Top 10 Best Performing Arts High Schools in the U.S

This is a detailed list of best performing arts high schools in the U.S.

Few students are taking the performing arts program in the U.S, and many of those who do drop out before completing high school.

In addition, performing art is being seen as a “serious” subject, which takes a significant amount of time to master.

In performing arts high schools in the U.S, gifted students can have access to a wide range of options.

Aside from their excellent performing arts programs, these schools provide students with a wide range of performance possibilities and college preparatory resources.

5 Important Things to do before Enrolling in Performing Arts High Schools in the U.S

There are things that you should do before enrolling in performing arts high schools in the U.S but these five below are considered the most important.

1. Be Honest to Yourself

You need to be honest with yourself whether you are 100% sure you want to be in the field.

If you’re not sure, then there’s no point wasting your time and money.

The performing arts are a lifetime commitment. You will practice every day, always refining your craft.

The top in the field (but really, even those at the bottom) have spent years honing their skills.

If you can’t dedicate your life to it, then leave now before wasting time and money on something that just won’t happen.

2. Know the type of performing arts high school you are looking for

There are many performing arts high schools out there with different focuses.

For instance, some focus only on theater, while others focus on a variety of different types of art. Do some research and find the school that is right for you.

3. Examine your budget

Most performing arts high schools in the U.S are not cheap.

Some schools can be upwards of $70,000 per year. Save up and have a good idea of how much you’re willing to spend.

4. Know your Major

You should know where you want your career to go before enrolling in a performing arts high school in the U.S and the best way for that is by having it planned out from day one.

If you can’t decide on a major yet, then maybe you’re not ready for a performing arts school.

5. Prepare for auditions

This is the most important step of them all. Many schools have different requirements and some even require you to send in a video.

Make sure you know what they are looking for and how to best present yourself. High schools won’t need this, but colleges will. Be prepared for what schools are going to throw at you.

Top 10 best performing Arts High school in the U.S

There are many performing arts high schools in the U.S, which provide state-of-art learning equipment and countless opportunities to students interested in this area.

These are the top 10 best performing arts high schools in the U.S

1. Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

In 1985, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts was founded as a school dedicated to the visual and performing arts.

This Los Angeles school, which is part of the California State University system, offers a conservatory-style education in the arts as well as core academics.

It offers a unique curriculum that combines academic preparation for college with training in the visual and performing arts in the style of a conservatory.

Training in music, theater, dance, visual arts, and film is offered at the school.

This school does not charge students for their education. Non-profit Arts High Foundation raises money to support the free conservatory-style arts training for students.

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

2. The Professional Performing Arts High School

The Professional Performing Arts School is a New York City public school that was established in 1990.

The Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) was established in order to help students who wanted to pursue a career in the performing arts while also earning their high school diploma and those who wanted to study the arts as a hobby.

A rigorous, comprehensive, sequential, and fully integrated academic curriculum is provided by academic staff to students on a daily basis.

There is an audition for every student interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts. Professional dancers, actors, and musicians instruct students in the performing arts at specialized schools.

The Professional Performing Arts School

3. Idyllwild Arts Academy

Idyllwild Arts Academy is a private school and of the best performing arts high schools in the U.S.

It is located in the California Mountains, about an hour and a half from Los Angeles, and was founded in 1946.

It is a boarding school; students live on campus throughout their four years of high school studies.

It offers a college preparatory program for grades 9–12 and post-graduates, with training in music, theater, dance, visual art, creative writing, film, and interdisciplinary arts.

Also See: Top 25 Scholarships for Actors

An audition or portfolio is required for admission.  As one of the best performing arts high schools in the U.S is mission is to change lives through the power of art.

Here, students can major in:

  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Fashion design
  • Film & Digital media
  • Music
  • Theater
  • Visual & digital art
  • InterArts— This is a unique program that combines two or more disciplines picked by the students.

Students come from over 30 countries in Idyllwild Arts Academy. Some of them get a job into the arts right out of school, while others study in college.

Idyllwild Arts Academy graduates have no set path but they all share one thing in common which is an education that turned them into cultured and skilled artists.

This is another pricey school, with a yearly tuition of $62.000 for out-of-state students.

Financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants is available for the students; students can apply for multiple programs at once to decrease cost.

Idyllwild Arts Academy

4. Baltimore School for the Arts

This performing arts school is in Baltimore, Maryland, and was founded in 1979. The Baltimore School for the Arts is a public arts high school/secondary school.

While most schools on this list focus on the traditional mediums, Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA) offers art concentrations in film making, vocal music, graphic design, theater acting, theater production, instrumental music, dance, and visual arts.

This four-year public high school provides young people with intensive, pre-professional training in the arts within the context of a comprehensive, college preparatory academic curriculum.

This school does not offer a traditional high school diploma; students who graduate here will receive an Associate Degree from Baltimore City Community College after four years of study or a Bachelor’s Degree if they take additional college courses during their senior year at this school.

There are no academic requirements for admission. All you need is to be an 8th or 9th-grade student to apply for admission.

Students are judged solely based on their audition and followed by an interview. About 98% of students that graduate from this performing Arts high school in the U.S go on to study at college with excellent graduation rates.

The school has produced numerous “Presidential Scholars” in the Arts and its students have gone on to attend major conservatories and Ivy League Schools.

In 2016, BSA was named a Silver Medal School by the U.S. News and World Report, and was ranked 1,560th nationally and 44th in the state of Maryland (first overall in Baltimore City).

For people living in Baltimore city, tuition is completely free while people outside need to pay $10.000 a year for tuition.

Baltimore School for the Arts

5. Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts

This school was established in 1978 as a magnet school located on South Broad Street, in the former Ridgway Library.

