Updated: Apr 6, 2020
There are so many questions that can come up as you prepare for your drama school auditions. I know, I've been there!
Auditioning for the top drama schools in the world was exciting, and getting accepted and training at Juilliard was even more thrilling!
But along with all the excitement, I did a good amount practical research, and that needs to be done in order to really prepare yourself for the moment.
So here is your official Drama School Auditions FAQ
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NOTE: The frequently asked questions below are relevant to the audition processes at the top acting schools in the world - B.F.A. actor training programs like Juilliard, Carnegie Mellon, SUNY-Purchase, North Carolina School of the Arts and more. They are not necessarily relevant to less intense, B.A. actor training programs.
What are the schools looking for?
The top drama schools in the world admit talented actors with a strong potential for a lifetime of work in the theater, who possess instruments that are expressive and trainable, who are at home with themselves, who have access to their imaginations and emotional lives and who love playing with others.
How many students apply?
Around 2500. But it really doesn’t matter. You only need 1 spot.
Are transfer students accepted?
Yes, but all students accepted start as freshman. Previous acting credits are not accepted in a transfer, but previous academic credits may be transferred with the approval of the school’s Registrar office.
Why should I apply if others who are applying may be better than me?
This is a question that is not always voiced, but deserves to be acknowledged. And the answer is, you owe it to yourself to take the chance. Art is subjective and the audition is about bringing YOU. So work hard on your pieces, deliver the best you’ve got, and leave the rest up to the school.
How much do grades matter?
The primary basis for acceptance is your audition. Your grades and application materials are reviewed of course, but let’s just put it this way. They will accept an exceptional artist with bad grades before they ever accept a low-quality artist who has exceptional grades. The school’s reputation is about the quality of artist that emerges.
What should I wear in the audition?
Choose audition clothing that is respectable and that you are comfortable with. Your clothing should allow freedom of movement. Do not attempt costumes. You don’t want the panelists to get distracted or worse feel uncomfortable, but instead focus on your performance. Keeping jewelry and makeup to a minimum is recommended.
Do I need to be able to sing to get into drama school?
No. The school is not looking for singing expertise. Many programs require you to prepare 16 bars of a song. If you are asked to sing, it is an opportunity for the faculty to find out information about your vocal range and instrument. Not everyone will be asked to sing during the audition process and a trained singing voice is not required for admission.
May I use source material that is not from a play for my contemporary monologue (i.e. a novel or film)?
In general, schools prefer monologues to be selected from published plays. However, if you feel strongly about a particular piece that is not from a play, you can prepare it as long as you have other monologues from plays ready as well.
What type of monologues should I present at my audition?
The short answer is do monologues you’re passionate about. The long answer is...Schools want to know who you are! It is recommended you choose material that reveals something personal about you and where something important is at stake for the character. They want to see what your idea of acting is, not someone else’s. Your heart and your individuality are what’s important.
Should I stay away from overdone monologues?
The monologues you choose should be ones you feel a strong personal connection to, regardless of how common or obscure they are.
How long will my audition take?
You should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled audition to register and warm up. Depending on your specific audition time and whether the school is on schedule for that day or not, you should plan to be on site for up to 1.5hrs for your initial audition. If you get a callback, there will always be a break, which is different for every school.
What is considered a classical monologue?
In the broadest sense, classical monologues are anything written before 1900. That being said, you need to have a Shakespeare monologue (VERSE, not prose) prepared no matter what.
Will I receive feedback on my audition from the school?
No. You should not request feedback on your work, either at the time of your audition or at a later date. Given the large number of people who audition each year, it is neither practical nor possible for a school to provide feedback. And in all fairness, if they did it for one person they should offer it to everyone and that’s just not practical.
I’m an international student. How does my audition differ?
Refer to each school’s international student audition policy.
In the end, follow the school's audition requirements, work hard on your pieces, and show up ready to go!
Anthony Wofford got accepted to the Juilliard Drama Division and graduated in '09. Anthony utilizes his talents in many ways, including helping young actors get into drama school. His company How To Get Into Drama School is the world's #1 drama school audition resource for the advanced drama student, offering content and coaching that makes a difference in the room!
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