Emerson College

Boston, MA: Emerson College is a medium-sized liberal arts/communications school located in downtown Boston. I went for the extensive introduction/tour in early November. They don’t require interviews, but if you really want one, you can request it. I just took the tour. The essay is what’s really important.

I was very impressed by the facilities at Emerson, including an award-winning radio station you may have heard of (WERS [88.9 FM]) and a complete television news studio. Although the TV station is not technically broadcasting, it is run as if it were. Inside the studio is the same true-to-life fast pace and seriousness of purpose as a big TV news station (ever see “Broadcast News”?). They have cameras and editing equipment, and even run commercials. They also have a photography lab and film-making and editing facilities. I saw their intimate and larger theatres where the performing arts and dance classes and performances are held.

What really appealed to me about Emerson was the relatively small size (compared to other communications schools). The student body consists of about 2,000 full-time undergraduate students. The student-teacher ratio is approximately 18 to 1, which means a lot of attention and guidance (but not too cushy an atmosphere) for the student. The availability of the resources and facilities is not something you must wait years for at Emerson, like some schools. The theory and learning environment is very active and hands-on.

In some larger schools, I had the feeling freshman year was more like a 13th grade in high school, or a “preparation” for college (which is what high school is for!). I felt at those schools they thought that the privilege to learn was something you had to earn … I did not get this feeling at Emerson. Freshman students are just as active as seniors, and even learn from their older, more experienced colleagues. I repeat, at Emerson, it’s a very active, hands-on learning environment, with lots of opportunities for internships. Emerson students with goals and motivation can go a long way, and are often very successful in what they do.

Emerson is located on and around the Boston Public Garden, and near the Newbury Street-Copley-Back Bay section which is a nice, area of the city. The dorms are in old buildings and brownstones centrally located around the park. The dorm room I saw was a double freshman room, and was very nice. It had a big window with a view of the park, lots of space, two closets, and a private bathroom… cooooool.

Emerson is for students interested in film and photography (like I am), the performing arts, media/television, radio, advertising, communication disorders and or education, professional writing and journalism, and dance (phew!).

Psssst……Just a general note of advice to anyone looking at colleges: don’t make decisions based on other people’s impressions and criticisms. Don’t make a false judgment about a school (or anything for that matter) just because of its “reputation.” Take a tour, visit classes, and talk to students. You may be surprised, and your impression may change. Emerson is a school that I had misjudged before I visited, and I’m sure glad that I was able to see the school for what it really is. Don’t rely on other people’s impressions, not even your friends. This is your decision, your chance, and your life. You are you, yourself, and nobody else. Don’t forget that in anything and everything you do. Please! n

Reviewed in 1990