1. Consider the college’s population. Is it super-small (1,000 to 4,000 students total) or so large that you never see the same person twice (between 30,000 and 50,000 students)?
2. Take a tour—off campus. The surrounding town will be your home for the next four years. You want to be sure you can actually picture yourself living there! Don’t go for a rural town if you prefer a bustling city life.
3. Figure out how far away you want to be from your family. Sure, you might be itching to fly 3,000 miles away as you approach graduation, but be aware of your attachments.
4. Find out if you can double major, and research the curriculum in your areas of interest. Do you want to just dance or do you want to also double major or minor in an academic area, as well?
5. The dance program vs. the dance team: If you want to do both, find out what their relationship is like and if it’s plausible to do them simultaneously.
6. Find out about the school’s resources for dancers: Is there a physical therapist on site? Is there a gym? This can also give you a glimpse into whether or not the school takes dance seriously.
7. Observe as many dance classes as possible. See if you can picture yourself at the barre alongside current students, and take time to check out the quality of the studio, too.
8. Go see a show at your prospective school. A two-hour performance can be the best indication of the types of productions you might end up being involved in.
9. Are you set on joining a sorority or an environmentalist group? If you want to get involved in a range of extracurricular activities, make sure they’re available.
10. Keep diversity in mind. Do you want to go to a school where everyone comes from a similar background, or do you want to mix it up?
11. If you’ll need to make money while attending classes, find out if there are on-campus job opportunities or work-study programs that will fit into your schedule.
12. Talk to a professor about what jobs dance-program alumni have landed directly out of the program. If many of them nab spots at modern companies but you want to strut on a Broadway stage, perhaps the program isn’t the best fit.