Five Ways to Stand Out In Your College Audition

Sarah Ferguson

It’s almost January which means it's prime audition time! You’ve already made the decision that you want to pursue Theatre, but now comes the nerve-wracking audition process. Your mind is running at a million miles a minute and all you can think of is the material you need to learn, the judges you need to impress, etc! I won’t try to tell you it’s going to be easy, but I will give you some ways to make a great first impression at these auditions!

1.    Be Confident!

You don’t need to have had every lead role in every show you’ve been in to carry confidence! Be confident in your abilities and the experiences that you have had! The judges realize that you are trying to go to school to learn more about your craft. Therefore, you don’t need to be the most talented actor- you just need to show them that you are a good candidate for them to take under their wing.

2.    Research, Research, Research!

Seriously! Forget about which schools have name recognition or which programs your family and friends are telling you to go for! Sometimes it’s the schools that don’t have the most famous programs that will fit you the best! My school has roughly 30 undergraduate Theatre majors- not a large program by any mean. However, it has allowed me to assume a lot of responsibility in the program and the directors and I to form very close relationships!

3.    Choose The Right Material!

You want to put your best foot forward at these auditions! Personally, I have a few rules that I ALWAYS follow when auditioning. First, make sure the monologue you are auditioning with is a published play. Sure, it’s nice to see creativity and original style, but a college theatre audition is not the place for works you’ve written yourself or that are taken from a TV show or movie. Second, make sure the material is age-appropriate! I’m not saying you have to strictly stick to monologues for 17 and 18-year-olds, you can age yourself up or down a little bit, but don’t do anything too unrealistic. Finally, make the piece work for you! Cut it when you need to, make sure that your audition shows all your strengths and hides your weaknesses. If you have a great high note, make sure you do a song that features that. If you’re not a very strong singer but you’ll get in on your acting and dancing abilities, keep your song simple- this isn’t “The Voice”! 

4.    Prepare For Success!

First, make sure you read all the audition requirements for the school carefully. Each school requires different things for a reason and not adhering to it leaves a bad impression, period! That might mean having multiple monologues or songs prepared, and accepting that fact in advance will save you a lot of grief in the long run! Next, not to state the obvious, but practice! The better you know your material, the more confident you’ll be and the better it will read with the judges! Set yourself up for success, don’t start off on the wrong foot! Put in the due diligence now for a better end result!

5.    Dress the Part!

You want to be comfortable for your audition, but also elegant and classy. This might mean a dress if you’re comfortable in that or pants and a dress shirt. Nothing that you wear should be too tight, too low-cut, or anything else that might draw the judges’ eyes. Hair should be kept out of the eyes and pulled back if necessary. The judges want to see your face, especially your eyes, otherwise, it’s very hard for them to assess your acting ability. Your makeup should also be natural and minimal- nothing too excessive or over-the-top. If your audition includes a dancing portion, you should bring a change of clothes that you are able to move in. I often suggest on all black, as it will not draw the judges’ eyes negatively and will often enhance the lines that you create with your body and it helps to hide any mistakes! Finally, check how you look from behind before you go because that is the last the judges will see of you as you walk out of the room!

Photo: Tennessee Wesleyan College Theatre's production of Urinetown