We all know that college auditions, and preparing for them, require rigorous work ahead of time. These tips are like a college auditions checklist. Planning and preparation are keys to your success.

One way to streamline your college auditions process is to attend events that let you audition with multiple schools at once, like the International Thespian Festival. There are also other unified audition options if you plan far enough ahead. 

black and white photo of a weekly planner

Planning and preparation are keys to your college auditions success. Do not wait until the last minute and expect to shine. (Photo credit: Bich Tran, pexels)

Do Your Part

Doing your part means preparing thoroughly for your auditions and then giving your all at the auditions. College auditions require focused planning and preparation. It is risky to choose a monologue two days before an audition, scramble to memorize it, and then try to learn a new cut of a song you found online! Remember that you are up against the best of the best at college auditions so honor yourself, your talent, the auditors, and show up prepared.

Being totally prepared means you know the entire song, not just the 60-to-90-second cut of the song. Prepared means you have read the entire play. I cannot emphasize this enough! You need to know the entire story, and not just the isolated scene, if you are asked about the character or your objective.

Doing your part means you arrive with back-up materials. A complete audition book will have your songs in it that you are singing (the cuts clearly marked). It should also have additional songs that are performance ready. You do not want to be asked to sing another song and be unprepared! The same is true for monologues. Have another monologue prepared that is performance ready as well.

Check the audition requirements for each school before you go to the audition. If it is in person, what are you required to bring or submit prior to auditioning? Many schools will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entering campus.

I strongly suggest you create a spreadsheet with all your auditions and what each requires. This will lower your stress level to be able to access vital information in one place without having to go to multiple websites. (Here are some video tips from Laura, too, about where you can audition!)

Take Care of Yourself Physically

Self-care is an ongoing process. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is a marathon, not a sprint and it is so important!

Try to regularly eat foods that sustain and fuel your body. For example, try to avoid a lot of fried foods. Pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods. If milk or dairy clogs your voice, avoid it before an audition.

Drink water! Not just before an audition, always. Get in the habit of carrying around a water bottle and filling it up throughout the day. This will keep your body and your voice hydrated. If you get bored with plain water, add lemon or lime juice.

Listen to your body. Learn to recognize when you are starting to feel run-down and then rest. Make smart choices. If you have an audition, do not stay out late the night before with your friends singing showtunes at the top of your lungs. I also recommend investing in a personal steamer to keep your voice hydrated. This product is just one option.

Take Care of Yourself Mentally

Be sure to give your brain some breaks. I know how hard it is to disconnect from your devices (!) but unplug for an evening. Read a book or do a puzzle. Choose an activity without a screen. If an entire evening off is not possible, take short breaks. Stretch your body, play with your dog, take a walk outside for 5, 10, or 15 minutes. These “state changes” will refresh your mind and give you more physical energy.

I highly recommend a dance party with your favorite songs when you need a mental break. If you feel yourself struggling or stressed, reach out to a friend, teacher, parent, or guardian. You are not alone; so please do not feel you have to go through auditions alone.

To reduce mental stress, do not over commit yourself during college audition season. Set firm and healthy boundaries around your time and what matters most. I see the ill effects of not doing this with my students every year. College prep can feel like a part-time job on top of schoolwork, doing shows at school, and potentially other activities and lessons. Sometimes doing it all is not an option. Prioritize your schoolwork and your college auditions.

Keep Up the Good Work

A display of talent at auditions is important, and so are consistent good grades and training. Keeping up your grades all four years of high school will help you in the college auditions process. Do not think that you can slide your senior year, and that colleges won’t notice! As important as college auditions are, schoolwork should come first.

Keep up your training with your voice lessons and dance classes. If you are not currently taking voice lessons or dance classes and you want to study Musical Theatre in college, I highly recommend finding a voice teacher (or choir teacher) to help you prepare for your auditions. This expert input will help make preparing your music much easier and more effective.

Break a leg with your college auditions. Start early, fully prepare, and let your best self shine at auditions! 

Laura Enstall, owner and founder of Audition Well, is an audition coach and regular contributor to Dramatics.org. 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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