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DanceMumNYC

Ivy League Dancers

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DanceMumNYC

It seems that many dancers have gotten/are getting into Ivy League Universities. I know it is very common for dancers to be academically gifted. However, I also know that many serious, pre-prof dancers are homeschooled, and there has become a trend of Ivy Leagues accepting a good percentage of homeschooled students in general. Also, many parents on here have stated that Ivy League schools are impressed by dancers' abilities to manage their hectic schedules. So, I guess what I am getting at is: For parents whose dancing children got into Ivy League (whether they attended or not), do you feel it was more of your child's natural genuis, or their well-rounded homeschooling and dance schedule, that got them in? What were their scores like, if we're allowed to disclose that information and you don't mind sharing, and did they receive any test prep/coaching? (Please feel free to PM me to discuss private matters).

I was speaking to some parents of teens recently and the topic came up. We discussed that many students are being coached for the SATs, especially those attending independent high schools like those in NYC that cost over $40k per year. With a ballet bill, many of the parents stated that they cannot afford a college prep h.s. They were worried that, although their children are naturally intelligent, test prepped/coached kids put them at a disadvantage. Ivy Leagues now require at least an SAT score of 1400 compared to 1200 just a decade ago due to so many kids "acing" the test! One mother said her dd will barely have time to study for the SATs with her dancing schedule (SIs, auditions, rehearsals, etc.), and asked if homeschooling and dancing schedules can put an already bright child back at an advantage. (Their family's goal is for dd to get accepted and defer enrollment until after seeing where dancing takes her). 

Sorry if this doesn't make sense. My thoughts are a bit cluttered right now, and I hope I explained it clearly enough to get the questions answered to some degree. I know that Ivys aren't the be all end all, but the whole thing really made me curious.

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cchow

Wondering what evidence there is that Ivy League colleges are accepting a good percentage of homeschooling students?  I read somewhere that homeschoolers made up 0.3% of a recent graduating class at Harvard.

1400 is below the 25th percentile for SAT scores at all the Ivy League schools, and 1600 or very close to it is the 75th percentile for the top schools.  

A lot of students we know who did very well on the SAT did not take fancy prep courses, they are gifted students and are good at taking the test (these two things don’t always go together.)

i honestly do not think that a huge percentage of homeschooled dancers get accepted to Ivy League colleges.  The dancers we know who did succeed at doing this went to regular high schools and took very challenging course loads and managed to balance that with their dance schedule.  For as many serious dancers  that follow a challenging homeschool curriculum, there are many dancers who are doing the bare minimum in terms of school so they can dance 40+ hours a week.

 

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DanceMumNYC

According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, homeschoolers make up less than 4% of the school-age population. However, of the students accepted into an Ivy League university, as low as ~35% and as many as ~45% (almost half!) were homeschooled. This also holds true for other good colleges (Stanford, MIT, etc.). Although there are clearly more traditionally schooled children accepted into Ivy Leagues, the number of homeschoolers have skewed drastically (it wasn't just a steady increase). And yes, that's why I said a student would need an SAT score of at least 1400, compared to only 1200 just a decade ago. These statistics have changed tremendously in just the past few years, and many parents and students alike are worried about the chances of getting into top schools in this day and age. Of course, these are parents/students serious about education, whether pursuing it with a dance career or putting it on hold until after dancing, and not those who do the bare minimum, solely in pursuit of a company contract. 

It seems as if most young-adult dancers we know, who also want a degree, are in top colleges. But then again, many of them went to fancy prep schools. Now, many teen dancers we know are in said prep schools and applying to these same colleges. That seems to be the way to go if your kid is in a traditional school, but I wondered what the "secret" is for homeschoolers since not everyone can afford to be coached. 

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cchow

ok, I am really curious where you are getting these numbers of 35%+ of students accepted being homeschooled.  Please share where you got these numbers?

