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vivaballet

Applications: Describing Ballet Involvement

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vivaballet

DD is a senior and is starting the application process for college. Some that she will apply to have dance programs, but not all. She has devoted her high school years towards dance and she has had some great opportunities in this space. DD chose a 1/2 day private school that allowed her to be part of a conservatory dance program so her after school activities are non-existent. However, as I looked at all that she has accomplished, I think she has more leadership activities then students in a traditional after school activity.

When we list out all of the ballet related activities she has been a part of: Numerous community outreach programs/performances that she has participated in; RDA,SERBA workshops attending the scholarship classes; Teaching beginning dancers at her studio (volunteer)2 X a week; helping teach/coach her peers on nutcracker choreography for the last 3 years and even managing the studio's social media. I see a pretty impressive list of activities and leadership. So, just wondering how much others have included on a general college app pertaining to the ballet activities that their dk's have included when applying to school.

 

My thinking is this; If she were on a high school sports team, she might have been selected as a captain, but that is not quite the etiquette in ballet, but willingly assisting new dancers in choreography steps should count for something? Rehearsing and participating in outreach programs to schools and community events also seems like it would be a recognized outside activity as well? Also, wondering if we should include the information on the summer intensive scholarship's dd received as part of the general college app. Again, I see it as an "award" of her accomplishments and if she were a student athlete I am sure she would have been recognized for this somewhere, but our studio prefers to stay under the publicity radar. If she were applying to a dance program as a major it would be great, but she does not see the ROI on a dance degree, so she may just dance for fun in college (what a concept :) ). I just wanted to hear from others on how their dk's let schools know that they were not sitting around and twiddling their pointe shoe ribbons.

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Kellinger

If there is a place to put the information on the college application, then by all means include it. It shows the colleges what she has been doing with her time and herself. I really can't speak to whether or not to include information regarding SI scholarship on college applications.

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dancemaven

Have you done a 'Search' for similar threads? This is a question someone brings up pretty much every year. :wink: there are threads with wise advice. But I don't have the time right now to get a Search started for you.

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vivaballet

Dancemaven,

 

Yes I should have searched first.. I did find a few good posts.

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alk5

vivaballet,

 

if your DD is using common app for colleges then in my opinion she should highlight her ballet involvement in the Activities section. Common app has space for 10 activities, she doesn't have to have 10 activities just to fill the space. IMHO your DD could divide her ballet related activities into 3 or 4 in the following way:

1. extra-curricular activity: dance (ballet + other forms of dance she participated in), make sure she specifies number of hours spent on it a week which will signify level of her commitment

include rehearsals and performances; also if she was a lead, she can indicate here; RDA exams?

2. leadership: managing studio's social media, teaching/coaching students for yearly Nut performance; if she spent a lot of hours on both, she might even separate it in 2 activities

3. volunteering: community outreach opportunities/performances, teaching beginners at her studio x2 week (this one could be included either in volunteering or leadership)

4. summer intensives she attended; here she can indicate - on scholarship

 

workshops could be included in #1 or if they are very special could be a separate item, but I should caution you against spreading too thin, colleges look for in-depth commitment not necessarily a laundry list of activities (i.e. specifying separate activity that took 1 hour a week might not worth it).

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Twinkle Mom

I know every application is different, but sometimes an essay question will lend itself to being able to incorporate all of the wonderful experiences (as you listed above,vivaballet) that dedicated ballet training offers.

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vivaballet

alk5, Thanks for the breakdown, I think that will really help dd as she apply's to school and apply's for scholarships. I am going to have her type up a resume (which I didn't insist earlier). Twinkle mom, another friend of mine suggested exactly what you said too and was recommended in some of the older posts. Some of the older posts indicated some students who put together video portfolio's. Is that really necessary if you are not going for the super competitive, pricey ivy type schools? She wants to attend schools out of our state and she has the scores and grades to get in, but in the end it will be about the money. So, glad to know that her dedication and accomplishments in ballet can be indicated somewhere.

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dancemaven

It would help if we moved this thread to join the older prior thread so that all information is in one place and wisdom is not lost. I will try to do that when I have time to do a Search.

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NYCMOM

Having been through this process recently, I agree with the suggestions given by alk5 and others. I would only add that when mentioning scholarships, be sure to describe them as "merit scholarships" (assuming, of course, that they were!). College admissions officers do not necessarily understand that scholarships given by SI's are most often based on merit, and may assume that your DD simply received need-based financial aid. Good luck!

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alk5

vivaballet,

 

while I think it's a good idea to type up a resume just to see everything in one place, not forget anything and organize the list of her activities, I'm not sure that it's beneficial to include the resume on the college app. It used to be that there was a place on common app to upload your resume but I think it's gone now. If your DD still wants to include her resume it could be done in extra info section of common app, but it should not repeat the information provided in Activities list. IMHO, it's better to use Activities list instead of leaving it blank and indicating that resume will be attached. I'd use extra info section only if Activities section (which provides space for 10 activites) is full already or if your DD wants to include some info about herself that is not an Activity. Again I'd caution against splitting dance related activities too much.

