THE BLOG
01/30/2015 12:28 pm ET Updated Apr 01, 2015

Shut Your Mouth: College Audition Etiquette

Those auditioning for performing arts college programs are presented with an extra set of challenges as each are evaluated in-person among a sea of prospective students. Picture oodles of time waiting around in hallways and holding rooms in hotels and college campuses. You try to stay calm, cool and collected amidst a group of ambitious thespians and their parents, until your name is called. To say you are not sizing up the competition would be a fabrication. Sound like an awkward situation? You bet it is. So what is the appropriate behavior, and how can you keep from embarrassing yourself?

Here are 5 College Audition Etiquette Dos and Don'ts

Do
1. Wear headphones. It's the best way to stay quiet and focused on your audition, not on the people around you.
2. Be polite. Act as though you are at a nice restaurant. With your grandmother.
3. Remember that audition panels are not the enemy. They are rooting for you.
4. After your audition, leave your game face on until you get into your car. Then you can cry. (or celebrate your fabulousness).
5. Assume everyone around you is a college rep. That includes ushers, receptionists and janitors. The theater world is small. You never know.

Don't
1. Ask questions of the other actors. Like, "What song are you singing?" or "What other schools are you applying to?" NOYB.
2. Listen at the door to the other performers. Their audition has nothing to do with you. And it's embarrassing.
3. Brag about your achievements. The colleges already know how talented you are. And no one likes a bragger.
4. Make any comments about students, teachers and schools. Critical or otherwise. Assume that it will offend someone.
5. Be nervous. Remember this is what you love to do!

I encourage all students to mail a hand-written thank you note after your audition. In this day and age of texting, tweeting, emailing, Instagramming, Snapchatting and Facebook messaging, a hand-written thank you carries more weight than you can imagine.

A simple thank you note has three sentences.
• Thank them for the audition opportunity
• Mention something specific about the experience that is noteworthy
• Wish them well on the audition circuit and hope to see them in the future

One final thought: Be yourself, and be sure it is your best self. Have faith that you are enough. As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."