• John Travers

How to NOT Get into Drama School! Five Tips to Prevent You from Getting into Your Dream Schools



Getting into drama school! What an exciting, stressful, mysterious, some may even say anxiety inducing journey we all take one applying to acting programs.




There are so many aspects to the admissions process before you even start auditioning for schools. Gathering applications together, letters of recommendation, transcripts, referrals, information on certain schools and their requirements, and we haven’t even gotten to picking pieces to audition with!


I remember when I was just thinking about applying to drama school, I was mainly thinking about the monologues and pieces I should do, and the schools I wanted to apply to.


What I failed to remember was the extraneous stuff that came along with applying to acting school, such as various aspects listed above.





With all the internal noise and knowledge involved and putting yourself on the line, hoping at least ONE of the great drama schools see something in you, there is plenty of room for someone to get psyched out of their mind. And to not know what is the right path, what is best suitable for you in giving yourself the best chance of getting into an acting BFA, MFA, or BA.



Knowing what is “right” to do is dependent on the individual. For example, on the day of the audition one person‘s preparation and readiness to go into the room and give it their all is going to be entirely different from another’s.


Everyone is different, and everyone operates upon their own artistic spark. I personally can’t say for certain what is best to do to get into drama school, but with my experience auditioning this past year, I can certainly say without ANY hesitation what is NOT going to get you into drama school!





So without further ado, here are five things you should do if you do not want to approach auditioning for drama school the right way!




Number one: Wing it!



If you think that going in to an audition without any sort of preparation, coaching, or even showing your monologues to trusted friends or colleagues is going to get you into drama school, you’ve got another thing coming, my friend!



What drama schools want to see is your authentic self, your unique spark, your individual voice!



If you haven’t worked on your pieces at all (maybe you’ve done them in the mirror a few times, or maybe you tried rehearsing it alone in your bedroom once or twice, and said “yeah, that’s good enough”), congrats! Your unique voice that makes you YOU will not show at because you haven’t done any personalization or in-depth work on your pieces!




Number 2: Compare Yourself to Everyone Else!



So you just found out your friend got into a top college choice that you didn’t even yet a callback to. Well, what else is there to do but compare your “success” to their’s! Seeing as though you still have a few more auditions coming up, the worst thing to do in this instance is get down on yourself in doubt everything you’ve worked hard for in preparation for drama school!


That confidence, or lack there of for that matter, might even show in the audition room itself, which certainly will not bode well for your chances.


Now of course, it is natural to compare yourself to others. But letting it get to you, and destroy so much of what you’ve been working towards, as well as your passion, belief in yourself, and all around confidence, is a straight shot way to not getting into an acting program.



Instead of acknowledging the sting, allowing yourself to feel let down, but quickly get back up and keep moving because the rejection isn’t personal, you let it get you down and psych you out! THAT’S how to not get into a drama school!




Number 3: Worrying Too Much About Things that Do Not F#%!ing Matter!




Look. Whether you like it or not, there are so many elements out of your control when it comes to auditioning for these acting programs. On average, most acting programs, both graduate and undergraduate, except in between 20 to 30 people.



Culminating an ensemble takes a lot of analysis on the admissions committee’s behalf, so there’s literally nothing beyond your work you bring into the room that can affect your chances of acceptance.


So focusing on whether or not your classical monologue is to “overused”, or whether or not the auditioners are sick and tired of seeing Willy’s monologue from Death of a Salesman is practically useless. It’s a huge waste of time, energy, and focus when it comes to preparation.



If those monologues speak to you, then USE THEM! If you focus too much on aspects that are so minute, you’ll have a much harder time finding pieces that truly speak to you as an artist. Which is exactly what these colleges want to see! You!



So bottom line, if you don’t wanna get into drama school, focus on whether or not your “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow…” speech is too overused!!




Number 4: Only Applying to a Few Schools




When it comes to making your list of schools, most people will be adding “the big boys” (such as Juilliard, Yale, RADA, Carnegie Mellon, LAMDA, NYU, etc.).


However, if those are the only schools you are applying to, you may want to rethink adding more, if you want to accelerate your chances of getting into a program. While nobody would blame you for applying to those schools, because they are fantastic programs, lest we forget that the schools only accept a finite amount of actors every year. Not to mention, those programs often have upwards of 1,000 applicants every year.




So, if you are neglecting adding more schools to your roster of applications, you are absolutely dis-servicing yourself. If your goal is to get into an elite drama school for its training, lowering your application pool is a sure-fire way to lessen your chances of getting in somewhere!




Me personally, I applied to roughly 8 schools, and THAT felt low! There are plenty of fantastic programs out there that offer just as great of training, and if you research them, I’m sure you’ll find more you want to add to your list of schools. But again, if you want the least likely chance of getting into drama school…apply to LESS!





Number 5: Giving Up!





Now, for this one I’ll be a bit more serious, because I’ve faced similar hardships of throwing in the towel. Not a lot of people will say this, but it’s true. The college audition process is exhausting. There is so much work for literally NO guarantees that you’ll even get into one school.



As if that wasn’t nerve-racking enough, the audition process of literally giving your heart and soul to each and every school is nothing but a vulnerable, hopeful, risk that you, the audition warrior, have decided to take up on your own.



And you should be applauded for that.




Now say things don’t exactly go your way for your “top school”, or maybe you didn’t even get into an acting program this cycle. If you want to strengthen your chances of getting into a top-notch training program, don’t you dare give up.



And yes, at this point, you’re definitely tired of hearing people say that. I can feel the eye-roll‘s even as the sentence is being typed.



But if you’re one person who has faced ludicrous amounts of rejection, please, I’m begging you, do not give up. Stay inspired. Watch movies. Read plays.



Do you know how many people were rejected from drama school, their first round? Emilia Clarke, Tom Hardy, Adam Driver, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Vikander, Sarah Goldberg, just to name a few.



Keep taking acting classes.



Keep improving your craft.



Keep that fire going.



Because the first thing the schools want to see is your passion! Say, you don’t get into a program this go around. Keep that spark alive, and try again when you’re fresh.



Personally, I was rejected by every top school I applied to, but I kept going. Now I’ve been accepted into a top-ranking actor training program in London, and I couldn’t be more excited! Do not give up. If you want to get into drama school…keep powering through!


You can do it!



Thanks for reading!


Johnny T.







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