Applicants to undergraduate and graduate programs must submit an essay addressing the following topic:


Describe your educational and professional goals in detail. Then, explain the specific features of the NEC experience that are intriguing to you and how you believe you will benefit from an education at NEC. Focus primarily on opportunities that go beyond the chance to work with our amazing faculty or perform in our beautiful halls.


The essay should be 300–500 words and must be entered into the online application. Please note that the online application will accept only very basic text formatting. Please compose your essay in a word processing program with the intention of pasting it into the online application, but keep the formatting very simple (do not use bold, italics, underlines, indentations, etc.)


Undergraduate transfer, Artist Diploma, and Doctor of Musical Arts applicants should refer to their specifc instructions for more information about additional required written materials.


Please note that the following majors also require additional written materials:

  • Contemporary Improvisation: Applicants must submit a second essay explaining their reasons for choosing to pursue the Contemporary Improvisation major. This essay should include a description of the influences on, and motivations for, their personal style. The CI essay should be submitted online with the prescreening recording as part of the application form by December 1st.

  • Musicology: Please refer to the Musicology Audition Requirements for more information about written materials that should be submitted in addition to the writing sample.

  • Music Theory: Please refer to the Music Theory Audition Requirements for more information about written materials that should be submitted in addition to the writing sample.