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

Thank you, @2231Starcross3 It’s so nice to have helpful tips from an actual student! Sending you lots of positive vibes for finding your place!!

I posted this over on the MT board as well, since there’s more people on those threads, but just one of the things we’ve been discussing with people getting ready for next year:

How much weight/importance do you all think is put on the recommendations? Do most schools require one artistic and one academic, either/or? What about a director outside of school that your kid has worked with? What if finding someone reliable to write a good rec is a concern? Just throwing some questions out there for future applicants!

@SoMuchDrama of course! Thank you <3

@SoMuchDrama And with your recommendation question, I’m not sure how important they actually are, but it’s definitely good to have strong recommendations. It depends on the school, but I sent at least one artistic and one academic recommendation to as many schools as I could (I asked 3 teachers for recommendations and sent all three whenever a school let me— some only allowed two recommendations). However, some schools did not allow me to send an artistic recommendation (for whatever reason). Regardless, I think it can be helpful for them to see an artistic and academic recommendation to help them see a clearer picture of who the student is. But I think it’s just a part of the whole picture (essays, scores, grades, AUDITION) and isn’t incredibly influential to the end result (unless someone writes a student a terrible recommendation lol). I think recommenders outside of school are fine, but for me it was simpler/easier to just ask teachers at my school.

@2231Starcross3 Thanks, that’s helpful!! I’m hoping my D’s college counselor is good about following up with teachers to make sure those go in. She had a little problem with recs getting sent in for a summer program. I think she’s going to try to line teachers up before the end of this year, since they’ll need to be in so much earlier than regular apps. Thank you, this will give her an idea who she should ask.

@SoMuchDrama we asked her Teachers in early August, we explained there would be a lot and we had two academic and two artistic recommendations. Many are covered by the common app, so once they’re in that system they don’t need to resubmit and if your school uses Naviance, same thing (although our artistic ones were not from school). So they ended up being less crazy than I originally thought. We did let them know there would be a lot and alternated so one wasn’t overburdened, which helped. My only regret was not asking for a PDF out of the gate for scholarships, as they all ask for one and many take them from you directly.

@intheburbs Oh, okay, so once the Common App opens up, I’ll probably get a better understanding of how all of that works. Her school is just now starting to meet with juniors and we haven’t gone yet, so I didn’t really know how it all worked, and after the issue with the summer rec, I was a little worried about that part.

My S pre-targeted teachers in the spring of his junior year. I believe he asked them both in April or May. Both said yes but asked him to remind them in August. It was good to know know he wasn’t going to have to scramble at the beginning of the school year.

Thank you to all the “veterans” of this crazy process who have so graciously shared their expertise. In earlier posts, many of you referred to the spreadsheets you were keeping, and I seem to recall that people in past years were willing to share their creations. I’m looking for something that would ideally include application facts (due date, prescreen or not, unifieds or not, monologue requirements, etc. as well as other criteria that might be relevant to applicants (study abroad, off-campus auditions, senior showcase, crossover with MT curriculum, etc.). With most high schools moving to online work for the foreseeable future, I thought I would encourage my 2025 BFA hopeful to start researching schools and would love to have a template/spreadsheet to plug in the info. It’s probably too early to know if the requirements for next year are changing but it would still be good for our 2025 kiddos to see just how many moving parts they (and we) are going to need to keep track of!

I don’t have enough posts to PM anyone, but I’m wondering if those of you with templates could PM me?

Thank you so much. What a blessing you all are! I know we’re a few months away from Mother’s and Father’s Day, but you all deserve an early round of applause!

I agree with asking your teachers now for recommendations. Also, prepare them for how many you will need. It is a good idea to talk with your high school counselor, explaining the process and how many transcripts, days missed etc. The more you can enlighten them up front the better.

Also, do audition in the fall. Getting a few under your belt helps and if changes need to be made you have time to do it. Use the parents and students on CC to get information on various programs, especially ones you haven’t considered. The wider the net the better the results.

We are all here for you and believe it or not…it will all be ok!

Also, I’m now regretting this since I didn’t do it lol, but try to visit as many of your colleges as you can over the summer and/or during your junior/senior high school year. I had the idea that I could just visit after I got in places and then the coronavirus pandemic cause all my schools to cancel their on campus events/visits. I don’t know if/think I’ll be able to visit and get a feel for the theatre programs and campuses of all my schools before it’s decision day… So try to visit as much as you can when you know you can, 'cause you never know what may happen, lol.

