BWW Blog: What I Wish I Had Known During My College Audition Process
Hello everyone! My name is Sierra Lancaster, and I am a freshman B.F.A. Musical Theatre student at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. I am so excited to begin this journey as a BroadwayWorld student blogger!
Since it's almost November, audition and application season is in full swing. Auditioning for college is without a doubt one of the most stressful times in a young performer's life. While I made it out alive and into a school that I love, there are still many things I wish I would have known before and during college auditions. So, in order to make this magical time of year easier and more fulfilling, here are five things I wish I had known during the college audition process.
1. You don't have to "be" anything.
One of the greatest misconceptions known to thespian is that colleges are looking for a certain "type". When I auditioned for Boston Conservatory, I felt that I had to be an incredible dancer to even have a chance, and I almost didn't audition because I so fiercely believed in that misconception. BoCo accepts a class with diverse strengths, as do almost all programs. Don't let a school's reputation scare you away from auditioning or from doing your best at the audition. Schools are looking for you. Go into the audition room with the mindset that you will be an asset to the program, just as you are. You should not base your audition material, how you act, how you dress, and what you do in the audition room off of what you perceive a school is looking for. Be confident in yourself in your abilities. You are enough!
2. Be prepared.
While this is a given, it was somewhat shocking for me to come to terms with how prepared I had to be. Send in pre-screens and applications as early as possible so that you can sign up for audition slots. Book your flights and hotels (fun fact: if you're going to Chicago Unifieds and plan on staying at the Palmer House Hilton, get that room booked now. Like, this very second). Have your songs and monologues all picked out, with sheet music printed, clearly marked, and in a binder. If you need recordings, set up a time to meet with an accompanist and record those. Start memorizing now, if you haven't already. If a school is interested in seeing you do more, they may ask you to do your monologue or song in a different way, or ask if you have anything else. Be prepared for both situations. Write up a detailed itinerary for every audition. Pick out audition clothing and shoes. Print out a million copies of your headshot and resume. Understand that the hardest part of auditioning for a school usually isn't the audition itself- it's the logistics. In order to have a successful, stress-free audition, plan out and prepare for every possible situation.
3. Not passing a pre-screen isn't the end of the world.
I only sent in one pre-screen, and it was rejected. I vividly remember reading the email, running to my parents, and sobbing on my kitchen floor. It truly was the end of the world for me; in my hysteria, I even considered changing my major. But about an hour later, after calming down and talking to my wonderful parents about it, I realized that this just meant that that school wasn't right for me. It didn't mean that I wasn't talented or going to get into any schools. If you don't pass a pre-screen, have your moment to mourn what could have been and throw yourself a little pity party (cue Leslie Gore's "It's My Party"). But then, get back on the horse. This is your dream; fight for it! Another school will recognize your talent and feel that you are the right fit.
4. Do your research.
In nearly every single audition, I was asked what I liked about the school and what questions I had. There is nothing worse than staring at your auditors blankly or stuttering and trying to come up with some generic response. Get a notebook and write down three things you like about each school you audition for, and two to three questions you have. The more specific your information and questions are, the more interested you will seem.
5. Have fun!
Auditioning for schools should actually be fun (crazy, right?). Even though you'll probably be out of your mind stressed, remember to breathe and enjoy the process. You'll get to meet wonderful students and auditors, all who want the best for you. Don't think of the audition process as a competition. I have a mentor and friend who said this to me: a school is not a prize to be won, but a match to be made. You are doing this to pursue a brilliant future, challenge yourself, and better your audition skills. Don't make the stakes so high that it all becomes torture for you. The cherry on top of the audition sundae is that auditors notice when you're having fun, and they're more likely to have fun as well. Before you go into the audition room, shake it out, do a power pose, say some kind affirmations to yourself, and get ready to have a great time!
After my audition process, I was accepted to and chose to attend Boston Conservatory at Berklee. I ended up exactly where I was meant to, and I absolutely love learning and living in this wonderful community. I wish all of you the best in your audition endeavors. Get excited, and get ready to pursue your dreams!
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."