Instructions for Application for Undergraduate Admission
Your next opportunity to apply will be:
For degree programs and transfers starting in January 2021 (select programs only): Apply August 1 through September 25
For degree programs that start in Fall 2021: Apply September 1 through December 1
Please contact the Office of Admissions with any questions.
Already applied? Click here to check for status updates.
Welcome to the Eastman undergraduate application. If you are applying for the Bachelor of Music degree, this is the only application you need to complete. Eastman has a separate application from the University of Rochester, and does not use the Common Application. If you are applying for a dual degree (BM plus a BA or BS), you will also need to submit an application to the College at the University of Rochester.
Quick application checklist:
- Application, including
- Application fee ($75 by Nov. 1; $125 after Nov. 1)
- Pre-screen Recording: required for all Jazz instruments, Piano (performance majors only), plus the following instruments (regardless of major) Cello, Clarinet, Flute, Percussion, Saxophone, Trombone, Violin, and Voice.
- Pre-screening Scores & Documents: required for Composition and Theory
- Test scores: SAT or ACT scores are welcome, but are only required only for home-schooled students;
- Personal statement
- International applicants only: An InitialView interview & writing sample and an official TOEFL exam score are required for applicants whose native language is not English
Applicants are responsible for submitting complete applications. Applications that are incomplete cannot be processed. Application fees are non-refundable, and application materials will not be returned. The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to rescind admission to any applicant whose file documentation is found to be insufficient and/or incomplete.
Click the links above for complete information about each requirement.
- November 1: Priority deadline. $75 application fee.
Applicants who submit the online application, transcripts, and any required pre-screening materials by this deadline will receive priority handling, and are more likely to be scheduled for their first choice audition/interview date. Priority deadline applicants will not receive an earlier decision, nor is the priority deadline binding in any way.
- December 1: Final deadline. $125 application fee.
All application and pre-screening materials must be submitted by December 1. International applicants who are unable to submit TOEFL by December 1 must submit by January 1 in order to be scheduled for an audition at Eastman, or by February 15 in order to audition by recording.
We strongly encourage early submission of your application and materials. Our processing times increases significantly as December 1 approaches. Once a file is complete, there is a preliminary review before the audition is scheduled.
The non-refundable application fee is payable by credit card at the end of the online application. Applications will not be processed without the application fee or an approved application fee waiver as described below.
Please note: While the Eastman School of Music is a school of the University of Rochester, the Eastman application process is separate. All applicants applying to degree programs at Eastman must pay the application fee to Eastman regardless of whether the applicant has paid an application fee to another school of the University of Rochester.
Application Fee Waivers
- U.S. Military application fee waiver:
Applicants who are veterans of the U.S. military or are actively serving are eligible for an application fee waiver. This waiver will be automatically applied for applicants who identify themselves as veterans or active military within the online application.
- SAT or College Board application fee waiver:
The School wishes to make application possible for all interested prospective students. Those applicants who are unable to pay the application fee may request a fee waiver on the basis of financial hardship. This request must be made using an official form, such as an SAT or College Board waiver. Transfer applicants must submit a letter detailing the financial need from their college’s Financial Aid Office. This letter should verify why payment of the application fee would constitute a hardship for the student and his/her family. Note that we cannot accept a request to waive the fee from a relative or applicant directly. The fee waiver request must be received by November 30 to allow adequate time for processing before the application deadline, and the request must include the name and email address of the applicant. Late applications are not eligible for a fee waiver.
Jazz Studies applicants (on all instruments) and Applied Music (performance) applicants in Cello, Clarinet, Flute, Percussion, Piano, Saxophone, Trombone, Violin and Voice are required to submit a pre-screening recording with the application. See Audition Requirements for repertoire requirements. Pre-screening is required for these instruments for all live auditions. It is not required for applicants who will audition by recording.
