balletenthusiast

Auditioning for college program and/or post grad training

9 posts in this topic

As a mom this is my second time supporting a DD with the college application process...but I find looking for a dance program far more overwhelming!

 

My DD just finished a wonderful summer intensive experience and she's trying to get ready for senior year! She wants to pursue classical ballet through a college program or other post grad training (pre-pro school). She has been accepted to "company" schools in the past but chose to finish her training at her home studio so she definitely needs more intense training before she is "company ready".

 

It does seem that there aren't many colleges that offer strong classical ballet with lots of pointe work - but we are still researching. I am wondering how many schools dancers are auditioning for? Between college auditions and summer program auditions - I imagine it will be a hectic senior year! My older DD applied to ten colleges...and I'm not sure we could even come up with that many for ballet. Any thoughts on what might be typical?

 

This board has been so helpful for summer intensives and I'm hoping someone can offer advice! Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, at least, it was definitely much less than the number of colleges I would have applied to for purely academic reasons. This was simply due to cost factors since auditioning for ballet programs requires you to fly out and audition in person, so you have flight/hotel/transport costs rather than just sending in an application.

 

I started with a huge number of universities and then whittled them down over a few months for various reasons (too contemporary, classes I wasn't interested in, undesired location, curriculum similar to another program with lower tuition costs, size of the program, which would accept the most AP credits, etc).

 

I ended up auditioning for just three programs, one of which was in-state, and two I had to fly to. I was fortunate to be invited to all the schools I auditioned for but with only three options I certainly didn't have much in the way of "safety net" schools, so choosing to have backup programs can certainly increase the number of schools you audition for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DD ended up only completing the application process at one university (after visiting campuses and auditioning for two programs total). She didn't like the location of the second one, and decided that her chosen program was "the one" and that she could definitely see herself there for four years. She refused to audition for any other programs after that. Fortunately, it appears to be working out for her, but it's not a route I would recommend. As a parent that had also already been through a non-dance college application process, it made me nervous. . . what about the whole reach, match, and safety thing? Even though this was academically a "safety" school, and she had already passed the ballet program audition, until those final documents, acceptances, and financial aid packages are in hand, there was always the nagging feeling that something could throw a kink into things and she didn't really have a Plan B (or if she did, she wasn't sharing).

 

My recommendation is to do the fall auditions so you have some ideas of acceptances fairly early into the search. Best of luck to your DD!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DD cast a wide net with college applications, including several colleges that did not have dance programs. Her plan was to defer college if a ballet opportunity came up senior year or during the summer that was too good to pass up. The application process, as you know, starts early senior year and since so much can happen, she felt that she needed to leave all doors open as long as possible. Similar to glissade_jete and millvillemurphs' posts, once DD sat down with the list of colleges that had ballet programs, she narrowed it down quite a bit and only auditioned for two, both out of state. She was fortunate to be accepted and offered scholarships to both programs. Since DD was not set on attending college right away, this approach was OK for her, but I think it would be risky to narrow it down this much if a dancer was set on attending a college for dance (from an admissions standpoint as well as from a financial perspective, since comparing scholarship offers at the end can be important!). I would suggest auditioning for several more, if the budget allows, and considering applying to colleges that might have opportunities to dance, even if not as a dance major, to give additional choices once the admissions process is over. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We also have a specific forum for members researching just this sort of thing in the Education section of the board:

Colleges/Universities with Ballet Programs or Dance Programs Offering Ballet Classes

 

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showforum=148

 

It's organised by the name of the college/university in alphabetical order, and posts include first-hand feedback of dancers' experiences. Have a lovely browse!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advice from the trenches: Do not let the availability of a ballet program limit your college search. If you have decided to pursue college, pursue it with a wider net. There are not a lot of ballet jobs post college. It is simply the truth at this point in time. DD loved ballet with all her heart. She decided on a college that does not have a ballet program because it was a fit for her and our family. She still dances ballet on the side, but couldn't be more fulfilled in many, many other aspects of her life right now. She doesn't regret a life spent in pursue of the ballet dream, i.e. YAGP, SAB year-round, summers everywhere across the US. But, if you are 18/19 and considering college, consider it based on what it offers outside the ballet program. If you are not sure about college and are getting some primo ballet opportunities, defer college for a year. DD was offered a hefty scholarship from IU and Ballet Program; declined because she didn't see herself auditioning again for companies and ballet opportunities in four years. She is soooo happy with her decision and is doing some incredible things in this world! She also states that she has never ever been in a more supportive environment in her life! There's so much out there! Don't limit yourself. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sort of along the same lines as napnap's suggestion, DD decided not to go for BFA dance programs, but instead, looked at colleges that held great interest for her and had good dancing opportunities attached. In the end, she has deferred college for two years to dance with a regional company as a trainee. However, she researched these colleges over the summer, contacted their ballet faculty in the early fall, and visited them over the Thanksgiving week to take a class with them. In her junior year she connected with two BFA programs - one big, well known one as well as a smaller one. She spent a week in February doing an audition tour with 4 companies (in a blizzard pretty much the entire week!), with about 2 additional flights out to take company class in additional cities. Oh, and one of the faculty at the college she took class at arranged for her to take a company class at the end of winter break in January. Because she knew her priority was getting a company affiliated position, she chose to direct her time and our budget towards those types of auditions. I honestly don't think we could have done more than this, even if money was no object. Senior year at traditional high school is a challenge in itself, and time is definitely a consideration for the student.

 

Yes, it is definitely much harder for the DK! Like you, my older non-DK applied to 10, but my dd applied to far fewer. She did look at the BFA programs (and visited one in person) there but didn't feel they appealed to her. She ended up getting about 4 college acceptances, but she ended up not applying to others on her list due to receiving an early acceptance from her top choice. I think she probably had about 8 on her list in total. As far as I can remember, her friends who were going the BFA college route probably attended about 2 or 3 auditions, but that's an impression rather than a cold fact. I realize this doesn't help much since you are looking at BFA programs right now. However, perhaps it helps give an idea of timing. As I said, I felt that this was the absolute limit that my dd could accomplish that year, given her time, our budget and location (the latter two variables may present different options for you).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My DD is a senior looking at a BFA in ballet. She is planning on auditioning for 3 schools in the fall and submitting applications to two other universities with the possibility of auditioning in Feb. if the fall auditions don't work out. That is about all that the budget can handle as well as the schedule of dance and traditional high school. She is also applying to an in-state college without dance as a backup. I was originally planning to have her auction for 5 off the bat, but a lot of audition dates were on the same weekend forcing her to narrow down the possibilities. In the end I think it was a good idea. Travelling is crazy expensive, no matter how thrifty you are. Not to mention time off from school when you have 4 AP classes going on. Fingers crossed for a successful fall audition season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much to everyone who has replied!

 

It is certainly an exciting and confusing time. DD has definitely decided to pursue dance whether it be through college program or additional training (company or pre pro). We will explore both options and see where it takes her!

 

I was a little surprised by the responses (and relieved) as it seems like most dancers were looking at about two or three college auditions!

 

I do appreciate everyone's advice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.