Auditions & Doubts by Julieta Roll

Every Tuesday and Thursday for the most couple months has been shadow day at SOTA. This means that around 1 o’clock pm every department receives a handful of ‘shadows’. Shadows are 8th graders who are interested in the department and come to visit the school for a day. They sit in with us during the art block and ‘shadow’ a student, usually a 9th grader.

Every Tuesday and Thursday that I am reminded that not to long ago I was a shadow, and a scared 8th grader who wanted to apply to the Creative Writing Department. Seeing the new group of people interested in CW it makes me reflect, and as the due date for the portfolios approach I can not help but remember my experience applying to this department. I often look back and try to remember my audition process, but all I can really recall feeling is nervous, and wondering if my writing was any good, and if it was even a good idea to apply in the first place. It is these doubts that we all feel that get us down and prevent us from doing things we want to do.

For all those applying to the department the advice I give you is to not be doubtful of yourself and your writing. If things don’t work out the way you want them to it shouldn’t stop you from continuing your interests, especially if that interest is writing.

Julieta Roll, class of 2019

Dear Auditioning 8th Graders…

From Molly Bond, Class of 2015, fondly known as Smolly within our Cdub circle.

If you’re like me, you’re so nervous about this audition that you’re spending all your time sobbing in bed with a cup of coffee and a tear-soaked cat. To make things easier for you, we’re trying to demystify the audition process as much as possible because a lot of us enter room 202 with absolutely no clue on what to expect. Let’s start with common misconceptions:

1. “I should act as artsy-fartsy as possible because this is an ARTS school I’m applying to and they want ARTSY kids!”
Please, please please please please please, do not put on an artsy “act”. Heather will be able to tell, and in Creative Writing, we want people who are honest.

2. “Heather will judge me and my family and everything I stand for! I should act as normal as possible so as not to appear odd!”
I can’t think of one person in creative writing who isn’t unusual in some way. It’s great. Normal people are boring, so just be yourself. At the same time, don’t go out of your way to seem “edgy” or “eccentric” just to interest Heather. I mean, we’re all unique little snowflakes and stuff, but enough is enough.

3. “I want to make an IMPACT! When we’re asked to write during the audition, I’ll write about LOVE and LIFE and the AMERICAN DREAM and THE UNIVERSE because those are the only things worth writing about!”
Try to think small here. Just because the topic isn’t huge doesn’t mean it’s not a meaningful story. (Midori: As a matter of fact, I frequently find that it’s the little stories that interest me. I’d take a haiku about the pains of finals week over a poetic rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner any day.)

And for some things that are true:

1. Creative writing is fun. Of course, most of our time is spent writing, reading, and discussing literature, but we are also quite good at laughing and eating cake.

2. Creative writing is difficult. There is homework, and you are expected to put a fair amount of effort into it. The books we read are advanced and the our discussions are college-level. (Midori: But don’t let this intimidate you. Refer to Truth #1.)

3. We are like a family. We all get along swimmingly (for the most part) and I personally feel very close to every single person in the department, even though I’ve only been here for half a year. Our department is small, too, maximizing the family feel. (Expect enormous, if not excessive amounts of snuggling.)


1. Bring a list of books you like to read so that you don’t freak out when Heather asks.

2. Have a sense of humor. If things go wrong, don’t slip into a coma.

3. If you don’t get in, try again! A great way to revise is by going to 826 Valencia writing programs. If you still don’t get in, it’s because the program isn’t right for you. You may be disappointed, but it’s not as bad as entering the department just to find out you’re not in the right place.

4. Read Umlaut to get an idea of what kind of work we produce in CW. Not only is it an entertaining read, but also you support our department with your purchase. has more information.

Good luck, soldier.


Application Deadline!

For all those interested in applying to SOTA’s Creative Writing department, you must submit your applications and portfolios by 3 p.m. Friday, December 2.

This round of auditions will be held on January 17th, so be sure to show your shiny, eager faces when the time comes to interview.