1. Don't spend money on college visits until you know where you have been accepted.
You may audition for 10-14 schools and only get acceptances at 2 or 3. Wait to visit in the spring only those colleges to which you have been admitted. Then you can compare your bona fide offers. This will save you time, money and the stress of extensive traveling.
2. Forego an expensive headshot.
Having a professional headshot is great, but can cost up to $800. The colleges simply want a photo so that they can remember you. Consider using your senior picture. Remember, it's your great audition that will get you accepted. Not your headshot.
3. Summer performing arts camps aren't necessary.
These summer offerings are enriching, but costly. Consider instead participating in a production at a local community theatre, church or synagogue. Volunteer for interning opportunities at a professional theatre to supplement your training.
4. Use your public library and Internet to find audition material.
You can find monologues from plays at your local library, and songs from searching YouTube and other free websites. Get student discount tickets to attend shows where you can get ideas for songs and monologues. Read national theatrical periodicals and reviews of plays and musicals.
5. Find an alternative to expensive private coaching.
Enlist the help of your high school drama teacher and choir director to help you prepare your audition package. You might even find a mentor at one of the professional theatres in your area who will advise you. Read my book, I GOT IN! The Ultimate College Audition Guide For Acting And Musical Theatre. It retails for $15. Click here to order.
Best resource for finding scholarship money for performing arts college programs is a 30 minute online video, Getting Scholarships. In it, Central Coast College consultants cover how to apply for financial aid for performing arts programs, and find the colleges with the scholarship money you need! Cost: $9.99 Click here to order.
Mary Anna Dennard has been a college audition coach since 2000. She is the author of the book, I GOT IN! The Ultimate College Audition Guide For Acting And Musical Theatre and was special contributor to the New York Times Theatre section. She is also guest faculty for the Broadway Dreams Foundation, and a member of the National Association Of College Admission Counseling. For more information, visit Collegeauditioncoach.com.