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spazzerina

Part-Time College while dancing

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spazzerina

I recently read in Pointe Magazine about a Joffrey Ballet dancer studying econ at Northwestern. I also saw a mentionof an Atlanta Ballet dancer who graduated from Georgia Tech on an old thread here...

 

I know scholarships are hard to come by for part-time students. Do colleges make exceptions for ballet dancers? Has anyone had any experience with this?

 

There's been a lot of coverage of company dancers getting college degrees... but what about those that are still in apprenticeships/traineeships?

 

Most dancers take more courses over the summer. But what about SIs?

 

Right now I will be a high school senior... I don't turn 18 until after I graduate so I will be relatively young.( I am currently training at a small studio getting semi-private instruction from a former principal form Korean National Ballet :wub: )

 

I will be in the top 3% of my graduating class and will have taken 12 AP exams upon graduation...I got a 2180 the first time taking my SAT. I want to go into the science field, so I would like a school strong in research. So here is the classic dilemma of an academically gifted but serious ballet student. :helpsmilie: I've been looking into the major dance colleges ( IU, U of Utah, U of Cincinnati) but also at prestigious colleges near ballet companies/postgrad programs. (Carnegie Mellon & PBT, Georgia Tech & Atlanta, Washington Ballet and CUA) I know this will be much harder than taking classes at a community college but I'm one of those can-do type nerds :3dnod:

 

If I don't end up going to a dance college like Indiana I will probably defer from a more prestigious school and try out a year as a trainee...

 

Sorry for my rambling! Answers, thoughts, previous experiences, and advice is much appreciated!

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Momof3darlings

You will have to speak to each college you're considering individually for the answer to the questions you've asked. In general, you are correct, there are not alot of scholarships for part time students who are still young. There are several types of scholarships for older (over 25) part time students. Exceptions are also not generally given to ballet students in regards to tuition/scholarships and part time status but you won't know until you ask. Most parents or students simply find ways to pay tuition while dancing. This either by the dancer working an outside job to pay tuition or because parents are willing to help.

 

The path you desire is yours to sort of dig through and think of best/worst case scenarios. It looks like you're on the right track to do just that. Congratulations! Most ballet dancers we know also fit the bill of being academically gifted so you are not alone there. So the true issue for you is what your heart desires and how you think you can best accomplish that. It sounds to me like you will have a 3 level plan for applying to colleges/getting a dance job. This is a good thing!

 

I do want to point out though that the dancers who take classes at a community college aren't doing that for the most part because they aren't "can do" types. But rather because that is what they can afford or their parents can afford alongside helping with all the other expenses a young, upstart dancer in a company environment needs. There is a HUGE disparity in how much it costs to take say English 101 at the Community College and how much the "biggies" charge. I'll note that at our local community college one can take one class per semester for about $400. The bigger colleges around us still charge all the student fees if you take one class so at DD2's college one class for summer would cost $1000 of which about $500 is fees and not class costs. So it may not come down to a "can do" attitude but rather finances. :)

 

You'll need a loosely developed idea of what you want to come first, second and third in your plan. Understand that some of it is beyond your control. So best case scenario you get into the top colleges you've named and also get a Trainee/Apprentice contract at a nearby company. Magic! But what does your heart desire if you get into the schools you considered prestigious but can't get a company position nearby? Is your preference to dance so that you'll allow the desire to dance to dictate which college you'll attend (part-time) or does your desire for the type of college dictate your desire to continue dancing? Same type of thinking on the dance colleges. If all works out well, you get into the one dance college who also has the program you'd desire for your degree. Magic! But there is a flip side to that also. It's crazy yes, but in reality I see you with a 3 tiered plan of which you need to start thinking about the what if's of each plan. You still won't truly know what you'll do until the time comes, but you will have given yourself a heads up prior to dance audition season if you're sending in college apps early.

 

It will make for a crazy year, just know that and keep your eyes on whatever prize you see in whatever order. DD had a 3 tiered plan also her Senior year. I don't think either of us was sane until the dust cleared. Good luck!

