Governor’s School: The process and advice for future applicants


Madison Tenney (right middle) brought support with her to her audition in the form of Bearden juniors Alex Blue, Zachary Jones, and Kira Suerth.

Madison Tenney, News Editor

Applying and auditioning for a Governor’s School Program can be a taxing experience. After auditioning for my second time this year for the Visual Art Program, I can say that it was stressful, yet satisfying at the same time.

We thought it would be useful for future applicants for me to walk through my experience. I personally applied for the arts program, but experiences may vary when applying to other programs.

Applying for the general program and an audition space takes place in November; applicants are then notified of what day and time their audition is. It usually takes place in January which leaves about two months of preparation time.

For me, someone who had not been in an art class their first semester of the school year, I had a lot of work ahead of me.

It took me about a week and a half to plan out completely every piece I needed to make.

The audition required me to create at least six to eight full and completed pieces. Students auditioning also need to portray basic drawing skills with a portfolio or sketchbook; this simply demonstrates how to use form and line and space and all the other art devices that make a successful piece of art.

The best piece of advice for people auditioning is that any procrastination will make the process challenging. As soon as you know your audition date, or better yet, as soon as you apply, you need to start planning and beginning the creation process.

After I completed all eight of my pieces – and I highly suggest doing eight if you have the time because you get to showcase as much of your work as possible – I sought the opinion of my friends and family. Having another set of eyes is always a good idea.

After the review process, before I knew it, it was the Friday night before my audition.

The audition takes place at MTSU in Murfreesboro. You walk into the campus’s arts building and from there you follow a series of signs that direct you towards a waiting room where other applicants will be waiting.

I walked in, grabbed my name tag, and took a seat.

I asked my two closest friends to come along with me to calm my nerves, and it really helped. After waiting for a little while – and you should always get there early – a person comes in the room and when your name is read, you walk out of the room and line up in front of the door where all the judges are.

Once in the room, they have it setup like a gallery almost. I set out all my pieces on these display boards and someone approached and started to ask me some general questions about me, my work, and other things such as what kinds of art classes I’ve taken.

It can be intimidating to talk to these people, but they were all nice. Random judges just approach you and ask you questions, and they give you suggestions and compliments. The whole process only takes about 15 minutes in total.

I felt confident coming out of my audition this time, but for underclassmen who are interested in Governor’s School, I suggest auditioning sophomore and junior year.

Though few sophomores get into the program, at least this gives a glimpse of how the whole process works and lessens the likelihood of nervousness the following year.

Finally, around February people begin to receive their acceptance and rejection letters.

Overall, my experience was wonderful. I felt confident and cool around the judges, and having my mom and my friends there to support me only helped me more. Everyone was so nice and polite an they gave me wonderful suggestion on how to further my art before the summer begins.

To anyone who is interested in going into an art field in college or in life, I highly suggest applying for Governor’s School. It is absolutely a wonderful learning experience.