All-Star Cheer+ University- Is It Possible? (uk)

Do you want to continue cheering after finishing school?

  • Yes

    Votes: 9 90.0%
  • No

    Votes: 1 10.0%

  • Total voters
    10
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Not open for further replies.

glitterbows_pointedtoes

Original Poster
Feb 5, 2017
28
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91
UK
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YO, THIS IS GONNA BE LONG AND RANTY . SKIP TO THE BITS IN BOLD IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT BACKGROUND INFO.

So basically, I'm 15 now and I'm starting to wonder what's gonna happen to my passion for cheer as I get older (yes I'm worrying about that NOW).

Anyway, I intend to keep cheering for at least one more season, but after I do my GCSE's I'm not sure what to do. I'll be in sixth form, and I'm planning to quit all-star cheer while I focus on my A-Levels so I can get into a good uni. During this time I still want to take tumbling classes and condition a lot so I stay in shape. I'm also a dancer, so it means I'll have more time to work on technique and go to more dance events. Before I started cheer I was into acro, circus and contortion, so maybe I'll get back into that properly, too. Who knows?

After I finish my A-levels, I'm going on to further education. But I don't know whether I'll pursue a career in dance and go to a professional arts college, or whether I'll go to a highly academic uni like my parents want me to. I've always dreamed of being a either a writer or a cheer and dance coach- perhaps even opening my own gym/studio, but my parents do not think that it is a good career choice. They want me to do something technical and loathe anything artsy. That's not to say that I don't care about academics- I DO, but technical subject really interests me.

If I do decide to ignore my passion for dance and do what my parents want me to (get into a top uni), I hope to join cheer and dance teams at the said uni.

However, I'm so confused about the whole college/uni cheer system (it's different from america). As far as I know, there are NO cheer scholarships available in the UK (what the hell?). In fact, sports scholarships are VERY hard to come by- usually only reserved for athletes who represent our country.
Cheer is also not recognised as a sport anyway by many universities and therefore receives little to no funding.

So I'm worried. All-star cheer is expensive, and as of now my family can barely afford it, even when we only pay for the bare minimum (no crossovers, absolutely no extra classes, no expensive practicewear, only secondhand cheer shoes etc.).
How on earth will I be able to afford university cheer (which appears to be a watered down version of all-star), when uni is already ridiculously expensive?

Also, I've been looking at some of the cheer teams from the big name unis (e.g Cambridge) and, to be honest, they don't seem THAT good. Many of the unis I looked at have a weak level two team at most? On the bright side, the dance societies aren't too bad.

But what can I do if I want to SERIOUSLY want to continue dance and cheer at a high level while in uni. I've considered being in uni and being on an open all-star cheer team at the same time, but don't know if I can manage it. Assuming I get into one of the many good unis in London, I could always commute into a London-based all-star gym like Unity Allstars and practice there. It just so happens that all-star gyms in London are some of the best in the country anyway.
However I'm not sure if being on an all-star team AND a uni student will be too time-consuming, expensive or both. I'm not suggesting anything drastic like being on a worlds team, I just want to continue cheering.
 
Jan 2, 2013
380
557
716
London
Role:
Retired From Cheer
YO, THIS IS GONNA BE LONG AND RANTY . SKIP TO THE BITS IN BOLD IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT BACKGROUND INFO.

So basically, I'm 15 now and I'm starting to wonder what's gonna happen to my passion for cheer as I get older (yes I'm worrying about that NOW).

Anyway, I intend to keep cheering for at least one more season, but after I do my GCSE's I'm not sure what to do. I'll be in sixth form, and I'm planning to quit all-star cheer while I focus on my A-Levels so I can get into a good uni. During this time I still want to take tumbling classes and condition a lot so I stay in shape. I'm also a dancer, so it means I'll have more time to work on technique and go to more dance events. Before I started cheer I was into acro, circus and contortion, so maybe I'll get back into that properly, too. Who knows?