Music Education, Theory, and Composition applicants must submit a pre-screen recording if the primary instrument is Cello, Clarinet, Flute, Percussion, Saxophone, Trombone, Violin, or Voice. (Pre-screening is not required for applicants to these majors whose primary instrument is Piano.)
Pre-screening review begins immediately after December 1. Following faculty and committee review, a limited number of applicants will be invited to an audition.
Applicants to majors in Composition, Jazz Studies, Theory are pre-screened. These applicants must submit the following preliminary materials for review by the faculty. If your primary instrument also requires pre-screening, you must submit both a pre-screen recording and the pre-screen materials required for your prospective major.
- Composition applicants must ship a portfolio of three or four scores to arrive by December 1 for review by the composition faculty. Each score (each piece) must be clearly marked with the applicant’s name, separately spiral-bound (no loose pages or stapled sets), and be no larger than 11” x 17” in size. Scores will not be returned.
Office of Admissions
Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs Street
Rochester, NY 14604
Composition applicants are encouraged, but not required, to enclose recordings of your composed works with your scores. Applicants are also encouraged to upload digital copies of their scores and recordings within the application as a back-up in addition to mailing these items. Recordings can be uploaded on the “Recordings” page, while scores can be uploaded at the bottom of the “Other Documents” page.
- Jazz applicants must upload a pre-screening recording. Applicants for the Jazz Writing concentration must also ship a portfolio of three or four scores of compositions and/or arrangements that display writing for large and small jazz group formats. Recordings of these works should also submitted. Recordings from reading sessions and rehearsals are acceptable. If live performers are not available, recordings of computer sequences of works may be submitted. Candidates with a background in classical composition are encouraged to submit one or two examples of original non-jazz works.
- Theory applicants must submit the following:
- Written paper with their application by the application deadline. This paper is reviewed for the purpose of evaluating the applicant’s writing and research skills; a musical subject is preferred, but not strictly required. Save this research paper on your computer and upload it within the application on the “Other Documents” page.
- Representative exercises in part-writing, counterpoint, musical analysis, and/or model composition as part of their application. Applicants are encouraged to scan these exercises if possible and upload them within the online application, but they will also be accepted by postal mail to the Office of Admissions.
The above materials will be evaluated in the pre-screening process. Applicants who pass pre-screening review will be invited to interview/audition at Eastman. Theory interviews will include testing of the applicant’s aural skills, keyboard proficiency, and analytical skills.
Applicants are required to submit academic transcripts from each secondary school and college/university attended. You may submit your transcript using one of the following methods:
- Upload a scanned copy of your official transcripts with the online application (preferred method). Please upload the transcript on the “Academic” page of the application, on the same section where you enter the name of your school. Include any transcript key or guide that your school provides. Scanned transcript must be clear and legible, and documentation for each institution should be saved in separate single file. After uploading your transcript please preview the file to ensure readability.
- Send transcripts via postal mail or electronically to the Eastman Office of Admissions. If you are uploading your transcript, please do not send a hard copy unless requested by Admissions.
Mailing address: Office of Admissions Eastman School of Music 26 Gibbs Street Rochester, NY 14604
Please note that all undergraduate programs in the School require a successful academic review and all application materials will be considered in the final admissions decision. The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all transcripts, and to require submission of official documentation at any point in the admissions review process. Offers of admission are contingent on receipt of final official transcripts.
Completion of high school is required for enrollment at Eastman. Admitted applicants will be required to demonstrate successful completion of high school before the start of their studies at Eastman with an official final hard copy of their high school transcript including date of graduation. The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to rescind admission to any applicant whose file documentation is deemed insufficient or incomplete.
International students must demonstrate that their high school/secondary education is equivalent to a US high school, and must submit copies of official school transcripts with certified English translations (if applicable). In addition, we strongly recommend that you have your transcripts evaluated by an organization specializing in foreign credential evaluation, such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (www.ece.org). In many cases we will require this evaluation before you can be admitted, so it is in your best interest to seek out an evaluation at the time that you apply.
