"13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview"

A One-Act Play by Ian McWethy

Academic advisor and student in office
Interviewing a college applicant. Hill Street Studios/Getty Images

13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview is a short, ensemble-driven, one-act play written for student actors. Two college interviewers are tasked with finding just one more suitable applicant to admit for the fall semester. Faced with a deadline, they open up the dreaded “waitlisted” application folder and subsequently meet with a magician, a practicing vampire, a stoner, an aspiring reality TV star, what may be a time-traveling serial killer, and more.

What's Great About ​​"​​13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview"

An ensemble production like 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview offers a great opportunity for many student actors to have sizable roles. This play also provides ample chances for casts to work on acting skills:

  • Reacting in the moment. The interviewers must listen and demonstrate appropriate reactions within the confines of the situation, no matter how absurd it is.
  • Raising the stakes. The play opens with a clear and defined mission. These two interviewers must find an acceptable applicant for the fall semester or they will both be fired.
  • Committing. The applicants are strong characters that cannot be served by actors who shrink into the background. The student actors need to have strong emotions and make big choices to pull these characters off.
  • Concentration. The actors cast as applicants are tasked with some truly crazy antics. They will need strong concentration to play their scenes without breaking character.

    Minimal sets, ​costumes and props are needed for this one act play. The focus of the production should be placed on the actors and their character development. There are negligible content issues.

    About the Cast and Characters

    Cast Size: This play can accommodate 16 actors.

    Male Characters: 6

    Female Characters: 7

    Characters that could be played by either males or females: 3

    (Note: The playwright and the publisher are flexible on allowing the gender of characters to be changed to accommodate your cast.)

    Roles

    • Interviewer 1
    • Interviewer 2
    • Harold has a chronaquestimixidous disease - a condition that renders a person unable to hear a question correctly. As a result, he answers the question he thinks he heard instead of the question he is actually asked.
    • Kimberly is an up-and-coming reality TV star. Even though she is a perfectly normal girl and would be an excellent applicant for the college, her aspirations make her behave otherwise.
    • The Producer is there to film Kimberly’s college interview and coach her to appear as obnoxious as possible.
    • Maria is extraordinarily sick and nervous. Hopefully, Interviewer 1 has a strong stomach.
    • Brett is a very busy man. He is overconfident and believes the world revolves around him and his life.
    • Lily is emotionally scarred by minor events in her life. She almost saw someone drown, she almost had a fight with her friend, and she almost had therapy once.
    • Melvin can play the song “Wipeout” on his stomach.
    • Kelly believes that no GPA, no SAT scores, and a recommendation from a hand-drawn cat will get her into school.
    • Jeff aspires to be in a coma one day.
    • Eve has brought two songs and a few monologues to audition. She is loud and proud of her performances.
    • Elizabeth plays volleyball, soccer, and basketball, volunteers at a soup kitchen, teaches sailing and is a practicing vampire.
    • Ben may be a time-traveling serial killer. He knows far too much about the upcoming interviews and is far too insistent about being admitted to this college.
    • Jason is a fledgling magician.
    • Emily is perfect for the college until that Ivy League school calls and offers a full ride.

    13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview is licensed by Playscripts, Inc. It also appears in the book Random Acts of Comedy: 15 Hit One Act Plays for Student Actors.

    Playwright Ian McWethy has also written 14 More Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview as a sequel that may be used to add additional scenes to 13 More Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview and increase the cast size.

    Directors may swap scenes between the two plays or perform them together for a longer, even more outrageous theatrical experience.