Submit with Confidence: Looking Good for Your Prescreen Video

Before you jump right into creating your prescreen video, here are some tips on an often overlooked element: appearance. We’ll break down the basics for hair, makeup, and clothing. These details that can so often be overlooked can make all the difference in the world of music, theatre, and dance digital college auditions.

The prescreening video, a large and very important part of your college application for performing arts colleges, is now accepted almost exclusively online.

If this is new information for you, don’t worry. We’ve got your back.

We talked to college application experts for theatre, music, and dance, and put together a simple guide. We’ll go through what to wear, how much makeup you need, and how your hair should be done for your prescreen video.


(Ladies, we’re primarily looking at you here. Guys typically don’t have to worry about makeup and hair for the audition. We’ll sneak a couple little nuggets of wisdom in there for the gentlemen, though.)


It doesn’t matter what facet of the arts you’re going into, you want to look put together. A lot of that starts with your hair.

  • In general, your hair should be out of your face. Girls (and guys with hair long enough to be an issue), pull it back, especially for theatre and dance. If the college admissions counselors can’t see your face, they won’t connect with you.
  • Facial hair usually falls under that umbrella as well. For certain roles, whether in dance or theatre, facial hair can be required for a character. But for performing arts auditions, it isn’t desirable.
  • Depending on the institution to which you’re applying, extreme hair colors or cuts aren’t a positive. More progressive programs might not care if you have a purple mohawk when you play a breathtaking Paganni Caprice, but most will be too distracted to even notice you’re playing the violin.


Typically for auditions, only girls will need to worry about makeup etiquette. Guys, although you should get used to wearing stage makeup if you’re considering theatre, dance, or musical theatre, it isn’t typically required for an digital prescreen audition.

  • Definitely keep it simple. Natural is best when you’re trying to keep the college admissions’ counselors focused on your body, voice, or instrument.
  • If you want to have a more expressive face without the obvious stage makeup, try a darker shade of lipstick, light eyeliner, and blush.
  • Guys, if you really feel it’s necessary to wear makeup for a theatre, musical theatre, or dance audition, blush is probably the way to go. It will highlight your T-zone and keep some of the shine off your face.


Clothing can be a little tricky because it depends so much on which facet of the performing arts you’re auditioning for. Here are some general clothing tips.

  • You should look neat and put together. Make sure you’re all ironed, cleaned, and matching.
  • Avoid denim, graphic logos, bulky sweaters, and anything too short.
  • Shoes should be appropriate for your medium. Character shoes typically work for theatre and music, but dance has specific shoes for different kinds of dance techniques. It should be obvious, though. Don’t wear tap shoes for a ballet prescreen video.

The most important part of your college application if you’re going into the performing arts might just be your prescreen audition.

If you want to ensure that you make it to the live auditions, you’ll have to do more than keep your hair out of your face, wear a little blush, and avoid jorts. But at least it’s a good place to start.