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Moxie

Ballet BFA with low GPA?

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Moxie

Starting to look at colleges for my son who's got ADHD and learning disabilities (smart as a whip but school is challenging!). Doesn't care much for school but wants to go to college for ballet. He's pretty much a bunhead and will do other styles if he has to. I'm doubtful his GPA will be very good and he's definitely not a test taker. We'll have others in college at same time and we absolutely must have either need based aid or amazing scholarships.  Looking for suggestions for programs that might fit the bill. 

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Amie

Moxie, there are no easy answers to your questions.  So much about the college search is specific to each person's situation and preferences.  Older DK just started her first year at a university majoring in dance.  But her parameters were different from your son's (she looked for a more well rounded or modern focused school and aimed for academic scholarships).  Younger DK is looking now and is not a dancer, so I've had to start at square one with the research.  I can help by telling you some places you might want look for your research...Of course the college/university forum here on BTFD is a good place to start. You can also look at college confidential, princeton review, niche, and usnews among other sites.  You should also look at the universities' websites and sift through all of the info about qualifications, scholarships, and the specifics of the dance program.  In both DKs searches, the lower cost universities tended to be state schools of some kind.  So, you might want to look at any state schools within your state.  Also, it is easier to gain residency for in-state tuition in some states (Utah comes to mind) than others (like California), so your son could pay a lower tuition after the first year at some schools. Also, I think the SUNY schools tend to be relatively cheaper even for out-of-state tuition, so you could look there.   For the lower GPA, I would recommend looking at more conservatory style programs where they might overlook a lower GPA or I think there are a few schools that take portfolios in lieu of tests, etc. 

 

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mln

I agree that you should look at conservatories, but also look at liberal arts colleges with strong dance.   Liberal arts colleges often have more personalized admission consideration.  I think you can also contact dance departments and college admissions offices to ask some of your questions. 

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mln

One more thing--USNews's Best Colleges (I have the print publication from 2018) has a list of schools called "A+ Schools for B Students."  Some of the state schools with strong ballet or dance programs are on the list.  I did use this guide quite a bit when my dancer was applying to colleges.

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threegirlpileup

If he doesn't care much for the academic side of school, would it make more sense for him to pursue further training that doesn't include academic classes?  It might be worth at least investigating what other options might be.  What is his thinking around getting a college degree, which is particularly an unusual choice for a ballet dancer.

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Fraildove

I would second the post-grad training if academics aren’t really his thing. Pittsburg ballet is just the first that comes to mind but there are many more. Also trainee programs that might partner with a university so that he can build college credit slowly while focusing primarily on ballet. After university most graduates that still want to pursue a performaibg career start as a trainee or 2nd company member. Of course there are exceptions, but generally that’s reality. Just another perspective

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Amie

I have to agree with threegirlpileup and Fraildove.  This might be a good option to consider.  I support kids going to college but only if that is their best option.  There are lots of kids in college that could be furthering their career in other ways (apprenticeships, tech schools, training programs, etc.).   If you are concerned about cost....Maybe have him apply to college and audition for companies.  See where he's accepted, where he gets scholarships, etc. and then decide what to do.  If he gets many acceptances from both college and post-grad, he could always ask to defer college for a year of two.

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Moxie

He has said he wants to go to college. Not sure if it's because older siblings have or he wants the "college experience" or something else. I can't imagine auditioning for both companies and college. Honestly, even doing one or the other sounds like a lot!

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dancemaven

If it is the actual college degree he wants, he might want to consider a school with dance minors and then major in something else (to prepare for Plan B/post-dance life).  

I say that because a BFA, while a perfectly fine degree, is not one I would recommend going into debt (school loans) for.  Dance contract salaries rarely provide a comfortable way to re-pay those loans.  And the existence and burden of those loans make it difficult for dancers to pivot or return to school for another degree. DD’s classmates with school loans found themselves financially chained and had less maneuvering options post-college, even to the extent of being able to travel for auditions, etc.  There was rent to pay, living expenses, school loan repayments, etc. 

If school loans are inevitable, I would second/third the suggestion to go the post HS grad training program route and defer college until post-dance.  

If, however, significant financial aid or scholarships come his way that eliminate school loans, go for it.   

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DanceMomLAS

I would look at the college pages. Lots of good info.  Mercyhurst University was a good fit to my DD. It's a ballet focused program, with generous scholarships. My daughter, who loves ballet, was not ready at 18 to go into a company. She also does not love academics. College is giving her a chance to perform, grow as a dancer, and make a lot of connections in the dance world. She has a minor which will give her options beyond dance. Many of the dancers in her program go on to perform in smaller regional companies, or do other dance related endeavors.  

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workmail

This article from Dance Magazine lists University of South Carolina, Mercyhurst and U of Cincinatti. 

We toured South Carolina when my daughter was looking a few years ago and it looks beautiful. (She did not end up going there.)

https://www.dancemagazine.com/in_training_ballet_goes_to_college-2306932329.html

Dance Magazine has a college guide but it might just be worth looking at each college in your state or region and looking at the faculty and their ballet background, whether the program is B.A. or B.F.A. and how many levels of ballet are offered and days per week ballet is offered, whether an audition is required and then your basic items like tuition and acceptance rates. 

 

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pirouetteprincess100

I would recommend looking for trainee/2nd company options which are tuition free or offer scholarships, but also see if you can cobble together a part time local community college/university or an on-line option. In Florida for example, the University of Florida offers a online option that allows you to eventually transfer into the physical campus if you desire. This was a plan our family was going to go with before DD decided to enroll in a out of state school that offered a degree in ballet.  We got caught up in the prestige of the school. Looking back, the first option would have made much more sense for many reasons. 

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jamied

Change [DanceMomLAS’s post] to son instead of daughter and I could have written this.

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