Students in the British educational system should submit a transcript showing coursework for grades 9-12 and an official copy of the certificate for having passed secondary school exams.
Home-schooled applicants should upload a detailed description of the curriculum studied, including texts, coursework, methods of examination, and experiential learning, in addition to any transcripts of secondary or college-level coursework. Home-schooled applicants are also required to submit standardized test scores (see below).
Transfer applicants (students currently or previously matriculated in a degree program at an accredited college) must submit both high school and college transcripts.
Eastman does not require SAT or ACT test scores in most cases, but we will accept and review them if submitted. However, home-schooled applicants are required to submit either SAT or ACT scores. Applicants whose native language is not English, but who have lived in an English-speaking country since the age of 14 or younger are also required to submit SAT scores if they are not submitting TOEFL scores.
If English is not your first language, please see the English Proficiency Requirements for complete information about TOEFL requirements.
Eastman’s school codes are different from the University of Rochester codes. Our College Board and TOEFL code is 2224. Our ACT code is 2734.
All applicants must submit a personal statement of two to three pages in length. You may select any one (1) of the topics provided below. Please copy and paste your chosen topic at the top of your personal statement, save the document on your computer, and upload it within the application. Preferred formatting is double-spaced with standard margins in an easily-readable 12-point size font. The Admissions Committee reviews these essays to evaluate your writing ability, and to get to know you better.
- Tell us about an important experience (artistic, personal or intellectual) from the past few years that has special meaning for you. How has it influenced you?
- All Eastman students have the opportunity to take a wide range of courses at the University of Rochester and in Eastman’s Humanities Department. Tell us about a non-musical class that you have particularly enjoyed during your high school studies. What courses outside of music would you like to take in college and why?
- Each winter season, Eastman holds a “Holiday Sing” which brings the school together to celebrate and perform together in a fun and informal atmosphere. Describe a tradition that is particularly important to you, including specific details. Why is it meaningful and how has it impacted you?
- Some students at Eastman are interested in exploring the intersection between more than one musical genre. For example: writing or performing music that has influences from both classical and pop music, or incorporating improvisation into performances in a new way. If this sounds like you, tell us more about what combinations interest you and how you either have explored or would like to explore them.
Music Education applicants must also submit an essay describing your long-term goals and the personal qualities that make you a promising music educator. Describe your reasons for pursuing a degree in music education, including your sources of inspiration. At the top of the first page of this document, list your name, e-mail contact information, and instrument or voice. Save this essay on your computer and upload it within the application on the “Other Documents” page. See the supplemental Music Education instructions for more information.
See our Resume Guidelines for tips on preparing your resume. This document should be uploaded within the application.
Undergraduate applicants are required to provide three letters of (3) recommendation. Two must be from music professionals (which includes music teachers); the third letter should be from a teacher of an academic subject. Each recommender must be listed in the online application.
Recommenders are notified via email with instructions to submit their recommendation online (preferred method). You will receive an electronic notification when each recommendation has been submitted. If a recommender prefers to submit a hard copy form, download the Recommendation Form and give it to your recommender after completing the top portion. Please note that the application can be submitted before recommendations have been submitted.
Auditions are scheduled once a file is complete and – where required – after successfully passing pre-screening. Do not make any travel arrangements until the Office of Admissions has confirmed your audition date. International applicants who have not demonstrated an acceptable level of academic English proficiency by January 1 may not be scheduled for an audition.
On-campus Auditions at the Eastman School of Music
On-campus audition dates vary, depending on instrument and major. See the Audition Dates page for dates. At the on-campus auditions, applicants are required to be available on campus for the entire day of their audition, generally from 9am until 6pm. With the exception of vocal auditions, all auditions are performed unaccompanied. Bring a completed Audition Repertoire Form to your audition.
- Composition, Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media, and Theory applicants are required to audition/interview on-campus.
- Music Education applicants will also be scheduled for an interview and a Skills Assessment on the day of their audition. See Music Education Skills Assessment sample for more information.