After I finish my A-levels, I'm going on to further education. But I don't know whether I'll pursue a career in dance and go to a professional arts college, or whether I'll go to a highly academic uni like my parents want me to. I've always dreamed of being a either a writer or a cheer and dance coach- perhaps even opening my own gym/studio, but my parents do not think that it is a good career choice. They want me to do something technical and loathe anything artsy. That's not to say that I don't care about academics- I DO, but technical subject really interests me.

If I do decide to ignore my passion for dance and do what my parents want me to (get into a top uni), I hope to join cheer and dance teams at the said uni.

However, I'm so confused about the whole college/uni cheer system (it's different from america). As far as I know, there are NO cheer scholarships available in the UK (what the hell?). In fact, sports scholarships are VERY hard to come by- usually only reserved for athletes who represent our country.
Cheer is also not recognised as a sport anyway by many universities and therefore receives little to no funding.

So I'm worried. All-star cheer is expensive, and as of now my family can barely afford it, even when we only pay for the bare minimum (no crossovers, absolutely no extra classes, no expensive practicewear, only secondhand cheer shoes etc.).
How on earth will I be able to afford university cheer (which appears to be a watered down version of all-star), when uni is already ridiculously expensive?

Also, I've been looking at some of the cheer teams from the big name unis (e.g Cambridge) and, to be honest, they don't seem THAT good. Many of the unis I looked at have a weak level two team at most? On the bright side, the dance societies aren't too bad.

But what can I do if I want to SERIOUSLY want to continue dance and cheer at a high level while in uni. I've considered being in uni and being on an open all-star cheer team at the same time, but don't know if I can manage it. Assuming I get into one of the many good unis in London, I could always commute into a London-based all-star gym like Unity Allstars and practice there. It just so happens that all-star gyms in London are some of the best in the country anyway.
However I'm not sure if being on an all-star team AND a uni student will be too time-consuming, expensive or both. I'm not suggesting anything drastic like being on a worlds team, I just want to continue cheering.

I did Uni cheer at a Russell Group university and the programme is pretty solid, with plenty of cheer and dance titles under its belt. I can't speak for costs now but 4 years ago it was pretty affordable in comparison to All Star- one off registration fee, yearly AU fee, comp fees and accommodation x2 a year, the uniform that will last you 3 years hopefully... stash is optional but let's face it we all like a hoodie with our name on it. I'd say it cost me about £200/250 a year which I sourced from my maintenance loan lol.

I'm also a Londoner so if I wanted to get back into cheer I had ample opportunity but with that said there are excellent programmes across the country which you could probably commute to from uni - Coventry Dynamite, Rising Stars, RSD, Surrey Starlets, Predators... all fantastic teams outside of the M25. I'm missing plenty more too and I'm sure other UK fierceboarders will help me out.

Like you said, dance is bigger over here so if you don't find the uni cheer scene to be to your liking you can always do that. What I would say is that it's improved soooo much since I started in 2010. More and more Ex gymnasts and all star cheerleaders are getting involved, more people are hiring better choreographers, the uniforms are getting more elaborate - definitely more than a watered down version of All Star! I'd have a look at some of Future Cheer's past Uni Nationals to get a feel.

I think what you need to remember is that your education comes first - find a uni that's great for your degree and in a city you're happy to live in for 3 years and everything else is pretty secondary. I don't know what you intend to study or how good your grades are at the moment, but while the Oxbridge set might only have 'watered down level 2s', Redbricks and Russell Groups such as Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Loughborough, Sheffield and Manchester either have great programmes or are cities that are teeming with talent.

Also, while uni cheer is still competitive, it's definitely more of a social bonding thing - my squad is where I met some of my very best friends and while I'm not ancient at the ripe age of 25 you'll find it's very hard to keep up with some of your university pals. My housemates likened us to a sorority and it's hard to disagree lol. You've got to see the bigger picture. Good luck with your exams!




