Attention, high school dancers: The School at Steps in New York City hosted a "College Day" sponsored by Dance Magazine last weekend, offering advice directly from faculty members of college dance programs. For those of you who weren't able to make it, we gathered the best tips from each panelist:
1. Pay attention to new, untraditional forms of applying, such as Goucher's video app: In addition to a written sample, you can submit a video, a major plus for the very visual art form of dance. —Goucher College's Rick Sutherland
2. Don't wait until your senior year to start looking. Sophomores should begin researching now. —Barnard College's Katie Glasner
3. Ask to watch a class when visiting colleges so you know what level of dancer they're expecting at their admission audition. —Marymount Manhattan College's Nancy Lushington
4. Don't let tuition immediately rule out a school. Wait until you get your entire financial aid package before making the decision. (Ed note: Also check out the scholarship guide in our August issue of Dance Magazine for even more options.) —Juilliard's Katie Friis
5. Attend special days that schools host for high school students, where you can find the information that's geared to answer your questions. For example, you can sign up now for Montclair's Dance Day on Friday, November 21. —Montclair State University's Kim Whittman
6. For students not able attend a college day in person, several panelists suggested tweeting directly at schools with questions. Juilliard, for example, takes questions @juilliardschool with the hashtag #juilliardsteps.
7. Go see a school's performances—or search for footage online. The Tisch department of dance now livestreams many of their shows, so dancers from all around the country can see the dancers and type of work being performed. —NYU Tisch School of the Art's Cherylyn Lavagnino
8. While many schools are moving away from mandatory standardized tests, several panelists noted that the tests are still necessary for scholarship applications.
Want more advice? For an inside scoop on 615 colleges and universities with dance programs, check out Dance Magazine's College Guide. You can also find out which schools should be added to your wishlist by entering your personal criteria into our search feature.