6 College Audition Curveballs

Article Image

Most of you are diligently preparing for your college auditions. You may have already hired a college audition coach, started prep in a summer performing arts college program, or participated in some mock auditions. Last month I shared tips on what goes on in the college audition room so that you can feel confident and know what to expect. But what about what you don’t expect?

You may have heard rumors about gotcha questions, material adjustments, and unexpected behavior from the auditors and other actors. I don’t want you to be thrown off on the big day, so here are six college audition curveballs that might come your way, and how to bat back successfully.

The Adjustment
This is when the auditor wants to see you perform your monologues or songs in a different way. This does not mean they didn’t like what you did. Auditors will usually give an adjustment to see how well you take direction. If you have been over-coached, this could really throw you off. So be sure to stay fresh in your material and able to take spontaneous direction and improvise. And if you are given direction, listen and commit fully to the adjustment. Look at this as a wonderful opportunity to show what you can do. Enjoy!

Questions About Your Résumé
If the college rep asks about your résumé credits or training, this can be a conversation starter and a great way to connect with your auditor. This is also the best reason I can think of to have an accurate and updated résumé! Be sure your credits are from recent productions. It is possible that you may be asked to perform a song or monologue from one of your past shows. In addition, you and the auditor may discover that you have mutual acquaintances. Engage!

Tell Me About Yourself
This may sound easier that it sounds. Just remember that you are a human being first, not just an actor! If the college reps ask you about yourself, they want to know something personal about you that is not found on your performance résumé. Suggestions: pets you have at home, hobbies you enjoy, travel experiences, factoids about your family, or tell a joke. Have some ideas in mind in case this comes up. I don’t want you to get thrown off. Ease up!

No Reaction
Chances are, you have rehearsed and performed your material in front of other people and have likely had some kind of audience reaction. Your performance is going to play very differently in the audition room. Don’t expect the same reaction…or any reaction. If they don’t laugh at your comedic monologue, don’t fret. The auditors are busy watching to figure out if they want to spend the next four years with you. They may also be taking notes. Just focus on your work and put the rest behind you. Don’t read anything into their reactions, (or lack thereof). Erase!

Why Do You Want to Go to School Here?
Every one of you should know the answer to this question! You have applied to each of your colleges for very specific reasons and you should be able to articulate that on cue. Have your reasons written down so that you can review before each audition. Some schools will ask you on the spot why you want to attend their program and you need to have thoughtful and genuine answers prepared. Know why each school is a good fit for you and be happy to tell them! Enthusiasm!

Addition Material
Don’t freak out if the auditors ask, “Do you have something else?” This is usually a good sign. Let’s face it, if they were not interested in you, they would probably not be asking for additional audition material. They want to hear more, and that’s a good thing. So always have additional songs and monologues ready. Prepare more than is asked of you, just in case. It shows you are intelligent and well prepared. Extra!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Author Headshot
Mary Anna Dennard
Mary Anna Dennard is a nationally recognized college audition coach and the founder of CollegeAuditionCoach.com, the first ever online prep for college performing arts applicants.
See full bio and articles here!