The New York Times recently published a helpful checklist for high school juniors preparing for the college application process. This list includes good general advice for all college-bound juniors, regardless of intended major. My favorite tip is “finish the school year in a strong fashion.” For students applying to music schools, here are a few more points to add to the to-do list:
- Start thinking about your audition and pre-screening repertoire. Finalized repertoire requirements for the upcoming audition season will be posted on Eastman’s website by early September, but you can take a look now to get a sense of what is expected. Just be sure to check back in September for any updates or changes. If there is a major piece of repertoire that you need to learn, it is much better to start now than to wait until fall. To keep your repertoire list manageable, look for pieces that meet repertoire requirements at more than one school where you will audition.
- Update your resume, or create one if you haven’t yet. Now is a good time to do this, while recent accomplishments are fresh in your mind. Eastman also provides a resume guide to help you get started.
- If English is not your native language, take a careful look at the TOEFL exam requirements for each school you are thinking of applying to. It is critical that you work on your English language skills now so that you will be able to achieve qualifying scores by the deadline.
- Start searching for outside scholarships. Scholarship deadlines occur throughout the year, so don’t wait until it is too late to begin researching! Fastweb.com is an excellent starting point, and many other search tools are linked at the bottom of this page.
- Look for opportunities to study music theory during the summer and in your senior year. AP music theory courses are a great way to do this if your high school offers them. Otherwise summer programs and/or study on your own are also time well-spent. Eastman offers an online four week course called E-Theory that many students have found useful. Having a firm grasp of the fundamentals of music theory will make your freshman year as a music major less stressful, no matter where you attend college.
Keep in mind that your college search is a long-term project that will require you to be very organized, detail-oriented, and aware of deadlines. Getting a good start now will help to make the process easier and less stressful for you. Don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Admissions with any questions that come up along the way.