Accelerate Your Undergrad

Want to graduate from college early and jump into the professional world? Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA, and New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL—two performing arts high schools—offer accelerated programs that allow students to complete college credits while they’re still in high school. The payoff? These students can graduate from college in three years instead of four.

Michael Owen, director of dance at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, teaching class (photo by coffeepond Photography, courtesy Walnut Hill School for the Arts)

At Walnut Hill, accelerated students have the option to start working toward their freshman year requirements at The Boston Conservatory. Michael Owen, director of dance at Walnut Hill, says, “Our accelerated program basically functions as early acceptance, and students are able to save a year of tutition.”

NWSA has a similar setup: Beginning sophomore year, all students enter NWSA’s dual-enrollment program and earn a total of 24 credits, accredited by Miami Dade College. “Our dual-enrolled students take classes like dance history and composition, taught by college professors but designed specifically to meet both high school and college credit requirements,” says Mary Lisa Burns, dean of dance at NWSA.

To qualify for the Walnut Hill program, dancers have to show technical and academic excellence from the beginning of their high school career. “The associate director of BOCO observes our sophomores,” Owen says. “As juniors, some of those students are invited to audition for the program. If they’re accepted, they have until December of their senior year to decide whether they want to do it.” Dancers who don’t get into the accelerated program aren’t prohibited from later applying to BOCO’s four-year BFA.

It sounds like a lot—completing high school and starting college at the same time. But Owen and Burns stress that highly motivated dancers who are already successful students thrive in their programs. “Our senior dancers take three classes at Walnut Hill which count for both high school graduation and freshman-year requirements at BOCO,” says Owen. So you’re not doubling up—you’re actually getting more bang for your buck.

Accelerate at Home

High exam scores on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests could also help you fulfill college credits. Or consider enrolling in community college, where you can knock out core undergrad requirements.

Latest Posts

Martha Graham Dance Company's Xin Ying (James Jin, courtesy Ying)

How to Dance Outside

We've all been stubbing our toes and whacking our elbows dancing in less-than-roomy indoor spots lately (hello, 5' x 8' patch of bathroom tile). If you're lucky enough to have access to a backyard or other big green space right now, you're probably itching to take your grand allegro outside, especially as the weather gets warmer. But how can you dance safely and productively in the great outdoors? We got pro tips from Mike Tyus of Jacob Jonas The Company and Xin Ying of Martha Graham Dance Company, both of whom were dancing outside long before COVID-19 hit.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Kendall Moshay competing at Youth America Grand Prix (VAM Photo, courtesy Kendall)

Here's How to Keep Your Competition Solo Performance-Ready While Quarantining

When you're bored in the house (and you're in the house bored), Nationals can feel like a dream that might never come true. But Kendall Moshay, Hollywood Vibe's Intermediate Dancer of the Year 2019, knows that now is the time to make like a Girl Scout and be prepared: "Sooner or later, everything will go back to normal—and you don't want to be left behind." Here are some top tips to keep your competition solo totally stage-ready, even when you couldn't be farther from a stage.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Congrats to Our 2020 Dance Grad Cover Stars!

We're thrilled to be honoring members of the great Dance Class of 2020 on special digital covers. One new cover star will be revealed every day during the month of May. Take a look at our winners so far below—we'll be updating the list daily. And if you're a 2020 high school or college dance senior, enter here from now through May 31st for your chance to be on the cover!

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search