BFA Acting Class of 2025: preparation, prescreens, auditions, questions and support

All right, Class of 2025, after years of lurking, looks like it’s our turn. Starting this a little early, so the class of 2024 can share their expertise with us while it’s all fresh in their minds.

In the wise words of NYYFanNowMTDad: Don’t be scared, just be PREPARED.


@SoMuchDrama and the class of 2025 - wishing you all the best on this journey.

One thing I can say is, that if you can and you feel like you are ready, add in a few early auditions next fall. It helps to work the kinks out and may result in an early acceptance. BAL!!! You all have got this!!!

Class of 2025 my advice is to breathe, relax and trust your instincts. My daughter needed to visit the schools before applying and that worked for us. Many do not want to visit until auditions or after acceptances. Some say do not fall in love with a dream school, well my daughter did and put all her eggs in that basket and applied ED and was accepted. What works for some doesn’t work for others. This is a long personal journey that is truly an emotional roller coaster. Put your seat belts on and enjoy the ride it will be over in a blink.


thanks for the shout out @SoMuchDrama and the tag @Twelfthman …in full disclosure my daughter ONLY applied to MT programs but I suspect many concepts apply…a few tid bits for this time of year & yes I think being prepared is half the battle, if you dont stay in front of it, this process will bowl you over like a tidal wave. a few early thoughts, these are all opinions, if you dont agree or like them disregard just dont send me hate mail :smile:

  1. start early as you are by being here. try to take the SAT or ACT as many as you can in your junior year if possible…merit money comes from GPA & test scores, but if you can be completely done before the summer thats a huge bonus.

  2. plan your applications as soon as possible, common app only allows 20, if you plan to apply to that many ( we did out of fear) leave 2-3 slots open for walk ins, some schools ONLY accept common app & once you hit 20 you are SOL. leave 2-3 slots open for unifieds even if it means some schools you use coalition or the school app. work on essays in the summer, yes july & august we had a goal to be done 9/1 we were done by 9/15( not bad)

3)Pre screens are a total crap shoot, I know not everyone agrees with me on this but thats my opinion, no rhyme or reason to how they decided my D got yes from lottery schools and nos from schools that you would never consider top tier. thats why I dont know how to tell people to apply to less schools. did we apply to too many ?100% yes, but I still cant say if I had to do it all over again if I would eliminate the RIGHT ones, we still have 2 dream schools in play right now & we got NO from 10+ pre screen schools

  1. assume every one is as talented as your kid…if you think you will walk through this unscathed bc your kid has been the lead in every school show or everyone in your family, school or whatever tells you he/she will get in everywhere- you will get blindsided by a mack truck…everyone is talented in this process, the schools are each looking for something, NO ONE BATS 1000, almost no one even bats .500 most of us are happy to get 2-3 yesses so we have some choices…if you are the dreaded white girl the deck is stacked against you. sorry that may offend some but at every audition we went to 80%+ of the total audition pool was white female, theses schools aim for 50/50 M/F AND they prefer ethnic diversity ( I applaud that). this is a NUMBERS game, get as many auditions as you can… that means lots of schools without pre screens— again MY OPINION and isolated to MT. some truly great schools do not pre screen ( Baldwin Wallace, Oklahoma City & Juilliard just to name 3)

  2. read all the venting threads & final decision threads in MT & Acting…read them over and over thats where you will learn the most…theres a great thread from several years ago…something like “my 1 year Oddessy in musical theater” it will make you laugh and cry- probably best thread I’ve ever read here. its very real & most not all of these stories usually they have happy endings…I dont believe everyone will end up where they belong as many say, but I do believe the vast majority of these kids ultimately bloom where they are planted…ill give more in my final decision post in 4-6 weeks when my D’s journey comes to its final conclusion. A gap year has proven to be great for many people and they were generous to document their journey in CC…starting now is almost like a gap year- applaud yourself for getting out in front of this, remember I told you this now, you will be shocked and feel bad for those who approach this cluelessly in September/October

