FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WMU SYNCHRONIZED SKATING
IS SYNCHRONIZED SKATING A VARSITY SPORT AT WMU?
While synchronized skating used to be a varsity sport at WMU, it was cut from varsity status in 2004 due to financial reasons. The Skating Club at WMU is now a Registered Student Organization and a fully student-run club sport.
HOW DO I GET ACCEPTED INTO WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY?
The first step to getting into WMU is achieving a strong high school GPA and ACT/SAT score. Making the skating team does not guarantee acceptance into the University. The easiest way to apply to WMU is through the school admissions website, at http://www.wmich.edu/admissions/. Submit the application and any supporting documents to admissions, and WMU will contact you to let you know if you’ve been admitted to the school.
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WMU SKATING TEAMS AND WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A BRONCO?
There are two things we recommend doing if you’re interested in becoming a skater at WMU. First, we have a Fall Open House event combined with admissions, usually held in October or November. This event is for seniors in high school or transfer students only. At this event, interested skaters can come the University, get an official tour of campus, meet with admissions and specific college advisors, eat lunch in an on-campus dining hall, learn about other opportunities available at WMU, meet current WMU skaters and coaching staff, participate in a Q&A session with the team, and participate in an on-ice skills session with both WMU skating teams combined. The second event is our annual recruitment weekend, which is held each spring. All high school sophomores, juniors, seniors, and transfer students may attend. For this event, interested skaters arrive at WMU on a Thursday evening and stay in a residence hall dorm room with a current WMU skater until Saturday afternoon. Recruits get to participate in about five hours of on-ice practices with the current teams, including a tryout on the last day for high school seniors or transfer students. Recruits also get to attend a class with a skater, take a campus tour, eat lunch in an on-campus dining hall, participate in get-to-know-you activities, have a Q&A session with current skaters and coaching staff, and if desired, can meet individually with the coaching staff. For more information on these events, please contact club president, Katie Fiore at
ARE THERE ANY SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR SYNCHRONIZED SKATING?
WMU does not offer scholarships for synchronized skating; however there are many non-athletic scholarships available through the school. Information on these scholarships can be found at http://www.wmich.edu/finaid/Publication/scholarships/pub-scholarships.html, or by contacting Financial Aid. Out-of-state students may also be eligible to apply for in-state tuition after Michigan is their primary residence for at least 365 consecutive days. Synchronized skaters can also apply for academic scholarships through USFS.For more information, please visit their athlete funding website: http://www.usfigureskating.org/Athletes.asp?id=214.
HOW ARE TRYOUTS RUN AND WHEN DO I FIND OUT WHICH TEAM I MADE?
Tryouts, which are held in March, generally consist of two days of clinics, and one day of actual tryouts. On the first two days, the coaching staff will be present to teach skaters necessary skills and sequences for the tryout. On the day of actual tryouts, each auditioning skater will receive a number to pin onto their shirt or sweater. Skaters will demonstrate both individual and group skills while being evaluated by the coaching staff. After the tryouts have concluded, the coaching staff reviews notes from the tryouts, test levels, and past experiences to determine where each skater would be best placed. Typically, the rosters are sent out within a couple days and practices begin the first week in September. For more details on specific skills to work on to prepare for tryouts, please contact head coach, Alyssa Sutter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO SKATING ON A COLLEGIATE TEAM SUCH AS WMU?
Adapting into the college life can be a very difficult challenge, and having any group you immediately belong to can help ease that transition. Upon joining the WMU Skating teams, skaters instantly have a group of around forty other people right on campus that all share a common interest. Aside from being a great way to develop strong friendships, skating in college helps skaters develop and maintain strong time management skills. At WMU, our skating teams have a mentor/mentee system. Each freshman or sophomore skater gets a junior or senior mentor. Skaters are able to turn to their mentors for help with skating, academics, transitioning into the college life, or even if they just want someone to hang out with on a random night! Many skaters develop lifelong relationships with their mentors, both on and off the ice.
CAN I STILL SKATE ON A WMU SYNCHRO TEAM IF I HAVE NEVER DONE SYNCHRO BEFORE?
Absolutely! Each year we get a variety of skaters of different levels and different experiences. We gladly welcome any individual skater that is interested in learning how to skate with others. Many individual skaters find that they love the team aspect of synchronized figure skating, and also are happy to find that they still are able to keep up with their individual skating if they choose to.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SKATE ON THE TEAM?
Keeping in mind that attending college is a substantial financial obligation, we try to keep the costs of skating as low as possible. The expenses vary from year to year and depend on travel, competitions, and the number of skaters. We also work hard to cut down costs as much as possible through various fundraisers. Our largest fundraiser is the annual postcard campaign, which takes place each fall. For more information on costs, please contact our Treasurer Carly Sipes at
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COLLEGIATE AND OPEN COLLEGIATE TEAMS?
The biggest difference between the two teams is the test level. USFS requires that all senior team skaters have passed novice moves in the field and that all collegiate team skaters have passed juvenile moves in the field. However, most of our senior skaters have passed senior moves in the field, and most of our collegiate skaters have passed novice moves in the field or above. Another difference is practice time. The collegiate team practices 4-5 days a week, while the collegiate team practices 1 day a week, and both teams practice at least 1 hour individually. We pride ourselves on having two teams that are very well connected, as the two teams function mainly as one tight-knit group.
OTHER THAN PRACTICES, WHAT KINDS OF THINGS DO YOU DO AS A TEAM?
The WMU Skating teams have many events throughout the season to promote camaraderie amongst the skaters and families. The teams spend a night in the fall at Climb Kalamazoo participating in team-building activities and and rock climbing. We have a Parents Weekend each year in November, with a luncheon to give all the families a chance to get to know each other, followed by performances of both the senior and collegiate teams in a Bronco Hockey game. We have holiday activities, such as a team dinner, cookie exchange, and “secret skater” gift exchange. We also participate in hockey games throughout the year, and end with an end-of-the-season banquet to celebrate all the hard work and accomplishments of the skaters. These events are just a sampling of the things WMU skaters do off the ice together, and many skaters find that their teammates are their best friends, and participate in other outside activities together as well.