Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Logistics of applying for a residential program


Recommended Posts

I've been reading the thread on residential programs with great interest, since dd is being encouraged in that direction by her teachers, and I'm trying to sort out the best strategy for the next couple of years leading up to the point where this would be a possibility for dd. Her sophomore year (fall of 2017) is a possible starting year for residential training , or if we think we can delay it, possibly her junior year.

 

The two programs that are on our radar as possibilities, use their summer session as a second stage of auditioning for the year round. It appears that their summer schools run at the same time. My first thought was to have dd audition and hopefully attend the summer school for one of the possibilities next summer, and for the other one the following summer, but that plan only works if she prefers the second school and is asked to stay. What if the school from the previous summer is a better fit for dd? Is there a possibility that a program might consider a student for their year round even if their attendance is from the previous summer?

 

This is such a huge decision that we would really like to have some basis for comparison of programs before sending dd off, and yet, I can't wrap my mind around how we might best accomplish that. The only solution I can see right now is if the second program is better and they invite her to stay, then send her in her sophomore year. If it turns out that the first program was better, then maybe keep her at home for another year, and then have her do the summer school for the first program again, and really hope they invite her to stay for her junior year (knowing of course that the competition will be that much steeper!).

 

Can anyone else suggest a better plan?

Link to comment

You may get more strategy/admission type information by asking on the specific threads for the programs you are interested in. Students and parents who have experience with the specific schools will have an understanding of the quirks of the admission process at their schools.

 

I'd be willing to bet that the best general answer we can provide would be the proverbial "it depends" on which school, etc.

Link to comment

Yep. . I have thought about this and I have no answers. It's really a big gamble really because the issue also might be that the kid doesn't get in to the first choice. So then you are kind of stuck. Also, if you are asked to stay and then turn it down, it might not be offered again. So, you kind of have to be ready to say yes. I think

Link to comment

 

I'd be willing to bet that the best general answer we can provide would be the proverbial "it depends" on which school, etc.

 

That's certainly fair. One of the schools is Harid, so next year, would be the first summer she would even be eligible to audition for their summer program.

 

 

It's really a big gamble really because the issue also might be that the kid doesn't get in to the first choice. So then you are kind of stuck. Also, if you are asked to stay and then turn it down, it might not be offered again.

 

Exactly!!!! Only attending one summer program in hopes of being asked to stay year round is really putting all of ones eggs in the same basket in really awful kind of way. From what I gather, the competition is far stiffer than simply getting an invite to the summer school.

 

 

I would never buy a car without test driving at least a couple of makes and models. I don't even buy shoes without trying on at least a couple of pairs. The thought of potentially sending my dd away to the first school that offers her a spot - which might also be the first place she attends, seems strange to me.

Link to comment

Some schools have auditions; with others you can request an in-class audition for the year round program outside of summer attendance. Not unlike college "road trips," if there is a way to visit the school at a time other than summer, you and your DD can get a chance to see what the actual program is like during the year (students, teachers, general environment, city, dorms, etc.).

Link to comment

Thank you for posting this question, mamabear. We are in the same boat with DD and are sincerely appreciative of all the knowledge here helping to navigate the path!

Link to comment

I would suggest to begin an administrative relationship with the schools of interest now. Make onsite visits, attend any community Master Classes offered by the schools. Ask the very questions you are asking here on BT4Ds of the schools in writing. Include a current DVD and photos of your child. Attend any performances the schools may have.

 

If you are not interested to have your child attend until 10th grade or even 11th grade, if your child is not accepted into one program the summer of 8th grade, you may eliminate the one school. The chances of being accepted for the year round program the following year are pretty slim. However please understand that many students who are accepted into the freshman class, who choose not to attend, re-audition with the hopes of attending the following fall however, they have not developed at the same pace as the residential program students and often times, if accepted, begin in the 1st level rather than in the original class they would have been in had they attended the previous year.

 

There are no guarantees, but it is worth a try that if a school knows you and your child, if there is enough interest in the child, one might be able to work something out.

 

Key however is being accepted into the year round program at all.

Link to comment

Thank you Blanche, and vrsfantasic for the suggestions. It hadn't occurred to me to try and go to the schools during the school year mostly due to distance, but that seems to be the most sensible option. Both facilities are on the eastern side, and we are all the way over in the Pacific Northwest, so I think see a couple of family mini-vacations in our near future!

Link to comment

Treat it the same as you would for college application choices -- research, reach out to families with students currently there, visit and see if your child can take class or speak to a teacher/shadow a student. Keep track of both programs now, from as many perspectives as possible, so that you will be able to gauge their strengths and weaknesses more fully when you are ready to consider residency for DD. The trouble with saying you'll try one summer program one year and one the next is that a) your child may end up unable attend one or both, for any number of reasons; b ) one or both of the programs may make significant overhauls to their program in between when your DD attends; c) your DD's training and development could suddenly shift and make a program one year a bad fit, where the year before it might have been perfect. Some SIs are really ideal for certain stages of dance development and not others, but the year-round training will not necessarily match that age demographic in terms of strengths and weaknesses of the program.