Im not bitter Im a realist and enjoy analytics which is hard bc there is very little FACTUAL data for this process, but I learned this Musical theater world like it was my job, my D has 3 good BFA/BM acceptances with 1 that many would consider a top 10 school & we still have 8 decisions forthcoming…2 of which are Dream lottery schools…I believe in numbers and being as prepared as possible. Numbers are simply better at schools that dont go to unified…for example my D applied to Catholic BM in MT- a really solid program with super nice , engaged faculty & in a great theater town ( DC) . they have ONLY 3 audition dates on campus…no unifieds that means there will likely be no more than 150 auditioners…thats better odds than CMU who has 2000+ applicants, or even the " mid tier schools" that have 750-1000 applicants- again maybe Acting is different- find those schools they are in these threads. they exist in your region as I dont take the travel expense lightly …yes unifieds saves money and is more efficient…it DOES NOT help your odds, IMHO

hope that helps ill try to pay it forward next year, but for now I have to finish OUR RACE…i wouldnt trade these last 6 months with my D for ANYTHING, so I got that going for me , which is nice ( caddy shack quote :smile: )


@NYYFanNowMTdad thank you so much for your willingness to give back! I’ve enjoyed your posts over this last year and look forward to your final decision post. Seems like you were really smart and strategic with your planning. I’m hoping to be able to do the same. My biggest fear is if we’re not on top of things, it’s going to be more like throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks.

I usually don’t like to share too much, but then decided that I’ve learned so much from so many others on these boards that it really is my turn to start participating more. We’ll never learn anything if we’re all a bunch of lurkers!

So where we’re at right now… got her summer program lined up (Northwestern film and video), evaluating her list (which is super top heavy right now, so needs a lot of tweaking). She’ll be starting up with MTCA soon to help with monologues. Also considering doing their mock auditions, especially if she doesn’t find any early schools to audition for.

Thanks again to the class of 2024 rock star families. We’re all rooting for you!!

Hi! @SoMuchDrama Definitely do a mock if you can swing it and an early audition or two are priceless preparation. MTCA was incredible for us in small and big ways. They are really talented at matching coaches with your kid’s needs and personality. The only flag are some coaches are busy (working gigs), so that can be somewhat of a challenge. But starting early means you have flexibility and won’t be trying to cram stuff in.

Just an observation that I wanted to note - We did find a difference between the number of students auditioning at schools in the fall versus auditioning after the beginning of December. The number of Acting students at the early auditions was small in comparison to the later auditions - at least at the schools my d auditioned at.

I was just thinking that we should start a “what I’d do differently” thread for each year along with the other regular ones. I’ll get my thoughts together for that so they’ll be coherent.

For now I second the suggestions above- we finished testing by May of junior year, common app essay, a working list of schools and monologue choices by the end of summer, and that helped a lot since fall was devoted to filming/submitting prescreens (and supplemental + artistic essays/apps) and a busy performance schedule. Wish we’d done early auditions in the fall of senior year but we just couldn’t swing it with scheduling.

We did school scouting trips in Feb and April of junior year just to get a look at some different school types and cities and that helped focus the list considerably. If you can swing that, I recommend it especially for those of you whose kids need to be on campus to get a good feel for a place.

Good luck!


(1) I agree that you should have all your essays done in the summer and applications in by August and September, especially if you are planning on doing the majority of auditions at Unifieds. It’s first come first serve on audition dates, & a lot schools require a compete application or acceptance before setting the audition dates. You will also have first dibs at merit scholarships, as a lot of schools give the bigger awards to students who are accepted prior to December 15th. Additionally, the paperwork is endless with schools with separate artistic supplements, recommendation letters, merit scholarship applications, honors college applications, FAFSA, CSS Profile, & some schools that want copies of your actual tax returns even with FAFSA and CSS Profile. Everytime you turn around, there’s another document needed they didn’t tell you was needed, and then you’ve got to deal with pre-screens and auditions on top of all of that. So, you need a time buffer to make sure the applications really are complete. When you’re looking at 20+ applications, cannot stress enough that you start EARLY. We also found that a number of schools offered application fee waivers for applicants in August, so nice way to save some money.

(2) Your grades and SAT/ACT scores matter, & I don’t care what anyone else tells you. Take advantage of super scoring and test more than once. Make sure you do the SAT essay, in case you want to apply to a school that requires it. Study! Why does it matter when schools are going test optional, making exceptions on academic standards for MT/Acting students, or the program admits 100% on audition, you ask? Two big reasons - merit scholarships and school rankings. You want to actually afford those schools you are fortunate enough to audition into because as you will hear often, there isn’t as much talent-based $ for the programs to hand out. We have found the big money is in merit scholarships. Additionally, if you opt out of test score reporting, you often opt out of the largest (or all) merit scholarships. If you are interested in a nationally ranked university, they have to be mindful of not bringing down their statistics, and these schools will tell you that sometimes they want a student really badly after the audition, but admissions won’t let them give an offer because their academics are too low.

