- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Film
- Gender: M
- High School: Concord Carlisle Regional High School
- Transfer Student: Y
I transfered to Emerson College in 2007. The process of transfer was very difficult. As a transfer, you are forced to sign up for semester classes after the entire school has been given the chance to design their schedules. This made it impossible to take anything outside of broad requirements for my first semester. The film department/visual media arts department seems to be saturated with students. Though this makes for a good community of working film students (there are always student film shoots to work on), it makes it impossible for the school to meet any equipment needs.
Emerson takes pride in its emphasis on the liberal arts. The school is designed for specialized study in the arts, but Emerson makes it clear through their strict academic requirements that they want their students to be well-rounded. Unfortunately, the non-major related classes leave much to be desired. Instead of having normal college requirements such as Western History or Philosophy, Emerson has designated their "liberal arts" courses into different disciplines (U.S Diversity, Cultural Diversity, Interdisciplinary study). Most Emerson students spend their time hoping to fill these vague requirements. And instead of giving a diverse selection of classes, the courses all seem to center around lesser studies. For instance, one of the most popular classes at Emerson is History of Jazz, not because Emerson has a lot of avid students of Jazz history, but because that class fulfills two of the vague disciplines. I have yet to come across a liberal arts course at Emerson that seems worthwhile. Courses such as Fundamentals of Speech Communication (public speaking) and Research Writing seem designed to eat up credits and keep students from learning anything of interest (in the conventional college sense). As for the film courses (I'm a film major), its another situation where requirements keep students from taking anything advanced until the end of their junior year and senior year. Though there are important staple classes such as Film 1 (an introductory 16mm production class), they add up to no more than a semesters worth of work. The average film student at Emerson spends three years of his college experience using equipment that most people learn to use in high school. Part of the issue with the classes is that the school cannot support the inflated student body. With so many film-related majors, its no wonder that Emerson sets up the number of road blocks that they do. However, understanding the problem does not make it any less of a problem.
It is important to every art education that students learn fundamentals of art theory and art history. Emerson neglects to teach their students anything in terms of the study of art, and this is reflected in the aptitude of their student body. As a transfer, I've experienced a year of study at another art school. Despite anything the program lacked, the school was at least committed to teaching their freshman class fundamentals about film theory and history. I have taken two similar freshman film history courses at Emerson and found that not only do they lack depth, but in some instances, students are misinformed about the films they are learning about. On four occasions I have had teachers cite incorrect information, and then later test students on the inaccurate facts. The Emerson student body is not intellectual, and it is not their fault. The students are not exposed to the higher process of media theory and criticism, they are not even exposed to the important media that has shaped the art world that they allegedly want to work within. As a transfer I have not found a single Emerson student who seems informed about his major, who can participate competently in college level discourse, and who can express their creativity in an informed way. Emerson does nothing to refine their undergraduate students. Emerson students tend to be very wealthy. Most students seem to hail from the D.C area or New Jersey. Drug culture runs rampant. I have seen students smoking pot outside of Emerson buildings (keep in mind, its a city campus) and have heard so many conversations revolving solely around drugs that at times I question whether or not I ever left the 11th grade. An intelligent person will feel out of place at Emerson.
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