 

I agree with NYCMOM that your DD should indicate scholarships as "merit-based scholarships". There are too many people talking about scholarships their kids got but it was need-based financial aid :-)

 

About video portfolio... From what I've researched and heard from others, it could be very beneficial in terms of scholarships and as an edge in getting into more competitive college but there are always exceptions. For example from Yale website I got an impression that unless you're over the top outstanding, don't bother submitting supplemental materials. Mentioning it on Activities list is all they require.

Other colleges will gladly take your video (although I thought it should be only 1 video and better to showcase your talent in the first 5 min :-) and forward it to the head of their Dance department for evaluation. At least one other college that I know requires attending an audition for scholarship, even if you're not planning to major or minor in dance.

 

I think it would be wise for your DD to contact admission offices of colleges she is planning to apply to and ask them about their policies for submitting supplemental materials and if they have scholarships that your DD can apply for. Nowadays, email is fine, and that way she also demonstrates her interest in the college (some colleges, mostly privates, do track student demonstrated interest).

 

Good luck!

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allegrogirl987

In addition to what everyone has already said, I think a lot of experiences that one has training seriously in classical ballet develop both leadership and cultural sensitivity in a way that brings something unique to a college application and can also be easily overlooked as an opportunity to let the admissions officer know what a truly complete training ballet is. Many applications/essays/scholarship applications will be looking for some kind of comment on leadership and/or what you can bring to the table as far as diversity goes.

 

Leadership can be a tough one; a lot of college applicants were involved in their high schools as club founders, class presidents, etc. Many ballet students have fulfilled leadership roles in their teenage years but don't have these "titles" because a lot of times that level of involvement in the high school community doesn't coincide well with ballet training. (This is no diss to the class presidents, club founders, etc. in any way- and I recognize that sometimes ballet students are able to do both!) Basically, a lot of dancing students have unconventional leadership experiences (i.e. growing up through a school to the top level, assisting in younger classes, etc) that are worth discussing on your application. Not only will it reinforce how ballet was more than just an extracurricular, but it will often open opportunities to include unique anecdotes refreshing to the admissions officer reading the application.

 

Diversity is another admissions buzzword that college applicants will most likely have to discuss at some point in the process. This is another area that I think a lot of ballet students get some sort of experience with- whether it be in the conventional sense that either they've participated in programs with very diverse demographics or simply in the fact that a lot of ballet experiences include the cooperation of a variety of ages, backgrounds, levels, etc.- skills that lend themselves to diversity very nicely. This is again an opportunity to showcase your ballet experiences and also make for some really interesting writing.

 

I definitely second the advice to include supplemental materials if the school will look at them and also recommend having a letter of recommendation from a ballet teacher who knows you well- whether you use this as an official letter in applications or as part of your supplemental materials. I used academic references on a lot of my official applications, but had a letter from a teacher who I began my serious training with, acted as a mentor to me as I started performing with the professional company, and assisted in classes for younger levels. I used this reference in my supplemental arts materials and also included it in an application for a service based scholarship- as the letter spoke to the service related activities I interacted with the instructor in.

 

This is just some advice and personal experience- take from it what you will! For some background, I planned on an apprenticeship after high school but had an amazing opportunity to attend the university I'm currently at and chose that over a career a the recommendation of my parents. I do a lot of work with the admissions office here and in retrospect, I think ballet had a lot to do with my acceptance! Good luck to everyone applying!

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vivaballet

All

 

Such great advice...bit overwhelming and getting dd to understand this may be more stress inducing as they have already launched into ballet this week with a performance in October. Academically dd has the grades and scores to get in where she is applying...no expensive ivies for us. So, I will get her to put it all together and add where she can. She is going to audition at one school just to see if there is money for scholarships should she be accepted...then looking at a double major..yes her scholarships were merit based and we will make sure she indicates that. Dd said a lot of the schools do not want any additional info...so we will see, but she has added two more school on the common app...of course out of state...sigh.

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trythis

Our school has a "brag sheet" that the student fills out so that the counselor writing the letter of recommendation can include these things. We intent to highlight all the hours of training, as well as volunteer work etc.

 

Thanks for the idea above of the break down, its true ballet really can fulfill a number of categories of extra curricular involvement.

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eschmitt98

I have a similar question- I plan on putting my summer intensives on the Common App activities list, as it shows dedication to dance, but I'm not quite sure how to describe them without making it sound like I'm advertising for them! I know I need to describe what I did personally, but it still ends up feeling like it's not authentic... Any tips?

 

 

Thanks!!

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Coco

I think that our dd made the mistake of not including a supplement to her application. While dd was not applying to a dance program, most of the places she applied allowed an art supplement even if not applying to an arts program. It's an opportunity to submit additional information. She included her SI scholarships etc. However, I think many admissions committee members don't have a context for ballet and I think it would have helped if she had included a short video or photos, which was allowed. Don't get me wrong, she received some great acceptances; I just think if we had to do it all over again, I would have pushed a bit on the supplement.

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