(3) Get your recommendation letters early, and ask if those providing recommendations are willing to give you a .pdf copy for your records. The recommendation letters and transcripts were always delaying our applications. It became especially critical when my D decided to do walk-ins & had very little time to apply to a couple of those schools. Which leads me to what we would do differently…


Our biggest regret was putting all our eggs in the Unifieds basket. We wish we would have worked with a coaching company which had access to a smaller & earlier audition process or looked into earlier regional auditions. I think everyone should go to Chicago Unifieds to get a real taste of what this business is about because then not only do you see how competitive this is, but you can hear it (the walls are thin & you know when the person before you killed it!) If you try to fit in too many auditions in a short period of time, especially with Acting, the pieces get stale. My D really struggled to find ways to refresh her pieces or had to go with some other pieces she didn’t like as well for schools that were important to her because she had already performed them a few times that day. Also, it’s a germ haven–people are sick going there, get sick while there & get sick after, so there is a risk you won’t be at your best. We took Airbourne, Emergen-C, Throat coat tea, vitamins, herbs, and still got sick! The hotel is BONE DRY. We had a humidifier, steamer, sinus spray, sinus mosturizing gel, Fontus, but nothing can prepare you for the dryness. Another mom said she bought a second humidifier for the room, and I was so upset I didn’t think of that! But, that’s just the mental and physical dynamics, and the real loss to us was time to redirect/revamp/reassess. No matter how much you prepare, even with a coach, sometimes a monologue or song might fall flat for some reason or not be working for you those few days, so having a forum to perform the pieces early for a number of schools and feel the feedback (or get early rejections) when there is still time to make adjustments and maybe apply to other schools before it’s too late in the game, would have been a great luxury. (Or, alternatively, having an early acceptance, so you’re not one of the crazy people in February and March is worth more than you will ever know.) My D was having a really rough day (which is huge when you only have 3.5 days), & I was really proud of her ability to regroup, decide to add walk-ins, re-work her pieces in the mirror, and reset. It was one of those pivotal moments when I knew she was going to be okay and was meant to be in the business, but let’s face it, having a month instead of an hour to make that turnaround would have been much better–LOL!

Our other regret was not being more strategic with how we scheduled the auditions. My D scheduled a top school as her first college audition ever, & she said her leg just would not stop shaking. She scheduled another favorite as her last audition at the end of the last day. It was her 18th audition when she had nothing more to give to her pieces. Spend time thinking about how you want to schedule the most important auditions. For example, if you know a school does an immedite callback cut, maybe don’t have another top audition scheduled immediately after when you could be feeling heartbroken.

Anyway, that is my two cents. BAL Class of 2025!

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@TenaciousC @intheburbs @sarahsmom02 and @anastasiasmom Thank you so much for helping start this thread off with invaluable info!!! Lot’s of stuff that I never even thought of and I’ve been reading these boards for a couple years now!

We weren’t really planning on any early auditions, but now that does seem like a really great idea and something we will try to see if we can do. Hopefully something will work out around the same time as MTCA’s mock auditions. Travel costs are a concern for us. Nothing is really going to be driving distance, so it’s all plane rides… ugh! I’m very much a planner and the uncertainty of this all is going to make me nuts. I like the idea of spreading her auditions out over two Unifieds, NY and LA, but most people we know do Chicago. I’m not sure what’s more exhausting, multiple travel weekends or just one longer week. Definitely something she’ll need to think about for herself. She does like the idea of doing at least a couple on campus, especially for those schools that she’d never really heard of before. It’s going to be a big puzzle, but the info you guys have given me will help us weigh the pros and cons.

She originally wasn’t going to use a coach, but as things started getting closer and more real, I decided we both were going to need that extra support. I never would have even known that was an option if it wasn’t for these boards!!

@sarahsmom02 thank you for mentioning the struggle with monologues losing their freshness. This is something that would never occur to me. I’ve never been a performer myself. I’m going to share this with her so she can have a game plan.

