Submit. Done! It’s a good feeling, no doubt. Fast apps, online applications, and the Common App have made applying to college slightly less painful and time consuming. But for a few seniors, the application process was considerably more involved.
Senior Benjamin Harris intends to study music at Boston University. But to get to that point, he had to travel all over the country for auditions. He said, “First, I had to make a CD with my audition material to send to the colleges before they would allow me to come audition. I guess I am lucky because I take voice at Georgia State University, giving me a first hand experience of exactly what a college wants to hear.” And while not always required, going to a school to audition “shows your interest in the school and allows you to make a personal connection with the professors at the university,” he said. Auditions are often intimidating; they pit potential students against each other for a few select spots. (And you thought your interview at Starbucks with that starry-eyed alum was scary.) But Benjamin was able to keep cool and collected, saying, “My adrenaline takes over and I can tell that I am ready when it comes down to it.”
Benjamin explained that he could handle it all because his teachers are understanding and were “very generous about giving extensions to assignments that I missed.” Even though at times he wished he could just hit “submit,” Benjamin said he understands that being a music student means making sacrifices. And there are benefits to the audition process. Benjamin loved being able to meet with the professors and see all the performances that the schools were doing at the time of his visits.

Similarly, students who want to play sports in college have to undergo a recruiting process. Emily Kaplan ’10 who dives for Princeton University described her recruitment process as exciting yet stressful. “I can’t complain though; the trips were all a ton of fun and a great way to get to know the school, team, and coach,” she said. There are a myriad of rules that coaches must abide by when contacting high schoolers. Collegiate coaches are not allowed to reach out to potential athletes until July 1 before their senior year. That doesn’t mean the process doesn’t start before that, though. Emily said that coaches were “able to look at my diving stats online. Over the summer I sent them a highlight video, which they use to judge our current skill and our potential.” In diving, a lot of club team coaches are also college coaches, “but otherwise coaches don’t often come to meets,” noted Emily, with the exception of those from close-by southern schools.
Senior Billy Selmon will be playing basketball for Bates College next year. He explained that recruiting is a different process for Division 3 schools than Division 1. Billy had to go “to them first, and then they showed a lot of interest once I showed them film of my games.” Billy is looking forward to playing for the Bates Bobcats, rooming with another freshman basketball player, and living in Maine. “Just for the record, I know that Maine is cold. The first thing people say when I tell them I’m going to Bates is, ‘Do you know how cold it is there?’ Yes. Yes, I do.”
Benjamin had some advice for younger students who might be auditioning as part of applying to college. He recommended, “Prepare your audition repertoire early and make sure you have enough variation in the pieces you choose. Colleges like multi-lingual auditions in different meters and keys. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during your audition.” He added that one has to “be confident. There is nothing worse than someone who can sing well but who has no self confidence or presence!”
Looking back, Emily had this advice: “If you are in a sport where coaches often come to meets, competitions or games, definitely introduce yourself and talk to them. It’s always a good thing if they can match a name to a face, and it’s a great way to make a good impression.” One thing current high schoolers might not think about is that “even if you don’t decide to go to that school, it’s nice to recognize and talk to other coaches if you see them in meets, competitions, or games in college,” she emphasized. Emily gushed, “I love being on a team in college. It was so nice to immediately have a welcoming group of people when I first stepped on campus, and they make up a good portion of my friends now. Not to mention, athletes are totally spoiled with clothes and equipment.”

By Grace Butler, Staff Writer ’12
Photo Credit: Neil Bainton and Lifetouch


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