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Applying to/auditioning for multiple colleges


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I truly appreciate all of the information everyone has been posting over the years. (I just finished reading the whole thread.) I have a rather general question, and I am not completely certain if it has a better place to go. If so, please let me know.


I am a senior in high school looking at dance schools to apply to and i only have 2 days this whole year for campus visits. Of course, I would like to apply to more than just 2 schools. However, if I am going to need to audition for each school I apply to, I may end up skipping a lot of school. Also, the expense of all of that flying from one campus to another is making me a little nervous. How did other dancers applying for college handle this situation?


Thank you in advance!

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Hi, dianeronomo! Welcome to BT4D!!! We are so glad you have found us and joined us.


Your initial question is a very good one----and one that dancers face every year. I hope you don't mind that I have split it off from the Indiana University college thread and given it its own thread. This is such a good, general question, we don't want it lost in a dedicated thread about a specific program.


I'm sure many dancers and/or parents will be able to give you some suggestions, advice and share experiences. As I said, this is a question every dancer faces---both in college searches and in company searches. So, hopefully, folks will be coming along to share their experiences and tips.


There are some college dance programs that do not require auditions, but the most serious ones certainly do. And as those programs are competitive, it will be important not to rely on any one as a 'safety', but rather to apply to as many as feasible that provide the type(s) programs you think you might be interested in. In this type of major, it is imperative to maximize your opportunities for acceptance. There are some college programs that do have rolling admissions, even in the dance department. An acceptance at one of these will enable you to concentrate and narrow your searches at those that do not.


As for my own DD's experience, she narrowed her dance colleges to a very few and planned only to do three auditions. I did insist that she visit the three schools. One she was very familiar with from having attended an SI with the 'umbrella' organization (Lines). At the time, the BFA program was a rolling admissions (I don't know if it still does). She received that acceptance in the early Fall, so had it in her pocket the whole time she was looking at her two other schools.


As for the two other schools, once she visited, she had made her decision. One, she withdrew her application in toto (dance and academic) and the other she severed her application, i.e., left the academic application in place (received an acceptance), but did not complete the dance application---so she did not audition.


It was VERY important for her to visit the campuses of the schools, talk to the dance directors, and observe the facilities and classes. Without having done that, she would not have been able to make an informed choice of dance programs.


Others have had much more extensive experience with making decisions about which and how many college programs to apply and how to juggle and/or make decisions about the actual auditions. Some schools do have auditions around the country (not as extensively as the SIs do) and others hold auditions only on their own campus during classes. Many will accept videos for review.


Handling the expense, well, sometimes long weekends can aid in piggy-backing visits to schools in 'near' vicinities. Otherwise, it can be tricky planning for the audition trips. High schools will often permit the absences if you explain the problem-----it is not unusual for performing arts students to need extra days for auditioning arrangements. A close contact and open dialog with your school's college counsellor will prove to be invaluable.


Best wishes and merde! on your quest. I do hope members will share their insights----and they have a wealth of experiences!


In the meantime, you might pull up a chair and a nice cup of coffee or tea and peruse this Forum for similar topics. I'm sure there are existing threads that will give you some food for thought. :yes:

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Ditto to everything Momof3 said. It's really, really hard to juggle everything senior year, but it really is best for YOU if you can go to visit the campuses you are interested in. This is true for any applicant, not just dancers.


High schools sometimes don't make this easy. I continue to be astounded that my daughters' intensely academic, 100%-of-graduates-go-to-college, independent HS allowed NO extra days for college visiting. If you took 2 days off to visit colleges, you better not get sick that semester, because you might exceed the allowable number of missed days.


However, there's no substitute for visiting campus when classes are in session. Weekend visits are not the same. And it's really useful to try to do an overnight visit, and most campuses restrict those to M-Th nights.


Sometimes it's just not possible to do the visits before you apply, though. In that case, do try to visit the ones you think will be the best fit for you, especially if you want to audition. With the others, you might just have to see if a video audition will suffice. You are taking a bit of a gamble, because you might end up applying to colleges you would discard if you had visited. In that case, you'd be out the application fee, plus fees to have your test scores sent. Absolutely visit campuses after admissions decisions are made, before you decide which one to accept.


