We're so glad you have started the application process for the Residential High School! Here you will find audition requirements and tips for each art area. 

Creative Writing

The Audition

Not all Residential High School Creative Writing applicants are selected for an audition. Faculty will evaluate applications and portfolios by mid-January to determine who will be invited for a personal interview. If you are selected to audition, you will participate in a writing workshop and personal interview.

Suggested Reading

The following link provides a list of suggested reading. Not sure where to start? Pick an author at random and start reading. Or, research a few authors to see who sparks your interest and start reading.

Suggested Reading List 

When you find authors you like, research to see what all they have written. Do they only write fiction or do they also write poetry or non-fiction? Read some of everything so you learn what you like and don't like. Also, find out who your favorite authors like to read and read works by those authors. 

How to Handle the Interview for Creative Writing
(and not have a stroke)

  1. Don't panic. This interview is simply a way we get to know you on a personal level. We'll ask you complicated, soul-searching questions, like: What are your hobbies? Do you have brothers and sisters? What kind of music do you listen to? Yeah, tough stuff, right?
  2. Be yourself. Be honest. We want to know who you are, not which role you can play for ten minutes.
  3. Speaking of ten minutes - that's usually about the length of the interview. No marathons, just a few minutes of chit chat.
  4. Don't panic.
  5. Read some contemporary works ahead of time. One question we'll ask you, guaranteed: What do you like to read? If your answer is "Anything with vampires and the collected J.K. Rowling," we will probably roll our eyes at you. If you mention some contemporary poets or short fiction writers, you'll score big points. If you need a list of contemporary poets and fiction writers, take a look at the Suggested Reading List we've compiled. Read some of the authors. Tell us what you think about them. P.S. Know the names of the authors you have read.
  6. We want to accept students who are passionate about learning how to write. If you seem apathetic, or if you say things like, "My mom made me apply" or "I'm just looking for a way to get of the house," we probably won't meet again.
  7. It's important not to panic.
  8. Another question we'll ask is: How often do you write? Tip: The correct answer is not, "When I'm really sad or bummed out." Be familiar with your own work. We'll probably ask about your fiction or poetry.
  9. Don't ask us for critiques. Unfortunately, we don't have time to comment on everyone's work.
  10. Please ask questions about the program. Your curiosity about what we do translates into palpable passion (see #6 above).
  11. And don't panic.

The Audition

The audition process will demonstrate the applicant’s physical suitability for the everyday rigor of our Classical Ballet and Modern/Contemporary programs, technical aptitude, artistic potential, and ability to take direction.

Ballet Class – 1.5 hours

Modern Center Practice – 30 minutes

Solo Performance

  • Perform a solo showcasing your performing ability in Ballet, Modern, or Contemporary dance.
  • The solo should be a maximum of two minutes in length.
  • The solo may be from the classical repertoire or it may be original choreography by the student or a teacher.
  • You must provide a CD recording of the music for your performance. Please make sure your CD is readable by standard sound systems. (Support for iPod will not be provided.)

The Interview

A panel of dance professionals will conduct an individual interview with you to assess:

  • your future goals and aspirations
  • your commitment to successfully complete the dance program
  • your level of responsibility and potential as a student in a residential program

Standard Dance Attire

Females:  Black leotards, convertible pink tights, ballet shoes. For the modern center practice, applicants must be barefoot (rolled up convertible tights).

Males:  Black t-shirts, dance belts, black convertible tights with black shoes. For the modern center practice, applicants must be barefoot (rolled up convertible tights).


For the audition, please prepare two monologues and one song. During the audition, you will be asked to start by performing one monologue and a songYou may be asked to present a second monologue if a fuller picture of your potential is required. 

Two Contrasting Monologues

Select two contrasting monologues from modern playwrights (after 1940) that are 1-2 minutes long and reflect your age, experience, and understanding. This should be material you connect with personally.

Check out the list of modern/contemporary plays (published after 1940) below. These plays contain one or more monologues suitable for audition purposes, though some may need to be cut together or edited somewhat. You may use the list as a guide, or choose material not on the list by written by established professional playwrights.

If you have difficulty finding material, note that the modern classics listed below with an * should be easy to find in many school and local libraries. 

For Women 
   The Red Coat, John Patrick Shanley 
   A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry * 
   The Piano Lesson, August Wilson * 
   Jitney, August Wilson 
   Crimes of the Heart, Beth Henley 
   The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams * 
   I Oughta Be in Pictures, Neil Simon 
   Barefoot in the Park, Neil Simon 
   Collected Stories, Donald Marguiles 
   Sight Unseen, Donald Marguiles 
   A Young Lady of Property, Horton Foote 
   A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller * 
   All My Sons, Arthur Miller * 
   Eleemosynary, Lee Blessing 
   Sally’s Gone, She Left Her Name, Russell Davis 
   You Can’t Take it With You, Kauffman and Hart * 
   Picnic, William Inge * 
   Inherit the Wind, Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee 