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Oct 26, 2014
505
991
721
24
Scotland
Role:
Retired From Cheer
YO, THIS IS GONNA BE LONG AND RANTY . SKIP TO THE BITS IN BOLD IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT BACKGROUND INFO.

So basically, I'm 15 now and I'm starting to wonder what's gonna happen to my passion for cheer as I get older (yes I'm worrying about that NOW).

Anyway, I intend to keep cheering for at least one more season, but after I do my GCSE's I'm not sure what to do. I'll be in sixth form, and I'm planning to quit all-star cheer while I focus on my A-Levels so I can get into a good uni. During this time I still want to take tumbling classes and condition a lot so I stay in shape. I'm also a dancer, so it means I'll have more time to work on technique and go to more dance events. Before I started cheer I was into acro, circus and contortion, so maybe I'll get back into that properly, too. Who knows?

After I finish my A-levels, I'm going on to further education. But I don't know whether I'll pursue a career in dance and go to a professional arts college, or whether I'll go to a highly academic uni like my parents want me to. I've always dreamed of being a either a writer or a cheer and dance coach- perhaps even opening my own gym/studio, but my parents do not think that it is a good career choice. They want me to do something technical and loathe anything artsy. That's not to say that I don't care about academics- I DO, but technical subject really interests me.

If I do decide to ignore my passion for dance and do what my parents want me to (get into a top uni), I hope to join cheer and dance teams at the said uni.

However, I'm so confused about the whole college/uni cheer system (it's different from america). As far as I know, there are NO cheer scholarships available in the UK (what the hell?). In fact, sports scholarships are VERY hard to come by- usually only reserved for athletes who represent our country.
Cheer is also not recognised as a sport anyway by many universities and therefore receives little to no funding.

So I'm worried. All-star cheer is expensive, and as of now my family can barely afford it, even when we only pay for the bare minimum (no crossovers, absolutely no extra classes, no expensive practicewear, only secondhand cheer shoes etc.).
How on earth will I be able to afford university cheer (which appears to be a watered down version of all-star), when uni is already ridiculously expensive?

Also, I've been looking at some of the cheer teams from the big name unis (e.g Cambridge) and, to be honest, they don't seem THAT good. Many of the unis I looked at have a weak level two team at most? On the bright side, the dance societies aren't too bad.

But what can I do if I want to SERIOUSLY want to continue dance and cheer at a high level while in uni. I've considered being in uni and being on an open all-star cheer team at the same time, but don't know if I can manage it. Assuming I get into one of the many good unis in London, I could always commute into a London-based all-star gym like Unity Allstars and practice there. It just so happens that all-star gyms in London are some of the best in the country anyway.
However I'm not sure if being on an all-star team AND a uni student will be too time-consuming, expensive or both. I'm not suggesting anything drastic like being on a worlds team, I just want to continue cheering.
I'm at a Russell Group University as well (but in Scotland) and the team I'm currently on have been consistently performing within top 5 placements over the last few years. I'm actually finding university cheer a heck of a lot cheaper than Allstar - my annual fees this year amounted to around 300 at the most - when factoring in Sports Union registration, uniform costs (which are a one off when you join initially) and competition fees. I've been able to pay for it through my maintenance loan and the team I am currently on does a lot of self fundraising via socials and events through the university. If you are wanting to convert to Allstar there are also some strong teams round about where I am but I've chosen to stay with uni cheer. Secondly, always put your studies first and if you are wanting to cheer during university then Uni cheer always has more flexible schedules as the season tends to last from September-April and all training is over during exam periods - which does not happen in Allstar. Teams that are pretty strong in the Uni circuit seem to be Leeds, Loughbourgh, Cardiff, Durham, Southampton, and some of my Scottish counterparts (Not going to say what team I am on at the current time for privacy reasons but you will probably be able to figure it out if you did a little bit of research) and cities mentioned in the post above also have high talent levels. Glasgow in particular if you are interested in Dance more so than cheer have some of the strongest UK dance teams in the form of CDC, JC Poms, Goldstar and so on - all of these programmes also have very high level teams competing with JC and Goldstar holding previous experience within the Level 5 division and both fielding level 4 teams this season. Its up to you but if you find a uni that is worth it for your degree and they so happen to have a cheerleading team it is worth having a look at! All the best for the future
 

