Columbia's Principles for Student Success

There are very few guarantees in creative practice, or in life, so embrace these principles to build on your success and to live what you love. Through dedication, exploration, imagination, and creation, your work will become play, your experience will be exhilarating, and you will graduate as a well-educated citizen of the world ready to make your mark in the creative disciplines.

Form Your Creative Crew

You must seek out and find a crew of students who will inspire you as you inspire them. Throw yourself out there, attend events, introduce yourself, volunteer, and network.

Connect to your Faculty

We have over 1,000 faculty ready to motivate, guide, and mentor you. They are not authority figures, but your professional guides. Talk to them, make yourself available to them, and find out who they are. They’ll do the same for you. Our staff are also eager to support you.

Expand Diversity

Our rich diversity will guide your creative process, We talk, dance, work, dress, and create in our own ways. Mix gender identity, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, geography, and politics in your discovery and practice.

Explore Your Campus

Experience something new every day as you venture outside your comfort zone and connect to fellow students across the disciplines. Join a student club, attend a gallery opening or screening, participate in a discussion, and audition for a performance.

Engage with the City

Chicago is our campus. Feed off the power, diversity, contradictions, and complexities the city represents. Share your time, passion, and knowledge with the community, and embrace the opportunities to learn.

Live Intellectually

To advance your own thinking, you must first grapple with others’ ideas. Ask questions and seek answers. Dive into the Liberal Arts and Science Core, and value the body of knowledge it offers just as much as you value your major and your creative development.

Support Your Systems

A healthy body supports a creative mind. Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. Safety measures aren’t secrets here. Need a counselor? Need a condom? We offer both and expect you to use them as appropriate. And don’t waste your time with addictions of any kind.

Build Your Body of Work

As you progress in your major we expect you to create a body of work. This is a messy process where you will make mistakes. Over time, your work will become mature and substantive, and by time you are a senior, the best of your work will be portfolio-ready. You will amaze us at Manifest.

Create Your Career

Focus on your career development by working with the Portfolio Center. Land an internship. Develop an entrepreneurial spirit. Seek advice, counsel, and direction from creative professionals. Become an expert in your industry. Network and make connections. Graduate with a great portfolio.