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Tips for an easy transition from high school to NIDA

The National Institute for Dramatic Art (NIDA) accepts many high school leavers to its courses, who take advantage of its exceptionally high standard of teaching and learning experience.

Tips for an easy transition from High School to NIDA

Photo: Bachelor of Fine Arts first year students Angus and Kate

The National Institute for Dramatic Art (NIDA) accepts many high school leavers to its courses, who take advantage of its exceptionally high standard of teaching and learning experience. While the sought-after Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) course encourages applicants to experience life and performance before they apply, a range of other courses are perfect for those high school leavers with the talent or passion for performance, such as the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Costume, Design for Performance, Properties and Objects, Staging, and Technical Theatre and Stage Management. The Vocational Diploma courses in Musical Theatre, Specialist Make up and Technical Services are also popular with school leavers.

NIDA’s Open Day and Info Night events are a perfect first step for high school leavers to learn about their potential new learning environment. ‘My transition from high school to NIDA has been really good. I think that part of this is down to research I did before I came and also I went to NIDA’s Open Day twice,’ said Ruby, BFA (Properties and Objects) first-year student.

These events are specifically designed with high school students in mind, and give them the space to mentally prepare for their future. As well as Info Night or Open Day, the student production season in June or October also gives a great insight into the world of NIDA.

Many high school leavers discover they have a strong bond with their fellow students, and find themselves in the centre of a tight-knit community of like-minded individuals who work collaboratively and passionately on creative projects.

‘Because NIDA is small, I got to know everyone really well,’ said Ruby. ‘Students are able to very quickly establish bonds with people and become a support system for each other, as everyone’s going through a similar thing.’

‘At NIDA there are so many people who have the same interests as me,’ said Angus BFA (Design for Performance) first-year student. ‘I was thrown into this world where everyone understands what I’m talking about. We all have things in common! It’s been so exciting working with people that are on the same page.’

‘I’m from Melbourne, so it was a bit of a jump coming to Sydney where I didn’t know anyone, especially only being 17 at the time,’ added Kate, BFA (Technical Theatre and Stage Management) first year student. ‘It was a bit of a shock to the system, but the Open Day made me realise that this is the place I needed to be. ‘

To gap year or not to gap year?

Some students take a gap year after the HSC, preferring to spend time earning money or travelling. Others like to keep up the study momentum and continue their education. ‘In some ways coming straight out of year 12 is an advantage, as the hours are similar to what you’d do at HSE or BCE in terms of extra study,’ said Ruby.

While the workload does increase, the students find the load lighter as it’s more in line with their passion. ‘High school is more about writing essays and theoretical learning, whereas at NIDA it’s a lot more practice-based. For me, the work load has definitely increased, but it’s so much more enjoyable. I’m excited to wake up in the morning and start a new day because everything we do is so much fun,’ said Angus.

Getting to know the city certainly helps to make students straight out of high school feel more comfortable in their new environment. There are lots of bus route options to get to Kensington, and exploring the city before you start studying is a useful tool.

‘I made a point of exploring different parts of Sydney which is a pretty easy thing to do when you’ve got to get a bus everywhere,’ commented Ruby. ‘I also got a casual job that took me to a different part of town that I didn’t really know and this helped me learn even more about the city,’ said Ruby.

Applications to all 2018 higher education courses at NIDA have been extended to 29 October 2017. Visit to find out more and apply.