Introducing Dance into College by College in 3-2-1: College Advising for Dancers
by Kathy de Jong, Independent Educational Consultant
About 5 years ago I started on a journey as an Independent Educational Consultant. It has been so rewarding to help high school students find their way to a college that is perfect for them. During this time, I continued to raise my teenage daughters that were into all things dance. They were both competitive dancers since about age 7, participated in conventions and summer intensives, and found their way onto their high school dance team. My eldest is currently in the process of trying out for her college dance team. Being surrounded by young dancers, I inevitably started counseling them on how to incorporate their love of dance into their college experience. This included giving “Dance into College” talks at our local studio. Every high school dancer can find a place to dance in college. The trick is finding a place that meets the individual “musts” and “needs” of the student/dancer and family.
In a former life, I was a management consultant for Kepner-Tregoe based in Princeton, NJ. Kepner-Tregoe helps companies to make strategic decisions, and early in my career, I trained corporate decision-makers and managers on how to do Kepner-Tregoe’s Decision Analysis. It all starts with stating the decision, i.e. Where to go to college?, identifying the objectives such as 1) a college less than 3 hours from home, 2) offers a dance major, and classifying those objectives into “musts” and “wants”.
Twenty years later, I take this same approach working with my students; although, it’s not apparent to them that this is how I’m coaching them. It’s a discussion. But it is a sound and proven approach for taking a close look at the objectives of a decision, ranking the importance of the objectives, gathering the data, and analyzing the results.
Decisions as important as where to go to college should not be made on a whim or with limited knowledge. For dancers, identifying the pros and cons of not only the college or university but also the dance program (should the student decide to major in dance) is critical to finding the right fit. But that data collection and analyzing piece can be tricky. Additionally, the college application process can be overwhelming for dancers that want to apply to competitive dance programs with separate applications, audition materials, live auditions, etc… as if just applying to college wasn’t enough work! This is where I put my project management skillset to work!
To assist high school dancers find best-match colleges and guide them through the college prep and application process, I started a niche part of my consulting practice – Dance into College by College in 3-2-1. While this is a somewhat new pursuit, I take the same dedicated and professional approach to my work with my clients who are solely focused on dance, but more often or not, I work with students that have different academic interests and want to double major or minor in dance or perhaps just find a place where they can join a performance group.
I encourage you to visit my new Dance Into College website. There you will find information about my services for dancers starting as early as 8th grade. Truth is, for dancers that do want to audition for competitive programs, the college preparation and list-building process starts much earlier. Once on our Dance Into College website, please join our mailing list so we can bring you new blog posts, current topics, and services to help each dancer find a home in college. I welcome communication from college dance programs so that I can continue to educate myself and the students I work with on the attributes that make each college unique. Studio owners, I’d be happy to share a Zoom presentation with your high school dancers interested in learning more about Dancing Into College.
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College in 3-2-1 provides comprehensive college preparation services for high school students including high school course selection, college research and list development, application assistance, essay consultation, and financial aid, extra-curricular, and summer enrichment counseling. Learn more here.
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