 

*an afterthought of information: there are many Atlanta dancers who've gone to Georgia State and Georgia Tech but now with the partnership program at Kennesaw State University, there seem to be a good number of dancers attending that school which is a bit further out. Might be worth a look/see. Maybe we have a member who can explain the program to you.

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vagansmom

I can't answer your question about the particular schools you mentioned regarding scholarship monies for a part-timer. But if you defer, here's my VERY STRONG :grinning: recommendation to you: With your SAT scores, science interest, overall nerdiness :) and interest in a school heavy on research, you sound like a perfect match for Columbia University. After deferring, you can still gain entrance into Columbia via their General Studies program. The only real difference between G.S. students (aside from being older than those who enter following high school graduation) is that your admissions process is a little more rigorous. You'd still be taking classes with Columbia College kids as well as G.S. kids - there's no separation between the two (I'd previously written that there is, but I found out I was wrong).

 

The largest group of G.S. students is made up of former ballet dancers (trainees, apprentices and full salaried professionals) Some are part-time. Some of these dancers are still performing professionally, but not full-time. The second largest group are vets. Others are former Olympic athletes, actors, etc. All are very highly motivated people. You'd definitely find friends easily there.

 

Of course, you can always apply to Columbia straight out of high school and attend part-time. Regardless of which way (Columbia College or General Studies) you enter Columbia, financial aid, grants and decent academic scholarships are available.

 

I saved the best part for last: Oliver Sacks is a professor there. He gives great lectures! :flowers:

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spazzerina

Thanks so much for the wonderful advice Momof3 & vagansmom! Momof3, I didnt mean to imply anything about students at community colleges. Hopefully with my AP credits I can get most of my General Ed's out of the way :) Basically its all up in the air until I get letters from colleges and hear back after auditions :nixweiss:.

Somewhere like Indiana, I can get the full college experience and great training plus med school pre-reqs. The "flip side" is that traineeships are generally more cost-effective. I'm still not entirely sure how they would compare in terms of performance opportunities I'm not big on partying so the most important part of the "college experience" for me is the learning. Hopefully I can get the right acceptances and find the best of both worlds!

 

vagansmom, the Columbia University program sounds fantastic! They are in the top 10 in Biomedical Engineering :clapping: Do they only accept older students or is it just geared towards "non-traditional" students?

 

Trying to figure out where to apply/ audition/ visit is a logistical nightmare :wallbash: I don't know what I would do without BT4D!

I live near Harid, so most of the companies come down here at least.

So far here is my tentative list

Columbia/Barnard

Harvard (pro-deferral :3dnod:)

Georgia Tech

Case Western

Rice

Carnegie Mellon

University of Texas-Austin

U of Miami, UCF, &FIU- safety schools

Indiana-1st choice of ballet college

U of Utah- 2nd choice for ballet

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vagansmom

Columbia considers a prospective student a "nontraditional learner" if s/he didn't go to college straight out of high school, but had a delay of at least a year. One has to prove that during the time since high school graduation, the applicant has pursued something with great drive and passion. If I remember correctly, the required autobiographical essay must be 2500 words long; I believe most applicants also send an additional essay. In the autobiog. essay, you must explain what makes you a "nontraditional learner."

 

I know several dancers who've recently graduated from or who are currently at Columbia through the G.S. program. Most are science majors. I "met" some of their parents through BT4D many years ago when the dancers were still minors and hadn't yet embarked on their dance careers. This link should answer most of your questions about G.S. http://www.gs.columbia.edu/admissions-faqs

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Momof3darlings

Does your interest in the sciences have a medical slant to it? If so, there may be a couple more schools/companies to add to your list. Not sure if your list is an early one or if you've already eliminated some because they don't fit your needs/desires?

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vivaballet

We knew a couple of dancers who did go to Georgia Tech... they could not dance and attend Tech at the same time (at least on a full time basis). It is a very difficult school to stay in and if you go in as a sophomore the classes are very challenging. Atlanta Ballet has some type of college program collaboration at Kennesaw State (not Tech) which is not of the caliber you are seeking. Kennesaw's campus is approximately 45 minutes from Atlanta ballet and does offer night classes.

