The summer before his senior year of high school, Minnesotan Joshua Negussie had a hunch that if he wanted to get accepted into one of his dream BFA programs, he better start planning right away. But knowing that there would be so many elements to the process, including not only applications and essays, but also auditions, Negussie didn’t know where to start. Luckily, Negussie found My College Audition, a coaching, training, and mentoring portal for the competitive world of performing arts college admissions.
Now a freshman at one of his top universities, Negussie reflects on the importance of a college-level education, his post-graduation plans, and the role My College Audition has played in getting him where he is. .
How did you know you wanted to get a performing arts degree?
I always knew I wanted to get a performing arts degree. I knew I wanted to be in an environment that would allow me to be in an intimate workspace and work alongside like-minded artists, an environment that allows me to fail and make mistakes and be able grow exponentially…I want to be around people who are open and free enough to try different things and can really grow together as a whole for four years where we can be a family…so we know what it’s like than to work and collaborate with other artists. So when we embark on our journey outside of college, we know what it’s like to learn from each other, to listen, and to be malleable in order to better support each other. That’s what I really wanted, that’s why I wanted to do a BFA training.
How was the application/audition process?
What was interesting about the application and audition process was that it was actually split into two big parts. For most students, of course, it’s a big thing that makes everyone nervous. And it was like that for me too. I was super nervous and didn’t know how to get into college – transcripts, recommendations, college essay, all that jazz. It was still something I had to do, but what was unique and equally difficult for people who wanted to apply for performing arts was that there was also a second, completely different element, which was the hearing process.
So it was very difficult to be able to figure it out on my own or figure out how it works in a year, and be successful. It was really a challenge at first.
I found My College Audition, and it literally changed my life. I wouldn’t be here right now without all the knowledge they gave me, the advice they gave me to be able to understand what I had to do in this past year… I wanted to be an actor and go in a theater school so I had to learn monologues: a contemporary monologue, a classic monologue, a song to sing.
At what point in the process did you find My College Audition?
I found them at the end of my freshman year of high school… I kind of had the intuition already for the genre, okay, I can’t just pick a monologue and memorize it. I knew I had to prepare so I searched and found My College Audition and they had a summer program.
So I thought I’ll do that, see what it is, maybe I learn a few things. And it was like jaw dropping oh my god i’m so glad i went because I had no idea what I would have done. They really broke down in a week every single thing you would need to do… month by month of what you would need to do to be successful. It was so well broken down for each student in terms of their own needs, where they are and how that affects certain things. They were super, super caring and so it was really nice to have that.
How has having a My College Audition scholarship supported your aspirations?
For me, like many other people from marginalized groups, I didn’t have the money to get that training or education, and I know there are a lot of kids that are like that. Being able to find opportunities and make institutions or companies design ambition, hard work and self-confidence, believe in your dreams and give you that chance, reach out and make that bridge between your burning ambitions and the future, it’s such an amazing and beautiful thing. They were able to help me bridge that gap, get me that coaching with the scholarship. It really shows their integrity and honesty in how they help people reach the highest potential of what they can do.
What do you hope to do after you graduate?
I grew up in a school where there was almost no diversity. I was the only black person who liked the theater, the only black person in everything, and so I felt very left out, like I had never heard my voice. So it took me a long time to realize that my voice mattered, that I had value with my voice and that I needed to speak up and share my perspective on my own story. So when I graduate I want to be able to portray characters and stories that illuminate stories that aren’t being told, that show there’s POC talent, there’s people who are like me who have that potential, but they don’t have the opportunity.