Ask Amy: My Summer Intensive Decision Is Stressing Me Out!

February 8, 2023

I’ve just learned that I’ve been accepted to two summer intensives, and the deadlines to give them an answer and to put down a deposit is coming up. However, I still have a few more schools I want to audition for, including one at my dream company, that fall after those deadlines. I’m afraid if I turn down the ones I’ve been accepted to, I risk not getting into the others. What do I do? Is it okay to ask for a deadline extension? —Amber

You’ve gotten into two summer programs already—that’s great news! But I can see why you’re concerned about making a commitment so quickly. Schools are responding to applicants faster than ever, which can make balancing auditions with acceptance deadlines feel like a huge gamble.

To help narrow your choices, take a hard look at what each school you’re auditioning for is offering and start prioritizing. Laszlo Berdo, academy associate director of Charlotte Ballet’s pre-professional division, says that, ideally, you should do this before audition season starts and try to line up auditions accordingly. When he’s advising his own students, he recommends dancers evaluate how many classes they’ll have a day and who the teachers are. “That’s really important—you need to know the kind of training you’re going to receive,” Berdo says. Other crucial factors include whether you’ll be exposed to other dance genres outside of ballet, have opportunities to learn repertoire and perform, and have safe lodging and supervision. “These are the questions you need to ask rather than basing your decision on a school’s acronym and city.”

Take finances into account, too—does tuition reflect the number of classes being offered, and can your family afford it? What about travel costs if it’s far away? And if you’ve received a large scholarship or a high-level placement, take special note. “This organization is very much interested in you,” says Berdo. Even if it’s not your top choice, the school is giving you a big incentive to attend and you should strongly consider it—they may see a future for you there beyond the summer.

As for requesting a deadline extension, Berdo warns that it will be hard to do without making an organization feel slighted, and notes that schools aren’t granting extensions as frequently as they once did. “There needs to be real validity to the reason you’re asking for an extension, not just ‘I’m not done with my auditions process,’ ” says Berdo. If your parents need more time to see if attending is financially viable, for instance, the school may be more understanding. “But always be gracious,” he stresses.

You should also consider where you’re at in your training. If you’re ready to transition into a year-round pre-professional program or apprentice program, you’ll want to prioritize schools connected to companies you’re most interested in dancing with. (Also know, though, that you may be able to audition for those programs separately.)

You and your family may find, after taking a close look at the intensives you’ve already gotten into, that a clear choice emerges that’s more aligned with your needs than your top pick. If not, and you’re determined to audition for your dream school, it’s worth it to keep auditioning.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at [email protected].