We're closing-in on the end of summer 2018, which means it's time to get "Sirius" about your college audition timeline. Staying on-track is critical to navigating this process and will help both student and parent avoid additional stressors once the start of senior year officially rolls around.
1) Dive Into College Websites & Programs
Using available resources such as the College-Board's database, explore information for each college you are considering. Search filters provide the opportunity to hone-in on specific descriptors including type of school, test scores & selectivity, location, campus & housing, majors & learning environment, sports & activities, academic credit, paying, add'l support programs and diversity.
If your planned field of study is Musical Theatre, Acting or Theatre, you may find the programs page on the www.collegemtguide.com website especially helpful.
2) Visit Colleges
The musical theatre process has become so competitive that making the pilgrimage to any of the top schools prior to an on-site audition or actual acceptance can lead to disappointment, wasted time and money. However, if you happen to have an August vacation planned and one of your schools is en route or located close to your destination, that's a smart way to integrate a visit. Parent and student alike should make a concerted effort to use the visit for information gathering purposes only. "Falling in love" with a school or program, while highly likely, is ill-advised and may lead to heartbreak in the increasingly competitive world of BFA Musical Theatre programs.
3) Build and Develop Repertoire
Summer is a splendid time to explore and add to your rep and audition books. Note the difference between the two. A repertoire book is the "library", filing system, or large binder that the actor has developed. The actor uses material found in their rep book to build their audition book for a particular audition and should be prepared to sing anything in it when they step into an audition room. Think three-inch binder or digital file for your repertoire book and a one-inch binder for your audition book.
Best ways to build repertoire?
Monologues: Read and attend plays
Songs: Listen to shows and songs
Paying close attention to others when they perform for workshops, masterclasses, competitions and auditions can also be an excellent starting point for finding a new title to research and add to your repertoire.
4) Update Your Headshot & Resume
Headshot: Do you absolutely need a professional quality headshot for college auditions? No. Amazingly talented kids will get into great programs using a school or other photo. However, most of the rest of the competition will provide professional head shots, so this rule falls into the "leveling the playing field" category. For best results, wear a flattering color, look your best and select final images that actually look like you.
Resume: A theatrical resume is always a work-in progress. Getting the document into an editable, single-page format is key. Although most students are comfortable with basic word processing, understanding clean formatting and solid layout might be something a parent or professional can assist with. Students should take a little time to learn the basics of tabs, spacing and formatting the overall page as a whole.
5) Create a Spreadsheet
Using resources like a digital spreadsheet to track schools, applications and their information will prove critical as you get further down the road. Include any variables that may be important to you. My daughter's spreadsheet included the name, location, program, price, deadlines, audition requirements and special notes for each school. We started digitally, and as we began to acquire information from various schools in the running, the spreadsheet became the table of contents for a binder for quick and easy reference.
As summer begins to wind down, it's not too late to use what's left of the time to get a running start on the process. The first day of classes for senior year will be here before you know it and with it application deadlines, prescreens and auditions loom just around the corner.