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The Rhode Island School of Design

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Aug 02 2012Fine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
Major Salary, Salary Trend, Satisfaction, Unemployment
Even with the (rare) generous merit scholarship awarded to me, I feel that RISD is one of the biggest mistakes and worst investments I have ever made. Since my graduation I am unable to get an interview, let alone employment. For four years I have felt my brain rot as the only education available involves fellow students beginning statements with the phrase "I feel like..." Professors are adept at criticism but evasive when asked for advice. I leave RISD with the sense that I have no higher education, and I strongly suspect much of my high-school education has died of neglect. The majority of students have little to no understanding of current events despite trying to make relevant work. The trick, of course, is to make thought-provoking work without doing any thinking. That RISD so ignores the necessity of at least mediocre academic education is baffling--a typical Artist Statement by a student at RISD more closely resembles a hastily composed Yahoo! user comment than a professional statement.

Perhaps the most redeeming quality about RISD is its student body and the various potential connections a student can make. While there is no doubt that networking is important, if a school's only redeeming qualities can be reaped at a party, skip the school and go to the party. A frank word of warning: In terms of social stratification, RISD is America's own little Versailles. At RISD I was not merely a student there on scholarship--I was a peasant. I was shocked by the comfort with which teachers spontaneously ordered their students to purchase a large amount of expensive supplies during class time with no thought as to whether or not said student has any of these items already at home (off campus, half an hour one way) or (gasp!) does not have the money necessary at hand. I have regularly been forced to decide between buying supplies and food during my time at school, and have still had the unfortunate experience of being singled out by a professor in class for my financial shortcomings.*

For a school that prides itself so much on being able to dole out critique, RISD as an institution absolutely incapable to hearing it. The vote of no confidence from the faculty is not heard, the complaints from the student council are not heard; and in due time, a chipper email will be sent to every student and faculty member reassuring them that their critique has fallen on deaf ears.*I will concede this happened only once, but it was unacceptable professionally and personally just plain dickish.

Alumna Female -- Class 2000
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Preparedness: F Reputation: D+
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Feb 13 2012Undecided
Major Salary, Salary Trend, Satisfaction, Unemployment
I am currently a freshman at RISD, and to be honest I've been disappointed by the education I've been receiving so far. Yes, there is a good amount of work, especially in the freshman year, but quite a bit of it seems arbitrarily time-consuming. I've found that my instructors have supported innovation, but they want a certain breed of creativity. Whenever I've attempted to push limits by departing from the original prompts and elevating my work to a developed conceptual exploration (such as creating an installation for a drawing class) I have been punished for not following directions. I was expecting more support of development of our individual ideas. I also expected more provocative and energetic professors, when this past semester I found that a majority of my instructors were more focused on finding ways to waste class time than actually instilling any new knowledge or skills in us. I've also found that this is not a school for anyone who comes from a family that isn't well-to-do. Coming from a family with very little money, and going to RISD on scholarship, I've found that everyone that goes here, including the faculty, assumes that you have money. There are often frivolous and unnecessarily expensive items on my supply lists, and prior to going here I've never felt so marginalized due to my social class. There are also plenty of amazingly talented people here, but there are also quite a few people who, for lack of a better phrase, bought their way in. This school seems to be alright with accepting underqualified students as long as they'll pay the tuition, and the lack of integrity I've witnessed (such as my own room-mate's, who has plagiarized multiple assignments) has reached a point that I've lost faith in this institution. I'm currently applying to transfer out of RISD next year, because even with a nearly full tuition scholarship, the financial burden is still significant, and the insulting lack of passion I've seen here has led me to conclude that a lot of this school is BS.
1st Year Female -- Class 2015
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Scholastic Success: A, Individual Value: D
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Jul 12 2011Fine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
Major Salary, Salary Trend, Satisfaction, Unemployment
If you are completely sure that art is your path in life, RISD is the place to go. You will be pushed to your limit and grow substantially as an artist. RISD has a great reputation in the art world and many job connections for its graduates. Unfortunately, for those who are interested in art as well as academics, RISD lacks in the liberal arts division. Many art history classes are a waste of time and money. Personally, I feel like I have sacrificed a good academic education for a good art eduction. As an institution, RISD has its problems. Tuition is extremely high and financial aid is sparse. RISD is not very organized throughout the departments and always manages to bill the students for mysterious costs and charges.
1st Year Female -- Class 2014
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Useful Schoolwork: A, Social Life: F
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