My DD and I did an intensive, two-week college visiting trip at the end of the summer before her senior year. She declared she was sick and tired of visiting colleges, didn't want to do it again, and would just apply sight unseen to the remaining schools on the other coast. A month into the school year she changed her mind, and she did a November swing to three other schools. She fell in love with one of them, applied Early Decision (luckily her visit was a week before the applications were due), and was accepted! That visit made all the difference.

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My daughter was in a very serious, pressured high school as well, that only allowed two days off without counting her as absent. We took extra days for auditions and just called them "sick" days. We did not have the funds to visit lots of schools, so we did very intense research on each of the schools ahead of time. Then, her audition served as her visit. Many of the campuses plan tours and parent meetings during the auditions because of this issue. It would have been better had she had more time to spend at the schools before the audition, but it was not possible for us. DD had made the decision ahead of time that she would have to compromise on some issues anyway, if she could find a reasonably challenging academic school which was one of the top ballet programs. We also limited the search to six schools because of cost, and after she was accepted into the first highly desired program, she eliminated one of the other colleges on the list.


Another strategy we applied was to rank the schools into groups. We planned auditions at the top priority schools first, hoping for acceptances. My DD chose the first allowed audition date, whenever possible. That way, if we were notified of acceptances, we could cancel any other schools which she did not want to attend as much. We followed through on this and actually cancelled an audition at a school which was not on the top of her list.


We picked an in-state school with a dance program as our "safety" university. We knew from the experience of others in her pre-pro program, that she would not have trouble with the audition. And since it was in-state, we knew it would be affordable if scholarships did not materialize. Then we had three possibles that were her favorites, and then two reach schools. Luckily, we knew going in that she would not have problems being accepted academically, so our "reach" was based on the auditions.


We kept a school in our back pocket that had a reputation as a very good ballet program, but did not require an audition. That way, if no acceptances were offered, then she could still get into a ballet program. We were waiting for her to apply and audition to that one until we saw what happened at all the other schools. (Be sure to check the dates for the last auditions, applications, notifications.) We were blessed in that she did not need to ever pursue that university.


Hope this helps with your schedule. Coming from TX, you have some really good programs in your backyard. That might keep down the cost and time factor for you.

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My DD's experience was similar to tutu2you, although DD applied to 8 schools, all but one required an audition. We thought she woud need to miss more school but in the end missed only 4 days, and we just called them in as sick days. We drove to all the schools but oneand tried to cluster visits. It did cost money and it cost time out of work for me whcih was more problematic than the days she missed for school. But by careful planning and scheduling luck we did one before her school went back after winter break, another over the change of semester with days off, and then just took the other days. She ended up canceling her last audition because she already had many acceptance and 3 schools she was very interested in, so that also helped.


I feel we were very lucky to not have to fly to most places, but it was still expensive with hotels, meals and time away from work. I am not sure how to change that.

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I did a lot of what tutu2you and Calamitous did. After I'd figured out which schools I would apply to, I went school by school on the internet checking on all of the dates that they offered auditions. Money was an issue with flights, hotels, cars, food etc. Tried to cluster when possible. I did Indiana U. on a Friday and Butler on Monday. I brought a lot of homework with me and did it in the hotel over the weekend. Having the weekend inbetween gave me time to check the campuses out on a day that I was not in audition mode. Surprisingly, my public high school was very supportive of me attending auditions. I think they were more understanding because I was going to be gone to audition and not just gone because of senioritis. In the end, like others have said, I cancelled the audition at several of the schools after receiving acceptances to ones that I was more interested in. Definitely try to schedule your auditions for the earliest dates on the schools you are most interested in. I felt like it was a ton of work to get it all organized, but the sooner you figure it all out, the easier it will be. My high school was closed on a day I auditioned for the one school that was in day trip range of where I live. So, look at your school calendar too and compare it to the audition dates. Good luck to you!

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From the looks of it my daughter will be auditioning for about 8 programs, only 1 local. All the rest require plane rides. Of course her top choices are the hardest to get into. I am still confused about the applying for the dance program and the college. Do they get together and merge the applications? Or do you get two separate admissions/rejections?


