Admissions  •  Preparing for the Audition

Preparing for the Audition

Admissions Requirements by Discipline

Audition and portfolio review requirements and details per discipline are outlined below. As a student, it is your responsibility to make sure that you present a complete audition/portfolio that meets all of the stated requirements. Sample rubrics will be available by the end of September .

Your audition/portfolio review is the opportunity for you to showcase your work as a Scholar Artist. You should highlight your talent, creativity, diversity of technique, training, passion, discipline, and commitment.

Throughout this section and the Admissions Overview page are the answers to many Frequently Asked Questions. Please be sure to review both of these sections thoroughly. If you have additional questions which are not answered here, please contact the CSA Admissions Team at or calling CSA at 216.838.9000.


A complete Creative Writing audition includes: submission of a literary portfolio, a performance of at least 1 piece from the portfolio, an interview and participation in a brief workshop that includes an on-demand writing prompt.

Portfolio Guidelines:

All work must be written by the student and include the student’s name and the title of the piece. Copies of work are highly suggested as the portfolio will be collected and not returned. Portfolios must be 2-5 pages in length. Typed portfolios are highly preferred. Additional work may be brought to the audition and may be requested by the adjudicators.

The portfolio must include the writing samples listed below.
● One poem written in a traditional literary form
● One poem that best represents the writer’s individual authentic voice
● One non-poem piece that can be in any other form, including but not limited to: fiction, drama, creative non-fiction, song lyrics, or rap lyrics.


Dance students will participate in a Ballet and Modern technique class. Following the technique instruction, students will have the opportunity to present a prepared solo piece.

Please note, the CSA Dance course of study focuses on Ballet and Modern technique. At this time, we do not offer classes in hip-hop.

Solo Piece Guidelines:

● Any style that the dancer feels best represents his/her strengths
● The student must bring their own music either on a CD or a MP3 player
● If using a cell phone, it must be put in airplane mode to not interrupt the audition

Audition Dress Requirements:

All students must wear clothes that are comfortable for movement. Students are not permitted to wear jewelry or excessively baggy clothing during the audition. All students must securely pull their hair back.

Girls preferred attire: leotard, tights and ballet shoes; or dance attire with jazz shoes. Skirts and Pointe shoes are optional.

Boys preferred attire: tights or fitted shorts, white t-shirt, and ballet or jazz shoes.


Instrumental students will perform a prepared song. Students may also be asked to sight-read music, play a different instrument, sing, and/or play scales.

Students are welcome to audition on piano and guitar but will be coached to help find their primary instrument of study for their time at CSA.

Song Selection Guidelines:

● 2-3 minute piece
● Selection should highlight your range as a musician including variety in tempo
● Students must bring their own instrument and music
● Percussionists need to bring sticks and mallets
● A piano/keyboard will be provided.


The Interdisciplinary Arts major is a new program at Cleveland School of the Arts. The program is designed to serve students who are interested in studying a range of art forms or who may need additional training if they would like to focus their studies in one of CSA’s other majors.

Audition and Interview Process:

● Audition will comprise of several workshops for both visual and performing arts
● Interview completed by the Interdisciplinary team
● Students are encouraged to bring artwork, writing, or share any art form that interests them
● Students may be asked to come back for an additional audition or interview


Theatre students must perform a memorized monologue from a play, novel, or poem. In addition to performing the prepared monologue for the adjudicators, students will participate in a series of theatre warm-ups, and improvisation activities.

Students should wear clothing that they can move in.

Monologue Guidelines:

● A monologue is a spoken performance done by one person
● Bring two printed copies of the monologue for adjudicators
● Monologues must be between 2-3 minutes in length
● The piece should be age-appropriate
● Monologues must be memorized
● If possible, read the entire play, novel, etc. while preparing the monologue to have a better understanding of the character you are portraying
● Chairs are provided if needed- any other props must be brought with you


Students will participate in a portfolio review and will work on a still life drawing at the audition. Below are guidelines for the portfolio review.

Portfolio Requirements:

Your portfolio must meet the guidelines below. All work must be created by the student. In addition to the portfolio, if you use a sketchbook, it is highly suggested that you bring it to the audition.

● 7-10 pieces that show your understanding of composition, spacing, use of color, and diversity in technique as an artist
● Painting, drawing, photography, graphic design, sculpture, and other 3D work are all accepted in the portfolio
● Portfolio should include at least two drawings done from observation
● Photography students should include at minimum five photos in their portfolios
● Photography students may be asked to take a photograph at the audition
● Artwork can be any size
● Students should be prepared to speak to the adjudicators about their work and answer questions about the work.


Vocal students must prepare at least one song of their choice; two contrasting songs that highlight a student’s range and technique are preferred.

In addition to the prepared selection, students may be asked to participate in vocal warm-ups and exercises.

Song Selection Guidelines:

● Song selection should demonstrate your strengths as a singer and range (high & low notes)
● Patriotic songs, religious songs, jazz standards, and some musical theatre songs are suggested
● Pop songs are not suggested; rap is not acceptable for a vocal music audition
● Bring two printed copies of your song selection
● An accompanist will be on site for auditions
● Students may also choose to bring a CD with music
● Acapella singing is accepted but not preferred