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Deferring College Dance Acceptance


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We are battling the decision of what to do next year. Like so many we prayed for a company spot but it didn't happen, so, here are the options. Keep training, dance in a university program or stay at our current school. Or ... work and dance or attend our local university and dance at our current studio, well you get the picture! My DD really wants to keep options open, here's the quandry, she's been accepted to a university ballet program and we don't want to let it go. My feeling is we should accept the university ballet slot and then wait and see what the next few weeks and months bring and then go or not go depending on the ultimate decision. So, I called the university and tried to feel them out. I managed to stay anonymous on this phone call and asked how we would stand if ultimately we couldn't take the spot and they said we would have to go to the head of the department and explain ourselves and suffer the consequences. I was a little taken aback. I know people whove accepted at Stanford and then gone to Harvard and they didn't bring out the big guns. Wait listing happens after all. So, if any of you have any experience in this area I'd appreciate your sharing. The deadline is just about upon us!

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  • balletbooster


  • Taradriver


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  • Pasdetrois


Have you considered deferring acceptance for a year?? Most universities will allow you to defer for one year but they will not guarantee to honor scholarship offers.

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Hi Pas de trois!


It is quite possible to defer from many schools without much difficulty. In fact the Yale admissions packet, comes with a check list of some kind asking if you are going, not going, or deferring and if deferring what you plan to do for the year. It is handled quite matter of factly. The only reason that your DDs school may be different is if they accept only a small select number of students to the dance program and they limit the numbers strictly. It is hard to think, however, that they cannot absorb one student more or less into the program so long as there is a date by which DD would tell them if she was coming next year. Read the fine print in all of their materials....sometimes this information is there and buried.


All the best to DD. And whatever decision she comes to, go forward and don't look back. It is the right decision for her.

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I'm adding my voice to the deferment idea. ( Although I haven't had to do this with a dk, I have explored this option with a non dk athlete.) Also some schools that will not guarantee a deferment will still in many cases reaccept a student who previously applied & was accepted.

It sometimes cost a bit - but is sort of an insurance policy for those who are still exploring their options.

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Deferment is definitely the way to go. However, the deferment may only apply to academic component of admission.


If the program is selective via auditions, based on what we learned when D went through the process 3 years ago, we were told that re-auditioning would be required.

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Deferment will only work if your DD does not enroll elsewhere, for instance at the local college. Depending of course on the quality of your local studio, if there are no trainee or apprentice offers pending, it may be the best choice to go for the university dance department, rather than continuing to train at home, especially if a scholarship was offered. Many college students continue to audition while in school. Good luck to her.

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Actually, researching this with DD as she made her decisions this spring - deferment is different for every school. All the academic programs we contacted deferred her happily and most agreed to defer the scholarships too (!!!! LOVE those schools!). A few said they could "try" to save her scholarships, and thought that she would most likely get the same offer next year. Although the dance programs uniformly said she would have to re-audition, they also said that she would be almost 100% sure of getting back in. All the schools we talked to said that taking local or distance learning college classes would not affect deferment. This would be so even if she took a full load as a non-degree candidate (rather than a full time student working on a degree) at a local college for a semester or a year. So, I think that the keys are communication with the college and not enrolling in another DEGREE program. You can take as many classes as you want, but still not be a degree candidate. My non-dancer son, who is taking almost a full-time college load now, is doing that so that while he has accurred a number of credits, he will still be considered a freshman applicant when he applies to colleges in a year or two, rather than a "transfer student".

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Great advice, dance1soccer1. Your answer is exactly what we learned but you expressed it much better!

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My daughter accepted an offer from a college with a full dance degree program and then deferred. She received a variety of scholarships and grants, including a talent scholarship for dance. She had indicated to them that she planned to double-major in dance and neuroscience. They allowed her to defer with all the scholarships still in place. In the end, she deferred a second year, and in the middle of that year notified them to remove her from the deferral list.


Each school IS different, especially where scholarships and grants are concerned. Schools usually will not hold them in place because each year they need to evaluate the deferring person's application against the new pool of students. So the deferring person may or may not measure up the same against the new applicants.

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Guest balletandsynchro

I'm going to chime in with vagansmom on deferments: every University is different! We were told by one specific University, that Dd could take no more than 11 college credits during the defered year, or she would have to apply as a transfer student. No guarantee on scholarships, and only a very, very limited number of students would be defered. I think this was brought out on the IU thread where someone posted that a bumper crop of deferments came in the next year and really swelled the size of the freshman class.


Pasdetois, as much as you might not want to do so, you may end up having to be very specific and hash everything out with the dance deparment. If your daughter is like mine, and waiting to see what happens this summer, make sure that you can request that deferment in late July or early August, if necessary. It's almost better to lay the groundwork now, or at least see what the options are sooner than later.

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Pasdetrois-you may want to find out if you can get back - or be credited for the following year - the deposit that is due May 1st. You can inquire about this anonymously but ask where the written policy can be found, just in case.


