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Accepted. Wait-listed. Rejected. What Now?

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

From now through the spring, musical theatre and theatre applicants experience a whirlwind of feelings. Hearing something from each of your schools is the goal but sometimes hearing nothing can also mean you're still in the running for a program. Regardless if you've passed some prescreens, been accepted into a school or program, wait-listed, rejected, or haven't heard anything at all, a list of tasks and next steps can help give you somewhere to focus your energy as you patiently wait.


Congratulations! Acceptance is, of course, the goal. But what do the different acceptances mean?

  • Academic Acceptance: This means you've been accepted into the college or university. In many cases it does not mean you've been accepted to the actual musical theatre, acting or theatre program. ACTION ITEMS: Look for specifics from the school to confirm next steps for program acceptance. This may include completing a supplemental application, submitting additional materials, prescreens or attending a virtual or live audition. Programs vary, so you'll need to look for specific next steps for each school.

  • Program Acceptance: It's possible you've received this type of acceptance this early in the game if you've already completed the school's final audition, submitted a video audition, or the program doesn't require an audition. Keep in mind that you can also be accepted into a program without being accepted into a school academically. Although this is rare, it does happen, so be sure to reach out to the school's admissions department to follow-up. ACTION ITEMS: 1) Confirm if you have been accepted academically. 2) Decide if the school still remains on your list and do a deep dive into costs, curriculum and school specifics so you're prepared for decision time.

Passed Prescreen

It's always exciting to receive call-backs. The following ACTION ITEMS will help prepare you for the next steps:

  • Confirm audition requirements and format

  • Polish and refine your material

  • Practice your interview skills. One method is to set up a zoom call with someone else and have them interview you and share their feedback.

  • Determine best space, lighting and sound set-up for your virtual auditions.

  • Select a great outfit. For video, avoid stripes or repeating graphic patterns. has great resources to help you determine your most flattering colors.


Now or down the line you might be wait-listed either academically, for the program, or both. Don't get discouraged! I know many extremely talented students who were wait-listed and got into their chosen school and program. Hang tight and be patient. ACTION ITEMS: Reach out to the admissions and/or program contacts for the school and ask if there is anything you can submit or add to your file that might improve your chances of acceptance. Be sure to update them with any honors, awards or accolades you may have received since you submitted your application. Showing an interest in their school or program and establishing contacts is never a bad thing.


In this incredibly competitive environment, expect there to be rejections. Yes, they're discouraging, but one positive is that rejections can help bring focus to the process as you pursue your goal. These ACTION ITEMS can help you move forward:

  • Determine if you still have enough other viable program options on your list.

  • Consider more and other programs. Many colleges and universities have later application deadlines and reviewing my musical theatre programs list is a great place to continue your search. Perhaps you haven't found the right fit yet, so keep looking.

  • Zero-in on the programs that remain on your list and give additional time and effort to preparing for their auditions.

  • If you were rejected academically from your "dream school," you may want to consider submitting an appeal. Ask your guidance or college counselor for advice regarding academic appeals for your school of interest.

I Haven't Heard Anything!

This will be the case for many at this stage of the game. Remain hopeful yet vigilant while focusing on these ACTION ITEMS:

  • Confirm your application materials and recommendations are submitted and complete. The application portal or site for the school is the best place to find this information.

  • Brush up on your repertoire.

  • Confirm that you have what's expected for any programs still in the running.

  • It's a great time to consider more options if you believe your list may be too short or you've ruled out any programs.

This process is fluid and how you felt about particular schools/programs back before the summer, in the fall or before the holidays can change drastically. Give yourself permission to flex and adjust without guilt or questioning your abilities. Remain positive that every door closed brings clarity and may lead you to look through an open window you hadn't considered.


For more free resources and helpful links, explore the many pages on the website.

Coming in early 2021: College Audition Survival Guide for Parents

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