Transition from High School to a College Cheer/Dance Team

Transitioning from high school to college is tough as it is, but adding college dance or cheer team into the picture is even more stressful.  Champion wants to help you succeed and answer any questions or concerns you may have.  We have compiled a list of Q & A’s for you to take a look at as you prepare for your tryouts!

We interviewed Rock Chalk Dancer, Sarah Adair and this is what she said about her time on the KU Dance Team.

Q: What made you want to tryout for the college dance team?  I have danced my entire life and cheered all throughout high school and junior high. When it came to college there was­ no question about trying out for the dance team. I knew that I wanted to. Being a part of a team is so much fun and so rewarding. I wanted to ensure that I made the most of my college experience and I knew this was the way to do it.

sarah adair

Q: What advice do you have for girls trying out for a college dance team?   The advice I have for girls trying out for the dance team is to be yourself and have fun. The judges can tell when you are uncomfortable and nervous, so if you just relax and enjoy doing what you do best it really helps!

Q: What are practices like?  At KU, we practice three times a week. These practices are three hours long. We typically start with a cardio warm-up followed by a stretching session. After this we practice stingers (sidelines we perform at games) and practice the dance that we will be performing at the upcoming game. Often times we are learning multiple routines at once as well as cleaning others. There is always a lot to do and we often go over our allotted practice time.

Q: Is college dance camp just like high school?   Dance camp is slightly different in college because it’s so much bigger. There are many more schools as well as many more dancers. Furthermore, I would have to say that college dance camp is more intense. In high school cheer camp was fun and we got to goof around, but in college it’s a lot more serious.

gtm cheer

Next, we interviewed Shelby Wallace from K-State’s Cheer Team!

Q: Do you think being on a high school cheer team helped you prepare for college?  I was very lucky to have such a wonderful high school cheering experience. My coach was incredible and pushed our team to try new things and be our best. It definitely helped me prepare for the college team.

Q: What prepared you the most for tryouts?  Before tryouts I met with college cheerleaders to practice and prepare myself for tryouts. Hearing their advice and learning skills at the collegiate level helped me prepare most for tryouts.

Q: What’s the biggest difference between high school and college cheer?  The biggest difference in high school and college cheer is the time commitment. In high school, practices were put into your schedule. Games were only on Fridays and basketball games were only about once a week. In college, you have to learn to juggle school, work, and multiple appearances along with games. It is a huge time commitment but one that is well worth it!


Q: Do you get to travel? What’s it like?:  Traveling is one of my favorite parts of college cheer because this is the time you really get to know your teammates and coaches and create those special memories. Before coming to college I had never been on an airplane and because of cheer I can now say I have flown to Pittsburgh, PA! K-State also has a wonderful fan base that travels everywhere we go so it’s pretty cool to go to a new place and still see a mass amount of purple!

Q: What’s your favorite part of being a cheerleader? My favorite part of being on a cheer team while in college is the relationships I have made. I am so grateful to have such an amazing team that is always there for each other and supporting one another. I have been able to make memories that are unique to most students’ college careers and I am so thankful.  Experiencing games with a sideline view is unlike any other!

Last but not least, we spoke with Kaitlyn Mohan and Maddi Drake about their experiences on K-State’s Classy Cat Dance Team. Take a look!


Q: What prepared you the most for tryouts?  Maddi – Dance competitions helped me the most, I was dancing 15-20 hours a week in a studio and competing on the weekends.  It kept me up on my technique and skills and also in dance shape.

Q: What advice do you have for girls trying out for a  college dance team?  Kaitlyn – Do your best and smile. Performance is key!  Maddi – Go in with a positive attitude and always smile. There is always going to be someone better than you there, but you can’t let your confidence decline no matter what. If you don’t make it, practice and keep working toward your goal and tryout next year!

Q: Is it hard to balance school, practice, games and other events? Maddi – Yes, sometimes.  It’s very doable, but you definitely have to balance homework, dance and your social life very carefully.  We have a coach that is very understanding and tries to make everything as fair and even as possible, and the team is really good at stepping up and filling in for anyone who needs to study for a big exam or has an exam.  This doesn’t happen all the time, but it comes back down to time management, if you can do that then it all works out.


Q: What’s your favorite part about being on the dance team?  Kaitlyn – Being a role model to others, especially to young girls and boys who dream to be on a collegiate cheer/dance team.

Q: What’s your favorite season/sporting event to cheer at? Kaitlyn – Football for sure! It is fun to watch the team and interact with the crowd! Maddi – Football games, hands down.  Yeah it’s a long day, but the crowd and the atmosphere are just something else, and you can’t compare that feeling of walking into a stadium of 60,000+ screaming and cheering, to anything else.

Now that you’ve heard all their advice and experiences, you’re ready to rock that tryout! Good luck to you and don’t forget to smile. 🙂


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