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School of Performing and Visual Arts

Auditions and Portfolio Reviews

The School of Performing and Visual Arts welcomes all applicants interested in our programs to showcase their talents via an audition and/or a portfolio review at one of our recruitment events. 

Art and Design

USM Art and Design Portfolio Reviews

Dates for Prospective Students

Fall Virtual Recruitment Day | October 29, 2021

Learn more about each of our emphasis areas that are at the heart of our program, including Painting and Drawing, Sculpture and Ceramics, and Graphic Design. Join groups to meet with our faculty and students. They'll answer any questions you might have about becoming a Golden Eagle!



Step 1

Apply to the University. For acceptance into the Art and Design programs, apply to the University. 


Open House 

(Optional) Submit your digital portfolio review. Portfolios are encouraged as part of the scholarship awarding process when attending Open House. 



The USM Art and Design program encourages a portfolio review as part of the admissions and scholarship awarding process. Typically, portfolio reviews are mostly conducted in-person during the Art and Design recruitment event, but due to our Covid-19 response, only digital portfolio reviews are being accepted.

Preparing Your Submission

Digital Portfolio: What do we look for in your a portfolio review submission? We look for both an interest in and commitment to art, as well as skills in drawing and painting from observation/imagination, a sense of color and design, and other creative abilities.

Here are some guidelines for submitting your digital portfolio:

  • Portfolios should include 10-15 images of your work. You may include: drawing and painting from observation/imagination, printmaking, sculptures or other three-dimensional works, ceramics, print, packaging, illustration, typography, web design, identity campaigns (logo design and branding), digital photography, and interactive media/motion graphics.
  • If you have interactive media/motion graphics, please share the URL when submitting the form.
  • File should be saved as a single Adobe PDF document.
  • Include 1-2 images per page: Include title of work and medium used.
  • File should be no larger than 25MB.
  • Please use the following format for the file name: first_lastname_portfolio.pdf.

Recommendation: You will need to submit the contact information of a reference. It can be a visual arts teacher or an employer. You will need their first name, last name, email, title/position, and organization.

Once you submit your application form online, your reference will receive an email on behalf of Southern Miss Art and Design with an online recommendation form for them to submit. Note: You will need to certify that you have permission from your reference to share their email address, so they can be contacted via email by USM to request the recommendation.

Essay: An essay titled “Why I Want to be an Art Major at Southern Miss?”


Submit Portfolio



USM Dance Auditions

Audition Dates for Prospective Students

Our Dance program is accepting online or in-person audition materials and video submissions, as an option for students. 

In-Person Dance Audition Dates:

  • October 30, 2021
  • November 20, 2021
  • February 12, 2021
  • April 8, 2022

High School Dance Day 

We can't wait to welcome high school students to our dance day! Here, you will participate in master classes in the ballet, modern, and jazz techniques as well as see a showing of faculty and student choreographic works that will give you an idea of the kind of dancing we do at Southern Miss. 

  • November 12, 2021 (Auditions will begin at 3:30 p.m., immediately following High School Dance Day)
  • April 8, 2022 (Auditions will begin at 3:30 p.m., immediately following High School Dance Day)



Application/Video Audition Process

To apply for acceptance into the undergraduate BFA program in dance at Southern Miss, you must apply to the University AND audition as part of the application process.

Step 1

Apply to the University. To apply for acceptance into the undergraduate BFA program in dance at Southern Miss, you must apply to the University.


Step 2

Submit the audition application form. You may audition online or in-person. Please see below to prepare the supporting materials required when submitting the form.


Here is a checklist of materials you need to prepare to submit to the audition application form:

  • Resumé
  • Personal Dance Major Narrative Questions
    • Share any significant dance experiences or training you’d like to highlight or makes sure we are aware of.
    • Why do you want to study dance in college? Do you have career goals yet?
    • How did you hear about the USM Dance Program?
  •  Essay: Select one of the questions below for your one-page essay (If auditioning for a scholarship) :
    1. What is the most meaningful dance experience(s) you have had thus far in your training and why? How did these shape what you hope for from here?
    2. What has dance taught you about yourself? How does what you have learned as a dancer inform your life and visa versa?
  • In-person or online video audition   

Here are some guidelines for submitting your video!

