Curtis vs Juilliard: Which is Better for Your Child?

There are differences between Curtis and Juilliard that can help determine which school is better for your child, who is all grown up now and looking to go to University. So, how can you help them decide?

Curtis attendees are admitted through scholarship only, making them exclusive but also free for those accepted. Juilliard has a wider variety of programs, but the education is expensive. Someone accepted to both would choose Curtis for the exclusivity and price, or Juilliard for the programs.

If you are deciding to apply or accept admission to one of these schools, then you have a tough decision ahead as both are good schools, but here’s some information that can help you look at your decision analytically.


Both schools are on the East Coast of America, Juilliard being in New York and Curtis being in Philadelphia. So, those who live on the West Coast or any other state apart from the states the schools are in will have quite a distance between home and school. Holidays will need to consist of flights or long drives, and while it can complicate plans, it is not a deal breaker and worth the inconvenience to attend these schools.

The price of living in these 2 states varies greatly – with off campus rents and the costs of living being extremely high in New York City. It is a factor that will play into the final decision for many students. It is an impact that may prohibit you from attending Julliard if you are not able to secure funding through private means or grants.

Price of Attendance

The price of tuition is obviously totally different as well given that Curtis is scholarship-based and Julliard is full fee paying. While it is possible to earn a scholarship to Julliard, they are limited and competition for them is extremely high.


Even if you have a scholarship, it still doesn’t offset the cost of living which can be significant.

For Curtis, with a small number of students admitted by scholarship, all housing, tuition, classes, and more are paid for by that scholarship. Curtis is free for those admitted, and they offer personalized education because each professor can work one on one with students because of the small number of attendees. (Source)

The Office of Financial Aid at Julliard administers institutional scholarships, federal and state grants, federal student and parent loans, and oncampus employment (Work-Study). Scholarship decisions are made in conjunction with the Scholarship Committee and are based on a combination of financial need and/or artistic merit.

Julliard Scholarships

The School provides funding for these awards, with monies coming from a variety of sources. The amount
of scholarship received will generally stay the same each year provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress. Scholarships are subject to availability of funding.

Fee Paying Tuition

Juilliard is not free, making it automatically more expensive than Curtis. You can see the estimated cost of an academic year at Julliard here including tuition, transportation, book/supplies, housing, meals, and more.

Depending on the arrangements you make, the average cost before aid for new students is around USD $80,000 (calculated from the 6 different total expense options that incoming students can expect).

For continuing students it is about $1,000 per academic year less because there is a slight discount in the accommodation for continuing students.

This will give you some idea of how those amounts are broken up:

Residence Hall (Double room and meals)New StudentsContinuing Students
Double Room$19.810$18,870
Student Health Insurance (estimate)$2,654$2,654
Orientation fee$250N/A
Books, Supplies, Personal Expenses$3,700$3,700
Transportaion – Local$528$528
Transportation – Outside NYC$1,400$1,400

Miscellaneous Fees

At Julliard, there are also other fees that may impact your ability to attend. These are miscellaneous fees for things like graduation, reserving accommodation, doing a double major or overdue payment fees.

Here are the most common to give you an idea:

Type of FeeCost USD
Enrollment Deposit (all new students, non-refundable)250
Orientation Fee (all new students)250
Graduation Fee (due in December prior to graduation)100
Matriculation Fee (required of DMA non-residents)500
Residence Hall Reservation Fee150
Double Major Fee14,200
Secondary Applied Study Fee – one hour/one-half hour per week9,360/4,680
Late Payment Fee250
Service Charge for Returned Checks25
Registration Fees150
Health Services Fee200
Health Insurance 2,654
Official Transcript Fee (per copy)5

Financial Aid

For most students attending Julliard, securing financial aid is essential. Many obtain it through organizations outside of Julliard.

There is a great resource that tells you everything you need to know about how to do that and where to go to apply for various financial aid.

Federal Pell Grants

This is a federally funded, need-based program. The amount that a student receives is determined by
the expected family contribution (EFC) and the student’s enrollment status. Funds are available only to students in undergraduate programs who have not completed their first bachelor’s degree.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

This is a federally funded, need-based program. The amount that a student receives is determined by
the expected family contribution (EFC) and the student’s enrollment status. Funds are available only to students in undergraduate programs who have not completed their first bachelor’s degree.

Tuition Assistance Program

This is a need-based program funded by New York State for undergraduate students. The student
and (if the student is dependent) parents must be legal permanent residents of New York State. Students must apply directly through the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) website.

There are many other sorts of funding opportunities and students can apply for more than one. The comprehensive resource will detail all that is available both inside Julliard and through outside organizations.

Price is a huge factor in why you would choose one school over the other. If you based your decision between schools solely on price, Curtis would win. There are more factors to consider but knowing the financials before deciding is important for making an informed decision.


Juilliard has many programs, and they offer Undergraduate Diploma, Bachelors, Masters, Graduate Diploma, and Doctoral degrees. The degrees you can get are:

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Music
  • Undergraduate Diploma
  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Master of Music
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Artist Diploma, and
  • Doctor of Musical Arts.

Each of these degrees has specific majors associated with it. You can choose to base your degree on an instrument, performing, voice, playwriting, drama, composition, dance, and more. Juilliard is catered to the arts and has many specific options for you to choose from.

Curtis offers the following:

  • Bachelor of Music
  • Master of Music
  • Post-Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Composition with Online Modality
  • Diploma and Professional Studies Certificate in Opera
  • Pre-College age students can attend as well. Curtis does not discriminate against age and will accept young students to train and receive a Diploma. They accept gifted and talented students who attend elementary school or secondary school and have maintained a 2.0 GPA and above.

Curtis has as many students who play a variety of instruments as they need to have a full orchestra and opera. Their focus is entirely on music arts whereas Juilliard also includes dramatic arts. Depending on what you want to study, one school may be better than the other. You can look at the programs and look at what the classes are like to help you decide.

Amount of Students

Curtis is more exclusive with a 2% acceptance rate. They have about 167 students attending school in total, which is the explanation behind the exclusivity and the scholarships. Juilliard has almost a thousand students, approximating 961 students attending for undergraduate and graduate degrees. Juilliard has an 8% acceptance rate, so they are extremely exclusive, but not the same as Curtis. (Source)

One reason behind the exclusivity for both schools is the number of students attending. With a lower number of students, Curtis has to look at thousands of applications and narrow it down to a few people. Juilliard can extend more offers because they have the capacity to house and teach more students. (Source)

Your Personal Thoughts & Feelings

Of course, nothing can replace where you feel you should go. As a student accepting admission to one of these schools, your thoughts should be about where you think you should be and which one is going to give you the greatest chance of success.

That may depend on the type of career you want once you have completed your studies. It may also depend on the types of connections you can make while doing your degree. That can impact life on the outside and job opportunities.

As a parent of a student choosing between schools the most important thing to do is to be excited with your child and support whatever they choose. College is a rite of passage into adult life, and though school can be far away, your child’s growth into adulthood, living on their own, and gaining an education are all important to experience.

If you are deciding where to apply to, try to apply to the school you think has the best program for you. Both application processes will be similar because there is a written application and an audition process. The audition process consists of video auditions, all the way up to in-person auditions.

Not everyone makes it to the in-person audition, but it is a great honor nonetheless to audition for such a prestigious school.

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