From a quick google search, I did find that homeschoolers make up less than 1% of the student body at MIT.  While it is possible that homeschoolers make up more than 1% of the student body at other top universities, I highly doubt the numbers are anywhere near 35% of total accepted students, let alone 45% (!)

http://mitadmissions.org/apply/prepare/homeschool

I don’t think there’s a secret formula.  Just like you know dancers who attended private prep schools and were admitted to top colleges, perhaps many of the successful homeschoolers were from parents who had the resources to pay for extras like SAT coaching.  Ballet in itself is expensive, so we are already talking about a self selecting group of students.

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dancemaven

For all things college, may I recommend College Confidential.  It was invaluable to us. 

As the parent of an Ivy League graduate, I would answer the question “How do you get in?” by saying “It was the day for your stair when they threw the stack of qualified applicants down them.”  :D

Seriously!  There are basic qualifications and soooooo many applicants that qualify on paper.  After that initial cut, it is a major dose of luck and “hook”. 

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Amie

DanceMumNYC,

I'm not sure how old your DD is, but there are many roads to Rome.  There is no one road that is the only road.  Each of our children thrives in different surroundings and  we must try to help them choose the best path that is right for them (and for us - what we can afford in time, money, stress, etc.)

Both of my DDs go to public schools that have many students who are accepted to Ivy League or Ivy League like colleges (MIT, CMU, Duke, Stanford, etc.).  So, private schools and home schooling are not the only way to get to the choice colleges.  Also, certainly there is no path that ALWAYS leads to a top college.  Most schools are looking for diversity in their student body and by diversity I am talking not just about race, sex, etc.   I am saying they want students with different backgrounds and different experiences.  If you are thinking about sending your child to a top college, I would recommend choosing an educational approach (home school, public, private) that provides opportunities to take APs, honors, etc. and one that provides the atmosphere and learning style that is best for your child.  And of course one that works with you financially and with your child's dance schedule.   If you are worried about SAT scores, there is a new FREE online program that is run with CollegeBoard by KhanAcademy.  It provides students with excellent practice and instruction tailored to the questions that they miss on the actual SAT or PSAT.  My oldest DD used it successfully to help raise her scores.

We are in the midst of college auditions, acceptances, and rejections now.  So I do understand how stressful the whole process can be.  I keep reminding myself to stop and take a breath.

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DanceMumNYC

I just said the U.S. Dept. of Education lol. You can also find statistics on various college sites, and certain individuals from the colleges' admissions offices will share some of this information. Also, if your child is involved in any gifted tween/teen summer college programs, they also give you information, especially at the teenage level as they are attempting to recruit teens from the summer programs and encourage them to apply in the upcoming years. Some schools even offer their own homeschool programs from which they've recruited from in the past few years.

I agree that privilege does play a part in all this. Just that the homeschooling mom I recently spoke with said she couldn't afford the prep school or coaching. I just wanted to figure out what those who don't prep at that level do. Even if my brilliant dd considered Ivy League in the years to come, and would be considered an Ivy "legacy child," I don't know if that'll still hold the advantages that it once did for my generation. Things have certainly changed.

Thank you dancemaven for sharing!

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DanceMumNYC

Amie, thanks for your comment! My dd is nowhere near the process, but after conversations with parents of older kids, I feel the stress already! I wish you and your dd all the best throughout this process! 

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cchow

Yes, I understand that you got your % of how many students are homeschooled from the U.S. Dept. of Education (lol), my question was about where you got your statistics for the % of acceptances consisting of homeschoolers.  I don't see where the U.S. Dept. of Education is tracking this.  From MIT's own site, they state that homeschoolers make up less than 1% of their student body.  Perhaps more were accepted that did not attend, but there is a big difference between 1% and 35-45%.

Schools are looking for a diverse student body - so while they will accept some gifted dancers, it is not likely they will accept a huge number of them, homeschooled or not.

