Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music is known for its specific educational program dedicated to music. It has one of the best facilities and environments to study and pursue a career in music. It has a total undergraduate student population of around 6,500, which, compared to the school’s small campus, is a large community. There are mainly 12 majors to choose from, although there are double majors and many minors available. The campus is located in the city of Boston which makes the school very accessible, however, in return, it has a smaller campus compared to other schools. Berklee has many buildings including concert halls and performance theatres. This allows the students of Berklee to get hands-on experience with the latest equipment as well as learning how to run an event which is a skill they would rather have when you work in the music industry. The application is simple for Berklee: although your GPA and SATs are a good way to appeal yourself as a student, almost all the decision is based on an audition. In the audition, there are four steps: Prepared Performance, Improvisation, Ear Training, and Sight Reading. Each of the steps allows showing different skills of your musical talent which becomes a very important component to pass the audition. Although the school is very competitive, looking at the campus and curriculum, I think it is worth trying to apply to this school to develop further knowledge for your passion towards music.
I personally was looking forward to seeing Berklee as my future college because I have a huge interest in music. It was very appealing that not only you could learn how to play an instrument, you could also learn the business and marketing as well as the real hands-on experience that you can get by attending to many of the student-run events and concerts.
– M.N. (H1 boy)
On the last day of the tour, we visited Berklee College of Music, which is the largest music college in the world. It was founded in 1945 as a jazz school, but it teaches every music genre to students from many countries now. There are many famous alumni from this college such as Charlie Puth and John Mayer who even I am familiar with. The campus is close to Hynes Convention Center station and is split into 4 buildings. There are some places where the students can perform with passing an audition in the buildings. Also, Berklee has another campus in Valencia, Spain, where students can study abroad. By the way, I saw many interesting American shops like Trader Joe’s and J.P. Licks near the school, so school life looks fun.
In the school, there are 12 majors, 12 minors and 20 summer programs in which each student can study various types of music skills, not only composing and playing. For example, as a music business major, the students learn and think about the legal, financial, and ethical aspects of the music business, and as a film scoring major, the students learn about making sounds and music for a variety of industries. There being many types of professional students, there are a lot of productions and performances made by only students. Also, recording studios, performance venues and over 400 ensembles in the school make Berklee very special. We went to a studio which had great microphones and machines in the basement, and took a picture!
During the campus tour, a male student who studies music business guided us politely, but also a Hiroo Gakuen alumnus talked in more detail to us in Japanese. He said the school security is pretty good even though it’s in the middle of the Boston business district. The students and the staff at Berklee need an ID card to enter any building and there is a smartphone app for the school security, too. Also, many people were greeting their friends on campus and it looked nice to us.
If you want to go to Berklee, you need to apply online from its website and pass an audition and an interview. They take place in major cities around the world so you don’t have to go to Boston to take an interview. In the audition, you’ll be required to perform a prepared piece, improvisation, ear training skill, and sightseeing skill, and the interview takes 15 minutes. From what I heard, Berklee requires great music talent in order to get in, regardless of form and genre. To speak of extremes, it means you actually don’t need to be good at playing the instruments so we were surprised. However, it’s better to learn to play the instruments because it really helps you to improve your music skills. Als,o international students are required to send a TOEFL/IELTS score, and ACT/SAT score optionally. The early action application deadline is on November 1st and the regular one is on January 15th. The audition date depends on the time when the application was submitted, but it takes place in August through March.
In the tour, I thought that Berklee is the place where many dreams gather. Although I just like music and think music colleges are strict to traditional music, the school made me interested in studying music, because the school teaches contemporary music to the students and offers them many opportunities to make productions by themselves. I felt that the future of music is there.
– M.K. (M3 girl)
The last university we visited was the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science, or MCPHS in short. Founded in 1823, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science is the oldest college in Boston. MCPHS specialises medical and pharmaceutical fields, and health science. We took a tour around the campus, followed by an information session.
Despite being the oldest college in Boston, MCPHS puts emphasis on utilising the newest cutting edge technology in its many labs. MCPHS has an undergraduate enrollment of 3,882, the student to faculty ratio is 15:1, and 20% of the student body is comprised of international students. The ratio of men to women is about 29:71, and when asked about this, our tour guide confirmed this by stating that she sees a lot more girls around, but there is no apparent reason as to why this is.
MCPHS offers a well-rounded, advanced medical and health science education that gives students not only knowledge, but hands-on experience as well. MCPHS offers direct entry pharmacy courses to its students, meaning that while it would normally take 8 years to become a pharmacist, the course specialises in pharmacy, giving students a more concentrated education, so they can finish pre-med and medical school in just 6 years. Although it does take the same amount of time as any other schools in different areas, MCPHS allows students to get hands-on experience by letting students use high tech labs from the Harvard medical school.
Although it seemed like everyone needed to have a clear idea of what they wanted to be in order to get in to MCPHS, I soon found out that there are many people who change their majors a few years in. Because MCPHS gives its students such a versatile and well-rounded education in the medical and health science fields, it is not hard for students to change majors when they actually experience the field they are studying. For example, we were told in the information session that there is usually at least one person every year who faints when they see actual blood and decides to change majors, which is perfectly fine. This is something that would be impossible in other colleges that cannot give students hands-on experience, and I personally felt that this well-rounded system is much more friendly for the students, and gives more flexibility despite being a medical school.
Even though I am personally not very interested in medical and health science, I felt like MCPHS is a college that offers an advanced education in the medical and health science fields and gives students more than just knowledge by giving them hands-on experience, but still manages to keep the education versatile and well-rounded. Walking through the campus gave me a good idea of what campus life is like, and this trip overall gave me a better general idea of what universities are like in the Boston area.
– K.S. (M3 boy)