Instructions for Application for Undergraduate Admission
The application deadline for Fall 2021 has passed. To inquire about the next opportunity to apply, contact us.
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These instructions pertain to the application process for Fall 2021. 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.
If you encounter questions or problems with your application, please contact the Eastman Office of Admissions at email@example.com
Quick application checklist:
- Application, including
- Application fee ($75 by Nov. 1; $125 after Nov. 1)
- Recording Upload
- Scores & Documents: required for Composition, Jazz Writing and Theory
- Test scores: SAT or ACT scores are optional
- Personal statement
- International applicants only: A Duolingo English test is required for applicants whose native language is not English. (Note: TOEFL exam scores are not required for applicants during the 2020-21 admissions cycle.)
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 for Fall 2021. $75 application fee.
Applicants who submit the online application, transcripts, and any required pre-screening materials by this deadline receive a discount on the application fee. There is no early decision process at Eastman, nor is the priority deadline binding in any way.
- December 1: Final Application deadline for Fall 2021. $125 application fee.
Note: Please see audition repertoire page for the deadline to submit your pre-screening or audition recordings.
We strongly encourage early submission of your application and materials. Our processing times increases significantly as the deadline approaches.
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.
For the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, we will not be able to offer in-person auditions due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Instead, all undergraduate applicants should upload a recording that fulfills the repertoire requirements for their specific instrument. After review of the recording and application, applicants who advance to the next round may also be scheduled for an online interaction. Online interactions will be uniquely tailored by instrument and major, and more details will be provided as they are scheduled.
- Recordings can be uploaded within the “Portfolio” section of the online application. After the application has been submitted, you can upload recordings at the bottom of the applicant status page until the recording deadline specified for your instrument.
- Recordings must have been made within the past 9 months and must meet the repertoire requirements set by each department.
- Record each selection on a separate unedited track to make your upload process go more quickly. It is not necessary to record everything in a single file.
- Video format is strongly preferred if possible.
- Accepted file formats (maximum size 2 GB per file)
- Video formats: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .wmv
- Audio formats: .aac, .aif, .aiff, .iff, .fla, .m4a, .mpa, .mp3, .ra, .wav, .wma
- Be sure to review your entire recording for quality before submitting!
Applicants to majors in Composition, Jazz Studies, Theory must submit the following preliminary materials for review by the faculty. These applicants must also upload a recording for their primary instrument (or voice) as noted above.
- Composition applicants must upload PDF copies of three or four scores within their application for review by the composition faculty. Each score must be clearly marked with the applicant’s name. Please note that all score submissions for 2020-21 will be digital, and hard copies are not required.
Composition applicants are also encouraged, but not required, to upload recordings of your composed works if any such recordings are available. MIDI recordings are acceptable.
- Applicants for the Jazz Writing concentration must upload 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 admissions review process. Selected applicants will be scheduled for an online interview with faculty. 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 PDF or scanned copy of your transcripts, either unofficial or official, with the online application. This method is strongly preferred. 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. 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 electronically to the Eastman Office of Admissions. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also able to receive transcripts via systems including Parchment, Scoir, and Slate.org.
- Postal Mail: If neither of the submission options above are possible, transcripts can also be sent by postal mail. Mailing address: Office of Admissions | Eastman School of Music | 26 Gibbs St | 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 welcome, but not 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, but we will accept and review them if submitted. We also understand that many applicants may not have the opportunity to take these tests in 2020.
If English is not your first language, please see the English Proficiency Requirements for complete information about Duolingo English test requirements.
Eastman’s school codes are different from the University of Rochester codes. Our College Board 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 and private instructors); 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. The applicant will receive an electronic notification when each recommendation has been submitted. If a recommender does not receive the email prompt to complete their recommendation, we advise that they start by checking their “spam” folder or equivalent. If they continue to have difficulty, they can contact the Office of Admission at: email@example.com.
Please note that the application can be submitted before recommendations have been submitted.
Online Interview/Faculty Interaction: Selected applicants will be schedule for an online interview and/or faculty interaction. These will occur in late January and February, and will vary in format by program and instrument.
Music Education applicants may be scheduled for an online interview and a Skills Assessment. See Music Education Skills Assessment sample for more information.
- Admission decision and financial aid: The Eastman application process includes a thorough review of each applicant’s file. 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: 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 by May 1. 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.
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.
The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission at any time under certain circumstances, including but not limited to:
- failure to complete diploma or degree currently in progress where it is a prerequisite to enrollment;
- if there has been a misrepresentation in or a violation of any of the terms of the application process; or
- if the School learns that an applicant has engaged in behavior prior to the first day of class that indicates a serious lack of judgment, integrity, or alignment with University values, and/or violates School or University policies.
The School further reserves the right to require admitted students to provide additional information and/or authorization for the release of information about any such matter, and to place a hold on registration during the investigation into any such matter.