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The Ringling College of Art and Design

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I was looking forward to going to Ringling.Quite BrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
I was looking forward to going to Ringling. I was willing to spend $40,000 a year just for tuition because of how Great a school it was suppose to be. First Semester was so disappointing. Figure Drawing teacher had worked for Disney (My Dream Job). He may of been a great drawer for Disney but terrible teacher. He only worked with students who are already great drawers. The students who needed help from him were left on their own. He stated he needed to spread himself around to every student. He spread himself around to the talent students. My 2D teacher was worse then figure drawing. I even dropped her class. She is an older woman who tells you one thing then changes her mind at 2 am. Sends out an email and changes the type of paper, or size of paper, etc. If you asked for help she would tell you to read about it on the internet. One student actually helped most of the class learn how to us a program because she informed us that was not her job. I had 2 great teachers the first semester for Drawing and Art History. The 2nd semester came and had an older teacher for 3D, whos language needed to be cleaned up. He once told me that he was not there to teach us that the other students are our teachers. He told me one day that I should just get a job and work out of my basement, because I asked a question about the clay. He also did not take time to show how to work with clay. Most of the class looked it up on the internet. My Figure Drawing 2 teacher has such demands on us. She grades us against the other students. So even if your improving and working hard if you can not draw as well as other students you grade will not increase even with a lot of effort and improvement. She is not a friendly person and hard to feel comfortable talking to or even to ask a question. I have been told by 2-3rd students that the teachers get better each year. I would think it would be as important to have Great Teachers for each year. The teachers seem to be there only to get a pay check and not put much effort into their jobs. Half of my teachers have been great, but majority of them are for elective classes, not the drawing teachers. There have been several students who dropped out after First semester. Ringling wants you to believe its because of the cost, but students already knew how much it cost prior starting school. They dropped out because they are not getting what they paid for "TO BE TEACHED". I am not sure I will be coming back for a 2nd Year. I feel that I could use the money more wisely by going to another school where they want you to succeed. Ringling doesn't seem to care if you succeed or not, especially is your are not one of their top students. I have friends who live on campus and pay an extra $20,000 to live on campus where they sometimes lose electricity, and no hot water majority of the time, and see bugs in rooms. It seems like a lot of money to live on campus to these types of services. It is much cheaper to live off campus in an apartment or rent a house with several classmates. My dream of going to Ringling has been more of a Nightmare. I feel I could get more out of internet school, community college, or 4 Year University with 2 Years of Art Classes and succeed just as much as going to Ringling. If you ARE NOT THE TOP STUDENT WHEN IT COMES TO ART THEN SAVE YOUR MONEY and go somewhere cheaper and where teachers want to help all students successed in Art. Not just the students who can out draw most of the teachers at Ringling. Most teachers at Ringling are part time and did not earn teaching degree with an Art Degree. Some Teachers even spend time working on projects during class. This are projects they are doing for clients, so they are too busy on their own artwork then to help their students. Please make sure this is the school you want to spend a lot of money on and may graduate only because you had the spend the time teaching yourself from the internet or are already so talented you'll pass with honors because of your own hard work and talent, not because you learned it at Ringling. Some student have so much talent that they get "Poached from Ringling by Companies who come to Ringling to discuss job openings. Ringling gets upset when this happens because they have 2 years less tuition from that student. But Ringling doesn't seem to be upset when 1 or 2nd year students leave because they are not getting the education they are paying for and move on to a college where they can get taught. Please make sure this is a good fit for you, its too expensive of a lesson to waste $40,000 on like I did. Also was told Ringling has a lot of Scholarships available but they don't give them out. A friend's dad called Ringling and asked why didn't his daughter get a merit scholarship? He was not happy with them and started getting loud and upset. Then all of sudden his daughter was given a Scholarship. So you have to fight to get Scholarship from Ringling if you qualify for merit type scholarship.
1st Year Female -- Class 2019
Innovation: B, Individual Value: F
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Ringling is not an "average" college experience.BrightArt & Design Department
Ringling is not an "average" college experience. If you are looking for wild weekends, crazy parties or lots of free time, look elsewhere! The focus at Ringling is absolutely not on a well-rounded college experience. You will be worked to your limits to create amazing artwork, and if you come in to the program with those expectations, you'll be just fine.

