College Audition Season: What To Ask on School Tours?

Mastering College Musical Theatre AuditionsAuditions are challenging under any circumstances: trying to represent yourself in just a few minutes to a room full of strangers is a daunting task. Many professional actors struggle with it, even after performing for years. So if you are one of the thousands of students (or their parents or teachers) getting ready for college auditions and have little experience either performing or auditioning, this process is sure to be extremely daunting. That’s why David and I wrote a book about it!

Preparing for college auditions is going to take months of preparation. Choosing the right material and rehearsing it is only one small part of the equation. You will also need to decide which schools to apply to, compare the different programs and degrees offered, find someone you trust to study and coach with, as well as select, cut, and practice your audition material.

Since many of you will be heading on college tours this Fall, we thought we’d start by offering some suggestions for what to look for and what to ask while on campus.

Talk to Faculty & Students

When visiting schools, try to make the most of any opportunity to speak with faculty and students. Try to spend time with the juniors and seniors who have more experience in the programs. Here are some specific questions you can ask:

  • What opportunities have you had to perform both on and off campus?
  • How many students are there in your program in your class year? How many students in the program overall?
  • Do you have difficulty finding available practice rooms?
  • What master classes has the department held?
  • Is there a jury/cut process, in which students may be told they can not continue with the performance track?
  • Have you been able to get into the classes you wanted/needed to?
  • What opportunities are there to connect with agents, casting agents, and other industry professionals?

Remember that you are auditioning the school as much as they are auditioning you. Take the opportunity to find out if this is a place you want to study and spend the next two to four years.

Take Notes

Take copious notes at the information session, write down the names of the people you meet, and look for selling points and possible red flags. You’re going to receive a lot of information, and after a few tours, one school will begin to blur with other programs. It’s great to have notes to look back on. We suggest parents and students each take notes so that you can compare and contrast. Sometimes students and parents are separated on tours, and it’s interesting to discuss the different things you observed.

When in doubt, write it down! In some cases, you won’t come back to these notes for several weeks or even a couple months. The simplest thing might help jog your memory of whether or not the school was a good fit.

Debrief After Each Tour with Your Parent & Teachers

Set a time after each tour to discuss it and debrief. The conversation may lead you to remember things you might otherwise have forgotten. Here are a few questions to discuss with your parents and teachers after the tour:

  • What did you learn about the institution you didn’t know before?
  • Was the administration, faculty, and student community welcoming?
  • What did you like most about your experience there?
  • Did you see any potential drawbacks?
  • How does this school rank compared to others you’ve visited?
  • What do they offer in terms of financial aid, scholarships and grants?

We have lots more tips and suggestions about the college audition process in our book, Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions: Sound Advice for the Student, Teacher, and Parent now available on Amazon.

Check back next week when we’ll talk about the differences between BA, BFA, conservatory, and certificate programs.

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Check out our new book “Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions: Sound Advice for the Student, Teacher, and Parent” now available on Amazon.

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Visit www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com for more information on over 180 contemporary musical theatre writers and 550+ songs, all searchable by voice and song type.

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