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


Describe your educational and professional goals and tell us your specific reasons for choosing to apply to NEC as you pursue these goals.


We review the essay to learn more about you as a musician and person, as well as to assess your competency with written English.


The essay should be 300–500 words in length and must be entered into the appropriate page of the online application. Please note that the online application will accept only very basic text formatting. If you write your essay in a word processing program with the intention of pasting it into the online application, we recommend that you keep the formatting very simple. (Avoid using bold, italics, underlines, indentations, or other similar formatting.)


Undergraduate transfer, Artist Diploma, and Doctor of Music Arts applicants should refer to their Specific Instructions for more information about the written materials requirement. Please note that the following majors require additional written materials:

  • Contemporary Improvisation: In addition to the writing sample, applicants must submit a second essay explaining their reasons for choosing Contemporary Improvisation as their 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. 

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