Introduction: Let’s get to know you! Look at the camera and state the following information to begin your audition video:

  • Name
  • Where you are from
  • Your goals as a dance major
  • Why you would like to attend The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Performing and Visual Arts to major in dance

Dance Performance: This section may include combinations from dance classes, a performed dance piece, improvised movement, etc. Movement can be in any dance style, a variety of dance styles, and be self or instructor choreographed (or a combination of both).

Length: Please note that the video should not exceed ten minutes in length.

Attire: Applicants must wear well-fitted dance attire where the body is fully visible; Your video must be taped in a theatre or dance studio with good lighting and the recording must be in focus; and incomplete or poor-quality videos may result in the student’s submission not being considered.

Deadline: All videos must be received no later stated University deadlines for undergraduate admissions.

Format: Your audition video may be submitted via video form by either uploading an MP4 file. 

Thank you for following the instructions above. This will assist us in evaluating everyone on similar work and make the video audition close to what students are asked to do during the in‐person auditions. We can’t wait to review your submission!



Learn more about the Dance program


USM Theatre Auditions

Dates for Prospective Students

Curtain Up | November 20, 2021

We can't wait to welcome prospective students to Curtain Up! 

Here, you will meet faculty and students representing the many degree programs and production areas, including BA in Theatre, the BFA  (Design and Technology) and the BFA (Acting), and production opportunities in Acting, Directing, Costumes, Lighting, Sound, Scenic, Paint, Props, House Management, Producing, Technical Direction, Stage Management, and more! 


The USM Theatre program offers considerable scholarship opportunities for incoming students.  

Students with pre-prepared materials, including a portfolio or audition piece, will need to submit:

  • A recorded 1-minute monologue (plus 16 bars of prepared song optional) or 3-minute presentation of portfolio with a brief introduction as described below. (YouTube links are the easiest for us to handle in large numbers).
  • A headshot or high-resolution photo
  • A resume

** Don’t have a portfolio or audition piece? You are not required to have those already in order to participate in scholarship review.

Some students come from areas that don’t have theatre programs at the high school level and some may have interests in areas of theatre that aren’t covered by those two options such as directing, producing, or stage management. In those cases, a strong work ethic and academic potential will be sufficient for the scholarship review. You will need to submit the following in order to participate in scholarship review:

  • A headshot or high-resolution photo
  • A resume



Prepare a 1-minute monologue of your choice. Find about 40-50 seconds of text to allow room for time variation and transitions. Upload it to YouTube.

  • Choose a monologue from a published theatrical play. Pieces with one clear person to talk to that you are fighting to change are best. “Cast” them. Know what you want from them. 
  • Choose something that showcases you at your best and stick to your ability, true age range, and genres within your experience and training. Stay away from overly offensive pieces. Swearing is fine as long as it is intrinsic to the character and not used as shock drama.
  • Rehearse and memorize your monologue. Work it for a week or more until it is ingrained. Perform it for someone before you record it. Warm up! Relaxed, honest work is best.
  • Speak a brief (10 second) INTRODUCTION. Greet the auditors, and state your name and the audition piece clearly before you begin.

“Hi.  I’m Jane Smith. This is Laura from The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.” When you finish, thank the auditors and repeat your name. The intro and conclusion should be close to the camera. The monologue framing should include 2 inches above your head and ¾ or more of your body.

  • Record in front of a neutral background free of clutter such as a blank wall or under a tree. Warm up! For the movement work in your piece to show up, try to frame at least ¾ of your body in the shot and connect breath, voice, and body. Especially if we haven’t worked with you yet, we will need to see how you connect to the physical life of the character. Stabilize your camera. Choose a focal point for the imagined person you are talking to that is very near or on the actual camera.
  • Dress simply but not too sloppy or overly formal— for clothes, hair, makeup, and jewelry. Skip the flip-flops and platforms, shorts, suits, ties, minis, clothes with big logos or graphic designs, and tight/revealing clothes. Wear something simple and flattering that allows us to focus on you - and you to focus on your acting. 
  • Make it look easy.

 Learn more about the Theatre program


Contact Us

School of Performing and Visual Arts

201E Theatre and Dance

Campus Hattiesburg

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