Also, most say that their dancer got accepted into every program. Does that mean the same 75-100 dancers are getting into every program? I know most of these programs only take about 25-30 dancers. Most schools will tell you that they have between 400-1,000 dancers audition.

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I applied to ten schools, partially to appease my parents, who wanted me to aim for the big name universities. Six of the schools required auditions for the dance programs, and the other four had solid dance programs, but didn't require auditions, only placement classes once you got there, but were also strong academic schools. It was nice to have these schools on my list, because I knew that they had strong dance programs, so I had back ups, regardless of how my auditions went. Programs at schools like at Barnard/Columbia or Skidmore still turn out professionals despite the fact that they don't hold auditions.


I was applying to US schools from Switzerland, and it was really tricky, because there was no way I could fly back and forth multiple times for auditions. So, I talked to the college counselor and the principle at my school and got a three week "study leave," or something to that extent, where they wouldn't count it as absences. A lot of the schools had multiple audition dates, so I tried to go to the ones as close together as possible. Two of the schools allowed me to audition ad hoc, which was SO helpful. Just ask, and most programs are willing to be flexible if you have a good reason.

I literally traveled from NY to UT in three weeks, by train, plane and car with my mom, auditioning. Yes, it was expensive and time consuming, but it was worth it. I got to see all the campuses, take classes, sit in on academic classes, etc, and it really helped me figure out which school/dance program was best for me. My take is that auditioning for college isn't the same as with auditioning for summer programs (which was my only other auditioning experience before this). An SI lasts for a month or two in the summer--if you don't end up at a program that works well for you, it's not the end of the world. College is a four year deal, so it's really important that you love what you're getting into.


Georgia: in my experience, all of the schools I applied to had different application processes. Schools like IU and U of Utah required me to apply to the university itself, and then audition for the dance program separately. U of Cincinnati's CCM, on the other hand, had me just apply directly to the conservatory. They didn't even ask for a transcript or test scores until after I'd been accepted for dance. Barnard, however, didn't require any sort of dance audition/application, just the academic application (though they use the common app, which has an art supplement option). So basically, they're all different.

Also, I think you'll find that people are more willing to share the good news than the bad in terms of getting accepted to programs. I didn't get into every school I applied to, though... two denials, two waitlists, and two acceptances. These dance programs are similar to academic programs in that there is varying selectivity. You might say getting into one of the "top" programs is like getting into Harvard, but not every single program is that selective.


Good luck, everyone, and remember to breathe and enjoy!

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I think claeri made some great points. I'll start with the getting into every school. DD was academically and artistically accepted but I am guessing only 2 maybe 3 of the programs she was applying to overlapped with many of the others here- UMKC, Point Park and maybe Iowa. DD was looking specifically for schools that had programs that she could pursue modern as an emphasis. I will also say that her 8 schools, 2 were completely non-competitive. Although they did have auditions these were basically scholarship auditions. Before we started DD had a hard time knowing how she really would stack up with others in dance programs, so the few non-competitive ones which were early on helped her to see that there was a huge range of dancers out there, and a place for all. Of the remaining 5 schools she completed auditions for, there was still a range. She felt UMKC had the strongest overall auditionees, but it was also the smallest numbers, abour 15 at the audition all of whom she felt could be accepted, versus at her PPU audition where there were 70ish, where she thought there were some kids who were not much more than beginners.


As for application, admissions and audition timing. As Claeri suggested this was highly variable and for me probably the most stressful part. One place DD auditioned required an academic acceptance, then you had to send artistic recommendation letters, then you could schedule your audition. Others you could audition before being accepted. I don't think we had anywhere that you could audition before you had applied to the school- and paid the fee. This can make the traveling to schools from a distance more stressful since it limits how far in advance you can buy tickets.


Finally, as claeri did, we called a few dance departments directly and in one instance set up a separate audition because DD had a conflict for all their set dates. Once you have some tentative travel dates and places, if there are programs sort of "hanging out there" I would suggest calling to see if it is possible to audition during a regular class, all they can say is no it isn't possible. THe one caveat on this, is check the academic calendar carefully, because we got caught with one place we needed to call being a winter break and not being able to get through to anyone who could make a decision.


