Visited on: September 14, 2015
Visited by: Burcak Deniz Cakir
I still remember the day when my older daughter Tuvana and I stepped foot on Emerson grounds on a not-so-cold Boston day in the fall of 2015. Like most families with a college-bound high school junior, we had been visiting colleges to help her make the best possible decision for her future. Right at the heart of Boston Common, which is a sight to see for sore eyes, Emerson had something different about it right from the start. Although their Visitor Center was in the middle of a renovation, which made the general information session a little awkward for our first time there, we did not mind it because we were more caught up on the wealth of information presented to us by one of the admissions officers. For the record, Emerson’s Visitor Center was completed soon after our visit, so prospective families do not need to worry about the renovation anymore. Home to a student body of around 4,500 students, Emerson takes pride in the careful selection of its incoming class in that each one of them brings something unique to the Emerson community.
Academics: Having its roots in Communication, Emerson College is the only 4-year private institution that is dedicated to arts and communication. With the 13:1 student-faculty ratio, you can imagine how intimate the classes are to the point of knowing everyone’s name in class. 57% of the classes have only 10-19 students, which makes Emerson a boutique university, where your professors will know you by your name, and you will bump into your classmates and stop for a quick chat on the street.
As a college that takes its foundation from communication, Emerson has high expectations from its students in terms of writing, which is a very crucial and mandatory component of the first two years. Similar to writing, presentations are also attributed a great importance by the Emerson faculty and are a required component of almost each course. Everyone is a story teller through different media at Emerson, which fosters creativity and independence among the future creative minds. Emerson takes pride in its professors, most of whom are still working in the industry and have connections for internships. Furthermore, all major classes are very hands-on and give students the chance to experience what it is like to work in the industry. Studios, where many classes take place, are updated regularly, with a software update every year and hardware update every two years.
Most popular majors offered by Emerson are journalism, film production, writing/literature, and marketing. Because of the intensity of the major requirements, a double major is not allowed although a minor is a possibility and allowed. Different from some other colleges, Emerson allows you to start taking your major classes right away along with your core curriculum classes, which makes is possible to graduate on time or even early if you bring outside credits from summer classes, AP classes, etc. Switching majors along the way is also an option for those students who decide that they have their heart set on something other than the major they were admitted to Emerson for. I guess you can evaluate the quality of a creative school by the endless possibilities it offers its students. Emerson does preach what it teaches when it comes to creativity!
Study Abroad: Emerson is famous for its Kasteel Well Program, which takes place in its own castle in the beautiful scenic parts of the Netherlands. Another program that might be an interest to some students is the Berklee Study in Valencia, Spain. In addition, the Global Pathways Programs allow students to experience a different country and earn college credit in screenwriting, public diplomacy, theater, art history, travel writing, film production, comedic studies and digital marketing. Australia, Greece, Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, South Africa, Cuba, Colombia, Ghana, and France are just some of the countries, and the list goes on and on…
L.A. Program: Located on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, the state-of-the art Emerson building is a talk of the city and a landmark visited by many visitors who happen to be in the area. Yes! I have seen it! Every time we go to Los Angeles, we stop by! Students majoring in Visual Media Arts have the option of completing their last semester on the L.A. campus, where they take a seminar class and have a chance to do their internship in one of the Hollywood studios. The program is specifically geared towards the film industry, so I would not recommend this program to a student who does not have any future plans to work for Hollywood or a student who might be interested in a career in the TV industry, in which case landing an internship in New York would be the best thing to do.
Extracurriculars: Because of the unique talents of Emersonians, a wide variety of extracurricular activities are offered at Emerson. With more than 80 clubs offered, students do not have any difficulty to putting their creativity and inner voice to good use. Many students perfect their craft by taking advantage of the Emerson TV channel and Emerson radio studio, where they create, participate in, host, direct, or edit shows.
The co-curricular activities which are integrated into the curriculum and can result in college credit are conducted at the professional level. The EVVY Awards, the nation’s largest student-run, multi-camera, live award show in the nation judged by real industry professionals, is one of Emerson’s many diverse activities that brings real life industry experience to the students.
Religious Life: The Center for Spiritual life helps students from all religions with their spiritual needs and accommodates students with support programs at times of crisis and loss.
