In a dream world, you pass every single pre-screen and receive a yes from every school on your list. In reality, chances are you won’t pass every pre-screen and you most likely will receive a handful of no’s from dream schools. While these rejections can sting – sometimes more for the parents than the students – I encourage you to find each silver lining. After all, you can only attend ONE school at the end of this process.
Well, it’s time to face the facts: your child has decided to pursue their dream and audition for college! With this decision comes a tremendous amount of trepidation and anxiety in the planning and preparing for both the student and parent. You may have had a child already apply and attend college for a different major, but believe me when I say this is unlike the process you have previously experienced.
While this most certainly needs to be a journey that your talented child spearheads, I wanted to offer some suggestions on ways you can help (without causing tension or stress.) This summer is the perfect time to get organized and excited for a crazy journey ahead.
First things first: you need to have a frank conversation about finances. This should happen before you finalize a school list. What are you willing to spend yearly on a college education? Are you willing to let your child attend a school that requires a flight to get to? Before they get their heart set on a school that has a tuition of upwards of $70,000 a year – it’s important to set limits. I think people can fall into the trap of “well, we can audition and see what scholarships you get and go from there” for every school on their list. It’s okay to have a few programs that might be just out of reach financially (but feasible if aid comes through), but you need to make sure you have options that will absolutely work as well with no financial aid. And if they get into their dream school but the money isn’t there, they need to know that it isn’t doable.
While you are chatting about finances, be sure to let them know what you are willing to spend on the actual audition circuit. Applying to schools, sending in pre-screens, booking hotels, traveling, food – you get the idea – really adds up. If you know you’ll be limited to schools that attend Unified Auditions, be sure to let your child know that on-campus auditions might not be a possibility. This conversation can be very helpful in solidifying a college list.
Were you ten when you took your last headshot? Has your hair color changed? Sporting a new look? Well, summer is a great time to update your shot! Headshots are to performers like a suitcase is to a lawyer. You should never leave the house without them as they are your personal business card.
I don’t think you need to spend a lot of money on headshots for college auditions. After all, you are going to grow and change tremendously over the next four years – ask for the super fancy, luxury headshot session for a graduation gift before you head off to the real world! For now, find a local photographer who might be running a deal or if you have a family friend who has an exceptional camera and eye – see if they’ll snap some shots!
Primary Basic Headshot
Actors, Dancers and Musicians all need a headshot that best represents them and looks like them on their best day. All performers need one basic headshot that follows these guidelines:
Additionally, here are some qualities that make up an excellent headshot:
What happens when you put your heart and soul into preparing for college auditions and then end up with a pile of rejections? Everyone told you how talented you were and that every school would be lucky to have you – so, what do you do now?
I understand that you feel very defeated right now. It’s normal to feel let down and a little lost. One thing is for sure: this process is confusing and often times, very unfair. You have to remind yourself that you are talented and obviously quite driven to have pursued this in the first place, so all is not lost.
However, now you have some thinking to do. If you got rejected from every school or ended up with acceptances you weren’t completely excited about, there are a few things I suggest doing (and not doing):
You may have heard someone mention the phrase “Gap Year” somewhere along the way and never really considered it. Gap years can be a truly fantastic idea if you approach them the right way. This would mean you take a year away from school and reapply and audition for programs this coming fall. In order to have a productive gap year, here are some suggestions on how to fill your year:
You made it through! There is a light at the end of the tunnel! While you are currently weighing options and deciding where to spend your next glorious four years, it’s important to take time and reflect on how much you’ve grown over the audition season. While it wasn’t easy, you are on the other side of it now and you deserve a pat on the back! Here are a few things you may have learned about yourself that deserve some kudos:
You Are An Audition Pro
Sheet music packed? Check. Audition outfit ironed? Check. Dance clothes and shoes laid out? Check. Snacks and water in your audition bag? Check. You’ve now got this down to an art. This is great preparation for life after college where most of your days will be filled with back-to-back auditions. Learning how to leave one audition behind you to focus on the next can be challenging – however, after roughly 10-15 auditions over the course of a few weekends, you now know you are up for the challenge! Read more
Feeling a tad overwhelmed with college decisions looming and the responsibilities that go along with Senior Year? It’s important to keep your sanity and remain calm to best deal with important decisions that are coming up. Here are some tips to help maintain the calm in your life:
Go to Bed
Seriously, get some shut-eye! Instead of staying up and scrolling endlessly through Instagram or constantly checking your email for college decisions, put your phone down and snuggle up early. Some experts suggest that you shouldn’t use your phone for at least an hour before bed as staring at your screen prevents your brain from releasing melatonin – a hormone that is necessary to fall asleep. There is nothing better for your health or sanity than a good night’s sleep. Start each day fresh, alert and calm with the help of some necessary Zzzzs.