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Hi all - just chiming in with my $0.02 that if you are already on this thread and planning for next year’s audition season, then you are way ahead of where we were last year, so kudos to you! And for anyone in the future reading back over this, you will be ok! My S didn’t make his decision about colleges until the end of April last year and was too busy all spring/summer to get his audition material together. Best things he did were:

  • getting Common App essay done early
  • pushing to get as many apps in as possible very early
  • applied ED to his top school (not for everyone, I know, but if you can go ED or EA somewhere it can take some --or all-- of the weight off.)

Prescreens were submitted between late-October and late-November. Pass rate was reasonable, even with this “late” schedule.

Things I wish I’d known:

  • When they say “optional” on a prescreen, it probably isn’t. He didn’t pass the prescreens that were “dance optional” or “wild card optional.”

Good luck to everyone!

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Just curious, is anyone visiting a campus in the next couple of months to take a tour and watch a spring production? We are going to Texas State in April to see the campus and watch their production of Guys and Dolls.

This past October we went to OU for the MT Preview Day and got to see OU’s wonderful production of Cabaret. I was very impressed with the talent. That afternoon we had a campus tour and a very informative meeting with the MT faculty. If OU does it again this fall, I urge you to go, especially if within driving distance.

Here’s another vote for auditioning early if possible. We didn’t have thousands of dollars to throw at the audition/application process so D auditioned early, applied to her dream school ED, and applied to fewer than 10 schools-all within driving distance. D is outgoing, but she found the interview rattled her at her first audition. She was far more comfortable at her ED interview a couple of weeks later with three auditions behind her. If she had not been accepted ED in December, we would have considered applying to a few more schools, or she would have taken a gap year and worked local theatres. Best of luck to all your kids this fall!

To help defray costs, sign up for hotel rewards programs! Those Hilton Honors points got us great discounts for Chicago Unifieds at the Palmer House - we stayed on the Executive floor for about what it would have cost for a regular room. And use a credit card where you get travel points.

@NYYFanNowMTdad Another great post (you too @Sarahsmom42 ).

I typically don’t post if I don’t feel I’m adding anything useful to the conversation. However, I can’t express enough the importance of planning and structure to this arcane process. Dealing with the arts world (both your kid and the institutions) makes the structure part challenging as artists aren’t known for that quality. I’m a financial advisor / business owner who appreciates numbers, process, AND creativity (a little unusual). Getting my daughter to “fall in line” with process was difficult but once she took ownership of certain aspects, it definitely was more fun.

You’ll find that many schools with solid BFA programs truly appreciate quality students. They may not require great grades / scores for their program (a few do) but they acknowledge them in the form of scholarships. Funny my D, although very bright and a good student, got way more academic scholarship offers than her older brother who applied to a cohort of far more academically selective admits. Was thinking he would have received a full ride at almost all of her schools based on her results. So if you cast a wide net and are fortunate enough to get admitted into a solid BFA program, and you’re a good student, it’s likely to come with some merit aide.

The only other thing I can add is learn what you can about as many programs as you can. It seems virtually everyone applies to the same top 10 and then it splinters out to another 20 or so schools. Don’t get caught up on the prestige of the program. What’s really important is the training. Just because a program is lesser known doesn’t mean the training is of lesser quality. More than most industries, pursuing this field will not lead to a job / career. It’s not formulaic like many paths in college. Your kid will still have to fight and claw just to get auditions. Certainly some schools are better connected to the real world and that might help, but once you’re in the audition room, it’s all about your talent - so again, training matters. Assuming you have choices, go where you’ll get the best training for you, your style, your learning process. That’s more about fit.

Just remember at the end of the day, the casting director doesn’t care where or if your went to school (very different from the rest of the job world). They care about talent relative to their casting needs. Use the four yrs to hone the talent and build resiliency.

Best of luck to all of you!

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@rickle1 Your posts have been very helpful to me this year, so thanks for coming into the 2025 thread with more great suggestions. We added SCAD to D’s list based on some stuff that you posted a while back, and now I see you’ve posted more info, with others chiming in as well. It’s great to read about other possibilities out there. We’re very aware at this point that my daughter’s list is not balanced, so advice you’ve given is helping her cast a wider net.

