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The College Tryout Process: Spring Checklist

Tryouts are fast approaching and many colleges start posting dates and timelines for the big event as early as January. Today I want to cover some major things that you need to check off your list to best prepare for your tryout.

Tip 1: Check Out Tryout Dates and Timeline

You should already be stocking the social media accounts of your top 3-4 teams. So as soon as you see them post, make sure you pull out your calendar and mark down all dates so you can prepare and not miss a deadline.

Also, go ahead and make note of all the skills they are looking for and any other details they provide for tryouts like additional clinics, tryout attire, and timeline of the day.

In this current environment, tryouts can be in-person or virtual, or a combination of both. Many team teams may event have a video qualification round that you go through to be eligible to attend the in-person portion.

If you have to submit any type of video I suggest:

  1. Start early and pre-record yourself as you go. The plus of doing a video is that you get to do it as many times as you would like so take advantage. Also, if you run out of time you at least have something you can submit.

  2. Keep working until it is due. Even if you know you have the perfect take keep filming... you never know what other takes maybe gold.

  3. Watch lighting and attire. Double check that the lighting, performance surface, and space are perfect. And remember to be in your tryout attire.

  4. Lastly your goal is to get the clearest video with the fewest errors to submit to the coach.

Tip 2: Polish Up Your Tryout Skills

Most teams have about 3-4 rounds of tryouts you must complete before selecting their final team.

Round 1 is almost always any and all required skills. This means basic game day style or skills that all team members must have. Think of theses as what the team will do mostly during the year. For example, game material/style, basic tumbling, fight song, sideline cheers and dances.

Round 1 can knock you out immediately if you are not fully prepared and ready for what they are looking for. Once you have made the decision to tryout for a team, you need to/should know what basic skills the team performs on a regular bases. Focus on these skills first in your training process.

The following rounds will all be geared to advanced skills that a team is looking for when competing or skills that set individuals apart. Usually during this portion of the tryout you will be performing in smaller groups. Cheerleaders be prepared to perform skills with multiple people and dancers work on the stamina to perform dances multiple times. Once you make it to the final round that is when the coach and judges will be selecting the final list and the more consistent you are during the round will your skills and performance the better chance you have making the team.

Tip 3: Plan Your Tryout Attire

Take time to ensure your hair and make-up are the right way. Whether that is half up, fully down or a ponytail and bow (either in back or in front), you need to try your best to resemble what current team members look like. The more you look like you are already on the team the better! This reminds the judging panel as your perform how you already are the perfect fit for the team.

If you have to film, try to be in your tryout attire (if possible). This serves two goals:

  1. You will feel well put together and give the illusion that you are actually at tryouts

  2. The judging panel can point you out if you make it through to the next round

Next, check that you have chosen a tryout outfit that is in the regulation of what they want you to wear. Some teams assign certain colors for top and bottom on certain days.

Final tip: Take time to practice in full attire! You don't want to get to tryouts and have any surprises! I mean hair, make-up, top, bottoms, etc. ALL THE THINGS!

So as you make your final preparations toward your team team, I hope you keep these tips in mind.


Have any last minutes questions to ask before your tryout? Then go for it. I would love to hear from you and help you out. Leave a comment or email me at


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