glitterbows_pointedtoes

Original Poster
Feb 5, 2017
28
8
91
UK
www.instagram.com
Role:
Athlete
I did Uni cheer at a Russell Group university and the programme is pretty solid, with plenty of cheer and dance titles under its belt. I can't speak for costs now but 4 years ago it was pretty affordable in comparison to All Star- one off registration fee, yearly AU fee, comp fees and accommodation x2 a year, the uniform that will last you 3 years hopefully... stash is optional but let's face it we all like a hoodie with our name on it. I'd say it cost me about £200/250 a year which I sourced from my maintenance loan lol.

I'm also a Londoner so if I wanted to get back into cheer I had ample opportunity but with that said there are excellent programmes across the country which you could probably commute to from uni - Coventry Dynamite, Rising Stars, RSD, Surrey Starlets, Predators... all fantastic teams outside of the M25. I'm missing plenty more too and I'm sure other UK fierceboarders will help me out.

Like you said, dance is bigger over here so if you don't find the uni cheer scene to be to your liking you can always do that. What I would say is that it's improved soooo much since I started in 2010. More and more Ex gymnasts and all star cheerleaders are getting involved, more people are hiring better choreographers, the uniforms are getting more elaborate - definitely more than a watered down version of All Star! I'd have a look at some of Future Cheer's past Uni Nationals to get a feel.

I think what you need to remember is that your education comes first - find a uni that's great for your degree and in a city you're happy to live in for 3 years and everything else is pretty secondary. I don't know what you intend to study or how good your grades are at the moment, but while the Oxbridge set might only have 'watered down level 2s', Redbricks and Russell Groups such as Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Loughborough, Sheffield and Manchester either have great programmes or are cities that are teeming with talent.

Also, while uni cheer is still competitive, it's definitely more of a social bonding thing - my squad is where I met some of my very best friends and while I'm not ancient at the ripe age of 25 you'll find it's very hard to keep up with some of your university pals. My housemates likened us to a sorority and it's hard to disagree lol. You've got to see the bigger picture. Good luck with your exams!




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Thank you so much for the advice! And, yes I know that education comes first- but thanks for reminding me! None of my target grades for GCSE are lower than an A*/A, so I know I need to work hard. And wow, I didn't know that the unis in areas you mentioned have such great cheer programmes!
 

glitterbows_pointedtoes

Original Poster
Feb 5, 2017
28
8
91
UK
www.instagram.com
Role:
Athlete
I'm at a Russell Group University as well (but in Scotland) and the team I'm currently on have been consistently performing within top 5 placements over the last few years. I'm actually finding university cheer a heck of a lot cheaper than Allstar - my annual fees this year amounted to around 300 at the most - when factoring in Sports Union registration, uniform costs (which are a one off when you join initially) and competition fees. I've been able to pay for it through my maintenance loan and the team I am currently on does a lot of self fundraising via socials and events through the university. If you are wanting to convert to Allstar there are also some strong teams round about where I am but I've chosen to stay with uni cheer. Secondly, always put your studies first and if you are wanting to cheer during university then Uni cheer always has more flexible schedules as the season tends to last from September-April and all training is over during exam periods - which does not happen in Allstar. Teams that are pretty strong in the Uni circuit seem to be Leeds, Loughbourgh, Cardiff, Durham, Southampton, and some of my Scottish counterparts (Not going to say what team I am on at the current time for privacy reasons but you will probably be able to figure it out if you did a little bit of research) and cities mentioned in the post above also have high talent levels. Glasgow in particular if you are interested in Dance more so than cheer have some of the strongest UK dance teams in the form of CDC, JC Poms, Goldstar and so on - all of these programmes also have very high level teams competing with JC and Goldstar holding previous experience within the Level 5 division and both fielding level 4 teams this season. Its up to you but if you find a uni that is worth it for your degree and they so happen to have a cheerleading team it is worth having a look at! All the best for the future
Thank you for the helpful reply, it is much appreciated <3
I feel like I don't need to worry now!
 
