Application Tip #2 – Reduce, Re-use and Recycle

By now, you are really honing in on a couple of different things – where you will apply, and your audition repertoire (solo, monologue).

In both cases, your life will be made infinitely simpler if you can start out this fall figuring out what the application and audition requirements have in common – I think you will find more similarities than differences, and that is what is going to reduce your workload and also allow you to focus and prepare a reasonable amount of repertoire.

Let’s start with repertoire.

Last year, I asked a Juilliard voice student to research the audition repertoire at 12 different undergraduate vocal programs. Then she did an Excel spreadsheet (I LOVE these – a great way to get all of the information in one place, easy to read and compare). By filling in “an additional work of your choice” requirements with pieces that were required at other schools, she found that a voice applicant applying to music programs needed to prepare only 4 audition pieces.

By lining up all of the audition requirements for your schools of choice in one place, you can start with the school with the most requirements, and see where those fit in with other schools. For example – in Classical piano, Juilliard requires a Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart or Schubert sonata for one category, but has a relatively short list of acceptable sonatas for each composer. Another school (or schools) may require any Mozart sonata. Another may require any Classical sonata. Choosing one of the Juilliard options of eight Mozart sonatas will fulfill all of these requirements!

This holds true for dance and drama as well – most programs have a solo requirement (dance) and monologue requirement (drama) – who has the most? Who is the most specific? Can those specific requirements also apply to schools with more general requirements?

It will be to your benefit to be preparing the least amount of repertoire possible – it will give you more time to polish, to get every piece to 150% – so that even taking into account nerves, stress, and the numerous other audition variables such as bad weather, strange locations, exhausting travel – you’ll be able to audition at 100%.

Application Tip #1: File Sharing

This is one of the absolutely best tips that I received from a parent after Juilliard went paperless with the application process -

Set up an email address and login that is only used for online applications, and that both the student and parent(s) can access.

All of us in Juilliard Admissions were totally happy going paperless – the amount of time spent printing applications, sorting them, filing, printing letters, making copies, signing letters (talk about repetitive stress syndrome!), filing those…a huge amount of administrative hours. However, there was something lost – the hard copy that arrives at a house, that the parents can read in addition to the student, so the parent can keep a file of information on each school – we heard frequently that parents didn’t know their child’s application status, audition date…lots of important information when the parent is doing stuff like making audition travel arrangements, etc.! Although we knew that we were sending out that information, it was landing in the student’s inbox and not going any further.

Since you’re applying to college and will be treated there as an independent adult, we do the same throughout the application and audition process. We don’t send copies of information to parents and we don’t send duplicate emails to parent email addresses – we only communicate with the actual applicant. So it’s up to you to make sure that the folks who are helping you get through this year have all the information they need!

Application Tip #1B – remember that the schools can see your email address, and don’t use anything silly (like [email protected], or [email protected]).

Summer Series – getting the ball rolling

So, guess how much time I’ve spent on applying to kindergartens so far this summer?

Just about as much time as I have writing blogs about it – pretty much none. I think it’s good ol’ procrastination. The whole thing seems really daunting, so I just keep putting it off.

But remarkably, the summer is almost over. We’ll be starting school in two short weeks, and summer Fridays are over (staff gets Fridays off in June, July and most of August). I’ve taken vacation, visited family, and cleaned out some closets at home. And this weekend, I actually spent some time with a friend whose son just finished kindergarten – basically a one-on-one counseling session!

It’s time to take a deep breath and get started. So check back – there’s a lot more to come!

The Folder: How I Spent My Summer at Juilliard

By Monia C. Estima, Senior Assistant Director for Music Admissions

Once upon a Monday dreary, while I pondered, gaunt and teary,
application edits given me the May before
while I grumbled, nearly snapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
a peculiar, ghostly rapping, rapping on my office door.
“‘Tis a work-study,” I muttered, “tapping on my office door,
only this and nothing more.”

Ah yes, what a massive bummer, in that wet and humid summer,
to be stuck inside my office doing edits–what a bore!
Music application pages, fraught with minute, nuanced changes,
marked in red. I rearranged this massive doc in Word once more.
This hulking, wordy document I did update once more.
Over edits I did pore.

And the timid, gentle knocking set my office door a-rocking.
Thrilled me–filled me with a slip of hope I hadn’t felt before.
Maybe there lay some distraction, a surprise to break a fraction
of my tedious inaction. Thus I sprinted to the door.
(Nearly put myself in traction racing to my office door.)
How I skipped across the floor!

