Undergraduate Admission Blog

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January 4, 2018

GUEST BLOG: Advice from the USC School of Dramatic Arts


The week’s post is from Ramón Valdez, Assistant Director of Admission for the USC School of Dramatic Arts.  You can follow SDA’s admission office on Instagram @uscsdaprospect to stay up to date on current admission deadlines and announcements.  To learn more about SDA productions and events on campus follow SDA on Instagram @uscsda and follow them on facebook, twitter, and YouTube.  You can also check our their website for information about applying, upcoming shows and events happening on campus.

During the months of January and February, the admissions team for the USC School of Dramatic Arts has the great fortune of traveling 6000+ miles over 11 days to visit four cities across the country to audition over 1000 applicants to the BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media. That’s a lot of coffee.

A typical audition day for our team includes two audition blocks, each of which start with an orientation session to review the programs, resources and experiences available at USC and with the School of Dramatic Arts. Once all questions have been answered, applicants will be put into two groups. Those in Group A will audition while those in Group B will have the opportunity to check in and chat with our admissions team. Once Group A has auditioned, we’ll swap and speak with those in Group A while Group B auditions. Pretty simple.

Applicants will be presenting two contrasting monologues (no longer than two minutes, each) for two of our acting faculty who teach across all our undergraduate and graduate programs. Ideally one monologue would be a classical piece (prior to 1910) and the second piece would be a contemporary piece (post 1910). Now, we should mention that given the number of applicants we need to see, the faculty may not have time to engage you in conversation while you’re in the room. It has nothing to do with you or your audition, it really is just a matter of timing.

In terms of material selection, you should pick pieces that are going to best showcase your skillset and your talent. We want to see your range and what you have to offer. Pick work that you’re comfortable with – if it is from a published play, it’s fair game.

Our auditors are actively working towards including you in the pool of applicants we admit. You can help them by studying the play your monologue comes from, committing time and energy to understanding what you’re saying and who you’re saying it to, and playing the part truthfully and honestly. We want to see that you have a commitment, not only to coming to USC, but towards developing your craft. We recognize when an applicant is dressed appropriately (not in costume), carries themselves professionally, has spent time thinking about their work and enjoys what they’re doing.

As is the case with any audition, chances are you will get nervous, you will be anxious and you may stress out. No point in fighting it – just accept it and move through it. Remember why you got started in the first place. Remember that you enjoy acting – it’s fun. Most importantly, know that we are excited to see you and want you to succeed.

Please note, auditions are only required for those applying to our BFA in Acting for Stage, Screen and New Media. Applicants to our BA in Dramatic Arts do not have the option to audition.

By: Ramón Valdez
Assistant Director of Admission, USC School of Dramatic Arts

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