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The Ringling College of Art and Design

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While Ringling boasts the best Computer Animation programBrightArt & Design Department
While Ringling boasts the best Computer Animation program in the country, that doesn't mean all of the other majors are useless. There are plenty of successful grads from all of the majors.

That said, I'm highly enjoying my time at Ringling. I think the best part about the school is the large amount of recruiters that come to the campus to look at portfolios for jobs (especially for Computer Animators, Illustrators and Graphic Designers). I'm talking about high-end, well-known companies: Hallmark, Disney, Dreamworks, EA Games, ILM... the list goes on.

Many people tend to complain that the campus is centered in an unsafe part of town. You'll see some shady people once in a while, but it is by no means in a dilapidated ghetto. The condition of the area has vastly improved ever since the school bought out and tore down the dilapidated, crime-riddled Shell station near the school. I've walked around campus at night plenty of times and never felt like I was in danger. There have been some bicycle thefts, however. I recommend you keep your bike in your room if you live on-campus. Just use common sense and don't wander off-campus at night.

The student body is very friendly, but a little off-beat and quirky. I've only met one or two snobby idiots so far, and one of them transferred elsewhere. However, I think you need to possess a bit of a "nerdy" love for movies and video games to really get into the social life here. The gaming club is very active here and kids here would rather eat pizza and watch a movie than get drunk off of their behinds. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT a party school. Parties--especially of the frat, beer-chugging sort--are extremely rare. Most students are too busy to party hard. If that is the sort of atmosphere you are looking for... go elsewhere.

The faculty are also very helpful and nice. There has only been one professor that I felt was very elitist and rude since I came here. Some push you more than others. You just need to ask around to find out who is the best.

My main gripe about Ringling is the fact that they are looking forward to this vast expansion conquest. They're building two new buildings and accepting more students, yet they aren't going to build additional parking (although I believe they were planning on building a parking garage). Parking here is hellish. If you don't need a car, don't bring it. Also, on-campus housing is VERY competitive after the first year. If you want to stay in the nicest apartments on-campus, you have to be lucky and get picked in the lottery. A lot of students are left in the dust without any means of housing and have to find somewhere to live off-campus. Sarasota isn't the cheapest place to live, so most people have to find an apartment 5-15 minutes from campus.

To add insult to injury, they over-accept Computer Animation majors, so they can grab money from those who are going to flunk out their first year. My first year, they told us that if not enough drop out, they would have to evaluate our animations and kick out the worst ones. That, my friends, is incredibly greedy and messed-up.Besides these gripes, however, I really am loving Ringling. I dunno how the school is going to turn out in a few years, because I think the administration is getting a little greedy and power-hungry. If you want to be a Computer Animation major, this is THE place to be... but the other programs are great, too!

2nd Year Female -- Class 2011
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Extracurricular Activities: D+
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Someone has to say it, so I will.Quite BrightOther
Someone has to say it, so I will. Don't waste the money on this school unless you want to do Computer Animation or Game Art and Design. These two majors are what this school is known for. The department is strong, and the job outlook is better for these two majors. Although I will say they do have a pretty nice Illustration and Graphic Design department, but I'd hardly waste the amount of money it costs to go here to get a major in those fields.

Ringling doesn't advertise much, which is actually a good thing. They use more of their money into getting new equipment for the students and taking care of the campus, and getting good faculty. This also means you have to really dig to find the place.

I've found the faculty to be very nice and friendly. I was worried about running into snobby professors, but I have yet to have any who are like that at this school. The students are a mixed bag. There's the eccentric rebelious art student types, who always make me want to burst out laughing when I see them walking around in tons of goth layers out in the 90-100 degree heat, the brainless individuals who think since they can't do anything else they might as well do art, and the more down to earth level headed people (who will surprise you with how creative they are). Depending on your major, this will affect your social life. The main major at this school, Computer Animation, has the students locked up in the computer labs for many hours, so you won't be doing much. So don't do that major unless you love what you're doing. The other majors vary in terms of how much social time you'll recieve.

If you want to save money, I'd suggest you spend one- two years at a community college earning liberal arts and the studio classes that are required in the CORE program. You'll save 1/4th the tuition, and in most majors the main classes for your major don't begin till Sophomore or Junior year. Just make sure your credits can transfer. From what I've seen, the first year is a joke. All the freshmen I've talked to are bored for they're not being worked hard enough. By Sophomore year the work load increases.

I feel this school offers more concrete direction depending on whatever major you choose, which is different from many other art schools that are more lackadaisical about majors. If you need to 'explore' the kind of art you're interested in, don't go here. But if you know exactly what you want to do, then Ringling is a good choice.

I personally like that it's a small student body and that Ringling actually has a campus. And yes, one side is next to the 'ghetto' of Sarasota, but I have yet to see any crime around here or weird people. Then again I don't go out at night. I commonly see security riding around on their little golf carts. Really if you don't go off the campus into the ghetto area you should be fine. Ringling also disposed of the gas station that was close to campus that had been a nasty drug dealing spot. This took down on crime immensely.

2nd Year Female -- Class 2010
Education Quality: A+, Surrounding City: B-
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I transfered to this school from a communityBrightOther
I transfered to this school from a community college and I have to say it was an excellent choice. A lot of students here are from other states besides FL so its easy to relate being far away from home. Ringling is now officially Ringling College of Art and Design and they have a whole new brand identity/logo and some are less pleased about it than others. You have to see for it yourself and make your own opinion. Campus aesthetics are getting better, I think, the campus is bigger now with a huge student center that is impossible to miss and there is a "deck" where students hang out and the new Outtakes coffee shop...a bit of a ripoff but convenient when you don't want to risk your life crossing the street to get to Big E's. I think some people should give more credit to Career Serives though, yes they are small and it is mainly 2 people running it but they are in a new building now (a lot of the campus has changed now from 3 or 4 years ago). And they do TRY. Mainly I think it's that students don't bother to go over there and check them out. You can't miss the job postings all over the place on campus bulliten boards and they also put them online for you to read so they make it really easy on you. Also recruiters come here every year some of them from really huge companies and while you are not guaranteed a job (no one is) it is still cool to come check them out and maybe you will get an interview. Career Services helps you somewhat but they also expect you to help yourself at the same time, they are not going to bottle feed you. And after you graduate you can still use them.As far as safety, I have heard stories but as long as you have common sense you will be okay. I have seen campus security give people rides back to their apartments after dark, but I have walked from the labs at 2 in the morning without a problem. Last year there were campus robberies in the Bayou but people need to lock their doors. A lot art schools and other colleges are in "urban areas." Sarasota can't be as bad as some other cities it's a lot of retired people here mostly (its FL!) A lot of people will agree that the social scene is lax. Sarasota is a small city and yes a lot of retired folks. Only one good nightclub (that I know of) here. Downtown is okay, mostly resaurants, galleries (most know that Sarasota is a big art community) and expensive shops for the wealthier crowd. If you ever get the chance, the beaches here are nice. Many of the students here are cool, a few of them seem to be quiet but it is not hard to make friends if you just get to know people. I am majoring in Illustration here and I don't think Ringling ignores other majors, some are just bigger than others, one of the factors being student interest. CA has been the most profitable major to Ringling and it is their "known" major but every school has one. I saw a presentation from Dreamworks a while back and I thought that was cool, "wow Dreamworks coming to Ringling?" Illustration is still the largest major here though and it is far from ignored I think. Ringling is adding new majors too, one of the new ones being Digital Film. All in all the college is worth checking out.
3rd Year Female -- Class 2009
Individual Value: A+, Social Life: C
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