How to Choose Between a BA and a BFA

March 14, 2017

One of the most definitive parts of the college selection process is deciding whether to pursue a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of fine arts degree. Each has its advantages—the BFA usually provides more performance opportunities and studio time, while the BA allows students to explore the academic side of dance as well as other liberal arts subjects. But it can be hard to know which will best prepare you for an undetermined future and provide you with the college experience you crave. Doing your research—and remembering that this is just one of many factors to consider when choosing a school—can help.

Point Park University students. Photo by Katie Ging, Courtesy Point Park

Know yourself.

“Consider where you want to grow and where you want to go,” says Point Park University dance department chair Rubén Graciani. “Do you want to make a go for it in the dance world? Do you want your experience to be more physical or more academic?”

Get an inside perspective.

“Talk to current students and professors to see what the daily schedule is like,” suggests University of Michigan junior Yoshiko Iwai, a dance BFA with a second major in neuroscience.

University of Michigan BFA student Yoshiko Iwai. Photo by Peter Smith, Courtesy U Michigan

Consider your strengths and weaknesses.

“Understand where you are in the grand scheme of things,” says Graciani. “If you go to auditions for BFAs, do you feel competitive?” If not, a BA might be a more comfortable fit.

Look ahead.

“Find out if the alumni are people you can see yourself as,” says Iwai.

Understand the compromises.

“A BFA program is a big sacrifice. Know that you won’t get the traditional college experience,” says Graciani.