It is part of Philadelphia’s School District. Creative writing, music, visual arts, theater, and dance as well as vocal performance and media design & television are all options for students to choose from (MDTV).

Students who meet the audition requirements after their freshman year may also pursue a minor.

Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts

6. Las Vegas Academy

The Las Vegas Academy of the Arts is a magnet high school that was established in 1992.

In the Las Vegas Academy, there is a list for selection of majors for which students audition and then focus on throughout their four years of high school alongside standard academic coursework.

Students go through an audition process in order to be admitted to the Academy.

Las Vegas Academy

7. Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School is a public school originally established in 1936 which is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and is the first in the United States to offer a free high school education in performing arts.

It was made famous by the 1980 movie “Fame”, starring Irene Cara, Gene Anthony Ray and Debbie Allen.

Being one of the most popular performing arts high schools in the U.S; each year, over 20,000 students apply for just 800 spots.

This high school offers a program for students interested in creative writing, theater, dance, music, visual arts, and media arts.

This school has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the best performing arts schools in the United States.

This school is definitely a superb choice if you have chosen a career in performing arts. But be prepared for some stiff competition; getting accepted into this school is difficult.

The requirements to apply are:

  • Being an 8th or 9th grader
  • Living in NYC

Naturally, each type of performing art has its own audition process.

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School

8. Chicago Academy for the Arts

Illinois’ first performing arts high school in the U.S, Chicago Academy for the Arts, was founded in 1981 by a group of artists, educators, and business professionals.

Located in the historic St. John Cantius Parish school building, it is run by a Board of Trustees.

College preparatory academic classes and professional-level arts training are available at the Academy.

It was once one of the few high schools to offer a course on existentialism and workshops taught by guest lecturers such as Roger Ebert. ”

To wrap up each semester, art schools conduct an individual evaluation and review of each student, which may include a self-reflection and goal-setting exercise as well as portfolio reviews, and faculty interviews.

Chicago Academy for the Arts

9. Interlochen Center for the Arts

Interlochen Center for the Arts founded in 1928 by Joseph E. Maddy in Interlochen, Michigan, is a non-profit performing art high school in the U.S.

It’s a boarding school in which students live on campus and take part in the arts program for at least six hours each day.

Interlochen Center for the Arts has three divisions:

  • High School programs for students in grades 9-12
  • Intermediate programs for students in grades 6-9
  • Junior programs for students in grades 3-6

Interlochen Arts Academy also offers a postgraduate year for further pre-professional study and majors in Comparative Arts, Creative Writing, Dance, Theater, Motion Picture Arts, and Visual Arts.

Additionally, graduates of the Interlochen Arts Academy are able to attend colleges and universities that do not have a primary focus on the arts.

According to the school’s own admissions policy, it’s looking for students with potential rather than those with perfect grades.

At the very least, your portfolio should show some degree of competence. You can see the portfolio requirements for each performing art here.

Even if you don’t make it through the rigorous audition process, a degree in the performing arts from this prestigious university is well worth it.

A yearly tuition fee for boarding students is $70.950 while for day students is $40.000 per year.

There are plenty of scholarships available, so you can save on a lot of the costs if you manage to snag them.

Interlochen Arts Academy

10. Dr. Phillips High School

Dr. Phillips High School established in 1987 is one of the best performing arts high schools in the U.S. It offers several specialized programs that allow students to concentrate on areas of interest.

These courses provide in-depth training in a wide range of fields. Students at elementary, middle, and high schools can take advantage of magnet programs, which allow them to focus their studies on a particular subject area.

Dr. Phillips High School

Top 6 Benefits of Performing Arts Programs in High Schools

These are the top 6 benefits of performing arts programs in performing Arts High schools in the U.S

1. Making Students to be Self-Aware

Individualism, reflection, and self-esteem can all be enhanced through participation in performing arts programs for students.

This kind of involvement teaches the students to focus on a specific goal, develops their self-confidence and self-control, and the importance of sharing what they’ve learned with others so that they can all benefit from it.

By practicing these abilities, students become better at self-evaluation, identifying their own strengths and weaknesses, and devising strategies for improving their abilities.

2. Improving Academic Performance

The grades and test scores of students who work individually to improve their performance are better in the long run.

Participants in performing arts programs are more likely than non-participants to enroll in higher-level math courses, earn their high school diplomas, and continue their education in college.

Students who took four years of high school performing arts classes scored 100 points higher than those who took less or no classes.

3. Strengthening School Community

Students’ attitudes toward the school are influenced by their experiences in the performing arts, where they develop a strong sense of self and excel academically.

A strong bond is formed between students, teachers, and school administrators when they participate in theater, music, and dance.

Having the opportunity to collaborate with other students in artistic settings can also provide the opportunity to learn about other cultures through the use of different types of music or plays.

As a result, students will be more open to working with people who are different from themselves and develop greater tolerance and empathy for those around them.

4. Preparing for Future Careers

Some students who participate in the performing arts do not intend to pursue a career in them.

Participating in an arts program fosters creativity, which is becoming increasingly important in the workplace; working with others as part of a musical ensemble or the cast of a play can improve communication and teamwork skills.

Furthermore, the strong sense of individualism that the performing arts foster can help students grow up to be stronger leaders in their professions as well.

5. Emotional Intelligence

Emotion plays a significant role in the creative process in many forms of art. Even if you’re just creating a game that makes people happy, the arts are intrinsically linked with feelings.

Teens can learn to distinguish between their own and other people’s emotions by participating in theater, whether on stage or behind the scenes.

6. Creativity

The arts and creativity go hand in hand. In a performing arts high school, creativity is a part of nearly every class. Students learn how to hone their artistic skills and turn them into a career.

That’s all on the best performing arts high schools in the US.

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