What Nobody Will Tell You About College Auditions
Laker Anne Thrasher
- OnStage Wisconsin Columnist
People tell you loads about college auditions. You can go google a list of “Dos and Don’ts” for your auditions and find pages of forums, blog entries with constant advice: Wear something conservative, dress to your characters. Sing this song but don't sing this one, put yourself out there but don't show off. In the theatre world of people telling you what to do, it’s only natural to throw yourself head first into what they have to say. Sites like these are bibles for growing theatre kids, and they were mine too when I first started off.
I auditioned for AMDA in my junior year of high school, the beginning of what I now call, "Hell Period". I learned song after song trying to figure out which one to sing, reading over every list of overdone and underdone songs and crying during my voice lessons when I thought I was making the wrong choice. “This’ll be so fun!” Everyone told me. Would it? I wasn’t so sure.
Fast forward through my months of agony. There I was, standing in line behind a girl who was rehearsing a monologue I had almost picked, making my way closer to the door and listening to the others sing songs I rehearsed but went against last minute. They sent me clear instructions on what to do when I arrived for my audition. We’d have a meeting about the school, get arranged into groups by majors, and wait our turn. What they failed to mention was the heart-racing moments before I was called into the room, the fear of messing up my monologue or my 32 bars. But I went in there, I power-housed through my part of “Take Me or Leave Me” (which has to be on an overdone list somewhere), and left feeling relieved that the hard part was over. Or so I thought.
You know that “We’ll be getting back to you” email you get after your audition? The one where they suggest 34 weeks/around two months/whatever time? They should have it in fine print that it’s like 34 years, because I swear that’s how it felt. I was at the edge of the 4 weeks when I found out I got in, but boy did everyday feel like the longest one yet. It would get worse when senior year rolled around, which meant more auditions than ever.
There’s a reason I call it “Hell Period”, and that’s because sometimes colleges won’t accept you. You’ll call for advice and they will tell you all about the campus, you’ll pick out the perfect songs and people will love your choices. “Great job” will be the auditors’ response because it has to be, and you’ll thank them and quietly agree because you felt like it was a great job, too. But they don't tell you how you'll wake up early every morning to race off to your mailbox only to head back in empty-handed for weeks on end. They don't tell you how you'll open that letter and want to scream because it's another rejection, another We're sorry to tell you, another round of, "Well you'll have to get used to this, it's your life now". Nobody says how you'll hate hearing your voice, how you'll pick apart every second of your audition because you must've went wrong somewhere.
And lastly, nobody tells you that the rejection isn't your fault.
Sometimes… You just don’t fit for a school. And nobody will tell you that that is okay. It’s okay to have to keep trying, to not get into the university of your dreams; many times more than not, you’ll find your passion somewhere else. Not getting in does not equal not being good enough, and it took me two years to get that into my head. Because when you find that college, the perfect fit for you and they want you in their program, then it will all be worth it. Then you can look back on your own “Hell Period” and laugh, because you finally did it.
You’re about to throw yourself into a world of never getting a choice, so take this time to go with your gut. If you ever get this chance make it your own, because that is what the auditors are there to see. They’re not watching for every forum you scrolled through or every blog you read, they’re watching you… For you . Because when it comes to college auditions everyone will tell you to sing this song, wear this outfit; they will tell you what you’re looking for and wanting to hear. But nobody will tell you what you need to hear.
You end up figuring that out on your own.