We did not use a coach… didn’t even know it was a thing until this past January while reading CC! The only advice I was given was to book my Chicago Palmer House Hilton reservation by early summer, and to get the applications done by early fall to secure audition spots.

One strategic choice we made was that my S did not do a summer show before senior year. That summer the only thing he did was a one week prep program and college research. Now, besides being a dude he only auditioned for acting programs. If I had a mezzo soprano D auditioning for MT I would consider a coach. At the same time, my S has 2 female classmates from his HS who got into BFA MT programs without being on WLs (Millikin and OCU) and they didn’t have coaches. Our community is not a large metro and there are no year around performing arts schools here. It was a nail biter for them in March because their choices were limited, but I’ve observed some nail biting results for MT girls who had coaches.

On summer college prep programs: It is helpful for the kiddos to be exposed to the expectations/culture of college faculty, as well as other high achieving students with the same goals. If your high schooler has not had that exposure I would strongly consider it, even if it is online. We did this for our music major and our actor… it gave them realistic outlooks and inspired them.

^ My take on coaching - nobody needs one but everyone benefits from having a coach. There’s just so much to this process. Can you do it alone? Absolutely. Is it harder? Absolutely. So it really comes down to economics and how you value the available resources.

The biggest benefit my D got from coaching was confidence. Not sure the results would have been different without but having confidence going through auditions was a big deal. I could see the difference when she knew she belonged in the room.

@rickelle1, I totally understand that point of view. Parents of performing kids invest a lot of money for instruction/confidence. My S had confidence from other experience. But could he have had additional acceptances if he had had a college audition coach? Possibly.

@rickle1
You’re right! Confidence is key! I personally can’t afford a coach, so I will be preparing my pieces on my own and asking a former director I’m close with to review my pre-screens and the monologues I’m preparing for Juilliard (longest shot ever haha).

I think it’s important to use all resources available to you and would definitely recommend getting an opinion other than your own or your parents’, even if it’s just a small note.

Best of luck to everyone here! (and their kids)

Yes, I got coaching and got accepted to all 7 schools (BFA conservatories) I auditioned for. Schools can smell when you’re passionate about your work, and they can also smell when someone’s not 100% confident.

I have friends who are faculty at the top BFA programs, and to put it in perspective, they look for 3 things above all else…

  1. Quality of work
  2. Ability to take direction
  3. Good attitude (sense of curiosity, willingness to play, eager to train)

If a student has that mindset during their preparation and they work hard, they’re going to have a great time and get accepted to the school that’s right for them!

And remember, just the experience of auditioning for some of these school is incredible! @Rshush Juilliard’s a long shot for everyone, including me, and I went there! Acknowledge it and get back to work on #1 from the list above!

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Hi!

I know this particular thread isn’t used much, but I still thought it might be the best place to share this:

I was watching one of Moni Yakim’s classes (Juilliard movement teacher, the only member of the founding faculty left at the school) that was filmed a few years ago. Before the class, the reporter asked him what was the most gratifying moment for him as a teacher, and, probably like many people, I assumed he would talk about when he saw his students perform or succeed with what he had taught them.

His answer couldn’t have been more different. He said simply “what you are about to see in this class is the most gratifying thing”. His joy and his version of success were in the process of learning and creating. Listening to those words was a beautiful reminder to me that we have to enjoy the process itself. After all, an audition is still an opportunity to do what we love. We must remember that the results are out of our hands, that they don’t determine our talent or our potential, and that we will forever continue to learn and grow.

I know most of you reading this are likely parents and not applicants like me, but share it with your kids. They might need the reminder as much as I did.

Best of luck and lots of love!

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Absolutely. At Juilliard, Moni encouraged us to “play.” He was amazing and there will never be another teacher like him.

FYI - he just retired. We threw a big party for him and there is a documentary to honor his teaching legacy. It’s available on Amazon! Here’s the trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHYo9uRZ2Pw

Btw, @Rshush if you’re applying this year and want to chat, I’m happy to connect offline. Feel free to email me at woffordsemail@gmail.com

Hey!

Posted this on the MT threat but will try here too! (I’m actually applying for acting).

Does anybody know how strict Syracuse is with the time limit? I was about to submit my prescreen when I realized my best take is 96 seconds long (they ask for under 90). I could use a slightly shorter take, but the 96 sec one is really noticeably better.

Any help is super appreciated!

From what I hear, it’s always best to follow the rules. It would be a shame to get overlooked just because your video is too long. Good luck!