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

SoMuchDramaSoMuchDrama 38 replies3 threads Junior Member
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.
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Replies to: BFA Acting Class of 2025: preparation, prescreens, auditions, questions and support

  • dramamama3dramamama3 116 replies23 threads Junior Member
    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.
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  • TwelfthmanTwelfthman 175 replies43 threads Junior Member
  • SoMuchDramaSoMuchDrama 38 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @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!!
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  • intheburbsintheburbs 130 replies1 threads Junior Member
    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.
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  • anastasiasmomanastasiasmom 312 replies2 threads Member
    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.
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  • TenaciousCTenaciousC 94 replies1 threads Junior Member
    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!
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  • sarahsmom02sarahsmom02 48 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Recommendations:

    (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...

    Regrets:

    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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  • SoMuchDramaSoMuchDrama 38 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @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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  • tsamuiquetsamuique 197 replies0 threads Junior Member
    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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  • AmarilloTXAmarilloTX 49 replies0 threads Junior Member
    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.
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  • yellahammayellahamma 131 replies0 threads Junior Member
    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!
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  • MTmom2017MTmom2017 534 replies2 threads Member
    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.
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  • SoMuchDramaSoMuchDrama 38 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @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.
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  • rickle1rickle1 2431 replies21 threads Senior Member
    @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.
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  • 2231Starcross32231Starcross3 10 replies0 threads New Member
    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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  • SoMuchDramaSoMuchDrama 38 replies3 threads Junior Member
    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!!
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