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High School Junior who wants to study Musical Theatre? What you should be doing RIGHT NOW.

It's late spring of your junior year. You're either basking in the glow of a recent show or getting ready to hit the boards in your end-of-year musical. The future is looming. But hey, its prom season, senior step-up, spring concerts and awards banquets. Summer break is just around the corner. While everything in you wants to put planning for the future on hold, now is the perfect time to prepare, mentally and practically, for what lies ahead. IF you take a few steps toward preparing for the coming fall, you'll be ahead of the game and ready to hit the ground running.


Write drafts for a couple of your essays. They take time and editing, so it doesn't hurt to get moving on these.

  1. You'll need at least one essay and many of your college applications will require it. Turn to the Common App 2023-2024 Essay Prompts and select one to begin pondering.

  2. You'll also need an essay, or several written paragraphs, about "why" you'd like to study Musical Theatre. It can be about an experience that introduced you to the world of the performing arts or a performance that changed your perspective. Each program will phrase this in its own way and having something drafted will provide a starting point.

Create and Populate Accounts

You'll need both a Common App and Acceptd account in order to jump through the musical theatre program application hoops. They each have a different purpose. Completing, or at least starting, this step now will make the journey easier down the road. Both save your information, so you don't have to worry about losing anything you're able to populate now.

  1. Common App: Many of your college applications will require using the Common App to apply. For those that don't, they may use the Coalition App or their own application portal. In any case, the things you'll need for the Common App are often needed for the other application forms. It can take about an hour to fill out your profile for the Common App, but this will be an hour you'll be glad you have back in the fall.

  2. Acceptd: It's not the only portal for submitting audition materials and accessing audition requirements, but it's definitely the one that is used by the most programs. You can create this account anytime after you turn 13, so why not get it done now? It takes a few minutes to set-up and longer to complete the profile and leverage all of the platform's features. It's a digital portfolio, of sorts, and home to your pre-screens, headshot, resume, and other assets required to apply to musical theatre programs. Once again, if it's required on Acceptd, you might as well prepare the materials for any portal the specific college program uses.

Headshot & Resume

It's a good time to secure a photographer, schedule your headshot and update your resume. Making sure your resume is formatted correctly and is easily editable will make last minute changes simple.

Headshot: Your competition vying for a slot in a program will have professional headshots, so having your own is a very good idea. These take a little time, so scheduling a sitting now and knocking these out at the start of the summer makes a lot of sense. You'll have your proofs back for review and time to order the digital files before college applications begin.

Resume: A single-page professional looking performance resume that is well formatted is a requirement. Here's a link to my pre-formatted Google Docs template. It includes a section for academic honors making it suitable for college applications. Oh, and unless you did a Broadway tour as a child actor, it's also time to move those elementary and middle school credits off of your resume.

Prepare Audition Material

Preparing material cannot be crammed. Let me help you think through this competitively. College applications open August 1st. If you submit your pre-screen right after you turn-in an application, you'll have the best possible chance of securing an audition slot for any schools who call you back based on your pre-screens. To hit this deadline, it means you must have your pre-screen videos recorded and ready to go by the beginning of August. The programs begin reviewing pre-screen submissions long before the due date, so don't wait.

Each program has different requirements, but you can safely start by preparing the following materials:

  1. 60-90 second cut of an uptempo song (conversational pace)

  2. 60-90 second cut of a ballad (sustained vocal lines)

  3. 60-90 second monologue

Songs should be from published musicals and monologue should be from a published play. Your songs will also require accompaniment, so begin securing recordings or an accompanist now.


You might have noticed that I didn't include "research musical theatre programs" in this month's list. I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to keep this list as short and achievable as possible. Secondly, I believe you can and will research potential programs down the line as your options evolve.

Want more tips for navigating the college musical theatre application process? Stay tuned via my email list or visit for more resources, including a list of musical theatre programs.

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