Conservatory Admissions

Conservatory Frequently Asked Questions

Conservatory Frequently Asked Questions



Is there an advantage to performing a campus audition? It is advantageous to come to campus for your audition so you have the opportunity to meet with the faculty, current students, and to get a sense of whether or not Oberlin College and Conservatory is a good fit for you. If you are not able to come to campus for your audition, a regional audition is another option. The Director of Admissions will administer the regional audition and gather information to reveal your musicianship skills. Regional auditions are video and audio recorded for faculty review. Additionally, our faculty takes great care to consider everyone equally whether they come to campus to audition, audition regionally, or submit a recorded audition.

Do I need to provide an accompanist for my instrumental audition? No, the only applicants who need an accompanist are voice applicants. Voice applicants auditioning on campus will have a professional accompanist provided for them on the day of the audition. However if a voice applicant is auditioning regionally, they will need to provide their own accompanist.

Is it possible to audition for two different instruments or areas of concentration? The Conservatory offers a double Major program that allows students to study two primary instruments and, in some cases, complete both major requirements in four years. Students also have the option of majoring in a primary instrument and in another concentration such as Composition, TIMARA, Music History, or Music Theory. Aside from that, there is a secondary lesson program that allows students to study an instrument outside of their primary degree curriculum.

I am interested in composition and/or TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts), but I don't have much (or any) experience in this area...just an interest in exploring this realm if I come to Oberlin. Should I select Composition and/or TIMARA in addition to indicating my interest in auditioning on an instrument or voice for Performance admission? Do not select Composition and/or TIMARA unless you wish to be considered for possible admission in these areas and can submit scores and a portfolio of works as outlined on our website. If you are accepted in an instrument or voice, you will have the opportunity to explore these areas and others as "music electives".

How do I submit my recorded materials for audition, either as a screening, final, or supplemental recording? Applicants wishing or required to submit recorded materials (either screening, final or supplemental, audio and/or video) to upload their recordings directly to our fileserver. In other words, we don't want you to send physical media (CDs or DVDs) in the mail, if it can be avoided. We have a website/server called the Oberlin Conservatory Audition Dropbox set up, and it is very easy to upload your audio and/or video files directly from any computer to the site. It is more efficient for applicants and for us in the review process, and the sound and video quality is excellent. Please refer to this page and find the link to the Dropbox. You can look at it, and upload your recordings when you are ready. If students end up sending us the physical discs, we will upload them ourselves in our office and never touch the disc again, once the audition is on the server. Doing this insures that our applied faculty have access to the auditions from wherever they happen to be.

How do I download the jazz audition MP3 files? Jazz Audition MP3 files can be found at this website:

A. Jazz applicants requesting live auditions (on campus or regional) must submit a screening recording. The screening recording should be submitted using the same guidelines as a recorded audition. Additionally, on-campus auditions will be performed with live accompaniment.

B. Applicants who perform regional auditions should practice with the background recording. Regional auditions will be performed with the background recording provided by the Oberlin Conservatory admissions staff. Please note: regional auditions are not offered in jazz percussion.

C. Recorded auditions must include a recording of the applicant playing with the background recording. The applicant should check that the background recording is played at an appropriate volume.

I performed my regional audition in Asia in October. How do I respond on the Audition Request page? Just indicate that you would like a live audition in the regional Asian city of your choice (even if you have already done it).


How do my teachers submit their recommendations to Oberlin Conservatory? Music teacher recommendations will be submitted electronically through the Common Application. We require two recommendations from persons who can write about the applicant's musical abilities and experiences. This could include a current private studio teacher, chamber music coach, conductor, a school band or orchestra director, etc. Use the "Other Recommender" area ("Academic Evaluator" area if transfer student) of the Recommenders and FERPA section on the Common Application to assign these recommenders. An email with detailed instructions for completing the recommendation will be sent to the music teacher as soon as the application is submitted. Recommenders will then have until December 1 or two weeks after the student's submission of the application, whichever comes later, to submit the recommendations.

Are there minimums or maximums for the essay questions? The answer is, no. Just take the space you need to say something interesting and revealing.