@SoMuchDrama I’m glad my posts have helped you.

Interesting comment about a balanced list. I think that’s very important and not that different than an academic candidate thinking in terms of safety, match, target, reach. Just like HYP and several others are reaches for everyone, so are CMU, CCU, UMich, UNCSA, Julliard, BOCO, etc. The challenge with BFA programs is they are just so small so the safety really becomes a non- audition program. It almost feels like the match, target and reaches are lumped together.

When casting a wide net, there’s a difference between being strategic with those choices vs. simply applying to the top 20 form the Onstage or Playbill lists. That’s like applying to 20 HYP’s.

I love to see you all getting started early - it is going to make such a difference in your process! We’re a class of 2023 family - thought it might help to cut and paste a post I made in our final decision thread a little bit less than a year ago. It seems like just yesterday!

Things I wish we had known earlier:

  1. This is really, really, really hard and competitive. We did somewhat know that going in, but honestly I think we really didn't understand. S has had a good amount of success at a really well-known and competitive performing arts high school, has an agent, and has done a bit of professional work, so we were optimistic going in. We did get a good result, but I don't think we were fully prepared for the difficulty of the process, the number of rejections that would come through, and the sheer amount of WORK it takes to do all of these applications, prescreens, auditions, etc. I thought we were crazy to be applying to a dozen schools, but actually that was probably not enough. And we did not take to heart enough that the goal is not to get in everywhere. The goal is to get one great acceptance at a school that feels like a real fit. That's the definition of a win.
  2. Pay attention to ALL of the requirements for applications. We realized too late that UCLA requires the SAT with an essay, rather than just the regular SAT. S's school administers the SAT in school during a regular school day, and he got an unexpectedly great score during that test, so he cancelled his second test day that would have had the essay too. By the time we realized that UCLA wants the essay, there was no way for him to take it (he was deep in rehearsals for the school musical and was committed every Saturday and Sunday) so he was never able to apply. That was a bit of a disappointment.
  3. Check voicemail, ALL the way through the process and not just when decisions might be coming! One very fateful thing that happened to S was that, after his Michigan audition, he got a voicemail from his auditor telling him he had done a great job. He is not in the habit of checking voicemail, so he never picked up that call until six weeks later, after he had been waitlisted at UMich. We'll never know what would have happened if he had expressed more interest in responding to the voicemail when received, but I have some suspicion it could have made the difference between a regular acceptance and the waitlist - which would have saved us a TON of stress and delay. Once S actually got in contact with his auditor (more on this below) it was an instant connection that became a great bond.
  4. Getting applications in early and getting some auditions out of the way early would have been a really good idea. We were slow on the applications and prescreens because S was so busy with his school musical, and ended up needing to schedule almost all of the auditions during NY Unifieds. S had at least one audition a day for 8 days straight. By the end, his monologues felt stale, he was totally fried, and - not shockingly - his success rate for the end-of-week schools was a lot lower than the early ones.
  5. There is a HUGE difference between the strict conservatory programs and the more well-rounded ones. We started the process thinking that CMU and Rutgers were S's first choice - but when he went to the Rutgers callback weekend and learned more about their program, he realized that it's not for him at all. He is looking for a more well-rounded experience than the intense Meisner training, and was very put off for example that apparently Rutgers strongly discourages weight training for freshmen and sophomores because it causes them to hold too much tension in their arms and interferes with their acting training. This is an interesting theory and very intense training, but not something that would work for S. I think if we had realized all of this earlier, we would have had a better focused list of schools to apply to -- Rutgers and CMU were not the "dream schools" we originally thought.
  6. We possibly should have used a coach to help refine S's monologues before auditions. He had already done Artsbridge and had some very good monologue training in his high school, so we didn't think more was needed. But I think the truth is that most people do get a little coaching as well, and this process is so competitive that maybe more preparation would have helped. I'm less sure about this one - but I wish we had realized earlier that this was even a thing we should have been considering.

