Caitlin Keith, a high school senior from Hebron, Connecticut, was in the Boston area last year to meet with the volleyball coach at Lasell College, the school she had been planning to attend for the past two years.
Almost on a whim, she decided to swing by Emerson College to check it out.
“When I stepped on campus, I thought, ‘This is me,’” said the future Marketing Communications major after attending a sample marketing class. All of a sudden, Lasell was an also-ran.
“I’m committed [to Emerson]. I already sent in my deposit,” she said.
Keith was on campus again on February 27, for Picture Yourself at Emerson Day, a daylong event being held multiple times this semester to give accepted high school seniors a taste of the Emerson experience.
Keith may already be sold on Emerson, but for those still trying to make up their minds, the day was designed to show off the College’s strengths and opportunities. In the morning, prospective students attended mock classes in majors that interest them while family and friends sat through overviews of Emerson’s academic and co-curricular offerings. In the afternoon, participants could take campus tours and check out the facilities.
The day started out with a welcome event featuring speeches from President Lee Pelton; Ruthanne Madsen, vice president for enrollment management; senior Janissa Delzo; and the musical stylings of Acappellics Anonymous.
“We welcome you because you’ve done so much, and because we know that we will challenge you, that we will help you dream big dreams and make those dreams real,” Pelton told a well-populated Cutler Majestic Theatre. “An Emerson education is an education for the 21st century, an education that will facilitate deep reflective thought and nimble, imaginative action,” he said.
During a mock class for students accepted into the new Comedic Arts major, Visual and Media Arts faculty Manny Basanese ’82, a seasoned sitcom writer, led a discussion of TV fundamentals using the example of Friends, executive produced by fellow Emerson alumnus Kevin Bright ’76. The high schoolers knew enough of the series to talk convincingly about the evolution of the show, despite it being roughly five years older than they are.
Basanese, who sat on the committee that looked at the students’ applications to the program, told the class he remembered most of their portfolios.
“I was so impressed with the level of talent we were getting, just in terms of the breadth and range of talent, the sophistication of a lot of it,” he said.
He said as the first class of the first major of its kind in the United States, they would have a unique chance to be at the forefront of something special, and be able to forge tight friendships that would help them throughout their careers in comedy.
Kasey Leivas of Columbus, Ohio, who submitted a screenplay about Adderall for her application, tended to agree.
“I think it’s the most unique program you could find for what we want to do,” Leivas said.
At a reception for parents at the Courtyard Marriott on Tremont Street, Chris and Lillie Gallant of Columbia, Maryland, were digesting what they had learned that morning about Emerson’s Visual and Media Arts Department. Their son, Connor, wants to study filmmaking.
The Gallants said they were impressed with the internship and study abroad options available to students, but most of all he was taken with how many hands-on learning opportunities are offered right off the bat, during the first year of the program.
Like Caitlin Keith, Connor Gallant had had his heart set on a different school—in his case, Boston University, Chris Gallant said. Then, just like Keith, Connor visited the Campus on the Common.
“When we came to Emerson for the tour, my son said right then and there, ‘I want to commit to Emerson,’” Gallant said. “We had to force him to apply to other schools because it wasn’t a guarantee he’d get in.”
Connor did get in and will join the Class of 2020 at the end of August.