Lela: There are really so many. The great thing about our art is the way that we give structure from art to academics. With that academic programs students are mixed within their major. So they are getting ideas from theater department, from the dance department, from the music, visual art, writing, film & media arts. Our students are very creative, very open minded, and can see a project or an equation in a different way than many of your traditional students would. And I think that helps our students to really get to the root of the question or the problem that they are trying to figure out.
I think our teachers do a great job understanding their mind of an artist, so that they can help them facilitate all of these different problems, ideas and making sure that they come out in the best way possible. I also feel like for the college process, art school like Walnut Hill really makes students unique, because they have chosen a path that is familiar or common to many others.
So at school, they are exposed to many different people, cultures, things like that. Or the idea that it's my passion. And I think during the college process, they do a great job exposing and articulating why they've chosen the majors they do. Chosen colleges really appreciate that.
BE: Speaking of university, do you know any statistics in terms of how many of your students continue to do traditional 4-year universities versus art schools?
Lela: Yeah. I would say it varies from major to major. I primarily work with dance majors in our office. We work with different majors. I work with dance department. Jason Hersom is the Director primarily with the Theater students. Nadine works with music. Andrew works with Visual Art & Writing, Film & Media Arts Admission. And what I've noticed is in the dance department is about a third, third to third.
So a third of our students can go on to a conservatory like Boston Conservatory. We have a partnership with them. So our students accepted to Boston Conservatory can finish their degree in three years instead of four. And they can also get a grant. So while you also save money, and you also have the opportunity to advance your career a little bit faster. As we all know. Dancers are dancers. Their body is their instrument. So if they are interested in dancing professionally, they need to get along going ahead.
Other people just try out going to their profession of dance. We had a student last year who was accepted into Jeoffrey. For us, that is absolutely wonderful. That is great. He did the audition process, and he got what he wanted exactly. And the last third will attend traditional universities. So last year we had a student get accepted to Columbia. So it really depends.
I'd say, our music students tend to lean more towards the conservatory. But if you look at our matriculations, you will definitely see a range of universities colleges and conservatories & art schools.
BE: So besides the obvious art component, what do you personally think makes Walnut Hill unique from other boarding high schools?
Lela: Our openness, we always joke on campus sometimes that students can let their freak flag fly. That for us means that they're allowed to be themselves. We really value hearts, smarts and arts. Students at Walnut Hill can come here and be who they are.
Hanging out in the dining hall, and students start singing. And instead of people turning around, telling them to be quiet, they're allowed to express their identity. Talking about the arts component, the ability if our students are able to be exposed to different arts. We require students to look at other performances or other screenings, but I really do feel like our students are interested in wanting to expose themselves to different arts, majors and different mediums.
Facts & Figures about Walnut Hill School for the Arts
Country: the United States
Founded in: 1893
Type: Boarding school for boys and girls
Distance: 3 hours’ drive from New York City
Number of students: 300
Percentage of international students: 35%
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