Katherine recommends the following next steps:
If you want to get experience being around professionals, I suggest volunteering for large theatrical festivals, local music concerts, working at a theme park/Renaissance Faire or working as an usher or box office attendant at your local theater. Free tickets and access to professionals is worth its weight in annoyance and you’ll find out if you truly love acting or prefer a different career in theater or film.
These are very apprentice-driven industries. A lot of the people you will encounter who are deciding your fate may never have attended college or never received a degree of any sort in acting. Don't get me wrong--a college degree in something is beneficial. In fact, anything which improves your literacy, forms good habits, or gets you out into the world, will be a plus--for you as a person and ultimately what you can bring to a role.
Since there are more jobs in the world for non-actors than there are for actors, perhaps select a non-theatrical field of study which might (1) appeal to you in general and (2) potentially enhance you as an actor.
Where you're headed is a near vertical climb, so be prepared for frustration & disappointment. In many cases, success in this biz depends more on perseverance than overt talent.
Hank recommends the following next steps:
Whether or not your career is as an actor, production meetings and rehearsals are perfect case studies for efficiency and collaboration in the “work world.” In the non theatre roles I’ve held, I’ve consistently used professional skills developed through studies in Fine Arts programs.
Many theatres will consider actual resumes and experience. Here is how to address that: Stay involved in department productions (try various aspects of the production) and get resume experience through summer stock/ theme parks/ regional internships on the side through breaks and in the summer.
I dare say the right theme park or regional position can actually make as much as a “side job.” Use this as portfolio development!
That brings up another point: portfolio development will really help in conjunction. Start a binder today and keep images from all of your roles or production projects. (Did you play a certain “stock” character? Highlight that! Did you create a prop? Highlight that!) in an audition/ interview you won’t always have to present the whole thing, but you’ll have a good record to “pick and choose” from. This might not make much sense now, but you’ll see how it comes into play down the road, even from what seems like the smallest experiences!
James recommends the following next steps: