Navigating the Path to Collegiate Dance: Top 5 Considerations before Auditioning

College Auditions

Navigating the Path to Collegiate Dance: Top 5 Considerations before Auditioning

Welcome to Beyond the StEPS 

Entering the realm of collegiate dance is an exciting endeavor for high school dancers, but it's also one that requires careful planning and consideration. As junior and senior dancers begin to explore their options for collegiate dance teams, there are several key factors they and their parents should take into account to ensure a successful transition. Let's delve deeper into each of these considerations:

  1. Admissions and Academic Alignment:

Choosing the right college isn't just about dance; it's about finding a school that aligns with your academic goals and aspirations. Before committing to a collegiate dance team, dancers should thoroughly research the academic offerings of each university on their list. Consider factors such as the availability of desired majors, the reputation of academic programs, and opportunities for internships or research. It's essential to envision how the academic environment will support your overall growth and development as a student and dancer.

Parents can play a supportive role in this process by helping their dancer explore various colleges' academic offerings and assisting with college visits or virtual tours. Encourage open communication about academic interests and goals to ensure that the chosen college provides the right academic foundation for future success.

  1. Technical Requirements and Skill Level:

Collegiate dance teams often have specific technical requirements and skill levels that dancers must meet to be considered for the team. Before auditioning, dancers should honestly assess their current skill level and compare it to the expectations of the collegiate teams they're interested in. This may involve attending workshops or clinics to receive feedback from experienced instructors and identify areas for improvement.

Additionally, dancers should consider the style and focus of each collegiate dance program. Some teams may prioritize jazz or hip-hop, while others may have a strong emphasis on contemporary or pom. By understanding the technical requirements and stylistic preferences of each team, dancers can tailor their training and preparation accordingly to enhance their chances of success during the audition process.

  1. Program Culture and Fit:

The culture of a collegiate dance program can significantly impact a dancer's experience and sense of belonging. Prospective dancers should take the time to research and explore the culture of each program they're considering, paying attention to factors such as team dynamics, coaching philosophy, and camaraderie among team members. Visiting the campus, attending dance events, and interacting with current team members can provide valuable insights into whether the program's culture aligns with the dancer's personality and values.

Parents play a crucial role in supporting their dancer as they navigate the process of assessing program culture. Encouraging open dialogue and asking questions about team dynamics, leadership structure, and opportunities for personal and professional growth can provide valuable insights. By actively engaging in discussions about the program's atmosphere and fit, parents can help their dancer make informed decisions that will contribute to a fulfilling collegiate experience both on and off the dance floor.

  1. Time Commitment and Expectations:

Joining a collegiate dance team requires a significant time commitment, often rivaling that of a part-time job. Dancers must carefully evaluate the time requirements of each program they're considering, including practice hours, game day commitments, travel obligations, and additional team activities. It's essential to consider how dance commitments will fit into the broader context of academic responsibilities, extracurricular activities, and personal time.

Encourage your dancer to communicate openly with coaches about scheduling conflicts or challenges and explore strategies for time management and self-care.Parents can assist their dancer in managing time commitments by helping them create a realistic schedule and balance competing priorities effectively.  By understanding the time expectations and commitments associated with collegiate dance, dancers can make informed decisions about their level of involvement and ensure a healthy balance between their academic and dance pursuits.

  1. Financial Considerations:

Financial considerations are a crucial aspect of the decision-making process for collegiate dance. Dancers and their parents should assess the costs associated with participating in a collegiate dance program, including tuition, fees, travel expenses, uniforms, and any additional team-related costs. It's essential to explore scholarship opportunities, financial aid options, and whether the university offers any support for dance team members.

Parents can support their dancer in navigating the financial aspects of collegiate dance by helping them research scholarship opportunities, complete financial aid forms, and create a budget for dance-related expenses. Encourage your dancer to explore creative fundraising ideas and seek out potential sponsorship or support from local businesses or community organizations. By understanding the financial implications of joining a collegiate dance team and exploring strategies for financial assistance, dancers can make informed decisions that align with their financial goals and aspirations.

The journey to collegiate dance requires careful consideration of various factors, including academic alignment, technical skills, program culture, time commitments, and financial considerations. By thoroughly researching and evaluating these aspects, prospective dancers can make informed decisions that align with their goals, values, and aspirations. With the right preparation and support from parents, the path to collegiate dance can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for high school dancers as they embark on the next chapter of their dance journey.

Continue your Education for yourself and your students with the StEPS Initiative Course!

About the StEPS Initiative Course

This course started in part with our charity event we created to save dance studios. Then we decided to keep it a free resource for the dance community. You can learn all about it below.

As part of our commitment to education and creating a safe space for all dancers, we are excited to introduce the StEPS Initiative Course. This has been curated by Apolla and donated from experts and professionals in each topic. 


Our goal in creating this course is to give dance teachers continuing education/professional development, give dancers the power of education, and provide parents the knowledge to see red flags. Each section has actionable items that can unite dance studios focused on equity and creating a safe space for every dancer. This course gives evidence-based information, some perspective & qualitative information, dance history, and further resources that can help you learn something new that helps progress and strengthen your studio OR solidify what you already have in place. There is something for everyone! 


This course is free for EVERYONE (Apolla has covered the cost and the presenters have donated the course content). These are meant to be introductions and actionable items for you. We know this is not a silver bullet to fix every issue or topic that needs to be addressed in dance. Each topic is deep and broad on its own. However, we aim for this to be the first step for some of us in these topics and even serves as a small catalyst for change in our industry. You will see there are also many resources that can allow you to expand your journey further in any of the subjects. With all that 2020 has thrown at all of us, we are determined to heal through listening, grow from adversity through action, and rise up by bringing everyone together. In the end, we will create a space open wide for the new generation of artists and athletes to ring in the new decade stronger and safer than ever!

Watch our Beyond the StEPS Episode on: “What are the top 5 things dancers should consider before trying out for a collegiate dance team?” With our hosts Bri and Melissa, and special guests Amy Liefer!


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