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dance majors and med school


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I know this post isn't completely pertaining to college ballet programs exactly but I'm hoping some members can give me a few suggestions regardless. Are there any other med school bound college ballet majors on here or members who have graduated from a dance program and in med school/ graduated? I meet with an advisor at my undergrad soon and she asked me to start making a list of potential schools first, which I think is premature as I'm not planning on taking the MCAT until hopefully next spring, but I was wondering if anyone knew of any schools in particular that "like" ballet majors. I was told that some schools might see it as an "easy" major and not take it as seriously compared to all the hard science majors applying. Any suggestions would be great, so far I've jumped through the same hoops regarding course work and volunteering as some of my other fellow non dancing "premeds". I don't have much to say for research though because I just don't have the time which I know may pose a problem.


Of course this is just incase the whole professional ballet career thing doesn't work out, I'm just making sure I have another workable plan in the meantime as it seems trying to get into a decent ballet company is even more difficult now than going through the med school admissions process! :yes:

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dd's dad works at a highly competitive medical school. He teaches there. He has had two students who danced. The one who really stands out danced pre-pro through high school, applied to Harvard, was accepted and deferred her admission. She danced at one of the big companies in New York for a few years, decided to go to college, attended Harvard, helped to revamp their dance program, was key in raising funds for the new dance auditorium, received a Rhodes scholarship, went to Oxford, and is now in medical school. She is an inspiration to all around her. The thing about this young lady is that she is 100% engaged in everything she does. She is academically curious, socially curious, and culturally engaged. She is the antithesis of a bunhead, a credit to the world of ballet and medicine and I know she will do great things in the future.

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First, your advisor is right- it is never to early to start a list of professional schools. It can always be altered as you do your research on schools and make a decision exactly what you want. As for a med school that likes ballet majors, I do not think any med school (at least not the ones I know thru my husband who is a professional and my son who is applying and my alma mater that I work closely with in recruiting) looks at a specific major as a preference. Traditionally, yes, the majority accepted are science majors but I think a lot now adays are looking for mature, hard working students that may bring a different angle or position into medical school and beyond. Being a dance major may be to your advantage in applying. Frist, it will make your application stand out. Second, the dedication it reguires (you may need to find a way to emphasize this on your application and in interviews) will be to your advantage. Make sure you have a well rounded under grad experience and have taken as many science/math courses as possible, not just what is required. Study hard and do well on yoru MCAT- a good score also helps you in standing out. Get letters of reccomendation from a lot of different people in different ares. Someone who can speak to what it takes to be a dance major, the hours, the committment, etc will be essential.


Once you have a list,do research on each school- what are their weaknesses and their strengths, what majors did get acceptance, their average MCAT acceptance score, location, where did their graduates go to residency? Do they prefer their own graduates from their under graduate programs? Like students from different aresa of the country?


Once applications are in, be sure to try to get an interview, at least to your top choices. That is the one place you can really show them your attitude and dedication. Be sure to see and express to others that a dance major is a plus- not a minus and certainly not an easy major!


PS- My son, while a science major, also plays hockey and schools have expressed interest in him because of the effort it takes to be a college athlete and maintain the grades and time to be a pre-professional student. One interviewer made a comment on the letter from his coach- in a postive way. Present yourself as a college athlete- which is what you are. Non-dance people will understand your experience better when you present it that way.

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Your information is absolutely correct in that science and math must be part of the undergraduate courses taken, mcats strong, and that no specific major is required. And yes, according to my husband who sits on various admission committees, the school is interested in hardworking, dedicated students who bring diversity to the student body. But... with all due respect, they can smell a phoney-baloney a mile away. I'm not so sure I would suggest presenting yourself as anything other than what you are...a ballet dancer. You could explain that ballet requires the physicality, training and practice of a college athlete with the added challenge of being a performing artist. AND that you have balanced the rigors of ballet with a challenging academic focus (hopefully you have) and maintained excellent grades (again hopefully, this is the case). Informed members of the admissions committee will see a profile like this, respect the unique nature of the applicant and understand that the applicant can stand up to the challenge of a medical education and the brutal hours associated with post graduate training and the career itself.


edited to address the issue of research: research ability and interest is always a plus, not to mention tuition free medical school if you are accepted and elect to attend as a MD PHD. Look into the IADMS (International Association for Dance Medicine) for any research ideas that you could put together by simple observation when you take class. As a nurse, I see so many opportunities for research, you might even find a grant to help you now. But research for research sake is not necessary to apply to medical school. If you were to conduct research that incorporates your passion and shows academic curiosity, well so much the better!

