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The Ringling College of Art and Design

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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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I attended Ringling for four years and graduatedArt & Design Department
I attended Ringling for four years and graduated with a degree in illustration and a minor in Fine Arts in 2011. I had previously attended Marlboro College in VT which is an excellent institution. Ringling has its good points and its bad points. First, let me address the good points:

Ringling has some amazing professors, who care about the students and want them to excel and succeed.

Ringling had a very good Career Center, with a helpful and caring staff that will look at a students portfolio and give great advice to help prepare him/her for interviews and jobs.

Ringling has a mental-health center, a decent dining hall and I hear they are going to have some sort of physical health-care starting this year. (props to them for that, it was needed)

Ringling also attracts some great recruiters.
Ringling is in Florida, so if you love the sunlight the location is probably great for you.
Now, let's discuss some of the negatives.
Ringling is expensive, *very* expensive and students don't necessarily see much of what their tuition is paying for because certain majors are very costly to maintain, so the tuition of all students supplements those departments.

Ringling has some lousy teachers, so some students will have a professor who responds to them and cares deeply about preparing them to do a good job, but the unlucky ones will receive instruction from a professor who is a well-respected artist in his field but doesn't know or care how to help students learn and meet their potential. The class selections are left up to the students by lottery, which means, if you don't get first pick, you may just not learn how to use oil paint that semester.

Ringling does not care if you are bad at art. If you can't draw, can't paint, can't animate, can't conceptualize well and basically are not going to be able to succeed in the world, NO ONE is going to tell you and no one is going to advise you not to continue. No one is even going to tell you you need to work harder and do a better job. They allow people to spend four years (or more) to get a degree in something they have no hope of succeeding in. For me, this devalues the degree and is plainly unkind to those students. we were told that "A Ringling degree will get the art director to look at your work." How long will that hold true if there are people out there with that degree who have no skill? If I was training to be a surgeon and obviously was not smart enough to do the job, would they just let me continue? No. Because it's not sensible.

Ringling's mental-health counselors are not very good. Two of my dear friends went to them while I was at school and neither one of them received the help they needed. I am of the opinion that a counselor needs to be smarter than his/her patients and they cannot often meet that bill.

Ringling is in a bad part of town. There were muggings, thefts and I once saw a guy with a gun running through a lot RIGHT NEXT TO SCHOOL. Now, that's not the college's fault, but it should be a consideration.

Ringling will not make you feel cared about as an Alumni or as a student. When you have concerns, they will brush you off if they can.So, that's the basic points that I think might be helpful to someone considering Ringling College of Art and Design, hope I was helpful. For the money, I can't recommend the school, unless you want to be a CA or an ID, in which case, maybe.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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