Picking Your Place

Published May 20th, 2021

After completing applications, polishing and sending off prescreens, endless rounds of auditions...you finally make it to decision time! And you may think, great, now comes the easy part! In reality, honing in on that final decision can be really challenging. Weighing the pros and cons of each choice can feel a bit daunting as you want to be sure to pick a place that will best suit you as both an artist and a human being.

We chatted with some graduating high school seniors on how they chose their home for the next 4 years and what ultimately led them to their final decision! Here’s some insight:

The Audition

How important was your overall audition experience in choosing your program?

“My audition experience was a huge factor in helping me choose my school. I loved that we were given a variety of dance styles to choose from for the dance audition. I also really connected with the faculty members in my audition. They were super genuine and warm and I felt very comfortable performing for them.”
- Isan G.
“It was paramount in my deciding factor. I remembered what was told to me by my My College Audition coaches: “they are auditioning you as much as you are auditioning them.” The friendly feel I got from the school I chose definitely helped me feel at home and relaxed my nerves.”
- Daniel M.
“My audition experiences really helped me sort out my decisions. At some schools, I knew even if I got a “yes!” that I wouldn’t attend because of the environment in the audition room. When auditioning at my chosen school, I had a very nice conversation with my auditor about the show I was currently working on and how I found out about the school. I had a really good feeling leaving that audition!”
- Kate M.

The X-Factor

What was the special sauce or “aha” moment that let you know this was “the one”?

“At the very end of my audition, I asked a question that I had about the program and the faculty gave me a very in-depth answer. It really seemed like they cared a lot about making sure the program would be suited for me. This immediately stuck out to me because I definitely had a few auditions where the panel seemed like they were in a rush and weren’t very interested in having a discussion. Immediately after this moment, I had a strong feeling this school might be “the one.”
- Isan G.
“I was in an info session about the school and began to feel at home slowly as the professors shared more and more. Not only the facts, but their favorite stories too; often referring to students by first name. They began to talk about fight choreography classes, which is something I have been interested in for the past six years or so, and eventually revealed there’s a course where students have the opportunity to ‘fight’ with lightsabers. Immediately my inner nerd came out and I knew, ‘These people and this school… this is where I belong for the next four years.’ Weeks came and went, and when I got a call from the head of admissions I was immediately set up with a mentor and a personal on-campus tour. Between the open-nerdness and the invested feel of the faculty, I knew this was the school where I could grow most not only as an actor, but as a person.”
- Daniel M.

The Why

What were some of the fundamental reasons why you chose your school?

“The school environment. I find that an artistic environment is very beneficial for finding my own creativity and motivation for my craft.”
Isan G.

“The cost. When entering an industry that probably won’t be stable for a while, I would love to begin with as little debt as possible. The school was able to work with me to get my cost to a reasonable amount for my family”
- Kate M.

“In no particular order: Faculty, Reputation, Curriculum”
- Daniel M.

Values & Criteria

Did your values & criteria in a school stay the same or shift as you went through the process?

“My values and criteria for my ideal program definitely changed from when I first started the process. Originally, I was looking at the schools with the most notoriety, with the most alumni on broadway. I quickly realized after researching schools and going through auditions that the schools I clicked with best were not the big name schools that I was originally looking forward to attending. I learned that location and class size matter to me much more than I thought. I prefer smaller class sizes in order to get more focused training, and I prefer big city locations that are full of arts and culture.”
- Isan G.
“I originally had focused all my efforts to a West Coast school. As things began to unfold, however, I noticed I was being more drawn to the East Coast. I began looking at curriculum unique to the schools that would set them apart and watching productions with recently graduated alumni. I learned not to go into auditions with a solid plan”
- Daniel M.

Keep an open mind, find your “people” and pay close attention to cost - and you are bound to land at the school best suited for you. Not the school that is the perfect match for your best friend, peer or that famous alumni you stalk on Youtube - but you.

Written by: Gigi Watson & Chelsea Diehl

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