For Men 
   Biloxi Blues, Neil Simon 
   Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller * 
   A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller * 
   The Crucible, Arthur Miller * 
   The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams * 
   The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, William Inge * 
   Picnic, William Inge * 
   Bus Stop, William Inge * 
   The Piano Lesson, August Wilson * 
   Jitney, August Wilson 
   A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry * 
   In a Northern Landscape, Timothy Mason 
   Conversations with My Father, Herb Gardner 
   Sally’s Porch, Russell Davis 
   The Red Coat, John Patrick Shanley 
   Rabbit Hole, David Lindsay Abaire 
   Proof, David Auburn 
   Catfish Moon, Laddy Sartin 
   Master Harold…and the Boys, Athol Fugard 

One Song

Memorize a short selection from a song – preferably 16 bars. Be prepared to sing this selection without accompaniment.


A panel of theatre professionals will conduct a personal interview with you following the performance component of your audition.

What to Wear

A drama audition and/or callback can be a very active experience. Please dress appropriately for the audition in neat attire (no torn jeans, flip-flops, or t-shirts) that is comfortable and allows you to move.

Monologue Tips

  • Read the ENTIRE PLAY from which each monologue is taken, so that you understand what’s happening, where you are, who you are talking to, and why you are talking to them. We may want to talk to you about the play or coach your monologue.
  • Prepare and fully memorize your monologues well in advance of your audition so that you are confident and can engage your talent and imagination. This takes many hours.
  • Avoid plays written expressly for high schoolers or internet-only sources, as well as accents or characters far from your age and understanding.

Callback Auditions

The callback audition is an opportunity for Drama faculty to become better acquainted with the work of selected applicants for the Residential High School Drama program. 

  • Not every student who auditions will be invited for a callback.
  • Being invited for a callback audition is not an indicator of acceptance or non-acceptance to the Drama program.
  • Callback auditions will take place on Saturday, February 29, 2020.
  • Applicants will be notified about callbacks via email approximately one week prior to the callback auditions. 
Music - Instrumental

The Instrumental Audition

During the audition, instrumentalists will perform the audition requirements, the demonstration of musicianship, and a brief interview. Keep in mind, the interview tends to be informal in nature, and may feel more like a conversation than an interview.

All instrumental solos are performed without piano accompaniment. Select your instrument to view the specific audition requirements.

Brass (Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba)

  • Solos:  Select two pieces / movements in contrasting styles for your instrument. Solo work(s) from the standard repertoire are suggested such as the All-State etude/solo and pieces that would be performed at the high school level for solo and ensemble festival. 
  • Scales: Chromatic scale and all twelve major scales in range that is appropriate for your instrument 
  • Sight Reading

Concert Harp

  • Solos: Select two pieces of contrasting style from the standard harp literature. 
  • Sight Reading

Percussion (Snare, Mallets, Timpani)

  • Solos: Perform a solo piece for each of the three percussion areas (snare, mallets, timpani).
  • Rudiments: Prepare to play basic rudiments required for Clinic All-State Band in addition to your solo piece. Students may bring their own snare drum, or SCGSAH will provide one.
  • Sight Reading


  • Solos: Select two pieces in contrasting styles, preferably memorized. Examples of ideal audition pieces are: 
    • An Invention or Prelude and Fugue by J. S. Bach
    • A sonata or sonatina movement by a Classical composer such as Clementi, Haydn, or Mozart
    • A character piece by a Romantic composer such as Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, or Grieg
    • Any modern composition
  • Scales: All 24 keys, three or four octaves, hands together.
  • Sight Reading

Strings (Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass)

  • Solos: Select two pieces of contrasting style for the instrument (for example, one etude and one movement from a suite, sonata, or concerto).
  • Scales: Major and minor scales; three octaves.
  • Sight Reading

Woodwinds (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon)

  • Solos: Select two pieces / movements in contrasting styles for your instrument. Solo work(s) from the standard repertoire are suggested such as the All-State etude/solo and pieces that would be performed at the high school level for solo and ensemble festival. 
  • Scales:  Chromatic scale and all twelve major scales in range that is appropriate for your instrument.
  • Sight Reading
Music - Vocal

The Vocal Audition

All vocalists perform their solos with a piano accompanist that is provided by the Governor's School. Vocalists should bring a copy of the piano accompaniment for the two solos to the audition (a photo copy is permissible). MP3 tracks, karaoke tracks, and outside accompanists are not allowed.

Vocal Audition Process

  • Students audition in small groups of no more than six students.
  • Students take turns singing their two solos in front of the audition group. Students may or may not be allowed to sing your entire solo. It may be a time issue or that the adjudicators have heard all they need to hear to make a decision (which can be a good thing!), so do not read too much into this.
  • After the solos, the group will wait outside the audition room.
  • Students will be called back in the room, one at a time, for sight singing, the demonstration of musicianship, and the interview.
  • The interview will not be long or formal. Be prepared to speak about past experiences, future goals, and knowledge of musical styles and performances, and ask any questions you may have.

