GnMsMom Posted April 30, 2013 Report Share Posted April 30, 2013 (edited) For background: My son is 15. He started dancing at a local pre-pro school when he was six and stayed there for six years. By that point, he had decided classical ballet was not his thing and switched to a more casual, smaller studio where he took jazz and tap. He switched again when he found a tap teacher he really loves at another small studio. And, in the two years he's been at this school, he's fallen back in love with dance in general, returned to ballet classes and decided he wants to dance/perform professionally. He is still not interested in classical ballet at a career. Instead, he would like to pursue musical theatre, but he'd like to make dance his primary skill. Although he's extremely bright and capable, academics are not of particular interest to him. We've made it clear he is expected to complete some kind of post-high school training program or credential, preferably a four-year college degree. He's decided he'd like to major in dance or, possibly as a distant second choice, musical theatre if he could make dance the focus of his program. He has permission to dual enroll at the local community college in the fall, where he will be able to complete his remaining high school requirements within a year. (We homeschool, but we're requiring him to match or exceed what local high schools require.) At that point, he will be 16. If it matters, just in terms of general college admission readiness, he just got back his most recent ACT scores, which put him at the high end of the middle 50% of admitted students at most of the in-state campuses he's currently considering. And he has, at minimum, another year to study and prep and re-take the exam. So, I feel confident he'll be ready, academically, to apply to a nice selection of colleges when the time comes. However, because dance is, to put it mildly, not my area of expertise, I have no idea how close or how far away he is from being ready to audition into any college dance program. We have asked to book some time with the director of his current dance school to discuss the readiness question and to draw up some kind of plan for at least the upcoming year. Assuming the teacher believes we could have him ready for auditions in time for the 2014 - 2015 academic year, it seems to me my son has a few options. He could simply continue to take classes at the community college, knocking out some prereqs and general education requirements and taking some dance classes on campus and at his current studio, for another year, which would allow him to stall for time and apply to four-year programs at the same time most of his local friends are doing so. The potential downside to this plan is that I'm very afraid he will lose momentum and interest and have trouble getting into gear for college. He could take a gap year, taking time off from school entirely, to focus on dance and maybe get a job. But this one only magnifies my concerns related to the first choice. He could try auditioning into the community college's associates degree program in dance, which has a decent reputation, and plan on applying to transfer into a four-year program later. He could get an associates degree or technical certificate in something other than dance while dual enrolled, which should allow him to still apply as a freshman when he's ready to start a four-year program. I suspect #3 is the best bet, but we have concerns about whether he would find barriers to transferring into an arts program or would miss out on signficant opportunities if he is not enrolled in a single program for all four years. Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of how this works? Are four-year dance programs generally welcoming of students who transfer in after a stint in community colleges? Would he have trouble getting cast in productions on campus if directors and choreographers don't know him as well as they know the students who've been there for two years? Would differences in teaching or dance styles put barriers in the way of him succeeding in the four-year program? Are there specific schools or programs that have a reputation one way or the other on these issues? Edited April 30, 2013 by GnMsMom Quote Link to comment
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