Hand upon the knob and turning, happy fire within me burning,
“Dude!” said I, “or Lady, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was snapping and so softly you came tapping,
and so quiet was your rapping, rapping on my office door
that I scarce believed I heard you!” Here, I threw open the door.
Terror pierced me to the core.

For no student stood there waiting, nor co-worker hesitating,
nor the Boss deliberating if they dared disturb the Boar
all these music edits made me. No! Instead a “Hello Kitty!”
folder lay, so bright and shiny, it just lay upon the floor!
Winking up at me grotesquely from its place upon the floor.
Hello Kitty! Nothing more.

Blood within me growing colder, I bent down to grab the folder.
Sweat poured down my neck and shoulders as the thing I did explore.
Not the least obeisance made it, not a moment paused or stayed its
smug complacence as it winked at me, as if it knew the score.
Yes! The creature smiled and winked at me, what sauciness it wore!
And my nerves could take no more.

For inside that heinous folder lay, like Sisyphus’ boulder,
some more edits to be made, my very own ancient Greek chore.
This and more I stood divining, and my bloodshot eyes were shining,
from within me came a whining, “No! This Kitty will not soar!
In my gloomy little office Hello Kitty will not soar!”
Then I knocked on Boss’ door.

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil, brought to me by some pure devil,
whether done in jest or not, this thing was left outside my door!
I thought I was nearly finished but the sight of this diminished
all my hopes of wrapping up so I could hit some sandy shore!
Tell me; with this when may I go rest upon some wind-swept shore?”
Quoth Lee Cioppa, “Nevermore.”

And that word served as our parting for I humphed and then, upstarting,
got me back inside my office, throwing Kitty on the floor.
“Leave no paw-prints as thy token, let’s pretend her word’s unspoken,
leave my loneliness unbroken! Quit thy spot upon my floor!
Take thy wink from out my heart, and take thine edits from my floor!”
Quoth the Kitty, “Nevermore.”

And the monster, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
looking up, obscenely grinning from its post beside the door.
And its eye has all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
and from it hell’s light is beaming, casting shadows on the floor.
And my soul from out the shadows that lie painted ‘cross the floor
shall go tanning–nevermore.

PS: The music application updates weren’t actually all that bad. And, in the nearly ten years I’ve known Associate Dean of Admissions Lee Cioppa, I’ve yet to hear her utter the word, “Nevermore.” Anyway, the updated entrance audition requirements for the 2010 academic year are live on the Juilliard Web site. ;-)

So You Think You Can Dance – Part III

Ok, so we are nearing the end of summer and your senior year looms large – it’s almost time to start those college applications! Here are a few more things to keep in mind before all the craziness of applying and auditioning for college dance programs begins (if you missed the beginning parts of this blog series, click to read Part I and Part II):


- APPLICATIONS: In this age of technology, it is standard to complete your college applications online. In fact, many schools participate in something called the Common Application, which lets you apply to a number of schools at once without having to re-enter all of your information. Juilliard does not participate in the Common Application, but we do have an online application which can be accessed here after September 1. Our application deadline is December 1. I cannot stress enough how important it is to adhere to each school’s application deadline! Keeping track of deadlines, audition dates, and required materials (like SAT scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation) can be daunting – may I suggest that you keep a spreadsheet with the requirements for each school?

- REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A DANCE MAJOR: All colleges require an application for admission, but not all of them require an audition to be a dance major. Some schools simply allow you to declare your major once you are enrolled, or after your first year. Other schools might admit you to the overall college, but then you need to audition separately for the dance department. At Juilliard, a live audition is required of every applicant in dance before any admissions decisions are made. If you are admitted to Juilliard’s Dance Division, then you are automatically a dance major. Juilliard does not offer any double majors or minors to dance students, and admitted students are generally preparing for professional dance performance and/or choreography careers. You can read more about the dance audition process here.

- AUDITION COMPONENTS: If the schools that you are applying to require an audition, be sure to check the what/where/when far in advance! Some schools will accept auditions via DVD, others require a live audition. Some schools require you to come to their campus to audition, and others hold auditions in several cities. Some schools audition year-round, or let you audition by taking a class with currently enrolled students, and other schools have strict audition time periods. Some auditions consist of a class given by a faculty member, and other auditions require you to come prepared with a solo. It’s important that you are aware of each school’s audition process, so be sure to read up on it far enough in advance so that you can take time to create your best audition DVD or solo. Juilliard’s dance audition process can be found here.

I wish you all the best with your college applications and dance auditions! Let me know if you have any questions about Juilliard’s Dance Division, or the application and audition process. I look forward to hearing from you!