College theatre audition myths take on lives of their own during audition season. During autumn months, deadlines come up, college applications are due and so are prescreens. If you’re auditioning for BFA acting or musical theatre programs, this is the busiest time of year for you! You’re swamped getting all of your material submitted.

I’m here to bust three myths about the college audition process. You can take a deep breath and know the truth.

MYTH: “I can wing my audition.”

I’ve seen many auditions over the years. I will tell you, college auditions cannot be thrown together at the last minute or the night before. Why? For one, there’s a timeline and a process for different required pieces of your audition. Students submit prescreens (filmed auditions) for many schools, and even if the schools don’t require prescreens, there are specific material requirements for auditions.

For the 2022-2023 audition season, most schools required students to have the following:

  • Monologues: two contemporary monologues from a published play written after 1950, and one classical monologue from a published play written before 1950;
  • Songs (if auditioning for musical theatre): contemporary musical theatre song written after 1970, and a classical musical theatre song written before 1970.

That’s the bare minimum. Students also need a wildcard video (which is anything you want to showcase in 60 seconds), and dance, if auditioning for musical theatre.

Here’s what you can do to prepare:

  • Start working on your audition material early. Find your monologues and songs before you actually need them, and begin to work on them. Memorize a little bit each day.
  • Create a to-do list with deadlines for yourself. Gather and prepare more than the bare minimum of audition material so that you’re ready for your auditions once you hear back from prescreens.
  • Seek help from others. Ask your theatre teacher to watch your monologues. If you train with someone outside of school, make sure they’re holding you accountable.

MYTH: “Deadlines don’t matter.”

Deadlines for everything with college auditions matter, period. Beginning when you submit your prescreens and  application, the process follows the domino effect. If you don’t submit your prescreen then you don’t know if you passed it, and you can’t move forward in the audition process. For schools that don’t require a prescreen if you don’t apply then you can’t request an audition slot. If the audition slots fill up, then you’ve missed an opportunity.

Basically, if you miss a deadline, you miss out on auditioning for that school.

Here’s what you can do to prepare: Create a spreadsheet with all your deadlines. Acceptd has made one this year for all of the schools participating in the Musical Theater Common Prescreen. It’s very helpful.

MYTH: “It’s expensive.”

College auditions can be expensive but they don’t have to break the bank. There are ways to cut costs.

  • When filling out your applications, look on the school’s site for application waiver fees. If you’re unsure, talk to your guidance counselor.
  • Since theatre programs have an audition fee associated with their prescreen process, you can ask for a waiver. It doesn’t always work but ask for assistance if you need it.
  • When it comes to filming your prescreens, you can do it at home with a phone. You don’t need to hire anyone to film them for you. You could also ask a teacher to help you, or even film at school in the theatre.
  • Seek help from your theatre teacher and music teacher at school if you need help with material selection.
  • Find resources on social media, like me @auditionwell. I offer free tips on audition prep all the time, sometimes even free workshops.
  • If you do want additional help, some coaching services have scholarships—apply!
  • If you need help with your dance prescreen, ask a friend who is a dancer to help you, or see if any studios offer dance classes at a discounted rate or on scholarship.
  • LOOK FOR SCHOLARSHIPS. Talk to your school counselor.
  • Be sure to fill out the FAFSA.
  • Target the schools to which you really want to apply. Many still offer virtual auditions so you don’t have to travel. This saves travel money.

Preparation, knowing your deadlines, and having a plan will help you stay focused and keep you on track for this journey.  ♦

Laura Enstall, owner and founder of Audition Well. She helps students conquer audition fears, stand out in the audition room, and find the theatre program that’s a perfect fit. Follow Audition Well on Instagram for audition tips @auditionwell.

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