Sep 22, 2016
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In all honesty, you have to look at not just the team's competition success but also their entire program. I was a member of a uni team for my first two and a half years of uni. We practised easily 9 hours a week, were obligated to go to fundraisers in the evenings nearly every week and leading up to competition had 8 hour a day practices. But yet we only had one team and a few stunt groups at level 2. Our coaches were always students themselves and while some have now gone on to be very successful as coaches the whole program was disorganised. We had no routine set in February when we competed in March/April. We always placed very low at competitions. It was a very sizeable investment (I think I paid over £400 a year including uniforms/travel expenses etc) and utterly not worth it as after my first year I didn't learn anything new. Anything led and organised by students tends to become a drinking social scene which I was not interested in. I would wok my butt off going from no flexibility to having all my forms but very few others had the same drive. I quit in the end as I didn't want to dedicate most of my free time to a team which weren't progressing and were never going to do well.

Put your degree first. Honestly, once you leave university unless you go on to coach no one will care that you did university cheer. Pick the degree first, university reputation second and how you like the city/location third. Then cheer can come along. However if you're looking at a cheer program these are some things I would definitely check:

  • Do they have external coaches/non-student coaches? This makes a huge difference in ensuring the program continues to grow rather than starting over every year when a new committee/membership comes in
  • Do they have more than 1 team? This is a good indicator of a large program
  • How they get on at competitions
  • Are socials obligatory? Fine if you like to party, however I always felt pressured to go
  • Team atmosphere - yes lots of committee members being in charge seems nice until they lose interest in you and give team placements based on popularity rather than merit. I can't emphasise enough that non-student trainers/coaches make a huge difference.
The above is obviously only applicable if you want to be competitive. If you just fancy the social scene then uni cheer will be perfect 90% of the time. I'm too competitive and driven to be able to take part in that unfortunately.
 
Jan 2, 2012
804
1,096
846
London, England
Role:
Retired From Cheer
Anything led and organised by students tends to become a drinking social scene which I was not interested in.

Are socials obligatory? Fine if you like to party, however I always felt pressured to go

The above is obviously only applicable if you want to be competitive. If you just fancy the social scene then uni cheer will be perfect 90% of the time. I'm too competitive and driven to be able to take part in that unfortunately
.

These are some of the main reasons I do not do uni cheer and do allstar instead!

@glitterbows_pointedtoes if you want to cheer during uni and want to do it at a high level, definitely do allstar. Many people do allstar whilst they are studying at university and they make it work. I live in London, commute to a uni in London and cheer for a certain black and gold programme:) (have done since before I went to uni). This works time wise because my course is currently 3 days a week and I only have practice once a week. It only works money wise because I'm incredibly lucky that my parents pay for a large amount of it and whatever else I pay for with my student loan/grant but I can only do that because I live at home and so don't have to pay for rent, bills, food, washing etc. This way, I can be on a team with like minded team mates who all take it seriously and are completely focused and driven on winning and I get to be coached by absolutely brilliant, knowledgeable coaches.

If you can afford to do allstar cheer when you're at uni, definitely try and take that route! Obviously not all university teams are the same and there will be those that are driven and competitive but from what I've seen, they are few and far between.

