My college application journey (so far)

Hello there! I realize this post may be long but if I were a dancer looking for colleges and wanting to know about the process this is something I would want to read, so please bear with me!

In my about page, I mention my plans to go to college in the fall to pursue a dance degree. I had started my search for colleges that had good ballet programs (not just good dance programs- there is a difference) about a year ago. I looked at blogs and lists, looking at consistencies between the lists. A good starting list I found on Yahoo! answers of all places. I looked at the website for each of the college dance programs I found on this list as my starting point. (Key word is starting point, obviously there are other great programs not on this person’s list. I also used advice and knowledge from company members and teachers I know, and Ballet Talk for Dancers is a useful forum as well.)

After looking at each of the websites and conducting more research outside of them as well, I decided on the four schools that seemed to have very good ballet programs: Butler University, Indiana University, University of Utah, and University of Cincinnati. (It’s funny to me how all four programs are in Midwestern-ish states- I promise location was not even considered in my search!) Butler and Indiana seemed to have the best programs, they are both traditional 4-year schools. Utah and Cincinnati made the list because of their unique offerings. Utah partners with Ballet West, so that you may be part of their second company or trainee/apprenticeship while getting your dance degree. University of Cincinnati lets it’s juniors and seniors get college credit while dancing with a company of choice.

If this is where you ask why Julliard and other schools are not on my list, it is because while those schools have phenomenal programs, but they are much better if you desire a career in contemporary or other styles outside of ballet, or for teaching. Not to say you cannot have a ballet career by attending one of these other schools. And let’s be real for a second: Julliard accepts only 12 girls and 12 guys per year, that’s it. I think I’ve made my point.

Even with four schools on my list, I still made cuts, partly because of the costs of travel for auditions. I eliminated Indiana University for personal reasons, which include the fact I preferred Butler before it, and I didn’t want to get in to Indiana and then not Butler and go to school so close to Butler…maybe I’m just crazy. Back on topic….

I submitted academic applications to the three remaining schools, and scheduled my dance auditions. When Ballet West’s company audition information went online in December, however, I lost interest in University of Utah and decided not to audition. Why? Because Ballet West apparently does not accept women under 5’4″. Guess how tall I am” 5’2.5″. (Yes I need to include the half inch. It’s important.) Unfortunately, I have nothing against either the school (the school’s program looks very good!) or the company, but the height restriction is a reality I have to face. Fortunately, there are also many companies out there for short people like me!

So that left me with only two programs: Butler University and University of Cincinnati. I auditioned for Butler back on Halloween, which happened to be the first one available and the most convenient for me. I was lucky to have an inside source to ask questions about the program from, a sophomore I actually found on tumblr (not just a website for wasting time)! She was super helpful and answered all my questions in detail, and was even honest about the things that she didn’t like. The coolest part was being able to meet her in person at my audition and thank her for her help.

I have my Cincinnati audition this weekend, which inspired this post. I am extremely excited, and can’t wait to see how it prepares to Butler’s program.

So in summary: just because a program is fabulous does not mean it is right for you. Also, google is your friend.

Wow, you read all the way to the bottom. You are now deemed awesome by me.




    1. Unfair advantages to boys in dance and College Update | Ari En l'air
    2. Unfair advantages to boys in dance and College Update | Ari, en l'air

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