Is there a theory test? Does it affect my admittance to the school? As part of the application and audition evaluation process, the admissions committee considers your music theory knowledge. Once you have submitted the Oberlin Conservatory Application for Admission, you will receive an email with a link to take the theory test online. The test will run approximately 60 minutes and you are only allowed to take it once. This test will also serve as a basic placement test for the Department of Music Theory should you be admitted to Oberlin and choose to enroll. Students who achieve a high score will be invited to take additional tests in theory during the summer for possible placement in a more advanced class. Theory Test Deadlines: February 15 at midnight.


How can I set up a campus visit and tour? Does the campus tour include the conservatory? The Conservatory offers an information session and tour Monday – Friday at 11AM and 3PM. It can be set up by calling the Conservatory Admissions office: (440) 775-8413 or by sending an email to The tour will cover the 4 main Conservatory buildings. The College of Arts and Sciences runs general campus tours through their office Monday – Friday at 10 AM, noon, and 2:30 PM (noon on Saturday). They can be reached at (440) 775 8411 or by sending an email to  The following link will also help you make the most of your campus visit:

Can I stay with a current student of my area of study and attend classes? Overnight stays will only be offered for students participating in an Oberlin sponsored event or by arranging your own host. Further details can be found on the Campus Visits page here:

How can I set up lessons with a studio faculty member? We encourage you to contact a professor or faculty member in your field of interest. You can find biographies and contact information on the Conservatory faculty and departments website. To schedule a lesson or a meeting with a professor, it is recommended that you email them directly. Please note: During breaks, regular classes are not in session and many professors may be off campus.

Where can I find a schedule of Conservatory events to see while visiting? The online Events Calendar can be found at this website: There are approximately 500 concerts on campus each year, including performances by the more than 25 student ensembles, and performances and master classes by guest artists. Faculty members perform on campus and throughout the world. Oberlin's Artist Recital Series includes on-campus performances by premier national orchestras and internationally acclaimed soloists. Check for a list of concerts, recitals, and campus events. This will help give you an idea of when you would like to visit campus.  It will help you plan some of your activities when you arrive.


Where would I, as a conservatory student, live? Is there a music only dorm? The Conservatory and College student life is fully integrated. There are no specific music dorms or music dining halls. Students have a wide array of different housing and dining options ranging from traditional dorms to program houses to our Co-Op system. All of these are available to students whether they are freshmen or seniors.

Are there any freshmen dorms on campus? Yes. Oberlin has 3 First Year Experience dorms on campus. Each of these dorms has Resident Assistants who are specially trained in helping first year students become acclimated to the College environment and establish a warm and welcoming sense of community.

What kind of courses would I be taking as an Oberlin Conservatory student? The following link has course information for each major. Course requirements

As a conservatory student, can I take college courses? As a conservatory student you are required to take college courses. As part of the degree requirements you must take 32 Liberal Arts Credits (roughly 6-8 classes). There is no distribution requirement or core curriculum for these courses, so students will be able to choose from the wide variety of classes offered and never take a course in which they aren't interested.


How is Need Based Financial Aid assessed at Oberlin? We meet 100% of demonstrated need. You fill out the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, and our financial aid office calculates your estimated family contribution. Any difference between that amount and the total cost of attendance, we will meet 100% with financial aid. Typically 70-80% of an aid award is comprised of grants or scholarships, with loans and work study funds making up the remainder.

How many students receive scholarships within the Conservatory? Typically about 90% of Conservatory students receive some form of Talent-based or Merit-based Scholarship, though in some years we have awarded 100% of admitted students a Merit Scholarship. These gifts range anywhere from $4,000-$24,000 a year.

What is Work-Study? Work-Study allows a qualified student to hold a job on-campus and the money they earn goes toward their cost of student living or tuition.

How can I be considered for Oberlin grants? By applying for financial aid (selecting "yes" on the application) and completing the FAFSA and CSS Profile you are automatically considered for all forms of financial assistance at Oberlin.

How does Financial Aid work for an international student? As an international student there are different forms to submit. They all can be found at this website: