It seems that time has hardly passed since I was filling out my application to Juilliard, but here I am now, filling out grad school applications and wondering how I’ve come full circle from a high school senior to a college one!
If you are currently filling out your Juilliard application, congratulations on making the first step in your journey here! It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially at the beginning, but here’s what I have learned from filling out college applications:
1. Don’t overthink it. It can feel like a lot of pressure to submit a perfect prescreen and an award-worthy essay, but don’t try to do something beyond your capabilities, and certainly don’t try to be someone you’re not! You may want to submit something that is “Juilliard-worthy” or fits into whatever you think is what Juilliard is looking for, but keep in mind that you are auditioning for a school. The faculty don’t expect you to be a master at what you do already; they want to see potential, enthusiasm, and originality much, much more than they want to see a mistake-free robot.
2. Make a list, check it twice—and a third time. Especially if you are applying to more than one school, it will help tremendously to keep a list (or some type of record!) of deadlines, materials to submit, application fees, etc. Do you need a teacher to submit a letter of recommendation? Will you be using the Common App or the school’s individual application portal? (Do you remember your passwords?) The last thing you want at 11:59 pm on December 1 is to realize that your application is due in one minute and you forgot to record a piece for your prescreening. For my flute applications, many schools requested the same pieces, but I had to keep track of which ones needed accompaniment, which ones only required a single movement, etc. When I recorded my prescreening repertoire, I made sure that I was recording the correct requirements for each school.
3. Make application season enjoyable. While I certainly don’t find filling out tedious applications to be a hobby of mine, one of my fondest memories from fall during senior year was getting together with friends in the library, gathering a big pile of contraband snacks (making sure the librarians didn’t notice!), and critiquing each other’s essays. We ended up having a lot of fun hyping each other up, making jokes, and thinking of clever ways to sneak each other’s accomplishments into our essays. Your friends may not be applying to Juilliard, but it’s still nice to have somebody there who will share the time with you and offer encouragement. If it works for you, you can even try setting little rewards for yourself after finishing each part of your application—it may not have been the healthiest motivation, but my friends and I all got ice cream after recording our prescreenings, even though it was nearly winter by that time.
4. Take it as a learning experience. Whether you get invited to a live audition or not after submitting your application, the preparation and dedication that you put into your application will result in tremendous growth. After recording prescreenings, I felt much more confident and familiar with the process of preparing performance-worthy repertoire.
I wish you all the best of luck in completing your applications! I almost didn’t apply here, and I never expected my path to lead me here, but I’m so thankful that I did. Getting to even apply here is a privilege, and the faculty here recognize and respect that. Sending good vibes to all of you applying, and I hope to see you here in a few months for the auditions!
College applications for fall 2020 are now open.