piano or buying a new instrument. Curtis requires that students apply for financial aid by March 1. Nearly 80% of enrolled students in this music school receive financial aid. In addition to scholarships, students can apply to work on the campus, for a loan or for a grant. The Curtis Institute of Music recommends that students apply for scholarships first because many students pay for all their expenses through those scholarships.

Degrees Available

Diploma programs are available through the Curtis Institute of Music for students who want to improve their music skills without dedicating themselves to a degree program. They must take 70 semester hours. This includes 16 semester hours of lessons within the department they enroll in and 35 semester hours of music studies classes like form, harmony and music history. The college also requires that all students take a career studies course that looks at some of the careers available to them and how they can apply for jobs.

Its Bachelor of Music program is one of the more popular options. This is a 133 semester hour program that requires students live on-campus for at least three years and that they maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in all their classes within the liberal arts and music study disciplines. At least 51 semester hours must come from performance classes, but students can enroll in both instrument classes and opera courses. As this is a bachelor's degree program, the school also asks that students take 30 semester hours of liberal arts classes that act as the general education required courses found in other college programs. Students have the option of taking liberal arts or music electives too. The Curtis Institute of Music also offers advanced college degrees or graduate degrees, diplomas for graduate students and a professional studies certificate for advanced opera students.

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