When I was in law school, one of the students withdrew the first week of classes because he had finally been admitted to another school where he had been wait listed all summer. Changes in plans are par for the course to the colleges. Look at it from their perspective, though. If your dd is accepted to a highly selective dance program and they save a spot for her and she bails late in the game, the dance dept's pool of possible replacements may be fairly small, because those that were wait-listed have chosen to go elsewhere. The dance dept. may just be trying to avoid this kind of situation but their being heavy-handed about it would turn me right off.


As for deferments, as ballet&synchro said, every school is different. Get it all in writing. And good luck to your dd.

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Absolutely. My DD was able to defer college this year but it cost us a housing deposit plus a $250 penalty for cancelling the housing after June. The residence dept was of course completely separate from the dance dept and no amount of pleading would get them to waive it.

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It's the ballet department place that is questionable. It appears that deferring will not hold a ballet spot. Actually it makes sense, as we all know, backsliding happens and they may not like her if she dances elsewhere and doesn't keep on track, highly unlikely but possible! She's actually not sure that the university ballet program training is as good as our current school. It's not just this particular program but university ballet programs in general. The company auditions this year left my DD cold . She knows she has the talent for a company job, it's just that she observed the climate is definately kinder to less curvey dancers and she's totally confused as to what to do next. She doesn't want to waste time and put college on the back burner but she isn't sure that a university is the best place to study serious ballet. She also doesn't want to be the 22 year old still praying for a II spot when sometimes lesser but smaller dancers are getting jobs. Sorry, but it does happen. Curves just aren't in this year! A university to her it's where you go when you can't make it with a company. The attitude at the university ballet department was very superior. My DD was quite disappointed at the level of dancing at the audition. A huge audition with few really top end dancers, therefor she's worried about what the year will bring.


This post is going all over the place isn't it! There are advantages to the university program, college credit for one and dancing with others at her level and her age rather than at out current school where she's be putting up with much lesser dancers who will be moved up this year. It's hard when you've been a top level girl for a good four years. It's hard when your the strongest in the school. Our school is the devil we know but there is a devil we don't know. To state the obvious we are not liking decision making. If she accepts the university spot she will most definately do a double major, the second being something to lead to med school. It's always been her second love! Maybe I'm being hard on the university programs but in this household there is a definate feeling that it's where you go when you accept that a company job just isn't coming your way and you want to keep dancing for the love of it. Am I wrong in this?

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I, for one, think you are wrong about this, pas de trois, at least as a broad generalization. I know of at least ten dancers this year, all of whom have company offers or stated interest from major companies for their second companies, who are choosing to go to college next year instead of dancing with a pro company. I know of dancers who have been trainees and apprentices with pro companies as seniors in high school who are also choosing this route. They are NOT doing so because they cannot get pro jobs. They all have received pro offers, have already danced with a pro company or have serious pro interest (here is a full scholarship to our SI, we are strongly considering you for our second company).


While I do understand that the level of dancing MAY not be as high in a university program, across all the dancers in the program, as you would see in a pro company or in a top flight pre-pro school, I think you will find that the challenges presented to serious students at the college level are such that they can stay competitive with their non-college peers. The faculty at many university programs is indeed impressive. The opportunities to dance are numerous and the contacts with companies, once the dancer is ready to look for work, can be very beneficial. There are more dancers than ever before going to college right out of high school, rather than delaying this for later and the number and variety of college programs has grown expotentially to accomodate this influx (not unlike the similar phenomenon with the proliferation of SIs).


As a result of more qualified dancers taking the college route right out of high school, we are also beginning to see more older dancers entering the ranks of companies as trainees, 2nd company and apprentices than ever before, as you mentioned in your post. What they have that the 18 year olds do not have is the maturity that those four extra years brings and a college degree that they can put into use immediately when their dance careers are over. The college grads who have entered the two pro companies my daughter has been associated with have all been very qualified dancers who have done very well in their dance careers, which began at the age of 21 or 22, not at 18.


I think it is very elitist and unfair and rather 'old school' to look down one's nose at the college dance experience. I think dancers choose this route for a number of reasons and we know many dancers who choose this route because it is what they want to do, not because it is a decision forced upon them when no pro offers were tendered. I am in no way discounting the choice to defer college to pursue pro dance options and by the same token, I think it is unjust to discount the choice to attend college first.


I think it would help your daughter with the choices she is facing if you were able to broaden your own perspective about college dance and talk with some parents of students who have taken this route. We have a number of them on this board and I think that the information you receive from them will both surprise and enlighten you. :P

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This is just a follow up to balletboosters comment.


If you take a look at most ballet companies, you will see that some of their dancers have graduated from college dance programs. It is by no means a "dead end" and may even open some doors. Even so, you still may want to defer college at this point and I am not giving advice, just confirming what balletbooster has said.

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