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The Ringling College of Art and Design

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One of the very few reasons I wentBrightOther
One of the very few reasons I went to Ringling College of Art and Design was because of the Pre-College Summer Session where they gave the illusion of the "full Ringling Experience" with teachers acting kindly and activities everyday, campus life, as well as to grow personally as an artist and to gain a career.

To anyone out there who has the ambition to be in Game Art and Design, don't. Simply put, Ringling ONLY cares about the best, and by best, I mean people who has already spent some YEARS of experience and programming abilities (but they will never tell you that) and are extremely fast learners. If you slip up once, some of the teachers will loose their respect for you. While not all the teachers are bad, and will even become good friends outside of campus, some of them can and are beyond ruthless and have no problem degrading you as an artist. I was always shy and was raised to respect teachers, but because of one of the classes the GAD department force you to take, I was branded as the worst student in the major because I couldn't draw digitally, when the whole point of me being in the school was to LEARN how to do all the things they "teach" me, but there is only so much verbal and borderline emotional abuse one can take.

For any parent who is wondering about meal plans, don't even bother. The teachers, especially in the GAD and CA department pack on a lot of homework with Dreamworks/EA (not Pixar, Ringling adores Dreamworks mores than Pixar) quality work, even from students who have never touched Maya in their life. What this means is students will have no time to eat or sleep to the point oh physically harming themselves just to get a C- in the class. I spent two and a half years not eating right and little to no sleep to the point that I was malnourished and damaging my "cycle". Ringling then adds a new level of hypocrisy by "encouraging" students to work out but to produce the high level of work.

The location is horrifying since there are constant robberies on campus due to living on MLK and hearing almost every other weak gun fire just a block away. All security does is sit in golf carts and wait to see what happens next. And you can only travel to all the fun spots such as Lido Beach or Siesta Keys if you have a car.

The only positive thing I have is that while there are SOME club activities and campus life, it is the only to thing to look forward to, sometimes. Again, it can only be fun if you have the time (which, as a GAD and CA, you will be guaranteed to not have. Ever.) The people there are also welcoming to new people in their club and the Career, Advising, and Counseling center are top notch by always being in contact and ready to hear what the students have to say. Of course, you have to make a schedule appointment in advance, but it's not that big of an issue.While I have met amazing people and had the bets experience with the Career Center, I have experience nothing but nightmares, high level stress, and depression in Ringling. If you want to learn how to be an animator, I highly suggest you apply to other colleges such as SCAD, Full Sail, or any other college that has it. Ringling LOOKS nice, but is a nightmare-fueled experience that you are paying $40 Grand for.

2nd Year Female -- Class 2013
Individual Value: B, Collaboration/Competitive: D-
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Yes, Ringling is one of the premiere schoolsQuite BrightArt & Design Department
Yes, Ringling is one of the premiere schools for Computer Animation, but they earn that reputation by being absolutely ruthless. The school over-accepts students in this major simply because they know that many of them will drop in the first or second year and they want the extra money. The school is depending on about %40 of the students in CA to drop before senior year. The department has an incredibly asinine and strict attendance policy in which the only exceptions made are for severe medical emergencies with notices from physicians that helps them attain this goal. While some members of the faculty are reasonable, helpful, and genuinely care about students, the unfortunate fact is that the faculty members with the loudest voices seem to only offer criticism and never any advice or helpful suggestions. The CA department is also very boxed in to a mindset where "good design" is anything disney or pixar-esque, and nothing else. You will have a really hard time getting them to accept anything that doesn't follow those design and story telling conventions.

I was among the very first batch of students in their "Game Art and Design" program and I simply cannot recommend it. The major is still under the CA departments jurisdiction and all the thesis pitches are reviewed by the CA faculty, most of which have never seen or played a video game in their life. Because of, this after sophomore year, the major isn't really about games at all, since there is no consideration for the mechanics, systems, and non linear story telling that separate games from other media. Still, they force us to render all our 3d graphics and animations in a game engine, which no one in the faculty has any expertise on. There is also no specialization in the major... While "Game Art and Design" encompasses a wide variety of specialties (2D HUD and Interface design, Character modeling and design, Vehicle design, Lighting, Environment modeling, Story, System/mechanics design and programming...) The school instead has you try it all... and then forces you into environment design which they then make clear is all they really care about and want out of the major.

The Campus is also located right next to the ghetto and there are frequent dorm thefts and other safety incidents. The surrounding area also has very little to offer in terms of recreation. You wont be seeing any movies, going to any nice beaches, or having a nice night out without a car. Though its unlikely that you or any of your fellow students in the CA department will have any free time for such luxuries underneath the overbearing yolk of homework you'll have.While I can't deny that I did receive valuable skills and knowledge from this school that will qualify me for a job in the industry, I will never be able to tell you if it was really worth the money or the suffering. As for the Game Art and Design program I would advise anyone who really wants to take this program at Ringling to wait a few years until they've graduated some students from it and hired appropriate instructors that know the industry and the programs.

3rd Year Female -- Class 2011
Education Quality: B+, Scholastic Success: D
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It wasn't formal enough.Super BrilliantFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
It wasn't formal enough. It was wasting my time. I didn't need the integration of my social life into some groupy-concieved, academic bs. I needed individual thinking people, of the staff and of my piers. The Fine Arts program is here and there and everywhere. It takes steps in the right directions, while many faculty members step upon the others heels. It needs more clarity not to seem hypocritical.
1st Year Male -- Class 2012
Perceived Campus Safety: A-, Friendliness: F
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