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How to Survive College Auditions


I have experienced few situations that are as time-consuming, money-burning, and logistically complex as college audition season. That may sound silly, until you account for everything that goes into auditions for college theatre programs:

  • Creating a list of potential colleges, then whittling down the list to your top fifteen or so
  • Researching everything about schools (campus life, professional opportunities, staff members, successful alumni, curriculum, conservatory vs. liberal arts style program, location, scholarship opportunities…the list is endless!)
  • Finding coaches who are not only skilled but also knowledgeable about the college audition process
  • Creating your spreadsheet (more on that later)
  • Filling out applications and financial aid papers
  • Creating your rep list and putting your book together

I could go on FOREVER!

However, there are things that you can do to make this process not only survivable, but actually enjoyable! Here are my top tips:

1. Find professionals you can trust

Find coaches who are knowledgeable in the college audition process and who have students who have gone through college audition season. Having a support network was key for me in avoiding as much stress as possible! If you can, find an acting coach for your monologues, a voice teacher or voice coach for your songs, and a dance coach if you need to submit dance videos for prescreens. Having quality headshots is also important. Find a headshot photographer in your area (I serve actors needing headshots in the greater Philadelphia area) who has experience with professional actors, if possible. However, you DO NOT need to spend an arm and a leg for headshots if that is out of your means!

2. Be Organized

Have your sheet music organized in a durable 3 ring binder, with the music in non-glare sheet protectors, with a table of contents. It also helps to have a spreadsheet with information on each school you are auditioning for. This is crucial to putting together your schedule. I suggest using Google Calendar specifically for college auditions. Don’t make your mom keep track of everything in her portable calendar – take the initiative for yourself!

Being organized will help you be flexible no matter what happens. In my case, I had to contend with the third biggest blizzard in New York City history while auditioning at Unifieds. Having a schedule helped me reschedule auditions and book walk-ins easily. 

3. Stop comparing yourself to others - but do pay attention to your professionalism

You do not have to have booked THE Broadway to get into college, period. Do not compare yourself to kids who have all of those connections. You can get into great schools without having six national tours under your belt. Yes, having professional experience is a plus, but auditors really care about who you are and what you bring to the table. Your unique traits are what separate you from the pack.

4. Use your personality as a marketing tool

It is important to think about the message you are sending to schools about yourself. How you interact with people says a lot about you, so keep your demeanor and manners in mind. At the same time, your five minutes in the room are your chance to show who you are and what you bring to the table as an artist and a person. Your talent is not the only thing that gets you into a school! I used a blue and yellow color pallet with a special plaid tie to stand out. Schools specifically remembered me as the "bow-tie-guy", and that definitely helped me stick out to them!

5. Have fun!

I still have friends from when I did my college auditions! The neat part about this process is that you will meet people from all corners of the country, and all walks of life. Do not be afraid to relax for a second and enjoy connecting with people who have similar goals!

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