Dancing through college auditions

Dancing through college auditions

The college process is grueling for the average junior/senior in high school. Think about how much time and effort goes into SAT prep, countless supplements and several other forms just to apply. Imagine all that while preparing prescreening videos and prepping for auditions. For seniors Cara McNiff, Bryan Gannon and Maddy Rozynek, this is the nerve-racking reality.

“The most important and critical step you need to take if you’re applying for a college theater program is assessing whether or not the performing arts is what you want to devote your life to,” Gannon said.

Devotion to theater is something that has to be thought about long and hard before deciding to go through with the application process. After the decision is made, they are ready to apply. However, the common application is only one piece of the puzzle.

Rozynek explained that it is mandatory to send in a prescreening video, filming yourself doing two monologues, two songs and a short dance. Just like the varying word count on personal essays, the prescreening video needs to be re-done for multiple schools depending on their time constraint.


Being passed to the next round doesn’t come with an acceptance letter. Instead, some traveling is involved.

“You have to go to campus and do an in-person audition, or to New York for something called the ‘Unifieds’ where reps will come down from the schools to watch you, and do your material again,” she said.

Some may think this is an inconvenience. Being forced to travel around the country is a huge commitment and can be quite costly. Mcniff, however believes it may be working in her favor.

“It is getting to be a lot of traveling, but I honestly feel like I am getting an advantage over the other people in my grade who are applying and getting into schools they might not go to until they attend next year,” Mcniff said.

Gannon finds the personal visits brutally nerve wracking. You can be there for hours waiting for that 10 minutes in the spotlight followed by a talking interview.

“In the end, the school will accept 18-25 people into their program, so there is always very little chance you’ll get in,” Gannon says.

The competition is cutthroat, but that won’t stop these three from following their dreams. Applying to theater programs is only the first step in their soon to be very successful careers.

“That’s just how the theatre world works, and one of the students at my auditions told me that, ‘if you can do college auditions, you can do anything,’” Rozynek says.