Athletics: Emerson is the home to 14 Division III athletic teams and is a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference. As well as baseball, softball, basketball, cross-country, lacrosse, and soccer, students also enjoy an active intramural program and take advantage of the 10,000-square-foot fitness center featuring state-of-the-art equipment, classes, and wellness workshops.
Arts: Located in the heart of Boston’s Theater District, Emerson College’s dedication is no coincidence when you think of all the historic theaters owned by Emerson. Paramount, Cutler Majestic, and Colonial are just a few to name. With its passion for the arts, Emerson hosts so many Broadway shows throughout the year as well as student-run plays. If you are an Emersonian, you will never run out of possibilities for a weekend filled with arts. You might actually find yourself struggling to decide between a play or a film screening, or better yet might find yourself in the middle of a casting call for a student-run production.
Residential Life: Students are guaranteed housing for the first two years in one of the residence halls, such as Piano Row, the Colonial Building, the Paramount Building, and the most recent addition which is 2 Boylston Place. The Little Building is under construction for a renovation at the time of this writing and is expected to be completed in 2019, which will allow guaranteed housing to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, making it possible for 75% of undergraduates to live on campus. There is also an off-campus apartment complex that is only reserved for Emerson students and an Off-Campus Housing Office, which helps students with apartment hunting throughout Boston.
Advising: Emersonians are assigned a major-specific advisor at the start of their freshman year, which makes it easier for them to plan their 4 years in advance geared towards their intended degree as well as any possible study abroad programs and/or L.A. program that could be fitted into their course of study.
Financial Aid: Emerson believes that college education is a worthwhile investment, so the Financial Aid Office works to accommodate every student’s financial need as much as possible. The average need-based financial aid per student is approximately $25,000, the average merit scholarship is $14,000, and the average international student scholarship is $2,500. To qualify for financial aid, the FAFSA, the CSS profile, and institutional documents are required to be submitted by the designated deadlines. There are no separate applications required to be considered for institutional scholarships and merit aid. Those who qualify for such grants will be considered automatically.
Admission: Emerson accepts applications through the Common App or the Emerson Application portal. For those who want to apply early, Emerson offers a non-binding Early Action (EA) plan. Early Action (EA) deadline is November 1st with the notification date December 15th . If admitted early, the student does not have to commit to Emerson and will still have time to decide until May 1st. Emerson’s Regular Decision (RD) deadline is January 1st, with the notifications (such as accept, deny, or waitlist) sent at the end of March. School profile, transcripts, ACT and/or SAT results, personal statement, supplemental essays, letters of recommendation, and portfolio submissions (if applicable) are crucial components of the application requirements. What is even more striking is that Emerson is a test-optional school, which means that students who do not feel that their standardized test scores effectively reflect their true skills and talent are welcome to submit a contemplative essay on a given topic or a creative portfolio in lieu of the test scores.
My Impression: I do not know whether it was the pristine location in the city of Boston, the convenience of transportation, the creative atmosphere, the magical theater district, the very-focused student body, which is very rare to find at this age, or the wealth of knowledge and experience offered by Emerson and its faculty, but I fell in love with it right there and then. I knew it was going to be the perfect fit for Tuvana, who has loved and enjoyed every minute of being an Emersonian. Soon, she will be joining the Emerson Mafia, which is a secret term used by Emerson alumni to refer to their close-knit community and the powerful support they have for each other in the industry. If you are a student whose mind works differently from many of us and who takes pleasure in unique and creative ideas, then Emerson is the place for you! Believe me when I say, “Sky is the limit for you here!” Mind you, being creative is not enough to be admitted, so start focusing on your high school achievement and do the best you can academically. To this day, I have visited Emerson many times, and I can confidently say that I will never get tired of my visits. Even after my daughter graduates, I will probably stop by every now and then!
Tuvana’s Impression: She is a proud Emersonian! I think that says it all! To this day, she still says that Emerson was the perfect fit for her, and thanks to Emerson, she has discovered what she does and does not want to do in the future. She believes that Emerson has shaped her into the person she was meant to be. I leave you with a snapshot of us from my visit on February 2, 2019. Proud mom and happy daughter…
120 Boylston Street Boston, Massachusetts 02216