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Getting into College 101

October 12 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm

CYSO’s popular masterclass returns with everything you need to know about the music admissions process. Hear from a panel of admissions professionals from across the country to find out what schools look for in applicants, how to find the program that’s right for you, and what you can be doing now to prepare your audition and application.

This year’s event will be livestreamed on CYSO’s Facebook page.


Emma Davis
Manhattan School of Music, Senior Associate Director of Admission

Emma Davis is a musician and arts administrator who has been based in the NYC area for over a decade. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, Musical Theatre from New York University Steinhardt. Emma joined the team at Manhattan School of Music 3 years ago and is currently the Senior Associate Director of Admission. Growing up as a flautist and singer, she loves being able to work with young musicians and support them throughout the music admissions application process!

Jared Jellison
University of Wisconsin Madison, Mead Witter School of Music, Undergraduate Admissions Coordiantor 

Jared Jellison is the Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator for the Mead Witter School of Music at UW-Madison.  Having held this position for nine years, Jared is passionate about demystifying the application process and helping young artists prosper at UW-Madison.

Dr. Heather McCowen
College Inside Track, College Consultant

Dr. Heather McCowen College Consultant with College Inside Track Heather McCowen, Ph.D., is excited to be a college consultant at College Inside Track.  Prior to joing the CIT team in 2021, she was the Director of Programs at The ChiArts Foundation, the College Counselor,  AP coordinator, and testing coordinator at The Chicago HS for the Arts (ChiArts). As ChiArts’s first college counselor, she created the college advising program in 2011 and has worked with over 1100 arts students in Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts.

Previously, Heather was the Asst. Dean for Enrollment and Student Services for Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she managed all auditions and arts scholarships. She also served as Assoc. Dean for Admissions at the Longy School of Music at Bard in Cambridge, MA.  Heather has been an adjunct music professor at Texas A&M Univ. – Commerce, a financial planner for Raymond James, and has admitted students in the arts (all the arts – Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Theatre -acting AND musical theatre- Art History and Visual Arts) at Southern Methodist University (SMU). While her official admissions career started at the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU, she began by calling admitted applicants while a student at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, and answering their questions. An Alum of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Tacoma Youth Symphony, she has performed with the Dallas, Fort Worth, Shreveport,  and Indian Hill Symphonies (among others), including a solo performance with the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Currently, Heather currently plays bassoon with the Northshore Concert Band and lives with her husband Paul, her 6th grader Theo, and Australian Cattle dog Clybourn in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. She recently was given a set of authentic Scottish Bagpipes and is doing her best to make them sound presentable.

Rhonda Sisson
Wheaton College Conservator of Music, Music Recruitment Manager

After earning a degree in music at Wheaton (voice), Rhonda worked for over a decade in arts marketing and event management while raising three children, managing a private voice studio, and directing music at her church. In 2014, after teaching Music Together for several years, she became owner/director of Wee Heart Music, a Music Together center in the western suburbs, and still enjoys directing the program and teaching early childhood music and movement classes. Rhonda began recruiting for Wheaton College’s Conservatory of Music in 2015. Rhonda and her husband have three amazing children, two in college and one in high school, and two pretty good dogs. She sings frequently at her church in Western Springs where her husband is Family Pastor. She loves to spend time with family and walk her dogs on the prairie path every day she can.

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