Edited by dani_t
Link to comment

So here's another logistical question:

 

To what degree do you explore schools that are outside of your budget? I know that it sounds like a stupid question but I don't really want to take my DD to a school, get her all wound up, and get the school excited if I know that the price is just too high. How do you convey your financial limitations to a school without appearing to be pleading for money? I mean these are places where people are earning their livings and I am sure that they get loads of people trotting their talented kids in with the expectation of getting a scholarship.

 

With colleges you don't really go look at a 70K school if that's really outside your parameter (and actually colleges have more ways to support students through federal programs). But I am not really sure how to tactfully convey this to a school. Some use TADS or other services to evaluate the expected family contribution but I just don't know how it's done for other places.

 

Assuming that she gets in, we have told DD that this decision will be based on 4 criteria a) her life skills, academic skills--readiness; B) the fit with the school from our perspective; c) the fit from her perspective and d) what we can afford.

Link to comment

Here's something else to consider: how close is the summer program to what is really offered year-round. My own experience has been that summer intensives can be a completely different animal from a year-round program at any given school. The level of instruction and caliber of students at one particular intensive my dd attended was really phenomenal, it is very highly selective for summer and attracted some of the top students nationwide. The year-round classes are very different. If I were to have tried to gauge what the year-round program would be like based on the SI, I would have been very, very off the mark.

Link to comment

cat11. . That's a good point. I think that for me, one question for the program would be, Who are your regular, full time teachers at each level? And then if your Dd had them, you can judge.

 

What I have found is that these SIs will bring in guest teachers to handle the load of students and the teachers never teach in the year round program.

Link to comment

learningdance- the teachers at the summer program my dd attended are the exact same as year-round. The level of instruction was not. The students attending the SI were some of most talented dancers from around the country, and it meant the teachers were teaching at a very different level than year-round. I think one question to look for is how many of their year-round students make it into their own summer course, and what level are they placed at during the summer vs. the level they are in year-round.

Link to comment

I just thought of another question. If I am successful in setting up these onsite visits, how then do I/we evaluate the effectiveness of training in comparison to the home school training" This assumes that the guidelines for good training are being met and surpassed both at home and at potential residential schools. Instructor bios are a start, but I believe that it's impossible to truly pick out an exceptional teacher on the basis of a bio. Is it fair to ask a fourteen or fifteen or sixteen year old to make that call? Is it even possible to make such a call on the basis of a short visit to the school? Reaching out to other parents is useful, but unless we understand their point of reference, or unless they understand ours such conversations are a bit limited in the degree to which they might apply.

Link to comment

So here's another logistical question:

 

To what degree do you explore schools that are outside of your budget? I know that it sounds like a stupid question but I don't really want to take my DD to a school, get her all wound up, and get the school excited if I know that the price is just too high. How do you convey your financial limitations to a school without appearing to be pleading for money? I mean these are places where people are earning their livings and I am sure that they get loads of people trotting their talented kids in with the expectation of getting a scholarship.

 

With colleges you don't really go look at a 70K school if that's really outside your parameter (and actually colleges have more ways to support students through federal programs). But I am not really sure how to tactfully convey this to a school. Some use TADS or other services to evaluate the expected family contribution but I just don't know how it's done for other places.

 

Assuming that she gets in, we have told DD that this decision will be based on 4 criteria a) her life skills, academic skills--readiness; B) the fit with the school from our perspective; c) the fit from her perspective and d) what we can afford.

 

I don't think it ever hurts to ask upfront what their policies are regarding scholarship consideration, financial aid, or even work-study opportunities (which DD's school offered, but only if you asked). Arts schools know that many families are in a tight spot financially -- share what you feel is appropriate up front, and if you audition and the forthcoming offer is not enough, contact the admissions department and see what other options are available. If the school is interested in your child and it's a good fit, *and* the school is sincere in its mission to train students with true potential, then all parties will try to find compromises so your dancer can attend the program.

 

 

I just thought of another question. If I am successful in setting up these onsite visits, how then do I/we evaluate the effectiveness of training in comparison to the home school training" This assumes that the guidelines for good training are being met and surpassed both at home and at potential residential schools. Instructor bios are a start, but I believe that it's impossible to truly pick out an exceptional teacher on the basis of a bio. Is it fair to ask a fourteen or fifteen or sixteen year old to make that call? Is it even possible to make such a call on the basis of a short visit to the school? Reaching out to other parents is useful, but unless we understand their point of reference, or unless they understand ours such conversations are a bit limited in the degree to which they might apply.

 

Re: asking your teenager if they can make that call -- would you trust them to recognize good coaching if it were an athletic sport? Good teaching in an academic situation? If the answer is yes, then I think it's safe to gauge their reaction to an audition class/visit and trust their judgement as much as you would in any other circumstance. This is their area of relative expertise, after all, at least if no one else in the family is a dancer.

Edited by dani_t
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...