8 Tips for Creating Your B.F.A. College Audition List

If you’re a high school sophomore or junior, you’re probably starting to hear the question, “What colleges are you looking at?” Whether it has always been your dream to study acting, musical theater, voice, or dance in college, you’ve recently decided that you want to, or you’re still on the fence, creating a rock solid arts-based college list tailored to your wants and needs is the first step in pursuing your passion in college.

All of the options and constant stress of junior year (on top of keeping up your G.P.A., preparing for the SAT/ACT, and balancing all of your rehearsals, performances, and extracurricular activities) might have you feeling overwhelmed.

Here’s some quick advice: First, take a breath. Then relax; you’re not alone. And remember that this time next year, you’ll be celebrating some awesome college audition acceptances! To get started on creating your list, here are eight things to consider.

1. Location

Before you start brainstorming your college list, sit down with your parents and have a real heart-to-heart about establishing your geographic boundaries. If you live in Massachusetts, maybe they don’t want you to go to college all the way out in California, but they’ll let you look as far as Philadelphia. If you live in Oklahoma, maybe you only get to look as far south as Austin.

Either way, there are tons of great colleges all over the country and you have the rest of your life to live in New York or Los Angeles. At the end of the day, it will be so much easier to start creating your college list and narrowing down your options if you create specific geographic parameters.

2. Campus size

Some students love the huge campus feel of the University of Southern California or the small town vibe of Ithaca College. You have to feel comfortable at the college you end up at—your happiness is just as important as the program you are applying to/auditioning for.

You may already know the answer to the campus size question, but if you don’t, make a list of a range of colleges that are within driving distance (small, medium, large; rural, suburban, urban) and visit them (even if you don’t plan on applying there). This could save a lot of time/money on flights to discover that you hate “city schools” or “rural campuses.”

3. Training

What do you want your college training to be like? In your initial searches, you’re probably seeing a lot of degree options come up: B.F.A. Musical Theatre, B.F.A. in Acting, B.A. Theatre-Acting Concentration, B.A. Theatre-Musical Theatre Concentration, B.M. Voice Performance, B.FA. Dance, B.A. Dance, etc. Do you want training 24/7 (conservatory)? Do you want 75 percent training/25 percent general education requirements (B.F.A.)? Do you want to major in performance but have t