Frequently Asked Questions


What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for applications is January 15th, 2020. Please email us at kwhite@shakespearetheatre.org with any questions.

I have a BA degree, but it is not in theatre. Can I still apply?

Yes. The bachelor’s degree can be in any field. Your experience and training in theatre and, of course, your audition will be the primary basis for your selection as a student. Note: the ACA is an advanced acting program and is not intended for beginning actors—applicants should already possess a solid background in theatre.

Does admission require standardized test scores in addition to transcripts?

No GRE or other standardized test scores are required, except for international students, who must submit TOEFL scores along with the application.

What exactly should be included in the Statement of Purpose?

The Statement of Purpose should address your reasons for wanting to study classical acting. The essay should be typed and contain between 250 and 500 words.

Do I have to use the “Recommendation Provider” tool provided in the online application for recommendations?

No, the tool provided by the website serves as a guide but does not have to be used as the method of recommendation. A letter from an individual that can attest to your abilities as an actor is preferred.

I’m in my forties and my academic letters of recommendation are twenty years old. Do you still want them?

If you have been out of school for 15+ years, or have 10+ years of professional acting experience, then 2 professional letters of recommendation will suffice.

What do you mean by ‘professional’ and ‘academic’ letters of recommendation?

An academic letter is from a teacher of theatre from any acting class or program in which you have been enrolled. A professional letter is from a director, artistic director, or other professional theatre artist with whom you have worked recently. Although one of each type of letter is preferred, two academic or two professional letters would be acceptable.

What if I have a hard copy of a transcript or recommendation that cannot be  sent electronically?

Send original documents (transcripts, application form, headshot and resume, letters of recommendation, etc.) to: Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Office of Graduate Admissions, George Washington University, 801 22nd St. NW, Washington, DC 20052.

Do I need to send duplicate copies of my letters of recommendation, transcripts, and other materials, and do I send to both the GW Graduate Admissions Office and the ACA Office?

No. The staff at both GW and the ACA keep in close correspondence about what documents each office has received. In the end, both offices will have all of your application materials.

Do I need to submit a hard copy of my transcript?

No. An electronic version, including scanned copies, is acceptable when initially applying. Official copies of your transcripts will be required only if you are offered admission.

Do I have to have all of my application materials submitted by the posted deadline?

Students DO need to submit their materials by the application deadline. Transcripts and test scores especially (even if they’re still finishing classes). Letters of recommendation/head shots can be more flexible.

I have applied to the ACA in the past. What do I need to resubmit in terms of application materials?

Unless a student has requested to defer their application, students will also need to submit updated transcripts.

I’m a Canadian or dual citizen. Do I have to abide by any other procedures?

An international student accepted for graduate study at The George Washington University is NOT eligible for Federal Loan money unless he or she is also a U.S. citizen. For more information or questions pertaining to visa/citizenship issues please visit the GWU International Services Office at: http://gwired.gwu.edu/iso/.

Before I decide to apply, I would like to talk to someone who has graduated that has similar circumstances. Is this possible?

Yes. Please email askaca@shakespearetheatre.org to be put in contact with an alumnus of the program.

What is the best way to fill out an application for GW/ACA?

We strongly encourage you to apply online at GW. For an application, click here.

How should I answer the following questions on the application form?

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Field of Study: Theatre (Classical Acting)
No concentration
Please indicate the campus you plan to attend: 
Foggy Bottom

For an application, click here. Then click on the “Apply Now” button to create an application account. If you have problems creating an account or connecting to the GW website, please call 202.994.2819.


What do you mean by “at least two classical monologues?”

This means your initial audition will consist of two classical/Shakespeare monologues within a five minute time slot. We recommend that your pieces be in verse.

When will my audition be scheduled?

You may schedule an audition before you have submitted you application materials. Please email kwhite@shakespearetheatre.org to do so.

Tuiton and Financial Aid

How much does the program really cost?

Tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year is $43,290 for the twelve month program. Living costs (rent, food, transportation, clothing, supplies) are estimated at $15,000-18,000, bringing the cost of attendance to approximately $58,000. Fees (health, graduation, application, etc.) are not included in this total.

Does the ACA provide housing; if not, can the ACA help me find a place to live?

Students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements. Often, incoming students can work out arrangements with graduating students of the ACA to take over their lease in August. The ACA Program Coordinator can provide some help and advice on housing in the area. Most students will find apartments for the year in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, D.C. (rent will vary depending on location and on whether a student lives alone or with a roommate; however, monthly rent for an individual averages between $850 and $1,200).

Are there any scholarships available from the ACA; if so, how and when will they be awarded?

There are several partial scholarships available through the ACA. These funds will be awarded based on both need and merit. The development departments of both institutions raise funds annually. These funds depend on the timing and generosity of individual donors, so the amount varies from year to year, and sometimes the amount of the gift is not known until close to the beginning of the school year.

How do I apply for Federal Aid?

To apply for Federal Financial Aid go to the FAFSA homepage at www.fafsa.ed.gov. There you will be able to apply online, track the status of your application and receive answers to any Federal Aid related questions you may have


What is the difference between a Certificate student and a Master’s student at the ACA?

There is no difference in curriculum between Certificate (non-degree / those who do not hold an undergraduate degree) and Master’s candidates. All students take the same classes for the same number of credits and the tuition is a fixed-rate charge. However, if you are planning to apply for loans to help finance your education, please be aware that Certificate students are not eligible for the Federal Loan Program (FAFSA). Information about  various private loan programs can be found through www.finaid.org or through the GWU office of Financial Aid: finaid@gwu.edu, 202.994.6620.