Good luck :)
 
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~El

Apr 26, 2016
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121
England
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ive done uni cheer for the past two years, to be honest it depends how seriously individual universities take it. i was a beginner so did level 1, then level 2, and had massive success in both, mainly because we had allstar coaches and a partnership with an allsatr team. i am considering swapping to allstar in the future purely because a) i want to tumble more, which uni teams rarely focus on, and b) i would like a longer season - uni teams tend to compete 3ish times in feb/march and then that's it. i would prefer spread out comps and go to fc internationals, for example, which is in the summer.
that said, uni cheer is a LOT cheaper than allstar.
if your family struggles to pay for allstar currently, that makes me assume (forgive me if im wrong) your family are in a lower income bracket which means you will likely get a good amount of maintenance loan/grant, which can defo be used to go towards cheer. (i use my grant to fund cheer - thanks government!)
good luck with your gcses!
 
Jan 2, 2012
804
1,096
846
London, England
Role:
Retired From Cheer
if your family struggles to pay for allstar currently, that makes me assume (forgive me if im wrong) your family are in a lower income bracket which means you will likely get a good amount of maintenance loan/grant, which can defo be used to go towards cheer. (i use my grant to fund cheer - thanks government!)
good luck with your gcses!

It will all be a loan, no grants anymore thanks to our fantastic, awesome, logical government:rolleyes:!!! My year is the last to get them.
 
Mar 28, 2014
950
888
771
UK
Role:
Retired From Cheer
I did uni cheer for one season and one season allstar for a very small team. I loved Allstar as I did one comp with a team during uni season but I was not in a position with the uni I was at to travel.
Uni cheer is good but we had student coaches and I felt I could not progress the way I wanted but made some friends.
I retired from cheer and moved to ballroom and latin which is amazing on the uni scene so if cheer isn't for you check out other dance styles and feel free to pm me with questions
 
Apr 8, 2011
632
625
1,596
Manchester, England
Role:
Retired From Cheer
Everyone above me has made a lot of fantastic points. I went to uni in the late 00s/early 10s so uni cheer was really not as good as it is now. That being said, we had an external coach who came in once a week and we were still pretty awful. They got better once they had got rid of her and had current students coach - so not all student coaches are dreadful!
I managed to balance uni and cheer but we only trained about five hours a week (plus two hours gymnastics 'training') and I had minimal contact hours for my uni course. Other girls with more intensive courses struggled a lot more than me (psychology students, zoology students and student teachers) so I think I might have managed all star and uni but others with a harder subject might not have done.
I didn't qualify for any grants - just the basic loan amounts and I struggled to pay for it but I also went to uni when it was under £9000 and in a very tiny Welsh city where living costs were cheaper.


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~El

Apr 26, 2016
87
92
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England
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Athlete
It will all be a loan, no grants anymore thanks to our fantastic, awesome, logical government:rolleyes:!!! My year is the last to get them.

you're right. im second year now and i'm not even sure if i get one next year. student finance seem to change things every other day lmao

that said, loans can go towards cheer too (thats what mine will be doing if i don't get my grant :cheering:)
 

~El

Apr 26, 2016
87
92
121
England
Role:
Athlete
Everyone above me has made a lot of fantastic points. I went to uni in the late 00s/early 10s so uni cheer was really not as good as it is now. That being said, we had an external coach who came in once a week and we were still pretty awful. They got better once they had got rid of her and had current students coach - so not all student coaches are dreadful!
I managed to balance uni and cheer but we only trained about five hours a week (plus two hours gymnastics 'training') and I had minimal contact hours for my uni course. Other girls with more intensive courses struggled a lot more than me (psychology students, zoology students and student teachers) so I think I might have managed all star and uni but others with a harder subject might not have done.
I didn't qualify for any grants - just the basic loan amounts and I struggled to pay for it but I also went to uni when it was under £9000 and in a very tiny Welsh city where living costs were cheaper.


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"only five plus two" makes me chuckle, my uni team does 3 hours a week and we all thought it was a lot!!
 
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