top of page

How NOT To Get Into Drama School | Guest John Mateyko (SUNY '24) Shares College Audition Tips

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

The successes and failures, the do's and don'ts, the haves and have nots...It's good to understand BOTH.


Actor John Mateyko (SUNY Purchase '24) recently completed his 2020 college auditions and he got into a great drama school! He's got great wisdom to share, so we'll just let him have the floor. John...

Hi Friends, :)

My name is John Richard Mateyko, I’m an incoming Theatre and Performance Major at SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts, as well as a recent alumnus of How To Get Into Drama School.

Today I’ll be listing three things you want to AVOID doing when applying and auditioning for college programs.

This article will cover some of the more well known rules for successful audition adequate, as well as divulge some subconscious things we, as actors do that gets in they way of presenting our best selves.

Without further ado, here are three tips you can follow if you do NOT want get into drama school:


Don’t apply to broad range of schools

If you want to decrease your chances of getting into a program before you even audition, simply don’t apply to a large number of programs.

With the limited amount of spots available in each MT and Acting program alone it is already incredibly difficult to get into a school.

Speaking of getting in, statistically there are BFA and BA programs that are “easier” to get into. If you only apply to extremely competitive programs such as Juilliard, RADA, Carnegie Mellon, etc. the odds of you getting into a school are lower than if you have an assortment of schools ranging from top tier, mid tier, low tier, and safety (no audition).

Regardless if you are at the level of ability and potential that those 1% acceptance rate schools are looking for, it is also important to remember that “how good you are” is not the only criteria these places will judge you on.

Most of the “best” schools for acting and musical theatre, especially conservatories, base their admissions around building a repertory company of actors that fit a certain need for each year.

They are looking for not only actors or future musical theatre stars, but someone THEY want to spend the next four years with.

The sad, but real truth is that you can give the best audition of your life, but unfortunately they already have someone of your “type” or you simply just don’t fit into the group they’re forming.

So it is best to cast your net wide, because there will be a school that wants you and values what you bring to the table!!

View everyone you meet as competition

If you choose to devote yourself to acting/performing as a career you are going to have moments of doubting yourself.

This is a perfectly normal and valid thing to experience.

The act of presenting yourself and your vulnerabilities to be judged before a group of people who you only met a minute ago is scary. Not only scary, it’s also kind of weird.

Regardless, unless you have nerves of steel- you will question your own ability to succeed, and if you’re not mindful that doubt can transform from an internal issue to an external issue fast.

With anything, we try to find value by comparison, we ask ourselves what kind of phone to get, or food to eat, and we determine that by comparing our options.

So naturally, when you walk into a waiting room of 30 other people auditioning for the same 10 spots in an acting program, your defense system starts to go off.

You wonder if Person A is better than you, or maybe has the right “look” this or that program wants.

I’m gonna make it plain and simple: comparing yourself to others will not help you in any way. It just sets up a false narrative of competition.

The only competition you’re up against in an audition is yourself.

Only YOU have the power to prove to a school that you belong in their program.

While there are limited spots per school, you can only control how you match up against their standards by doing the best work you can and being open to play.

Viewing the people you meet as competition will only get you paranoid for a race that no one’s running in except for you.

That being said, while you don’t need to shower every person you meet with love and affection, treat everyone with respect and admiration! Support each other!! They’re going through the same intense process as you and some solidarity would make it easier on both of you.

Don’t be yourself

The most important thing on this list is if you don’t want to get into drama school, all you have to do is not be yourself.

It takes guts to walk into a room without trying to win anyone over. It’s in fact even more impressive to present yourself as the flawed, beautiful human being you are, rather than try to “sell yourself” in an audition by adopting a fake heir and attitude.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be confident. Walk in with the energy that you’re excited and ready to work that day.

But instead of trying to win over the role of "Student at (Insert School Name Here)”, act as if you would when meeting anyone for the first time.

It not only puts yourself at ease, and it's also is refreshing for the adjudicators, who ***want you to succeed!!!!!***

The whole point of a school holding auditions is that they are looking for students!

Each person that auditions for them could be a potential fit. So If you don’t want to get into drama school, don’t show them your personality and just be another one of the 984 people they reject that year.

In conclusion...

The audition process is what you make of it. There are so many other points not listed in this article that will help you have the best experience you can.

The best advice I can offer is to just treat the audition process as a bunch of opportunities to do what you love, because that’s what it is!!

I want each and every one of you reading this to be successful in finding a place to study, and the best way to do that is to make informed choices, and not trying to control the outcome of things.

Best of luck to all!

By John Mateyko

John is a current student at SUNY-Purchase (Theatre & Performance, Class of 2024) and contributor at How To Get Into Drama School. @johnrmateyko

408 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rebecca Wong
Rebecca Wong

No, I'm way too young. But I like to plan ahead.


Anthony Wofford
Anthony Wofford

Ha John is sneaky in a good way. Glad you enjoyed! Are you auditioning this year, Rebecca? This is Anthony, the Founder, btw.


Rebecca Wong
Rebecca Wong

I was confused reading it but I think I get it now? Anyway thank you for the tips!

bottom of page