New Student Programs

Principles for Student Success

There are very few guarantees in the arts and media. Here's one you can count on. If you live the principles outlined below, you will reach the goals you came to Columbia to reach. 

You’ll see these principles throughout Orientation and your time at Columbia. Keep your eyes peeled: we’ve got a lot of opportunities coming your way.

Form Your Creative Posse.

The best work produced at Columbia is produced by students. Plural. Art is collaborative. Media is made in teams. Find people who will challenge your assumptions and push you to do better. Look for partners who can help you execute your vision, and in turn, dedicate yourself to helping others execute theirs. Join a student organization, attend events, introduce yourself, volunteer, network online. It doesn't matter how you find your posse, only that you find them. 

Tap the Creative Energy Around You.

We have over 2,000 faculty and staff that are here to teach, help, and inspire. Seek them out. Let them know what you need to know. Ask if you don’t understand. Wait for them after class. See their work outside of class. Know your college advisor. Find answers. Find contacts. Make it happen.

Embrace Diversity.

Diversity isn't just a buzzword at Columbia, it's who we are. We walk, talk, argue, dance, work, dress, and create in our own ways. We mix by gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, geography, and politics. We are a community of original individuals, and we're better at everything we do because of it. 


Turn your sensory acuity up to eleven and experience something new every day. It's all fodder for a creative imagination. Begin with your immediate campus. Look up on your way to class and there's a gallery to take in. Take your headphones off and stop to catch a concert in the Library. And don't limit yourself: your campus is Chicago and Chicago is the home of so much more than you know is even out there. Make it your mission to see, hear, smell, taste and touch it all. 

Create Your Body of Work.

Creation is a holistic process - you must look and learn from others' work, study the ingredients, know "the greats", reflect, and develop your own ideas, opinions, and perspectives. Columbia is here to inspire, and it's your job to create and find your voice. Of course we care about your grades, and ultimately your degree, but what we really care about is your creative work. 

Live Intellectually.

Make life an extension of the classroom and venture outside your comfort zone to shape your world. Columbia insists that you become a well-educated, young creative. Embrace the Liberal Arts and Science core and become a well-rounded person. Develop a passion for knowledge. Grapple with ideas. Discover how learning involves both the mind and body. 

Support Your Systems.

A healthy body supports a strong, creative mind, so you’re going to need both. Remember the basics: eat right & regularly, make time to exercise and get some solid sleep once in a while. Safety measures aren’t secrets here. Need a counselor? Need a condom? We offer both and we expect you to use them when you need them. And don’t waste time with addictions of any kind. You got here by keeping your focus on your creative passion, so now that you're here, you have to stay sharp.

Be Informed.

Read the Student Loop. Read the Student Handbook. Read our student newspaper, the Chronicle. Explore our website. Watch Frequency TV. Go to the Library. Talk to people. Listen too. Ask questions. Seek answers. Pick brains. Become an expert. Then find someone who knows more than you and learn from him or her.

Live what you Love.

If you're exhausted on your best days, you're succeeding. Your work will become play as your passion and inspiration takes you deeper and further than you ever imagined. To develop as a young creative, you must engage all your senses - look, touch, smell, taste, listen. You must live it. You wouldn't have chosen this college if you didn't have a deep passion, now revel in it - you'll never have this experience again.