In the spirit of class scheduling, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on Practicum courses. To me, one of the strongest selling points for Columbia’s MAM program is the chance to participate in practicum courses, similar to internships but directed by faculty along with other students. When I was a prospective student, the concept of a practicum course was very abstract but also an interesting draw. The range of practicums are so diverse, offering a comprehensive experience in the arts. After hours and hours of digging through the same information, the truth slowly revealed itself through course descriptions, department promo videos, and the Marginalia blog! However, I want to make that experience for current prospective students, a little bit easier.
I have experienced two practicums so far and they have been interesting experiences to say the least. As a student producer for Manifest activities and a pseudo-consultant for an arts entertainment company, I have learned much from my practicum courses.
I decided to take these courses because they gave me the opportunity to stay involved in the arts outside of my concentration. They expanded my skill set and helped me collaborate effectively with other students. However, there are a few things I could’ve done better to research the best classes for me.
Talk With Your Teacher
Yes, faculty are very busy but setting aside time to talk to a potential student can be arranged. Teachers give a perspective of the scope of the class and what you can learn from it. Also, if you have any questions, you can ask them before talking with past students of the course.
Talk With Students Too
Students who have been in the course in the past have a valuable perspective on what it is like. Especially if you are speaking with someone in a similar program to yours, they can help you gauge whether the class is a good fit. Also, if the workload is a point of concern, a student can give you a better snapshot of what the class is like than the teacher.
Identify Transferrable Skills
In the MAM program, it is widely acceptable to try new classes that are unrelated to your background in order to expand your knowledge and skill set. Look at areas in which you’re already productive and successful and see if those are a good fit for this class. If you notice that a few of your skills are transferable, it could be a great opportunity to put them to use!
Not all practicum courses are made equal. However, not all graduate programs are either. Columbia is very unique in it’s approach by offering practicum courses to it’s students. Those classes in the Business & Entrepreneurship department range from Gallery Management to Manifest planning and AEMMP Records managing. When picking your program or even courses, be sure to do your research to find your perfect course match.