The process was stressful and time consuming but in other ways DD and I had some wonderful times. I felt I learned a lot about who she was becoming as an adult as during these days in the car, when she talked more about her future hopes and dreams, what she saw as priorities for herself, and how she dealt with things like does the reputation fit with who or how I want to dance. Enjoy as much as you can of the year.

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I am still confused about the applying for the dance program and the college. Do they get together and merge the applications? Or do you get two separate admissions/rejections?


Georgia, you will need to check each program's process closely. Most of the 'top' dance programs have a two-step process, i.e., an application to the university and a separate application to the dance department. Some will require that the university application be submitted prior to attending an audition date; some do not. All of those require a completed dance application prior to attending the audition, I believe. For others, you are not allowed to select an audition date, but must request one (with preferred dates given). Some dance departments will do a 'preview' of the dance application before 'inviting' the applicant to attend an audition.


Keep in mind, too, that different schools handle their auditions differently. Some hold group audition classes; some have one or more solo requirements. Others simply integrate the auditioning dancers into current college dance classes. Butler does that, i.e., a limited number of auditionees will take actual college dance classes on specified audition dates.


The schools that have a dual application process (like Butler or IU, e.g.) will send separate admission results for the two. That means, e.g., a applicant may receive admission to the university, but not the dance program. OR the dancer may receive acceptance to the dance program, but not the university. In order to enroll in the dance program, the dancer must have a 'yes' from both applications.


So, in the end, the applicant must look closely at each programs' application process and DO pay close attention to the various deadlines. Very, very often the dance department application deadlines are significantly earlier than the university's deadlines. As I recall, for the schools DD was looking at, the dance application deadlines were in December, rather than the January deadline of their respective university.

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How did other dancers applying for college handle this situation?


To answer the simpler part of this question that dianeronmo asked, we took time as a family to set a budget for auditions both college and company since she was doing both at the same time. We then worked that budget to the best of our ability. DD was able to fly in to 3 auditions of her top 3 school choices, then we opted to attend the local audition for a 4th against the recommendation of everyone including the college themselves. (It's important to note that at that time, this college road auditioner was notorious for not selecting someone on the "road" auditions, but then if that student went ahead and auditioned on campus as a 2nd chance, they would be selected by the group panel. I have not heard this same thing in years so assume that has been fixed and is not as much taking a chance with your auditon as it used to be)


In terms of the schools and getting time off, it's important to go in to your assigned Senior counselor and explain the dilemna of auditioning for dance college vs. regular colleges. Have them work on your behalf with your teachers to explain to them the impossibility of only taking two days as well as the fact that these audition dates can't be arranged on weekends or vacation time. They are set and you must comply with them. A good counselor, will present this information to your teachers on your behalf and create a workable situation for you. If the counselor is not helpful in this regard, you may have to sit with a higher administrator. Either the Principal or even the person in charge of Curriculum for your school. Someone should make an agreeable program for you to be able to do what you need to do without penalty. If that doesn't work, then deal with each teacher individually. It will be helpful if a parent (a calm one, with quick wit) handles this so that if necessary it can be equated to other similar college paths. Is the teacher also a coach? Would they understand an athlete going to more than two colleges in an effort to garner a scholarship? Then you use this as an example to make them see it's not the normal path you seek. Is the teacher also the drama teacher? Then they will also have a point of reference to understand. This helps you chip one teacher away at a time, so that you may only receive penalty from one, the one who would be unreasonable anyway. (if there is one like that) Note that college visits and college auditions can be two different things. In our case though the college audition WAS the college visit. We could not afford two trips out of state especially since DD had some scholarship interviews to attend which would have made 3 trips.


Lastly, it's important to understand that if you are having to ask this question from a financial standpoint, then an out of state college may be a stretch on the budget anyway so streamline what you can. If you have a Fall break, is it possible to attend two auditions during that break and on the same travel budget? As an example, DD and my DH flew into Indiana and visited/auditioned for IU then rented a car and drove to visit Butler for a regular visit during her Fall break. We then flew DD up alone to stay with friends to actually audition for Butler saving a 2nd flight for her dad and hotel room. Even with the car rental, it saved on food and another flight so was a pretty decent savings.