- Harp applicants do not need to bring their own instruments; contact Professor Kathleen Bride for more information.
- Organ applicants should refer to the Organ instructions for information about practice time.
- Percussionists should bring their own sticks, mallets, cymbals, etc.; other equipment is provided.
- Voice applicants may either bring their own accompanist or request that one be assigned. To request an accompanist, applicants must submit the Vocal Accompanist Request Form, $25 accompanist fee and copies of the selected music to the Admissions Office. The selected music must be legible and able to stay open and flat for the accompanist. Voice auditions will not be scheduled until the Vocal Accompanist Request Form, payment, and music have been received.
Audition by Self-prepared Recording
- This option is NOT permitted for applicants whose major is Composition, Jazz or Theory.
- All applicants who audition by self-prepared recording must submit a video recording. Audio-only files are not acceptable.
- Video recordings must be uploaded with the application. We do not accept CDs or DVDs, and recordings should not be sent to the faculty.
- The final deadline for uploading recorded auditions is December 1.
- Music Education applicants who audition by recording may be contacted for a phone interview & assessment after the audition has been evaluated. See Music Education Skills Assessment sample for more information.
- Applicants admitted on the basis of a recorded audition may be asked to perform for the faculty at the beginning of the first semester of enrollment to confirm the audition assessment.
(Pre-screening and Audition recordings):
- Recordings must be uploaded within the application by the application deadline. CDs and DVDs are not accepted.
- Recordings must have been made within the past 9 months and must meet the repertoire requirements set by each department.
- Pre-screening recordings: A video recording is required for Clarinet, Saxophone, Percussion, Cello and Voice pre-screening; all other pre-screened applicants may submit either a video or audio recording, however video is generally preferred if possible.
- Self-Recorded Auditions: a video recording is required for all applicants submitting a self-recorded audition.
- Be sure to review your entire recording for quality before submitting!
- Record each selection on a separate track to make your upload process go more quickly. It is not necessary to record everything in a single file.
- Accepted file formats (maximum size 2 GB per file)
- Audio formats: .aac, .aif, .aiff, .iff, .fla, .m4a, .mpa, .mp3, .ra, .wav, .wma
- Video formats: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .wmv
- Admission decision and financial aid: The Eastman application process includes a thorough review of each applicant’s file following his or her audition/interview. The Admissions Committee makes decisions after all applications in each department have been evaluated. Undergraduate admissions notifications will be sent via email between March 1 and April 15. There is no early admission program at Eastman, and applying by Nov. 1 will not result in an earlier admissions decision. Undergraduate applicants normally receive notification of financial aid and scholarships concurrent with their notification of admission.
- May 1 response date: The Eastman School of Music subscribes to and upholds admission practices outlined in the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), which state that undergraduate applicants have until May 1 to respond to both admission and financial aid offers. We provide notification of our decision as soon as possible after the review process is complete. In return, we ask for the courtesy of a response as soon as the student has made a decision, or by May 1 at the absolute latest. The Eastman School of Music maintains a wait list in most departments. A prompt response from accepted applicants allows us to proceed with final decisions for candidates on our wait list.
Required supplement forms:
- Music Education (see also the Music Education Skills Assessment)
- Organ Audition Instructions
- Requirements for Non-Native English Speakers
- Recommendation Form (for recommenders submitting letters by postal mail)
- Teacher Preference Form (to update your preferences after the online application is submitted)
- NASM-Release-Form (transfer applicants only)
The Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester value diversity, and are committed to equal opportunity for all persons regardless of age, color, disability, ethnicity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Please also see www.esm.rochester.edu/about/diversity/ and www.rochester.edu/diversity. The University complies with all applicable nondiscrimination laws in the administration of its policies, programs, and activities. Questions on compliance should be directed to the school or department and/or to the University’s Equal Opportunity Coordinator, University of Rochester, PO Box 270039, Rochester, New York 14627-0039. Phone 585.275.9125.