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Old 11-21-2012, 05:26 AM   #1
Mickey'snewestfan
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Anybody's kid go to a performing arts high school

and then not go on to a performing arts degree or career?

My son has his heart set on attending our local arts school as a theater design major but when I ask him what he thinks about being when he grows up, he's got a whole list of possibilities, including things like light designer and stage manager, but also lawyer, FBI agent, Senator, and a scholar of Ancient Egypt.

I guess my question is, how does it look to colleges when a kid has spent 4 years in an intensive arts track, and then changes course? Anyone know?
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Mickey'snewestfan View Post
and then not go on to a performing arts degree or career?

My son has his heart set on attending our local arts school as a theater design major but when I ask him what he thinks about being when he grows up, he's got a whole list of possibilities, including things like light designer and stage manager, but also lawyer, FBI agent, Senator, and a scholar of Ancient Egypt.

I guess my question is, how does it look to colleges when a kid has spent 4 years in an intensive arts track, and then changes course? Anyone know?
I think you're putting the cart before the horse. Why do you think he would know what he wants to do by the time he enters college, or that he'd be telling the school specifically?

He's interested in this now, go to the school now if he can get in, then he'll know if he likes it enough to do it more or not.

I mean... do you honestly think most college applicants know exactly what they want to do and have been pursuing it through high school? Do you think colleges expect that to be the case?
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:38 AM   #3
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Happens all the time. I work in a college admissions department and I see applications from kids at Interlochen & Idyllwild who list Biology as their intended major. A lot of college freshmen change their major too. Most kids have no idea what they want to do.

I'd let him go and enjoy himself.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:42 AM   #4
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Yes. Or at least she will be. My 17 year old DD went to a magnet visual/performing arts high school. My 19 yr old DS went there too. While my son continued that path and is now at MICA, my DD is only looking liberal arts colleges for a degree in anthropology.

The colleges have no problem with the fact that she is not continuing in the arts path. But, all those additional arts classes don't count for anything at the colleges and they are not factored into her GPA.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by cornflake View Post
I think you're putting the cart before the horse. Why do you think he would know what he wants to do by the time he enters college, or that he'd be telling the school specifically?

He's interested in this now, go to the school now if he can get in, then he'll know if he likes it enough to do it more or not.

I mean... do you honestly think most college applicants know exactly what they want to do and have been pursuing it through high school? Do you think colleges expect that to be the case?
Wow, I have no idea what inspired that response. I think that most parents who choose high schools other than their local public high school think "how will this set them up for college?" I think that's a reasonable question to ask.

Because of the intensity of the performing arts program, if he does go then there will be experiences that he'll have that other students won't have (e.g. the opportunity to work with professionals technical artists, and to work on many high quality shows including those with famous visiting artists), but there will be other experiences he'll miss out on (e.g. the school has no sports teams and few clubs or activities not directly related to the arts, there are no academic "electives" because that time is taken up with arts classes).

I know from looking at the school's outplacement that they send many kids to top conservatories and art schools. I'm confident that if my child decides that's what he wants, he'll be in a great position, and he'll have a strong application. But if he decides that's not what he wants, and instead he chooses to pursue a degree in business, or the social sciences, or some other field, I'd like to know how he'd be looked at. If a school put his application with say 900 hours a year of arts experience, and little else, next to an application with a more "typical" resume (e.g. some sports, some arts, some academicy things like debate or odyssey of the mind or NHS), what would they think? Would he be at a disadvantage?
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by debbi801 View Post
Yes. Or at least she will be. My 17 year old DD went to a magnet visual/performing arts high school. My 19 yr old DS went there too. While my son continued that path and is now at MICA, my DD is only looking liberal arts colleges for a degree in anthropology.

The colleges have no problem with the fact that she is not continuing in the arts path. But, all those additional arts classes don't count for anything at the colleges and they are not factored into her GPA.
Do you have a sense of whether they consider those classes as "extracurriculars" or as a valid reason for not having taken a second AP science, or academic electives?
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:37 AM   #7
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I doubt the arts can support careers for all the performing arts high kids. The one in my city is the best high school in the city so lots of kids go who don't want a career in the arts.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:56 AM   #8
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My younger DD is a freshman in a performing arts high school in NYC.

Honestly, I went back and forth on whether to send her on not.

I figured that this was a wonderful experience for her to do something she loves and earn credit for it! (she dances)

She would like to be a physical therapist as a career, but that may change.

My older DD is graduating this year with an IB diploma and has absolutly no idea what she wants to major in.

As long as they get good grades, I wouldn't worry about college. Even if the school is performing arts, the students still have to take the core classes and pass!! And in New York, they must pass the Regents exams also.

Good luck!!
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:02 PM   #9
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Do you have a sense of whether they consider those classes as "extracurriculars" or as a valid reason for not having taken a second AP science, or academic electives?
When visiting her top college choice, we were told it depends on the school she attended and whether the admissions people assigned to this region were familiar with the school, how challenging the classes were, etc. Basically, a case by case basis. Luckily, the magnet school they attend is one of the top arts high schools in the country. Unluckily, a brand new admissions person is assigned to our area. We shall see how much it helps or hurts once we hear back from her early decision college.

In order to take additional AP classes during the school year, my DD went to summer school to get the easy graduation requirements out of the way (like health). Many kids at her school do the same, or take classes at the community college during the summer. It helps make up for all the magnet classes taken during the school year.
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Last edited by debbi801; 11-21-2012 at 06:03 PM. Reason: ETA, DD is a high shool senior now.
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:25 PM   #10
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I did. I went to a performing arts high school, albeit it one that also focused heavily on the academics, and I have a college degree in history. There are lots of great lessons to be learned from all aspects of the performance arts that will help your son no matter what he chooses to do.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:13 AM   #11
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I just wanted to add that my niece went to a performing arts high school in NYC also and she is now attending Dartmouth and is not majoring in any of the arts.
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