There are more than 300 Choice programs on 117 different campuses throughout Palm Beach County, giving students a tremendous range of opportunities for both experience and exposure in fields like finance, medical and law. For four of the academies that offer fine arts, encompassing music, dance and theater, however, require an extra layer to the application process not found in any of the other fields.
The application deadline is December 1 for Bak Middle School of the Arts, Boynton Beach Community High School, The Conservatory School @ North Palm Beach and Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts Due to the required audition, the application deadline is considerably earlier than all other fields. Once the student successfully passes the audition, there is still the random selection lottery for assignment to a Choice program.
Each year, thousands of applications pour in for the limited number of seats available at the School District’s four performing art academies. And although it may be harder to dance your way into one of those few selected seats, it is important to understand a few of the common misconceptions out there regarding the Choice process.
DO SIBLINGS GET PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT?
According to Lee Glaze, Choice Coordinator at Bak Middle School of the Arts, “it is a preference, but they still go through the lottery.” Students still need to audition and go through the selection process. There are conditions that affect the decision, such as a sibling who is currently enrolled in the program, but in the coming school year will be matriculating on to another school. This consideration is only based on their first choice.
IS THERE A MINIMUM GPA TO GET INTO THESE PROGRAMS?
Not unlike many other academies and Choice programs throughout the School District, there is a minimum GPA requirement of 2.0 in order to get through the application process and receive an audition date.
CAN STUDENTS APPLY FOR TWO AREAS OF INTEREST AT ONE SCHOOL AND THEN ANOTHER PROGRAM AT ANOTHER SCHOOL?
According to Marshall, an example of “Dance and Theater would be considered two separate choices.” Even something that would be considered similar in fields, like music vocals and music strings, would be again, two different choices. That is something important to consider when there are only two potential choices to make in your application process.
DO BAK STUDENTS AUTOMATICALLY GET ASSIGNED TO ATTEND DREYFOOS?
Like many things in life, this common misconception is in no way a guarantee. Students leaving Bak “need to go through the same audition process. They have to go through the same requirements as every other student in Palm Beach County,” according to Patrick Marshall, Choice Coordinator at Dreyfoos School of the Arts.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE THE APPLICATION IS ACCEPTED?
Typically, sometime in mid January, once a child has cleared the first hurdle of the application process, parents must sign their students up for an audition. “The audition can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes,” Glaze said.
Students will find out on March 30 if they made the cut.
The Choice Coordinators at each of the four schools urge students to go into auditions confident and prepared. Application deadline for all other Choice programs is January 26, 2018.