College tryouts are a great experience, but many cheerleaders don’t know what to expect or how to prepare. We hope this article will better prepare you to put your best foot forward for this unique experience.
Are college tryouts different from high school and competitive team tryouts?
In some cases, YES, drastically different! The typical high school tryout has set choreography which is taught in the days leading up to tryouts. Cheerleaders are then sent to perform the skills they’ve learned in front of a panel of judges, and they are judged solely on this performance.
College tryouts differ majorly in that during college tryouts, you are typically evaluated from the moment you step into the training facility. Coaches want to see how well you work with others, how well you take instruction, and how quickly you pick up new skills. It is important to remember that you are being evaluated, even if it feels like just a practice.
What to Expect
Each team will have a unique set of requirements and expectations that should be openly published beforehand. If you are unable to locate these standards, consider contacting an advisor or coach for that information. If you are unable to obtain that information, evaluate the skills that you see the current cheerleaders performing. This will give you an idea of what skills you need to work on and bring to tryouts.
Prepare yourself accordingly. If you are not familiar with partner stunting, but are trying out for a coed team, take the time beforehand to find a stunt partner and practice. This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have this role on the squad, but you want to be prepared for anything. It may also be beneficial to take a few dance classes or have someone help you to learn new choreography. The goal of this is to learn techniques that will help you pick up choreography quickly. College teams tend to operate at a faster learning pace than high school level teams.
Show Off Your Skills
Oftentimes in collegiate level tryouts, there will be a minimum skill that must be performed, but you can opt to perform a more advanced skill. Don’t be shy! Show off your skills. Be sure to only perform skills that you know you can complete successfully and with confidence. A coach at any level would much rather see you confidently perform a layout with nice technique (showing your potential to move on to more advanced skills) rather than attempt a full and crash or, even worse, get hurt. So the rule of thumb is to go with what you know. If you are asked to perform a skill that you have not mastered, don’t be afraid to say that you aren’t comfortable or can only do the skill with a spot. Your safety is definitely the most important factor. Finally, the most important thing to show off is your personality. Demonstrate that you are confident, a team player, and a hard worker. These are characteristics that every coach will find to be valuable.