Vocal Audition Requirements

All vocal applicants perform two songs of their choice. Select two songs from standard vocal literature which show the character and quality of your voice. Use the suggestions below to help select your two solos. Students should be prepared to sing both selections from memory with piano accompaniment.

  • A selection appropriate for younger singers from the 24 Italian Songs and Arias book or a traditional art song in English or another language
  • Folk songs, spirituals, sacred songs or hymns, ballads, selections from musical theater, or jazz standards

Sight Reading:  Sight-sing a simple melody

Visual Arts - Mail-In Portfolio - Due January 8, 2020

Mail-In Portfolio

The following three pieces should be mailed to the address below so they are received by January 8, 2020. All work must be 8.5”x11” with your name on the back of each piece.

  • One color-based composition on paper, in any media, using a particular color scheme (complementary, analogous, monochromatic, etc.).
    • Do not submit achromatic work.
    • Your composition should demonstrate familiarity with color theory.
    • Write the name of the color scheme on the back of the work.
    • Be prepared to discuss your choice.
  • Four black paper equilateral triangles of equal size glued onto white paper. Triangles must be securely attached.
    • Create a simple, clear, and concise solution that visually conveys the idea of tension.
    • Be aware of positive and negative spaces as created by the positioning of four equilateral triangles.
    • Do not overlap, alter, or draw on the triangles; do not extend beyond the paper.
  • One drawing of two unrelated objects drawn from direct observation. Do not work from a photograph, memory, or imagination. (The surface on which your objects are placed does not count as one of the two objects and should be included in your drawing.)

Emailed submissions of these pieces will not be accepted.

Mail the three (3) pieces of artwork so they are received by January 8, 2020 to:
SCGSAH - Office of Admissions
15 University Street
Greenville, SC 29601

Note:  All artwork will be returned to you at the audition. You are also expected to bring additional work to the interview portion of the audition. (See “Visual Arts - Audition Portfolio” below for more details.)

Visual Arts - Audition Portfolio

Preparing for the Audition

Your audition day will include a drawing workshop and interview. Bring your art history researchaudition portfolio (three required pieces), and your sketchbook(s) to the interview. Be prepared to discuss your work and research, and don’t forget to ask any questions you may have about the program.


Select three artists to research, choosing one from each of these periods:

  • The Renaissance
  • 1850-1950
  • 1950-present

This component is an opportunity to investigate artists and works of different periods. Make use of available resources to develop an understanding of your selections. Bring a printed sample of work by each artist and be prepared to discuss the artists and their works in terms of both your personal interest and their respective times.

You may use books, magazines, or the Internet for your research. Useful web resources include:

Audition Portfolio

Bring your sketchbook(s) and the following three (3) components to the interview portion of your audition. Work should be neatly presented – no rips, creases, spiral edges, etc. Be prepared to talk about the formal qualities of your work (e.g., space, balance, texture, etc.). Applicants are responsible for any digital needs in interview.

  • A self-portrait in pencil, drawn from life using a mirror. Do not work from a photograph. The drawing should not simply float in the middle of the page; use the entire space. This component should be no smaller than 8.5” x 11” and no larger than 18” x 24”.
  • One three-dimensional piece created specifically for the interview. It should demonstrate an awareness of form and space.
  • One additional work: Choose one of the following options that best demonstrates your artistic skills.
    • A 2-D or 3-D piece. Your work may be of any reasonable size and material(s) as long as you can easily transport it to your audition.
    • A drawn storyboard. Storyboard sheets should be neatly compiled and in order.  Storyboard Template
    • A motion picture (live-action or animation) no longer than two minutes in length. Work must be in Quicktime-compatible format (.mov, .mp4, etc.) and should be emailed to applications@scgsah.org by January 24, 2020.


Bring a bound sketchbook (no loose pages) containing 20 or more drawings done from direct observation in the past 12 months. This component is not a portfolio of finished and highly refined work. Your audition sketchbook(s) should demonstrate your interest in art and art ideas as evidenced in the drawings, images, and ideas collected inside.

Twenty full-page drawings should be considered the minimum; more work will be considered more favorably. Sketchbooks should not have loose pages.

The Drawing Workshop

Your workshop will include a discussion of principles of design followed by a still-life drawing session. You will be working with visual arts instructors in an actual class setting. Workshop materials will be provided.

This may be a new experience. We encourage all students to be open to instruction and feedback during this time! Familiarize yourself with elements such as line quality, positive and negative space, balance, rhythm, scale, etc. We are more interested in students who are highly teachable as opposed to students who simply draw at a very high level.

The Interview

Don’t worry! The interview is your chance to speak with instructors in the program and to talk about your interest in the Governor’s School experience. These conversations help our faculty members to determine your commitment to arts training and allow us to get to know you as both an individual and an artist. Be prepared to talk about your own artistic experiences, interest, and aspirations. Your interview is also a good opportunity to ask questions about any aspect of the program.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions about the requirements. We are always happy to help in any way we can.