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These are great responses.


We had a very tight budget and were unable to fly to a few of the schools my DD was interested in. Thankfully, some of the schools had auditions in our town. We decided to study the schools web sites, call directors, watched you-tube videos from dance departments, and talk to current students (via facebook). After she auditioned and was accepted we decided to visited the schools in order of DD's preference to attend. She had already visted the ones we could drive to but decided on the first one we had to fly to. In this way we avoided needless flights and travel expenses. We found the web sites useful and the directors open and helpful.

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We are in the middle of this process right now. We live on the East coast and DD is applying to college dance programs as far away as AZ. We are driving to 2 in the Midwest and flying to 2 out West for auditions. There are 2 others that don't require auditions. We have used Travelocity to try and get cheaper hotel rates and airfares far in advance, or staying with friends in the vicinity in 2 cities. DD started the online app process on August 1st when some university apps were available on line, so she had the best chance of getting the audition slot she wanted. Her schedule is very difficult to work around as she can't miss too much of her pre-pro company's rehearsals, academic school, or rehearsal schedules for the professional company that she is sometimes invited to do super or corps roles for. That left specific audition dates that she needed. She has already been admitted to 2 universities, and was notified on Friday of a large academic scholarship that she has been awarded to one of the colleges. If your DK qualifies for an automatic academic scholarship (based on GPA and test scores), be sure you get the app in before the scholarship deadlines which are 11/1 or 12/1 for the colleges to which DD is applying. Of course, this has nothing to do with whether your DK will get into the ballet program, but is a nice boost at this time in the process, and makes that out-of-state tuition a LITTLE more tolerable. Be aware, as well, that for most of the schools you will have not only the app fee for the university, but a separate fee to apply to the Arts school at the Univ (Jacobs School of Music at IU for example), and/or a separate audition fee. It adds up.

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Oh my goodness. Thank you so much everyone for contributing to this thread and to dancemaven for moving my post to the correct spot. I wasn't sure what I wanted to study in college until maybe a month or two ago when I decided give it my all towards a professional dance career so I feel a bit like I am playing catch up.


At my high school, all of counselors have changed for this year, (from one assigned to follow each grade level for all 4 years) to being divided by students' last names. Now, not only does my counselor not know me, but she is also dealing with students from other grade levels. Even though, I will definitely go to speak to her about this issue.


Because I just recently embarked on the college dance program search, I am still working from a very rudimentary list of schools that a (very wonderful) ballet teacher (who is currently a BA company member) suggested to me. It includes the top schools such as Utah, Indiana, Butler, etc. I have been scouring through every piece of information I can get my hands on, but I know that there is still so much more. For one thing, what are some of these dance programs that don't require auditions? That would truly be such a help to me.


Then tutu2you (or anyone else), which schools in TX would you recommend to someone looking for both an emphasis on classical ballet and exposure to modern/contemporary ballet?


And yet another question: I did not think to pursue dance as a professional career until perhaps a year ago when I realized that nothing made me as happy as dancing did. (I was raised to do well in school, thinking that I would go to Harvard one day--to do what? I don't know.) Naturally, I am playing catch up now, and in my humble opinion believe it would be in my favor to audition later than sooner so that I have some more time to catch up. What are your thoughts on this? I know for some schools (I have gone through the entire IU and Butler threads) it does not matter when you audition, as long as you are good enough. Of course, this probably does not apply to all of them.


Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for everyone that has posted on this thread. I was truly blown away when I saw how many people had already replied. Your input and experiences are invaluable to a dancer as lost as I am in trying to find my way through the ballet world. I am so ever grateful to your help and guidance.


(I would PM the people that mentioned the things I asked questions about, but I don't think I am allowed to do that yet. I apologize for the inconvenience.)



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Scholarship monies are most plentiful at the beginning. At many schools, those scholarships are given out on an ongoing basis and once the money is gone, it IS gone.

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