‘Tis the season… for college applications. As someone who’s been through that lovely process TWICE (once for undergrad, once for grad school), take it from me: don’t stress! Or, don’t stress TOO much. I know the whole thing is overwhelming, but here are a few ways to make it a little more manageable:
- Break down your application into smaller components and check them off as you complete them, instead of seeing it as one huge thing to do. Spreadsheets are definitely your friend here.
- Have tons of people read your essay and give some feedback— mothers, brothers, teachers, ex-girlfriends of your cousin twice-removed on your dad’s side, etc. It’s always helpful to get multiple opinions. At the end of the day, choose which feedback is useful in creating something that really shows the kind of person you are.
- Try not to agonize over prescreening recordings! They offer a small glimpse into your ability level and are only meant to determine whether or not it’s worth it for you to come audition live. Think of it as the committee doing you a solid: they’re making sure you don’t waste your time (and money) by auditioning at a place that might not be the best fit. I know I stressed over these a LOT, but I wish I had realized then that how I play is how I play...I wasn’t going to magically turn into Vladimir Horowitz if I did enough takes.
- Remember that the admissions committee is looking for reasons to accept you! It’s their job to find the next class of incoming students, so they want your application to be the one that screams Juilliard material.
- Most importantly, be proud of yourself. Weirdly enough, as much as this process can create a lot of self-doubt, it also forces you to look back on what you’ve accomplished so far. When you have to prove to other people that you’re talented, hardworking, and passionate, you might end up proving it to yourself. For me, that was an important realization: knowing that no matter what ends up happening, I’m proud of the things I’ve done so far. As you read over your application, try to let that thought run through your mind once or twice (in between checking for typos, of course).