Write it Down
Can’t seem to shake the nerves or negative thoughts from taking over your headspace? Grab a journal and write it down. Have an upcoming performance or audition you are stressing over? Write down what makes you nervous. Seeing it on paper tends to help you put it in perspective and combat the negative thoughts. Not into journaling? There is a cool app called The Worry Box that you can download on your phone. Plug in those worrisome thoughts any time of the day and get them off your chest. You can also plug in a positive mantra that will pop up when you need some extra solace in your life.
Still having fun, Acceptd fans? As college audition season winds down, I thought everyone could use a good laugh to survive the next few weeks. Friends and family who have never been through the college audition process most likely have no idea just how truly crazy and time consuming the process can be! With the best intentions, sometimes you can be asked repeatedly the same questions that unfortunately, you just can’t give a straight answer to.
Here are the top 5 things you could do without hearing right about now:
Where have you been accepted?
“Well, I’ve been accepted academically to a dozen schools! But you see, when applying for my major, I have to audition as well and those are two separate decisions. So, I am accepted academically to my top school but waitlisted for the performing arts program. I found out I got into the music program at another top school, but have yet to receive an official acceptance academically. I know some phone calls have been made for my other schools but I haven’t heard….so, let’s just say it’s complicated. Ugh.”
Getting a rejection early in the college audition season can be a huge blow to one’s confidence, ultimately leading you to question your ability and destiny. Many thoughts might begin to run through your head: If this school doesn’t want me, will any others? Am I really good enough to be doing this? What if I don’t get in anywhere?
What I would first like to say is: it’s okay to be sad! Take the necessary time to feel a bit sad about the outcome and then when you’re ready, pick yourself up and move on. As you know, this career choice will come with lots of rejections – so, now is as good a time as any to start to develop that thick skin! Read more
Hopefully you already know this, but: you are unique and there is no one else auditioning that is JUST like you! Sure, there may be other people who look like you and have similar qualities – but what makes you tick is completely original.
When preparing for an audition, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what they really want to see in the room. Am I the right type? Should I wear my hair up or down? Are my song selections good enough?
And I’d like to stop you right there! Of course, you need to follow the directions that the program lays out and make sure you are adhering to guidelines, but ultimately, they really want to see what you can bring to the table. They want to see your quirky qualities and learn about the things that make you…you.
Here are some ways to truly bring you into every audition room:
Interviewer: “So, tell me about yourself!”
Has this happened to you? Have you been asked the hardest question known to man? For some reason, answering this simple question sometimes proves to be the most difficult. How exactly can you sum up everything about yourself in one teeny tiny answer?
Before you head to campuses to scope out potential colleges and go on interviews (don’t forget to brush up on our blog post: 4 Great Questions for your College Tour Guide) be sure to come up with what we like to call your 30 Second Story. Whether you are a musician, actress or visual artist – you are ultimately your own business. You are the CEO of your own brand – so you better be able to describe it!
A 30 Second Story is a chance to reveal a bit about yourself and your passions in a concise and compelling manner. Here are some keys points you should be sure to hit: