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What Classes Do I Have to Take in High School to Major in Acting in College?

by Buffy Naillon, studioD

The acting bug can bite early. Some people learn that they want to become actors while they're still in high school. As such, they often want to take classes that will prepare them for university life later on. The student who wants to major in acting in college can start developing skills related to acting while still in high school.

Acting and Theater

Learning to act involves more than just saying lines on stage. High school acting classes can teach a student how to break down a scene into its most basic elements. These classes can also teach the high school actor about period works, such as Shakespeare's plays, as well as the proper acting techniques to play characters in those works. Additionally, a high school acting class can teach an actor how to access and have command of emotions so he can perform his role each night with truth and realism.

Choir and Speech

Many actors have an interest in doing musical theater, and joining choir classes and after-school singing groups gives them the training they need to learn to sing properly. These classes often require that students learn classical music, which further stretches the voice and gives the student an introduction into historical periods. Speech classes also help an actor develop his speaking voice by learning to enunciate and project so the people in the back of the room can hear. All these qualities are part of the actor's tool box and complement what he learns in acting classes.


An actor's body is his most important instrument, and many acting roles require that the actor dance or perform feats such as juggling. Aspiring high school actors can develop this part of themselves by taking dance and movement classes if the school offers them. They can also join school dance groups, which will provide dance training, and teach discipline and team work. Finally, some high school gym classes introduce students to subjects such as tai chi or yoga, and these are good options for the up-and-coming actor to develop his body further.

Literature and History

A great part of preparing to do a play comes in the form of research. High school actors who take classes in literature and history give themselves a foundation. These classes teach them where to find the information they need to research different time periods, something which is especially helpful when the actor must do a period piece. A student can discover the way people thought, the events leading up to a particular event, and even how historical characters spoke. The student can then incorporate this information into making more well-rounded characters.

About the Author

Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.

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