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tutumama

I don't think there is any magic formula to get in to an Ivy. I second College Confidential for college information. There are students with perfect scores and grades and 10 AP classes and long list of extracurriculars who do not gain admittance to these colleges. There are  valedictorians do not get in to any Ivy. Plus, these schools are not interchangeable with one another. 

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DanceMumNYC

My apologies, I had the MIT info incorrect. I usually just group it with the other schools based on its reputation. Besides the aforementioned resources, I also read education magazines. Even the News & World Report gives data. I will never forget those numbers because they were shockingly high when I first heard them. I will keep searching online and through my papers for the direct source.

I think it’s unfortunate that grades don’t speak for themselves, and there seems to be a lot subjectivity in the decision process. It’s like an audition.:lol: I know schools want diversity, but I wonder, with so many talented dancers pursuing contracts, if there are only a few applying to colleges, and that’s why it seems as if most of the ballerinas we know go to a top tier school.

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cchow

Hmm - I can’t seem to find anything online to support the 35-45%.  It seems so shocking if true that I think this would have been reported in more mainstream media, not only in smaller-circulation education magazines.  

It sounds like you know dancers that are far above average in resources - if they are students at top NYC dance schools as well as private prep schools.  That may be the reason why it seems to you that most ballerinas gain admission to top tier universities.

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mln

My ds did complete an application to an ivy, a potted ivy, and a most selective public university this year.  He's keeping a lot of options open. He also has applications at ballet conservatories and is auditioning for traineeships with companies, too.  Although he's at a top year-round ballet training program, this is is first year there.  He completed three years at a strong public high school, and will finish high school through the online options his public high school provides.  My ds has test scores at the lower end of the interquartile range for the ivy, so within the norm for that school.  His grades are probably below the interquartile range for that school, however.  He has/is taking 4 AP courses, and he scored very well on his first two exams.  But he isn't taking an ambitious academic load right now.  Along with dance, he was a high achieving musician in his high school music program.   To all of the selective colleges, he submitted an arts portfolio that included a dance video and a dance resume.  He had no coaching in applying to college other than from dad and mom, and most of that was long distance.  Still, he's a solid writer, and I think his essays were thoughtful.  Yes, they were about dance.  I'll happily update you when the results come in.  What we have heard about this ivy is that the arts supplement isn't that influential.  Also, I don't think that being a guy will carry much weight at all with these applications--only to the extent that being a guy in ballet shows a degree of courage in the face of society's prejudices.  I have no idea whether he would actually go to the ivy if admitted, since he is still working toward a professional career in dance.  But I think he really needed to try.

 

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MelissaGA

I cannot comment on data, only on dancers I know personally, including my own. A good number of my daughter's peers from 2 different ballet schools ended up at Ivy League schools- Columbia, Princeton, Harvard and Yale. Several ended up at the first two, both of which are known to have strong ballet on campus. Her friends who ended up at these schools came from a variety of backgrounds. Some attended public school, some private school, and some did some version of homeschooling. 

As the parent of a formerly homeschooled dancer, I made sure that all doors were left open as long as possible. That meant that we usually did not take the easy road. She still took advanced, rigorous courses and worked hard so that if she decided that college was in her future, we did not limit her choices by her education. I know that I am not alone in that philosophy. I think she could have been a competitive candidate for a very selective school. Whether she would have been accepted or not is another question! These are often referred to as lottery schools because it does seem like a lottery with so many very well qualified applicants. 

I have never seen numbers that high for 35+% figure.  Perhaps it is something like 35% of homeschoolers get accepted to a top college?  Homeschoolers make up less than 5% of students in the US at this time, based on very broad estimates. 
 

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DanceMumNYC

I believe it was reported in a business magazine rather than educational. And I agree. Just by visiting one dance school in NYC, you will find dozens of students who also go to prep schools, even sometimes the same school. My dd felt left out at one point because her dance friends were school friends, but she didn’t attend the same place for academics. 

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