Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Choosing between 2 great colleges - can I find out which holds more pr

Recommended Posts

Dd has 2 colleges in her top choices that are pretty equal in all categories, so we are trying to figure out if a degree from one would 'look' better than the other.


Aside from alumni employment, faculty/guest faculty, and performance opportunities, is there another way to find out which of the two schools holds more weight in the dance world?

Link to comment

... is there another way to find out which of the two schools holds more weight in the dance world?

I'd be less worried about which school holds the most weight, and be more concerned about the overall skill of your dancer. If your dancer is looking for a professional job out of college, those looking to hire dancers are not worried about what college they went to, they are looking at the dancer among the other sea of dancers. If your dancer is looking to become a teacher, or choreographer, again... the skill is what is looked at first, not the college.

Link to comment

I am seriously confused by this question. GTLS Designs makes a great point about the skill(s) of your dancer. I would think the part you do not mention which I believe is absolutely essential in choosing a college program is for your dancer's impression of the school and performances, the audition, and interaction with faculty and staff during the investigative process. There are many good programs out there. There is a likelihood that your dancer may not be accepted by all programs she applies for, but of those acceptances, which is the one where she (not all dancers) will experience the most growth?

Link to comment

Look at where the alumni go after the degree and think about the degree to which those jobs match your DD's expectations/interests.

Link to comment



You didn't mention whether your dd is planning to major in dance or a dance related course of study. If that is the case, then look for the quality of the dance program. What do the studios look like, what courses are offered for all 4 years, who are the faculty members, what are the performance opportunities. Can a dance major have a double major if they want... those sorts of questions.


If your dd wants to dance in college but not major in dance, there are choices too. Some universities have very active dance/ballet companies.


Our dd danced professionally immediately after graduating from vocational training school. How did she get her job? She auditioned (a lot). Not one of those auditioners asked where she trained or where she went to school (vocational, university or otherwise). The only thing that matters, as GTLS alluded to, is the dancing and the current need of the company for a dancer with the skills you show during the audition and also the obvious physical factors.


Our dd is now in college. She attends an Ivy League University. Not one of the questions on the application asked her where she had danced. She used the experience in her essay but dancing is not a requirement of college. The Ivy League schools have a ballet consortium and if the need is there for more ballet dancers, an applicant might have an edge, all other things being equal. Our dd sustained a career ending injury and did not offer to participate in the consortium. Acceptance to these schools happened without her offer to participate.


My point is that dancing in a ballet company and studying dance in a university company are two different worlds, with two different missions. It is difficult, if not impossible to predict which school will be better for a dance career and it is difficult to predict which university may be more interested in the attributes of your dancer. Choose the University based on the academics and that fit the areas of interest that your dk, not on "recognition by ballet companies." Directors really don't care, in our experience.

Link to comment

As someone with an undergraduate degree in ballet that has since moved on from the ballet world, my advice would be that your DD choose the school that will best set her up for life after dance. In my opinion paying for a 4-year undergraduate education to only come out with a degree in dance is doing the student a disservice. Like swanchat mentioned, company directors are not going to care where you completed your training and having a degree in dance will not increase your chance of becoming employed in the dance world. With the ridiculous price tag of an undergraduate education I believe all dancers wanting to attend college for dance should also choose programs where they can double major or advance their education in another field. Get the Plan B ball rolling early that way when it is time for graduation the dancer has options. Career ending injuries happen in college too. I had one and if I had just graduated with a ballet degree I would have come out of school with major debt, no job prospects in a field where I could pay it off and would still have to go back to undergrad for some sort of post-bac.


I dont want to come across as completely anti-college dance, I absolutely loved my program. I simply dont believe they are a good investment in the long run unless the dancer is actively pursuing a second area of study. I attended a top ballet program and would say only about 10% of my former classmates are still dancing professionally now that they are in their late 20s. Some of those are still being supported financially by their parents.

Link to comment

The thing is, if you want to pursue a career in dance AND pursue a Plan B education, you would still have to major in dance in order to get enough dance time to make a career at all a possibility. So I think looking at the amount of actual dance time within the major along with the ability to double major would be important. Also, ia degree in dance would still be helpful if you want to pursue teaching dance or moving on to another dance related field.

Link to comment

As far as teaching goes, be aware that a college degree is not required to teach ballet. More often, a resumé with professional ballet experience is seen.

Link to comment

Thank you for the replies. Our dd will be pursuing a BFA in dance and has done a lot of research on her top school choices, so I was trying to look outside the box a bit. When class sizes, faculty, performance opportunities, campus life, overall training, along other characteristics are similar, I was wondering how to find out whether one school might have an edge over another.


We will continue to pour ourselves into the details to find the best fit for her.


Thank you again :)

Link to comment

After doing your research and after visiting the schools for auditions, if a few are still good fits after acceptances are received, scholarships offered can (and often do) help play a part in making the decision.

Link to comment

Autumnrose - yes true. Scholarships and tuition I believe will play a huge role in our decision. I've briefly searched this site for what colleges offer substantial dance scholarships. My husband is beginning to really count the cost and putting a bit of pressure on my dd's pursuits. He asked me if all this SI $ and possible extra expense of moving to another studio (could be $600 a month more as dd is getting free tuition and its 2 minutes away) will be compensated with a college scholarship. Like I can really know that right now? I told him, no it won't be. We can hope for a scholarship that will help a lot, but it will never equal the investment that we've made in dance. .

Link to comment

Schools more likely have more academic scholarship money available than dance department money. Audition early for best departmental scholarship consideration and understand, as in all ballet training, the young men will have the larger amounts offered. So if you can combine a good academic scholarship with some departmental scholarship, you've done well.


Once again, do keep in mind the dancer/student's potential ability to pay back any student loans when they graduate. Student loans are very unforgiving and there is less of a grace period than when we parents were in college back in the old days. Someone will need to begin those repayment billings---even when the student has no or little income and n those initial years post-grad.

Link to comment

DD is currently a senior BFA student. I think that the program that provides a lot of performance opportunities and is focused on providing exposure to make connections should be a top priority

Some programs are very competitive and dancers in the middle to lower skill levels may not get a lot of performance experience

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.

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...