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lovemydancers

One thing to consider as you research companies and schools is the schedule of the Trainees/Apprentices. My DD has a number of friends who have been able to chip away at classes one or two at a time while Trainees or Apprentices with companies, but once they exhausted the Liberal Arts class offerings and turned to more major-specific classes, scheduling became a challenge. Sometimes it was the time of day the required classes were offered that was the problem, and sometimes it was the variability of the Trainee schedule that was the problem. Trainees and Apprentices often have more (and more variable) time obligations than company dancers.

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doublejoy

You could also consider taking college courses online. In terms of rigorous math/science options, leading to a degree majoring in those fields, both Stanford's EPGY program and Florida Tech offer online course for first year students. You could do these courses anywhere, and realistically you would take at least two years to complete a full first year course load. Once you have completed the first year, the number of online options increases greatly. Another plus is the online course a much more affordable. They would buy you time, and you can transfer to a regular college when you know where you will be based.

I have spoken with Columbia re the School of GS path for part time ballet dancers, and they have no minimum age requirement, so if you are in New York, that is a good option.

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vagansmom

I also know some dancers in Europe who have been taking online undergrad courses at Harvard. A potential problem with that option is that there is no scholarship money available that way.

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Dancer830

Just a little "red flag" that I see in all or this figuring and I thought I would mention it since I just went throught this college process with my DD. If you haven't thought of it already, keep in mind that the science fields will require labs. We were told at several colleges DD appied/auditioned for, that it can be difficult to dance and complete science requirements because of the lab time issue. This is especially true when rehearsal time is added to regular dance class time. If you aren't in a hurry to complete a degree, then it probably isn't even an issue. I just wanted to add some food for thought. Best wishes as you sort it all out, it is an all-encompassing project finding the right fit. You will know when it happens and it is such a relief! Good Luck! :flowers:

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vagansmom

My daughter has taken summer labs and other courses at two different colleges over the years. So far, so good, but you're right: that can be an issue.

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spazzerina

Momof3, I am really leaning towards medicine! So far that is a very tentative list so recommendations are appreciated :) I know there are some really great schools/ companies on the west coast but its too far from home... but if I got a full ride I could reconsider :P

vagansmom- So far Columbia has some definite pluses over Indiana. Although it might take longer to finish a degree, I could graduate as a biomedical engineer which pays very well, as opposed to going pre-med and probably unemployed until after med school. How has you daughter been able to balance labs while continuing training over the summer?

 

However, it seems as though there would be more opportunities to learn & perform principal roles at a college dance program. However, I could be wrong...I don't know if this is for a different thread but do trainees/apprentices get similar opportunities?

 

Dancer830, thanks for the tip. Labs are not only lengthy, but standing for hours before/after rehearsals does not sound appealing. Hopefully something that could be done over the summer.

 

I really appreciate all your advice! Feel free to PM me if you have more info that you don't want to post here :)

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vagansmom

Spazzerina, I'd love to contact you privately, but I think we're not allowed to since you're not yet 18. Students at many colleges take a concentrated 6 week science lab (or any other course, for that matter) during one or both summer semesters. So conceivably a dancer can do one lab semester and then dance/train for the rest of the summer. Summer semesters at most colleges usually begin a week or two after school is out in May and run for 6 weeks till about the Fourth of July. A second 6 week summer semester then starts soon afterwards so one can choose to take another course. That's pretty common at most colleges. It's nice because you can choose one or two semester. My son took courses straight through the last two summers of college in order to graduate with a double major at Brown. He sure felt burned out by the time he graduated though.

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denipark

DD finished a 6 week session at IU in mid June and took Biology (with lab) and Psychology. One of the year round teachers at IU gave ballet class nearly every evening ($10/class), so that was nice that the students there for the summer could still dance and stay in shape. DD is currently working with advisors to fit a 5 hour Chemistry class in her schedule for the fall semester...it's a little tricky, because she also wants to take another class which puts her 2 hours over the limit...fingers crossed that she'll get permission.

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