From the Eyes of a Musical Theatre Hopeful: College Applications


Myra Klarman

Hesseltine playing Princess Fiona in Pioneer Theatre Guild’s spring 2013 production of SHREK THE MUSICAL.

“But Hannah, you have four applications in already. You’re fine.” My friends have echoed this phrase into my ears over and over for the past two months and over and over I have tried to convince myself it’s true amidst my rapidly mounting stress levels. Early decision and early action deadlines are creeping up on Community High School’s seniors, and I am but one victim to the enormous demands the college application process can be.

Although I submitted four applications before the school year began, I have not traveled this road without some berating bumps. Applying to college alone is an incredible amount of work with the multitudes of essays, supplements, and personal questions you’re required to answer. I am applying to Musical Theatre programs which is an entity of its own.

On top of the essays and supplements that every applicant must complete, applying to a Musical Theatre program includes the challenge of auditioning. Of the schools that I’m applying to, three of them require videos, called prescreens, that you must send in along with your initial application. Prescreens typically require applicants to submit three videos showcasing your singing, acting, and dancing abilities to serve as a precursor to your audition. This allows schools the chance to meet their applicants before they perform a live audition; you are invited to audition based upon your prescreening tapes.

These videos are short—typically one to two minutes each—but the work has been extensive. Finding the right songs to sing, monologues to read, and dances to perform has been both exciting and exhausting. The last month of my summer consisted of scouring songbooks, reading plays, and taking dance classes to prepare for the months that lay ahead. Unfortunately, my goal to finish all of my applications prior to September was a bit of a stretch; I was left to complete them without the endless hours of summer.

As a sixteen year old still in high school, balancing this large amount of work with classes has been difficult to say the least. After long days of classes, rehearsals, and homework, week nights leave a small window of free time to feasibly spend on my future. Left with the weekends, I have set my sights high, hoping to write several essays and personal statements in two day time frames. Sitting with my cup of tea and laptop, my two days of solace have become two additional days of school—applying to nine programs shows no mercy.

Despite the tedious hours of work that these applications demand, it is absolutely necessary. Many of the programs I am auditioning for see 500 to 1000 people and accept a maximum of approximately 24 students each year. Musical Theatre is extremely competitive and because of this, applying to nine schools or more is normal.

Yet, not only is this work necessary, it is one-hundred-percent worth it. From the first time I stepped on stage in the sixth grade to the thousandth time I stepped on stage this week, I have had an undying passion for musical theatre. Pursuing my dream to perform for life is worth the blood, sweat, and tears of any essay, video, or audition.

As of Monday, Oct. 14, I submitted the last of my applications. Relieved, excited, and a little nervous, I can finally accept friends’ high fives, celebrating the closing of another small chapter of senior year. I can finally say “Hannah, you have all of your applications in. It will be fine.”