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Applying to College Told Through Musical Theater Songs

So, you're a high school theater kid, and you're agonizing over your college search. Welp, these musical theater songs will speak right to your jazz-squaring heart.

So, you’re a high school theater kid, and you’re agonizing over your college search. Welp, these musical theater songs will speak right to your jazz-squaring heart.

PS You’ll find a Spotify playlist of all these songs at the end of the page.

Related: Pre-Broadway: Colleges with Excellent Musical Theater Programs

“Anybody Have A Map?” From Dear Evan Hansen

Does anybody have a map? Anybody maybe happen to know how the hell to do this?

This song really encompasses how it feels when you start applying to colleges. You don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t want to screw it up, and overall you really just want some guidance. Some people apply to colleges without any help and they do great, which is wonderful! However, I’ve found that a lot of high school seniors going through the application process would rather do it with someone who’s experienced and who knows what they’re doing.

“Who Am I?” From Les Misérables

There aren’t any specific lyrics in this song that relate to the college search, but the overall message and feeling definitely do. When you’re writing up various parts of your application, you’ll probably end up mentioning activities from your past you haven’t thought about for a long time. From descriptions of extracurricular activities to things you’ve accomplished to the college application essay, you’ll find yourself digging up bits and pieces of yourself you might’ve forgotten. These bits and pieces all led you to who you are today. It’s kind of cool to look back and reflect on who you were before.

“What Is This Feeling?” From Wicked

What is this feeling? Fervid as a flame. Does it have a name? Yes! Loathing—unadulterated loathing.

At some point during your college search process, you’re going to get really freaking tired of it! You won’t want to be writing essays or filling out financial aid forms—you’re going to want to be out with friends or at a movie. Try to find a balance between work and pleasure during the application process. Remember, it won’t do you any good if you die of stress before you even get your acceptance letters.

Related: 3 Ways to Manage Stress During Your College Search

“Hurricane” From Hamilton

In the eye of a hurricane, there is quiet. For just a moment...”

These musical lyrics really relate to how it feels once you’re finally done with all of your applications. Once you’ve submitted your college and financial aid applications, everything is going to feel much less stressful. In this “eye of the hurricane” moment, things seem to slow down and feel calm, at least for a little while. It feels really good not to have to worry about the college search anymore, not to mention it frees up a lot of time. On a related note, “Wait For It,” also from Hamilton, captures the period between sending in your college applications and getting your decisions. All you can do is be patient until the colleges get back to you. But you’re not standing still—you’re lying in wait.

“Something About This Night” From Finding Neverland

I can feel my heart is beating much too fast! No more looking to the past—could this be the one at last?

When you finally find an envelope in the mail from one of the colleges you applied to, these lyrics hit that feeling dead on. This is it! This is the decision you’ve been waiting for. Personally, every time I got an envelope from a college I applied to, I would open it as fast as humanly possible. These are the admission decisions that are going to help shape your life over the next four years, and you’re going to be so excited to open them! High school is coming to a close, and these letters are opening doors to the rest of your life.

“King of New York” From Newsies

This is another musical theater song in which there aren’t any specific lyrics that relate to the college application process, but the overall feeling of the song totally does. When the acceptance letters start rolling in, you feel like you’re on top of the world, like you could accomplish anything. This feeling is so valid! You’ve worked hard during high school to get to where you are now and get into college. Enjoy that sense of pride and accomplishment when those acceptance letters start coming—you’ve earned every one of them!

“Breathe” From In The Heights

They regard me with pride, and everyone’s sweet. They say, ‘You’re going places!’

These musical lyrics encompass what it’s like for many high school students when they start telling people what colleges they’ve been accepted to and where they’re going to attend. While the song is mainly about a girl dropping out of Stanford, the hope and excitement she felt when she first started going there translate to a lot of college-bound students. And, to be honest, the fear of disappointing people in this song might be true for you too. But just remember that your family, friends, and teachers are all going to be proud of you no matter what college you decide to go to.

Bonus track!

“You Will Be Found,” also from Dear Evan Hansen, because its message of hope, resilience, and community will never not be relevant.

Remember, college is a life changing experience, so try to enjoy the ride. And whatever you do, don’t throw away your shot!

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About Madalyn Chapman

Hi! My name is Madalyn Chapman, and I’m a member of Roanoke College's Class of 2021! I love Broadway with a burning passion, and I’ve seen several shows. In order, I’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, Wicked, Something Rotten, She Loves Me, The King and I, Finding Neverland, Aladdin, and The Lion King. My favorite author is Chris Colfer, whose book Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal is absolutely hilarious.


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