You want to attend a performing arts college, that is a fact! Now you have to decide where! Yes, you heard right, YOU have to decide where!, at least you have to decide which schools you want to apply to because every audition is a chance but also requires resources. In addition to that, each school has different requirements for the auditions.
Step One is therefore: Research!
Find out which schools are out there, when and where the auditions take place and what you need to prepare for the audition. It is vital that you know the deadlines. If you send in your resumé late, you will not be considered! (Sometimes you need to provide a clearance certificate from an ENT and/or an orthopaedist, keep in mind that you need to plan on additional time to get hold of these in time as well.)
Find out if scholarships are available and if you qualify. Also look at the average rent levels of the respective cities. I’m sure rent in New York is higher than in Western Illinois! Steep rent in addition to high tuition fees can really break your neck if you aren’t prepared for it. Also find out if the school you’re looking at is supportive of jobbing.
Find out if there are open days. Maybe one of the teachers is doing a workshop close to your hometown… Take the opportunity to work with them before the audition. Some schools also offer workshops that are directed at applicants and are a combination of taking classes and watching the current students in their process.
To find all this out, you simply need to ask! The organisational matters are usually covered on the schools’ websites. You can call the office for the rest or send them an email. Don’t worry, they won’t bite. They are probably happy that a student is taking interest in their institution and curriculum in particular. Giving out information for prospective students is part of their college preparation as well. Maybe you also get the chance to get in touch with a former or current student to get some info from a different perspective.
Step Two: Find out what you want!
Do you want to focus on singing, acting or dance or are you looking for a programme that treats all three equally and combines them? How many one-on-one lessons do you deem necessary? Keep in mind though that you shouldn’t only strengthen your strengths but also your weaknesses.
How much are you able prepare? Are you capable of choreographing a dance or performing two stylistically different ones or are you happy if you “only” have to learn a dance combo? How many different styles can you sing in? This is important for schools which expect three or more stylistically different songs from you.
How much time do you have left to prepare? Does it make sense to only apply to schools which only require two songs and a monologue or do you have time to prepare more?
Are you willing to move far away from home for your training (maybe even abroad) and hardly ever see your family in person?
Is it important to you what kind of jobs the alumni got? Are Broadway/West End jobs important to you or are you looking for a school whose alumni work in all sorts of areas of the performing arts?
How much money are you willing to invest? How much financial support do you need to pay the fees? Are you willing to take on a student loan? How many auditions can you afford? Keep in mind that there might not only be an audition fee, you also need to pay for travel and accommodation if the audition takes place far from home. Get your parents’ help with answering these questions.
Step Three: Decide!
Take your pick, gather your papers, hand in your applications and prepare your songs and monologues. It is on! 🙂
All this sounds like a lot of work? Well, it is! But believe you me, it is totally worth it. Because the right school for you is like Cinderella’s glass slipper: It fits! You don’t want to attend a school which makes you feel like you are cutting off bits from your feet, right? Don’t get me wrong, the training will be physically and emotionally demanding, no matter where you go! However, you don’t want to go somewhere that doesn’t feel right, don’t you think? When a school picks you, the decision should be mutual!
With this in mind, chop chop! 🙂