Let's start with the good- faculty here is AMAZING. Even in your first semester as a freshman, your professors will be industry professionals who are for the most part overwhelmingly kind, helpful, and excited about teaching. Since class sizes are so small (anywhere from 10-20 students in a studio), you'll form a solid personal relationship with all of your professors. It's important to keep in mind that you get out of a class exactly what you put in- if you slack off on your assignments or are disrespectful, you're not going to get any respect or extra help from your professors. (Since it is such a small school, the professors gossip a TON- one incident can give an entire department the wrong impression about you in a flash.)

Also fantastic is the caliber of guest speakers that come visit campus. Actors like Elijah Wood, Aubrey Plaza, and Justin Long have come to visit and work with the Digital Film students. Glenn Vilppu comes to work with the freshmen every year. The Digital Painting Sketch Club pulls in some incredible demo artists, from Bobby Chiu to Aaron Blaise. There's no shortage of talent among upperclassmen, either, and most are eager to meet with underclassmen and talk about their artwork.

In terms of coursework, it can be very frustrating (especially in the first year) how slow the pace is. Ringling's first year curriculum very much focuses on the absolute basics- composition, design, basic techniques. It's a very solid foundation, but it can be infuriating watching your peers at CalArts complete full animated films while you're still working on a ball bounce. However, nothing feels like busywork. Most professors are very good about explaining the teaching points behind each assignment so you know exactly what you're working to improve.

I would not recommend coming to Ringling if you are not absolutely sure of your choice in major. It is very difficult to switch majors, and most students who do will spend an extra year (and $40,000) at the school.

Ringling definitely throws most of their support behind the Media Arts (Illustration, Computer Animation and Game Art), Digital Film, and Motion Design. Most of the focus on campus goes towards promoting these five majors. Not that the other majors aren't worthwhile (for instance, Interior Design flies way under the radar but has won a ton of national awards), but you can certainly find a comparable degree at other colleges for far less money. Business of Art and Design is also a great program and has produced some graduates who go on to incredible jobs immediately after graduating.

One thing that I was startled by were the senior thesis shows at the end of the year. Although there were a few great projects, many were unexceptional- and a few were downright bad. Ringling does a great job promoting their successful students, and has proven to be even better at hiding their mediocre ones.

Activities outside of coursework are lacking, to say the least. The exceptions are a few excellent art-focused clubs (like DPSC and FEWS). Sarasota has zero nightlife, and parties around campus are rare. I cannot stress enough that if you want a traditional college experience with lots of parties and alcohol this is absolutely not the school for you! Sarasota is a charming city, but not very accessible to students without a car.

The area directly surrounding campus is not particularly savory. I have never felt unsafe on campus, but even visiting the gas station across the street can prove to be a harrowing experience. Car accidents are common, so be aware when walking or biking around and always take a friend with you.

In summary, Ringling is definitely not for everyone. I would explore other options if you enjoy having lots of free time, are unsure that you are not 100% committed to your major, or want a more traditional college experience. If you are passionate about your major, have a strong work ethic, and are prepared to be totally committed to art, this is the school for you!

1st Year Female -- Class 2017
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Social Life: C
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I am a freshman graduate from Ringling and I can honestlyQuite BrightOther
I am a freshman graduate from Ringling and I can honestly say these negative reviews have had me laughing for quite some time. Yes, Ringling does over-accept. This doesn't mean they are out to get you specifically or that they want to fail you out, every college does this. If you did well in high school because you submitted your work on time (and you are also good at art to some degree) you will be completely fine. In my opinion the Perspective class (Drawing I & II) are not challenging to the point of failure if you are honestly trying your best.

