Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply to BUSTI?
To apply to BUSTI, please follow the instructions on our Apply page to submit your Application, resume, personal essay, and headshot. You will also submit a letter of recommendation and an application fee to our office.
What if I am an international student?
International students may apply to the program following the instructions on our Apply page. In previous summers, BUSTI has welcomed students from over 17 different countries, including Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, and Venezuela.
Boston University does not require international students to provide any special paperwork or documentation to apply to the program; international students are also no longer required to complete an I-20 form. For travel and identification purposes, international students should carry both their passport and visa with them while traveling and during their stay in Boston.
Do you offer financial aid? How do I apply?
Yes, Financial Aid for BUSTI is available on an as-needed basis subject to availability. Click here for more information. As BUSTI admission is need-blind, requests for financial aid will not affect a student’s acceptance into the program.
I want to apply to BUSTI, but I cannot attend the whole program. May I still attend?
The BUSTI program is a full, 5-week commitment. Missing any time puts a student significantly behind in studio training and rehearsals. The BUSTI faculty requests that all applicants be prepared to fully commit to the duration of the program. This includes attendance at all classes, rehearsals, and required core curriculum events that take place on weekends.
I have previously participated in the BUSTI program. Can I attend the program this summer as well?
The BUSTI program is repeatable in subsequent years and provides a continued introduction to conservatory-style training through new and familiar curriculum.
Do you have an age restriction?
BUSTI accepts applications from rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school; students are typically age 15-18.
Curriculum & Academic Questions
How many people will be in my classes?
BUSTI enrolls a maximum of 70 students into the Institute. That group is divided into smaller sections for each class. Most BUSTI classes average 15-18 students per class. As the Design track enrolls fewer students than Performance, those classes will be smaller. Students will take Master Classes in groups of 30-35, and all students take Dramatic Literature together.
What is the difference between the Performance and Design tracks?
BUSTI believes in training total collaborative theatre artists. Therefore, the curriculum is designed to provide comprehensive experiences in performance and design to students in both tracks.
All students take Voice & Speech, Movement, Improvisation, Design & Storytelling, Dramatic Literature, and Collaborative Theatre Ensemble, as well as ten master classes in all areas of theatre artistry.
Performance track students take an Acting scene study class focused on rehearsing and performing material while Design track students take a collaborative Design class focused on multi-disciplinary approach to the theatrical design process. Beyond that, the tracks are identical.
All BUSTI students work as true collaborative theatre artists: as actors, designers, directors, playwrights… regardless of which track they choose. Designers will perform, performers will design, and all artists will transform their ideas as to the nature of theatre. This may mean stepping out of their comfort zones and into the unknown!
Does BUSTI offer Musical Theatre training?
Similar to the BFA undergraduate program in Boston University’s School of Theatre, BUSTI focuses on developing and crafting the skills of a multi-disciplinary theatre artist. While these skills include singing, dancing, and movement, musical theatre is not the primary focus of BUSTI.
Will I receive credit?
Yes; upon successful completion of BUSTI, students are awarded 4.0 college credits, for use at Boston University or transfer to another institution.
Room & Board Questions
Are the dorms co-ed?
No. There are separate towers for men and women. We deeply value inclucivity and comfort for all; transgender, genderqueer, and/or non-binary students are encouraged to reach out to us to discuss the housing option that will make them most comfortable.
Will I have a roommate?
All BUSTI students live in double-occupancy rooms. Roommates are assigned by the Office of Housing. In the event of an uneven number of students, some students may not have a roommate assigned to them.
Can local students participate in BUSTI while living at home?
Given the demanding 9am to 10pm daily schedule, students who live in the Boston area are strongly encouraged to reside on campus during the program. However, if you would like to explore the day student/non-residential student option with our staff, please email the BUSTI Program Heads at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the School of Theatre Office at 617.353.3390. Non-resident students are only allowed access to the dining facilities on campus if they choose to purchase meal plans or individual entry into the halls.
Are BUSTI students chaperoned at all times?
There are Security Guards in the dorms 24/7. After curfew, a combination of BUSTI Teaching Assistants and Residence Life Staff also staff the dorms. The students are chaperoned in all classes, rehearsals, and group activities on the weekend. As BUSTI students are treated like college students, they are on their own during meal times and travel time to and from the dorms.
While BUSTI’s rigorous curriculum leaves little free time, the staff tries to provide students with opportunities to explore and experience the city. During BUSTI orientation, our staff discusses safety and city life with all students. We make every effort to encourage students to make safe and smart decisions, such as traveling in groups, never carrying large amounts of cash or valuables, and navigating in a city.
Are students who live on campus required to have a meal plan? Which plan do you recommend?
Yes, on campus students are required to purchase one of the meal plans.
