As a high school senior, the college audition process can seem daunting. If you’re like I was, you have put all of your hopes and dreams into getting into that one special program. You’re set on doing musical theatre (or straight theatre), and you won’t let rejection hold you back from accomplishing your goals. These are all things that will help you long past the next few months of pre-screenings, interviews, airplane hopping, and auditions.
Currently, in my 2nd year of college majoring in theatre and English and minoring in dance and voice, I remember a senior year like it was yesterday…Especially how busy it can get! The audition process itself varies from school to school, but there are a few simple preparations you can make to ensure you find success at every audition you attend.
- Make sure your song(s) and monologue(s) showcase your strongest suit. For most BFA’s you will be required to do two songs (possibly an art song, too) as well as a monologue. Picking contrasting material that is not overly done is always the best way to go.
- Be prepared for the dance call. Most programs have a dance call where the resident choreographer teaches a combo that you perform in groups after you all learn it. I attended a few auditions where you were also supposed to come in with 2 or 3 8-counts worth of choreography to do for all of the department. Bring any and all dance shoes you have, in case they ask to see more than one style.
- Dress to impress. I wore fit-and-flare dresses and character shoes for all of my auditions. I also took a change of clothes for dance calls. It’s always best to dress in dance clothes that show your figure and flatter your body (leotards and dance skirts with skin-colored tights are my go-to). Hair should be worn pulled back from your face.
- Stay hydrated. Drink, drink, drink. This is important for your vocal folds, as well as for your body in general. I always have a ritual cup of hot decaffeinated tea with honey before any audition I have; I usually also took 3-4 bottles of water with me for college auditions.
- Be prepared to wait. Every audition will take a different amount of time. I was at some auditions for 30 minutes and others for 8 hours. Just use the time to focus and get yourself mentally prepared to “wow” your audience.
- Take it all in. Remember every audition you attend. Regardless of its outcome, you’re going to meet people. You never know what gatekeepers and friends will come out of every audition.
- Be brave and be kind. It may be advice from Cinderella, but this served me well throughout the audition process. Be brave and have confidence in every audition room you enter. Be kind to everyone you meet at the school: the front table workers, the other people auditioning, current students, professors, deans, cafeteria workers, etc. They may very well be giving reports to the people who make your admission decision.
While these next few months will seem super long and stressful, remind yourself why you’re auditioning in the first place…because you love it, and couldn’t see yourself doing anything else with your life! Remain confident even when the rejection hits, keep your head up and stay focused on your goals. Remember, you can do anything you set your mind to do.
- Looking for colleges to audition for? Here are some of the programs I checked out:
- Tisch School of the Arts (NYU)
- Belmont University
- Shorter University
- Oklahoma City
- Boston Conservatory
- Sewanee: The University of the South
- Southern Illinois University
- Western Carolina
- Texas State
Break legs, Camp Broadway!