Many people are bitter that Ringling does not wipe their butt for them. No; no art school will TEACH you to draw. You are expected to already be an artist in some way shape or form and you are here to improve. The Figure Drawing classes will make your work improve greatly by the time your done, I promise, but it doesn't TEACH you how to draw. You learn to draw through practice. If you're completely honest to yourself and say you are good enough to make art your career within four years of improvement in your field, then come to an art school. It is that simple.

It doesn't mean you have to be a master when you get here, it means you have to be able to have work that is already very good. If you are not passionate about art enough to be at least decent at it do not go to an art school. There are people in my major who graduated and I honestly wasn't very impressed with their work, so if you fail the first year here you are either lazy or not talented in art. It is not possible to shove enough art knowledge into your face within the first semester to make you a master at art. Art is complex. It takes years to improve greatly, not days. So think again if your plan is to start learning to draw when you get here.

Also, I genuinely feel safe on campus day and night. I know that there are some rougher areas nearby but honestly that area and the campus are like day & night. They are completely different from one another and certainly things DO happen, but if I were to make the decision to come here again I would not be deterred by the 1 or 2 petty crimes that have occurred during the entirety of the year. Honestly people are highly over-exaggerating, and I would too if I lost 50k because I thought art school was going to be easy.

The food on the other hand... I'll have to agree with that one. Brickman has some really good food but they only give you just enough. Hammonds has great breakfast but oftentimes their dinner selection is disappointing at best. Lunch is great because you can order a pressed sandwich which is always good and fresh. If they opened the deli for both lunch and dinner I would be impressed. Overall when you have the choice just don't sign up for the meal plan. If you have a car there's a Costco not too far from the school where you can buy food in bulk for cheap. Walmart is within walking distance as well but yes, it does close at 10pm.

As far as the teachers go I haven't been dissatisfied with a single one. I absolutely adored most of them actually. Art teachers are some of the most interesting and kindest of individuals. I've been thoroughly impressed by their experience and their passion for the courses. I was so happy with them and I've improved miles due to their positive critique. In my opinion, some of the bitter reviews are from those who cannot handle critique. Critiques are solely for the purpose of your improvement and you can't improve without an insult to your art here and there. It really isn't an insult actually, it's professional help and it's not personal at all. People take it personally when asked to improve something in there art. Yet, how does one expect to improve if they can't see their own errors? It is a huge part of getting better and some people aren't strong-willed enough to handle it.

As far as students, it's a mixed bunch. Just like life. If you are prepared to deal with people in the real world just like you will have to in the future (in a professional setting), you'll be fine. Yes there are a few oddballs but nothing that bad and in my opinion there aren't that many. Just don't be judgmental and befriend people regardless. Try your best not to get into disputes with people. The school is small so if someone is wise enough to tell Residence Life they could threaten your status at the school very easily. This includes drug/alcohol abuse. If you're caught by a student you may very well be caught by the school as well and there are consequences.

Also, if possible TAKE YOUR CAR. Having a car makes free time more fun and you can even drive 5 minutes to the beach just because you feel like it. It also makes you more approachable and more fun as a friend when you can offer rides to those who need it. People here are typically kind enough to pay you back in some form and it's all around just great to have a car even if you're a "loner". There is so much to do in Sarasota and the surrounding area is absolutely gorgeous. Art festivals occur here every weekend and you're right next to an aquarium, a beach, a marina, a city, a small zoo, a beautiful bridge to run on, and Puppytown (a pet store where you can pet all of the puppies). The list goes on and on. So to those who complain there's nothing to do, I don't know what else you could ask for. Make friends and/or bring a car.

Overall, if you believe that your art skills are good enough to make you a professional within just four years of improvement, go to an art school. If you want to live in a vacation spot while you're at it and want excellent teachers who have worked at Disney etc., choose Ringling.

1st Year Female -- Class 2017
Education Quality: A+, Perceived Campus Safety: B
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