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Performing Arts Pathways: Applying and Auditioning for College Theater Programs

Updated: Feb 22

It sounds like you know you want to study theater in college. Maybe you’ve already chosen your favorite B.A. or B.F.A. theater programs. So, what can you do in high school to prepare for the application process in front of you?

Train as much as you can.

During the school year, you should take advantage of all the performance opportunities offered by your school and community. During the summer, you can get involved with community theater, attend paid summer programs, read plays, and discover monologues.

Take dance classes, especially if you are shy or nervous about dancing. With some prior exposure, you’ll be much more comfortable when you have to go to a dance call in the future.

Identify and research your target college theater programs.

As you are getting ready for applications, you should:

  • Know the type of program at every school on your list: Is it a B.A. or B.F.A.? Does it have a specific focus, like a specific genre? What is the time commitment for performance and studies? Who are the faculty? If possible, visit in person (or virtually, during the pandemic) and always talk to real people.

  • Determine the value: What are the typical outcomes for the school’s alumni? What is the program’s reputation? Compare the program to others, both similar ones and slightly different ones. Don’t forget to consider cost as well.

  • Plan for applications: What are the requirements? Are extra essays, letters of recommendation, or other materials required? Are there special deadlines? Are auditions required, or just for placement? If required, do they want live auditions, prerecorded tapes, or are they flexible?

Prepare your application.

Your application will involve some or all of the following components:

  • Application for admission, including essays and activities resume

  • Submission of materials such as transcripts and test scores

  • Teacher and/or artistic recommendation

  • Live audition, virtual audition, or portfolio submission of prerecorded tape

  • A personal interview after the audition

  • An artistic supplement, an additional application to submit after the application for admission, which may include an artistic statement

Check each school for their individual requirements. I strongly recommend working with a college counselor like Robert at College Torch who can make sure your application and audition process is as streamlined as possible.