Just the Essentials: MFA in Acting Application Requirements

Just the Essentials: MFA in Acting Application Requirements

When you pack for the beach, you know you need a swimsuit, clothes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and maybe even a book. When it comes to applying for the MFA in Acting, the necessities become a little less obvious. You may know how to select audition materials and act, but the idea of writing a personal statement essay and figuring out who to ask for a reference may seem daunting. There’s no need to stress! Relax and take a few minutes to read our suggestions on the essentials to prepare for the MFA in Acting application.

Like a swimsuit at the beach, transcripts are necessary to even begin the application process. Currently, every MFA in Acting program asks for you to have completed undergraduate studies before applying. For most, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in acting, but for many it is encouraged. For proof of this and further explanation on your prior training, they ask for transcripts from your prior degree(s). Whether you request online or by mail, this essential can take some time to acquire. Each undergraduate institution sends transcripts differently, but often there is a form to acquire a digital version of your transcript. Digital versions are highly accepted nowadays. Be sure to think ahead and have both unofficial and official copies at the ready.

By far the most essential of the essentials, the actor’s resumé tells your history as a creative. From it, future professors understand a sense of your personality, skill, and taste in creative work. On it, you may include past theatre productions, prior training, special skills, and miscellaneous acting gigs. Have a trusted mentor assess your resume for formatting and content. You don’t necessarily have to list ever single project you’ve worked on, but it’s important for your resume to speak truthfully to who you are as an artist. Consider including a range of the work you are capable of as well as projects that especially resonate to your artistic mission.

This is another chance to show your personality and a sense of who you are before they ever meet you! Make sure your headshot is up-to-date and represents your person accurately. You may want to consider taking new headshots just before the application process, say in late summer or early fall, to keep them as fresh and true to yourself during this process. Wear your favorite color, cater your expression to the tone of work you love doing, and be yourself!

This essential takes the most amount of thought and effort from other people in your circle. Most programs ask for 2-3 letters of recommendation from industry professionals, directors, and professors who know both you and your work well. Most graduate programs only specify who these letters should come from and that they should speak to who you are as a person and artist rather than any specific content or questions to answer. Consider asking each reference to give thoughts on a different aspect of your work, such as academic achievement, what it’s like to work with you, your movement ability, or even work ethic. Be sure to give them a respectful amount of time to write these for you!

Most schools ask for 2-4 monologues around 1 minute in length, all contrasting, for the MFA in Acting audition process. This means your repertoire must encompass both classical and contemporary, comedic and dramatic, and verse and prose selections to showcase your acting ability. On occasion, it also includes a short song selection. Be thinking of pieces to prepare for this portion, but you often have more time than the online application deadline to prepare. Keep an eye out for more information from Theater.Academy on audition material advice, especially on classical monologues in conjunction with our Performing Shakespeare course!

This essential requires the most effort in creation from you and varies the most in requirement from program to program. While length varies between programs, this document is typically 1 to 2 pages in length. We’ll offer a summary here. On the whole, most MFA in Acting programs ask for an essay to expand upon the reasons why you seek graduate study and why especially at their program. This is a chance to showcase your written and analytic abilities, show personality, and offer articulate intention about your desire to pursue the MFA in Acting. Be sure to tailor each statement of purpose to the program, explaining why you are interested in this specific program. Keep an eye out for more helpful articles on how to write a captivating personal statement! In the meantime, Theater.Academy offers a specific plan to assist with this essential; check it out here.

Unlike the BFA audition process, most MFA auditions do not require a prescreen or initial video submission for their audition. Just a handful of programs allow you to audition solely by video. However, having your audition pieces in a self-tape video format is still incredibly beneficial. Some programs allow you the option to submit videos of monologues or special skills as an extension of the application. In these instances, it is not required for admission, but it allows for you to share more of yourself and your artistry with those considering you. This is especially true for the URTAs collective audition, where they asked you to optionally send videos of your pieces beforehand. These videos can be used again for outside auditions and also serve as a helpful crutch in the case of illness or emergencies.

If you can make sure you have a transcript, headshot, resume, recommenders, statement of purpose outline, and perhaps even self-tapes at the ready, you will be completely prepared for the MFA in Acting application process. Be sure to check out our “Helpful Article” on the MFA in Acting Application Timeline to stay on track!

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