LEAP Admissions Process


LEAP toward your Bachelor of Arts Degree...

LEAP serves both current and former professional dancers from diverse dance backgrounds across the United States. Students with varying academic levels, including first-time college students, are eligible for admission.

Applications for Summer 2024 due May 15!

Lauren Breen and Nicole Haskins in front of the Saint Mary's chapel, 2019 graduation ceremony.

"I always knew I wanted to go to college at some point, I just didn't know how, or even if, I was going to be able to do it while dancing full-time [...] Once I realized that it was possible to dance and go to school at the same time, I filled out my application immediately!”

- Lauren Breen, class of 2019

In order to be accepted into the LEAP Program, a student must have:

  • at least 2 years of documented professional dance experience. This can be in any style or discipline and can be from any 2 years of your career - consecutive or not. LEAP works with several "gig" based dancers whose 2 year minimum is made up of various projects over several years, as well as long retired dancers.
  • a high school diploma or the equivalent.
  • English writing proficiency. This can be demonstrated through a previously taken college-level English course or a CLEP exam. Students may be accepted into the program without this requirement and earn in during their time with LEAP.
  • Computer and internet access. The LEAP Core Curriculum is provided via Zoom.


LEAP students must also reside in one of our authorized states during their studies with Saint Mary's College.


If you have questions or concerns about any of the above, please speak with a LEAP advisor.

The below will be requested within the virtual application and all must be completed for admission into the program. Follow the 'Apply Now' link and create an account to begin. You may save your work and return later.

  • Completed application with personal/biographical information filled out.  
  • A personal statement addressing your artistic achievements, your professional and educational goals, and how you believe a BA in Performing Arts through the LEAP Program will help you achieve those goals.  Uploaded document should be 2-3 pages, 12 pt. font, double spaced.  
  • Current resume which shows at least 2 years of documented professional dance performance experience.
  • Official high school transcript, and official transcripts from any colleges and universities attended. (Unofficial documents may be uploaded to the application, with the official [sealed] documents to follow. Please list Saint Mary's College of California as the recipient for your official transcripts.)
  • One Letter of Recommendation.  This will be requested virtually through our application process. (Please select someone who can speak to your academic readiness in regard to your work ethic, intellectual curiosity, and/or collaborative spirit. This may come from an artistic colleague or from someone working in academia. This is not a testament to your dancing abilities.)
  • Professional Performance & Applied Dance Technique Documentation:  The LEAP program requires that all students verify their professional experience by providing proof of participation in two professional productions, as well as three applied dance areas of study. Where possible, please choose two productions that can also showcase that you have attained proficiency in three qualified dance disciplines. Accepted forms of verification include cast lists, letters from instructors or artistic directors, playbills, programs, reviews, and video excerpts.
  • $50 application fee.


LEAP advisors are available to answer questions and support you through the application process.


Apply Now!

In alignment with its mission to make higher education accessible to the dance community, LEAP strives to keep its tuition affordable for the working artist. As of 2023, LEAP students generally graduate with a 75% savings compared to the national average cost of college.


Tuition for the 2024/2025 academic year (Summer 2024 through Spring of 2025) is set at $33,310*. This cost includes:

  • The 10 LEAP Core Curriculum Courses (34 units)
  • Up to 30 units of Prior Learning Assessment
  • Up to 40 units of Performing Arts Courses (earned through your professional experience)

The additional 20 units needed to fulfill the degree may be transferred in from another accredited institution or earned through Saint Mary's for a discounted rate.


*Tuition rates may increase each year in support of providing cost of living annual raises to our staff and faculty. However, once accepted into the program, your rate will never change or increase as long as you remain active in the program.


For more information about tuition, please speak with a LEAP advisor.

All LEAP students will be assigned to a Financial Aid Counselor upon acceptance into the program. All United State's citizens are eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid.

Federal Financial Aid is available through:

  • Federal Grants (e.g., Pell Grants) which do not need to be paid back
  • State Grants (e.g, Cal Grant) which do not need to be paid back 
  • Federal Loans, with both subsidized and unsubsidized options 

To determine potential award amounts, please submit a FAFSA application.


Additional financial support can come in the form of:

  • External scholarships
  • Private loans

LEAP students are encouraged to look through this Scholarship Document to explore and identify potential funding opportunities.


Additionally, the Financial Aid office provides resources and instructions through the department website, including a net price calculator; scholarship and grant resources; a regular series of information webinars; online financial literacy resources such as budgeting, understanding credit score, saving, and financial planning; virtual “office hours”; and individual financial aid advising appointments.   

The services offered by the Financial Aid office are accessible to LEAP students through the department website, virtual office hours held via Zoom and chat, individual financial aid advising appointments held via Zoom and telephone, and appointments or drop-in requests arranged via telephone or email.

Please visit the Financial Aid page for more information.


All financial aid related questions should be directed to a staff member from the financial aid office. Please mention you are an applicant for the LEAP Program.

Featured Photos:

From Left to Right:

Elliott Gittelsohn (Class of 2020), Keelan Whitmore (Class of 2013), Caroline Rocher Barnes (Class of 2019), Aksasi Francis-Mora (Class of 2022), Tara Pandeya (Class of 2008)