Things I think we did right:

  1. The ArtsBridge Summer program made a huge difference. Because ArtsBridge isn't tied to any one school, the faculty came from five different top programs. Walking into the audition room and already knowing the auditors was a huge confidence boost. As importantly, the substantive input gained from the summer program was huge. McCaela Donavan from BU is the person who helped S find his favorite monologue, for example - just one example of their very, very valuable input.
  2. We also used ArtsBridge for consulting. This was a big cost investment, and I can honestly see both sides of the decision to do or not do this. The thing we found most helpful was the ability to get feedback in real time during the process from the admissions staff at some of the schools. This helped S understand better which programs were "fits" for him and which were not, improve some things that he could do in applications and auditions, and in particular decide how and when to follow up over the course of the process. And it was really good input in helping make a final decision about where to go. I think this was worth it. I also mention it, though, because I want to be honest with future families about how hard this process is and how much help might be useful. It is very competitive, and the reality is that a bunch of people involved are using consultants and coaches.
  3. We followed up with the schools that were really important to us. For example, when S was waitlisted at U Michigan, he emailed immediately to express his interest, saying it was an honor to be on the list at all. This led him to a great dialogue with Daniel Cantor (who is wonderful) that they kept up for weeks and weeks. When it finally came time for them to go to the waitlist, S was the person they called because of that follow-up, and (equally important!) we had a good idea that good news might be coming, so we were prepared and ready to make a decision very quickly rather than already being mentally committed somewhere else.
  4. We had a good, well-rounded list of schools that included some "value plays". We found two schools that were just starting or working to improve their BFA Acting programs (Penn State and Missouri State) and made a guess that the odds would be a little better at those schools. Both of those programs are absolutely terrific and S felt very good about his acceptances there, and we ended up taking them both very seriously as options. But having those acceptances relatively early gave us a lot of comfort during the difficult stretch of waiting and a string of rejections and waitlists.
  5. We took the admitted student days very seriously. S actually visited every single school he was accepted to (including U Mich before he was even accepted), even where he had been on campus for his audition. Having the chance to sit in on classes and get a true sense for the feel of the school made a huge difference in the decision.
  6. We sought a lot of support! I found the College Confidential community to be really helpful; S relied on his school friends and his friends from summer programs. Reaching out to other people going through the same process kept us sane and was a really useful reality check. This is a very tough process and support matters! Also, the information I gained from reading last year's forum was HUGELY helpful. [Thanks, everyone!!]

Definitely try and find monologues you like(/CONNECT with) as early as possible (like end of your junior year or during the summer). I looked through many many MANY monologue pdfs online, but actually ended up doing work from plays I was familiar with (because of scenes/plays I or my school had done). But I say early as possible, not only so you’re prepared for auditions, but also so you’re prepared in case you want to participate in YoungArts (which everyone should! Look it up if you haven’t heard of it).

There are Youtube videos you can check out of people talking about how they got into schools (ex. the channel How To Get Into Drama School run by Juilliard students/graduates) as well as some videos of people acting or talking about their journeys at some of your dream schools (the videos of which you may or may not have to dig for). These videos might inspire and help you or might freak you out so keep that in mind before watching.

Try not to obsess over pre-screens (have multiple takes of course, but don’t obsess, especially when it comes to the technicalities of lighting and following directions perfectly, for as long as they can see/hear you clearly and get the info they need, you should be fine). And don’t forget, you’re your own worst critic. Submit your prescreens early (whether that be a few weeks or a few months before the deadline— this applies to your college applications and essays as well, the earlier the less stress), that way you can avoid the stress and panic that comes with submitting at the last minute.

Accept that every audition is going to be different and that’s often out of your control. You’re probably not going to perform the same every time, and that’s ok. Sometimes you’ll feel really bad about your audition, and that’s ok too. Don’t panic though, because you never know what the audition panel may see in you. You may feel like an audition was terrible and still get into the school. You never know, so don’t beat yourself up stressing about it.

Make sure in auditions that if they give you explorations to do in the monologue, definitely do them, but also take a moment to make sense of it in your head and in the imaginative reality your character is in (especially the really weird explorations) before doing it.

Do not compare your audition experience or even your pre- or post-audition experience to your friends or the people on CC. It will likely drive you crazy if you do. Every experience is different and you never never never know what may happen to you specifically or even why it happened.

And like people have said, this is a very competitive process. So make sure you put as much work and preparation (the prep that you specifically need, not the prep that others may swear by, but the prep that specifically works for you) to do well in this process.

And you’ll hear this a million times on this journey, but you will absolutely end up where you’re meant to be, wherever that may be.

Break all your figurative legs!

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