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—
To BA or to BFA?
Apply now for the
SUMMER SCHOOL 2017
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
July 10-15, 2017
July 17-29, 2017
Pick the degree that’s right for you.
BY LAUREN WINGENROTH
What’s the Difference?
Though programs vary widely across schools,
some characteristics are fairly standard:
• may not require auditions
• provides some performance opportunities,
• offers and requires a range of academic
• allows students to create their own
schedule of technique classes
• requires auditions
• provides performance
opportunities, often as
part of the curriculum
• offers some academic
• requires students to
take a regimented
schedule of technique
classes each semester
How to Choose
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
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.
Consider your strengths and weaknesses.
“Understand where you are in the grand
Look ahead. “Find out if the
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
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.
offers both a
BA and a BFA.