For most students, the college application process is tedious. For BFA musical theatre auditionees, the process is arduous, painful, exhausting, and stressful. I mention this not to deter you or your parents, but rather, to forewarn about what to expect. Though it is stressful and time-consuming, it is manageable. Plus, the lessons learned from the process will be worthwhile for any performer.

Below is a rough timeline of what one might expect during this over-a-year-long process. The timeline is shifting and starting sooner every year, so the earlier you start, the better off you will be!

College audition timeline
A realistic timeline:

Fall of Junior Year

  • Research college programs

  • Apply for pre-college summer programs

Spring of Junior Year 

  • Register for the ACT/SAT

  • Take the ACT/SAT

  • Begin college essays

  • Continue researching college programs

  • Ask current English teacher to read/critique essays

  • Build/refine repertoire book

  • Keep training and performing

Summer before Senior Year

  • Visit schools, if its cost effective to do so

  • Update headshot, or get them taken if you haven't already

  • Update your resume

  • Narrow down your list of schools

  • Create a spreadsheet to track schools, applications, & other information

  • Draft & edit essays (samples available on my "tips" page)

  • Do a summer show or intensive

  • Select, prepare & rehearse audition repertoire

    • Work with voice teacher or coach to perfect your songs and cuttings

    • Work with an acting coach to perfect monologues and cuttings

  • Begin recording pre-screens (see "August of Senior Year" for specifics)

  • Create an Acceptd account/profile

  • Register for the ACT/SAT again

  • Study to improve ACT/SAT scores

  • Take dance classes

  • Keep training and performing

August of Senior Year

  • Begin submitting college applications

  • WRITE/EDIT essays ad nauseum

  • Request recommendations

    • You'll need 2-3 academic recommendations for the application process

    • You'll need 2-3 performing arts recommendations that will be requested later in the process

  • Prepare & record prescreen material for your top schools. This means:

    • Work with a choreographer to prepare and coach dance excerpts and auditions

    • Book a studio, camera & tripod for recording your dance auditions

    • Book an accompanist to play for your recorded prescreens/auditions

    • Book a studio, camera & tripod for recording your songs & monologues

  • Submit prescreens and program applications as soon as possible  (In 2017, friends who were able to get all of the appointments they wanted at Unifieds submitted in September. In 2018 it was even tighter!)


October of Senior Year

  • Oct. 1 is a key application deadline. Don't miss it.

  • Take the ACT/SAT again

  • Submit your prescreens, if you haven't already

  • Auditions begin--attend as early as possible

  • School acceptances begin coming in

  • Complete & submit the FAFSA

  • Visit reps at college fairs and when on campus, even if just to say, "Hi".

  • Look at scholarship opportunities and review deadlines


November of Senior Year

  • Nov. 1 is a key application deadline

  • Create a digital calendar for trips & auditions that may be referenced by both parent & student

  • Begin scheduling live auditions as results come in

  • Book travel to Unifieds, regional sites, and colleges

  • Audition if dates are available

  • Results are coming in


December of Senior Year

  • Dec. 1 is a key prescreen deadline

  • Work through/prepare live audition material for each of your schools

  • Results are coming in


January of Senior Year

  • Prep/tweak material

  • NYC Unifieds

  • Major audition & travel month

  • Results & Financial Aid offers are coming in

  • Apply for outside scholarships


February of Senior Year

  • Prep/tweak material

  • Chicago Unifieds

  • L.A. Unifieds

  • Major audition & travel month

  • Results & Financial Aid offers are coming in

  • Apply for outside scholarships


March of Senior Year

  • Usually the last month of auditions

  • Compare offers and make decisions

  • Results & Financial Aid offers are coming in


April of Senior Year

  • Many schools stated April as a "you'll know by" date

  • Compare offers, ask for more funding and make decisions

  • Decisions & deposits due by May 1


May of Senior Year

  • May 1 Decision & deposit deadline

  • First college bill

  • There are still scholarships out there, keep applying!