Hi S10brina! (Sabrina?)
You've come to the right place! I did Mock Trial in high school too and I know the feeling of not wanting to give it up! I'd be happy to tell you about my experiences.
Mock trial has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me - you want to know what all my best friends have in common? They're all on Mock Trial with me. The teamwork and competitive aspect really draws us together as well as the weekends we all spend at tournaments! We even have fun unofficial big/little families. So that's one part, the team bonding.
In terms of competition, we have invitational tournaments the fall semester and official, AMTA competitions the spring semester. To break down those terms, invitational tournaments are when a bunch of colleges from the area meet at a host college for a weekend of Mock Trial (2 trials a day.) Usually these invitationals have around 30 teams, and they're a great way to get some practice in, try out new case strategies, and just flex your muscles in front of the competition. Then, in the spring semester AMTA (the American Mock Trial Association, the official guys) host 3 levels of competitive tournaments, structured similarly to invitationals (A weekend, with 2 rounds per day). In early February there's regionals, and about the top 1/3 of teams move on to round 2, ORCs in mid March. Then the crème de la crème move forward to Nationals, held in mid-April.
Hopkins teams generally go to between 3-4 Invitationals, all go to regionals, and generally one (of our 3) teams ends up qualifying for ORCs. Our team was rebooted about 5 years ago so in its current form it's still very new, and the levels of growth we've seen in membership paired with a corresponding selectivity increase means our teams grow more and more successful each year. As a relatively new program we're still working on getting adequate support from the administration (they'll pay all tournament fees except lodging, and some discretionary funds for demonstratives and things of that nature.We're still working on finding a coach and a new faculty advisor.)
I mentioned increasing selectivity, and saw that you were looking for tips for tryouts! Since a major concern is how you're going to hold up in court, we have all people trying out do practice crosses. Using case materials from the prior year, if you're a lawyer you'll be given a description of the case and one witness affidavit a few days ahead of time. You'll be asked to prepare a cross-examination of that witness and perform that cross on one of our team members. If you're trying out for a witness, you'll be given the same materials (a case description and affidavit) and one of our lawyers will cross you. I know that might sound intimidating (as a witness tryout, I know it was for me!) but when I look back and think of how I was crossed by someone who is now my best friend, the idea that I was scared is ridiculous! Just go in and have fun.
That last bit is actually the most important, because the second biggest question we ask, after "will they be good in court?" is "Is this the kind of person we want to go to tournaments with?" Be relaxed, be friendly, be the kind of person you would want to go on a 6-hour road trip to Carnegie Mellon with! (It's supposed to be a 4 hour drive, but we get lost A LOT. The ability to read an iphone map and give concise directions off one may become a component of tryouts given how much trouble we had this year!)
As a prospective student asking questions this early with previous experience under her belt, I'd say you're in a good position to keep competing in College =) If you'd like to read much more personal accounts of Mock Trial, JHU_Miranda just wrote a very nice entry about her experience coaching one of our development teams here! http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/miranda/?p=1927
Also, last year JHU_Jacqueline live blogged a tournament weekend to give you a pretty great look at what a weekend away as a team looks like! That link is here: http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/2015/2011/11/a-weekend-as-the-law-microblogging-a-mock-trial-tournament/
Jacqueline also made a fun little video on one tournament weekend that may or may not be my favorite thing ever, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=diNhakLbtA4
This is also just a general search on Hopkins Interactive of all posts containing the words "Mock Trial" http://www.hopkins-interactive.com/search/?cx=007601496769176620057%3Agpragcrfi64&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=UTF-8&q=mock+trial
That should be more than enough information to hold you over until you get here! There will be a Student Activities fair in early September where our team will have a booth, and that's where you can join our email list and sign up to try out!
Thanks for asking about Mock Trial (I kind of love it, if you can't tell), I hope you come to Hopkins, and I hope you compete with us!