Applying to college can be a confusing process for any student. Balancing the pros and cons and deciding whether a school would be the right fit for you takes a lot of research and comparison. While I was applying to schools, Emerson frequently fell under the radar since I didn’t do my research and get a true feeling for the school. After three years of attending Emerson, here are my top 5 things you should consider when applying to Emerson College
The culture of Emerson’s students makes the college stand out among many others. Nearly every freshman who attends Emerson enters with a declared major, and a majority of students stick with it all four years. Emerson is filled with students who know what they want to do and will do whatever it takes to get there. This makes Emerson an extremely driven environment for students to thrive in. Emerson’s majors are also extremely specific and lean towards the creative side of media, with a large theater department as well. With a school filled with driven and creative students, Emerson students tend to spend a lot of time on projects outside of class, such as independent films and plays. In most cases, students will dedicate more time to their independent projects than to their own classes.
Extracurricular activities are huge at Emerson and help set the competitive and driven culture that students experience across campus. In many ways, Emerson’s student organizations act as a pre-career, with students practicing skills they will need to use in the working world. It is common for freshmen at Emerson to work for multiple organizations in their first semester until they find what they enjoy the most. Students dedicate many hours to their organizations a week and it can sometimes take up more time and work than classes.
There are dozens of organizations to choose from that can help you hone your skills for your major or minor. From studio shows, to magazines, to even organizing the country’s largest student-run award show, Emerson organizations work with many different platforms to help students widen their resumes. Emerson also makes it extremely easy to start your own organization and apply for funding once your organization is active for at least one semester.
Emerson is incredibly expensive, so it’s important to put the money to use and get the most out of your education. While Emerson’s student organizations might seem daunting, they are an integral part of getting the most out of tuition. Additionally, Emerson provides tons of important resources that can help you with assignments or landing an internship.
Emerson is known for being pretty slim with financial aid, but there are a few ways to save money. The college also offers one non-tuition credit for students per semester who actively participate in affiliated organizations. With one credit costing thousands of dollars, this can save students a ton of money throughout their Emerson careers. Another money-saving option is taking summer courses, which are half the price of tuition. Opting to take liberal arts requirements during the summer saves students thousands of dollars and reduces their future debt. The Iwasaki Library is also an excellent resource for students who don’t want to spend hundreds on textbooks each semester.
Study Abroad and Domestic Programs
Emerson offers quite a few programs to get you outside of Boston. One of the more popular programs is through Emerson’s campus in Los Angeles, which students can participate in their junior and senior years. In this program, students participate in full or part-time internships while taking two or three 400-level classes. This program is common among second semester seniors, who will frequently find full-time jobs in Los Angeles after the program concludes. Emerson College Los Angeles is the most competitive on campus and is the only merit-based program. Students are recommended to maintain a cumulative 3.2 GPA to increase their chances of acceptance.
If you’re looking to get out of the United States, Emerson College also owns a third campus, a 14th century medieval castle in a small village in the Netherlands called Kasteel Well. Students who study at Kasteel Well spend 90 days in Europe with opportunities to travel nearly every weekend. Students frequently take weekend trips to Prague, Paris, Brussels and Barcelona. Each semester, the Kasteel Well staff will take students on two mandatory excursions to Amsterdam and a second location, which changes with each semester. Kasteel Well is an excellent opportunity for students to explore new countries and cultures.
Emerson College also offers other domestic and international programs in partnership with other colleges, with locations including Washington D.C. and Valencia, Spain. Additionally, Emerson offers shorter abroad programs that are often catered to different majors on campus. These programs take students to locations such as Australia, France, Greece, and Mexico.
If you’re looking for a traditional campus feel, Emerson is furthest from. Emerson has a very unique campus, which is located on Boylston and Tremont Streets, two of the busiest streets in downtown Boston. As soon as you step out of an Emerson building, you’re right in the middle hustling city. The adjustment to living in a big city can be difficult for people who grew up in a more rural town. However, the Boston Common is directly across the street from campus, which allows students to somewhat escape the city feeling.
Although Boston has become a fairly safe city, it is still important to be aware of your surroundings on campus. Emerson College Police is incredibly accessible to students and can drive students back to campus if they feel unsafe in their current surroundings. Emerson is also a closed campus, and has security guards posted in the lobby of every building to help students feel safe.
Emerson’s campus is incredibly concentrated, and it takes no more than five minutes to walk past every building, which makes walking to class a breeze. Nearly every building is at least ten stories tall, which provide students with stunning views of the Boston Common and the city’s skyline.
Emerson College isn’t for everyone. The campus and culture of the school makes it fit for only certain students. If you’re unsure what you want to do, you might feel lost or drowned out at Emerson. However, if you know where you want to go in life and are willing to give almost all your time towards projects you care about, Emerson might just be the perfect fit for you.
Lara Hill is a senior Public Relations major at Emerson College from Groton, Massachusetts. She has contributed to several college publications, holding multiple editing positions and focusing mainly on sports journalism. When she is not in class or writing, she loves to sail, watch sports with her friends and family, sing with her sisters, and play with her dog, Cassie.