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Thank you so much for your responses!


I fully intend to present myself as a ballet dancer by incorporating my life experiences in ballet (time commitment/ sacrifices etc.) into my personal statement as means of showing how I am well prepared for the rigors of medical school and later residency. I just hope admissions committees won’t write me off because I’m not the typical applicant; I even had a lab professor tell me I’m going to sound like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, which really scares me because I’m not like that at all! I have maintained a good GPA thus far in my science classes and I am completing a degree in biology (although it isn’t my major) as well as a chem. minor so I think I am taking enough difficult classes to “prove myself” however, I am not very good at calculus :yes: . I still have a long way to go before I apply next summer as I still need to finish the organic chemistry and physics sequence (scheduling has become an art form in itself) but so far I’m managing!


Swanchat, thank you so much for the IADMS suggestion, I am definitely going to look into it to see if I can pull a research project together, creating my own study is definitely much more interesting to me than some of the other on campus research opportunities that have presented themselves. The only thing I still worry about is the time commitment as I don’t want to compromise my commitment to the ballet dept at my school or for my grades to drop because I will be trying to juggle too much.

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Sparkles - good luck to you whether it is ballet or med school that you end up pursuing. It is not easy combining these classes with a ballet major at your school and I am sure you have had to work very hard fitting in the labs.

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Good luck to you sparkles! here's a link to the International Association of Dance Medicine with specific reference to student research support



I wouldn't be too concerned about the lab teacher's comments. I'll bet he/she has never served on an admissions committee and may not understand that today's medical schools are looking for a student body with diverse interests. I am often struck by the exceptional achievements of the students that my husband teaches. One of his past students deferred medical school to participate in the Americus Cup races, another trained with one of the Tour de France teams. Your diverse interests are likely to be in good company.

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sparkles, It's great that your pre med coursework is going well as a ballet major. You must focus on MCATS ahead, and do volunteering in the pre med field. There are people who have gone on to med school after being dance majors. My dd recently changed paths as she found the dance requirements (NOT an easy major) along with the pre med load unworkable. It can be done in more than four years but both of these tracks require many extra hours of commitment and time. Now my dd will enjoy finishing her BA in dance, then get a degree in Higher Ed. Administration. Best of luck!

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Sparkles, celebrate your unique contribution to the medical profession. Sports medicine usually attracts athletes, and someone in the performing arts may have an edge with caring for other artists. Your dedication to ballet can be transferred to your career. Don't feel that you should minimize the value of your dance education. If you are interested in dance medicine, say so! There aren't that many MD's who do this, and it is a very difficult job trying to figure out how to help people correct problems, and to treat injuries while minimizing down time. Study for the MCAT's, though, and do an EMT course over the summer, volunteer with an ambulance crew, or something like that>

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  • 3 months later...


I am an M.D. (Cornell, University of Michigan, Stanford) with admissions committee experience. I suspect your lab prof. has a limited knowledge of medicine and dance, but may know something about stereotyping. Elle Woods is a character created by a fine actress, who happens to be the daughter of an otolaryngologist, and who clearly understands stereotyping. I would suggest taking your teacher's comment as both a compliment and as advice about being yourself, not a character.


In my opinion, if your premedical studies and MCAT scores show you can handle the academic rigor of medical school courses, your major is a substantial asset. (Medicine is, in many ways, a performing art. Surgery is practiced and performed in a theatre. A procedure is choreographed.) In addition to IADMS, you might look into the medical specialties of Physiatry (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), bone up--sorry--on common dance injuries (Orthopedics), and consider applying for one of the educational programs for college students at the Harkness Center. http://www.med.nyu.edu/hjd/harkness/edu_pr...ms/college.html

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