The choice between 14 or 19 meals/week is student specific depending on what kinds of snacks you choose to keep in your room and how often you choose to eat outside of the dining hall. There is a Life Alive (vegetarian restaurant), Chipotle, Starbucks, CVS, 7-11, and several pizza options across the street from the College of Fine Arts. Meal plans may be changed within the 1st week of classes.
What do I do if I have dietary restrictions?
Students should indicate their specific dietary restrictions on the forms provided in the BUSTI Acceptance Packet. We encourage concerned parents to meet with us on move-in day, so that we can alert Residence Life/Dining Services as necessary. Students will be responsible for speaking up in the dining hall and placing special meal requests. Dining Services is highly willing to accommodate special requests.
Student Life Questions
What should I bring with me to BUSTI?
We will send a suggested packing list to students upon admission to the program.
For the dormitory, students will need to bring their own towels, linens, blankets, pillows, and fans. There is no air conditioning in the dorm, and we strongly recommend at least 2 fans. Students may bring laptops, cameras, cell phones, etc., to the program at their discretion. BUSTI is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged belongings. We highly recommend that students lock their valuables in a personal safe in their dorm room and remember to lock their door.
For class, students will need to wear movement clothing (think yoga or workout attire) and supportive athletic shoes. Hydration is vital in the summer months. Students also carry journals, printed copies of the core texts, pens, and pencils with them to all classes.
Students should also have proper identification with them on move-in day. On the first day of BUSTI, students will receive a Terrier ID Card, which provides access to the dining halls and serves as identification throughout the program.
As a BUSTI student, is there a place to work out?
BUSTI is a rigorous and physical program. Many students find that they stay fit simply by participating in the training. If you would like to work out during your stay, purchasing a membership to the BU Fitness and Recreation Center (FitRec) will gain you access to fitness and weight training equipment, swimming facilities, indoor basketball courts, indoor racquetball and squash courts, and locker room facilities. Students may pick up paperwork to purchase a FitRec membership on the BUSTI move in day.
Will there be time to explore Boston?
While BUSTI students spend most days in class, we build in time to explore what the city of Boston has to offer through required and optional events visiting local arts and cultural sights – museums, theatre, historical sights, fun neighborhoods, and more! Students also typically have Sundays free, except in the case of a required curricular event.
For parents & guardians
How do I pay the program fees and tuition?
BUSTI’s deposit fee is payable by bank, personal or cashier’s check, or by money order. The initial deposit allows Boston University to open a student account for your child. Once a student account is established, and BU posts the program tuition, housing, and board charges, you will receive information on how to pay your student’s account balance via money transfer, check, or credit card.
To pay your BUSTI deposit, please mail the check or money order along with your signed Letter of Agreement to:
Summer Theatre Institute
Boston University College of Fine Arts
855 Commonwealth Avenue, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02215
Please note that your deposit check may not be cashed immediately. We cannot cash deposit checks until the University creates your child’s student account so that the money can be properly credited toward the cost of attending BUSTI.
All payments after the initial deposit should be sent directly to the Office of Student Accounts once the bill has been recieved. BUSTI will return any payments sent to the Summer Theatre Institute office after the original deposit is processed.
Can I use my 529 plan for payment on my student’s account?
While BUSTI has never used 529 plans for payment of the program, other BU high school programs have. The BU Office of Student Accounts (the office from which you will receive billing statements) recommends that parents contact their individual 529 plan organizations. Some may not allow use of the 529 plan for high school college credit programs.
If parents come to visit, does the curfew still apply to their BUSTI student?
Parents may request to excuse their BUSTI student, provided that they contact the BUSTI office with at least 48 hours notice. We ask that families email requests to email@example.com AND call 617.353.3390. A member of the BUSTI staff will verify the parent/guardian request. If we do not receive the request at least 48 hours in advance, we will not allow the student to miss curfew. As with all safety issues, we always err on the side of caution.
Are there hotels nearby for families visiting during the program?
- Hotel Commonwealth: Closest to the main BU campus, located in Kenmore Square
- Holiday Inn Brookline: A few blocks away in the neighboring town of Brookline
- Hyatt Regency Cambridge: Close to the College of Fine Arts across the Charles River in Cambridge
- Courtyard Marriott Boston/Cambridge: Across the Charles River in Cambridge
- Double Tree Guest Suites Boston/Cambridge: Along the Charles River and a few blocks from the Marriott
My BUSTI student will be traveling to the program alone. Can someone pick them up from the airport/bus station?
Each year, we have a number of students who arrive to our program through air and bus travel. We understand your concern as a parent/guardian in wanting to find secure transportation for your child. Unfortunately, because of the high volume of travelers and the limited numbers of BUSTI staff members, we cannot provide transportation from the airport/bus station to campus. Fortunately, Logan Airport is traveler-friendly, as are the Back Bay and South Station bus terminals. Hailing a cab or calling an Uber/Lyft/etc is convenient and reasonable in cost.