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The Rhode Island School of Design

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As this is my personal review on RISD,Super BrilliantIndustrial Design
As this is my personal review on RISD, a little background on 'me'- I am the type that relishes hard work and criticism. It is how I learn. (Comment 1- RISD is not for the softhearted, which it shouldn't if it's going to prepare you to go into the real world in four years).

However like mentioned by previous reviewers, a lot of this work might seem redundant or like 'busywork'. This is partly because RISD is a heavily 'technical' school, if you are unaware. It is a bit 'outdated' this way- for example in the ID department we focus a lot more on metal and woodworking than any other school and less on the 'design'. But I personally like that, because in my opinion, if you want to go far, strong basic knowledge in your major is exactly the thing we're suppose to be learning in undergrad. Yes you could ask a school to teach you 'creativity', and for freedom to 'try your own projects', but to be bluntly honest at this point do you have enough SKILL to support your creativity (which btw is not something that can be taught).

Be aware though, if you are not someone who have a self-organized system that enables you to glean what needs to be learnt from the mass of information shoved at you, you might verywell be lost. But it's a wonder what you can learn if you step back from the mundane 'work'- it is also this work that enables you to do the stepping back.

I personally was and am very disappointed at the (majority of) staff and resources here. RISD doesn't seem to provide helpful aid in, well any way. But the students here are amazing, brilliant, but most of all motivated people. I learn 90% the time more from peers than the professors.I love RISD. I am an international student and I received quite substantial amounts of scholarship from many other schools, but like a senior student once passed down to me I will pass to you all- if you want to thrive in the long run come to RISD, it might be hard to find normal employment right off the bat because what it has equipped you are the 'things' essential to become leaders, not followers.

4th Year Female -- Class 2017
Education Quality: A+, Extracurricular Activities: C
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The experience that you get out of RISDBrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
The experience that you get out of RISD is directly proportionate to the motivation you bring to it. There are a number of large egos here but they are the minority and tend not to outlast the beatings they take. I note that many of the negative reviews are from 1st years. I resented the $ when I was there, but in retrospect, I have to say that many of the shortcomings I criticized the institution for were actually my own. I would love to go back, the place is like a very expensive Art-based Hogwarts. If you can pay the freight, the education you receive will be good and will sweeten with time and experience. I think this place teaches you to think creatively and interdisciplinarily like nowhere else.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
Starting Job: Independent designer; Preparedness: B+ Reputation: A
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Illustration major here, RISD's most popular and "famous"BrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
Illustration major here, RISD's most popular and "famous" major. I am an introvert, kind of submissive, quiet, anxious, and very indecisive with huge decisions. I am unstructured, and go with the flow. However I am quick to cling to the rules, and a perfectionist.

I did not really know what specific career I wanted, like most new freshmen.
It's been a year since I graduated with a 4 yr BFA, and I can say it was pretty easy to go on the wrong path due to peer pressure.

Between all the nonstop fatigue and illust+foundation work, I had NO time to think about "who I truly am". But this is the most important part of art college.

It is more important than following rules, or even playing it safe for your future's sake.
But risd's notorious for being extra structured and extra stiff with the intellectual side of art. I knew I was already like that--but turns out, it was my flaw, not my strength.

I deeply love animation, but nervously went into illustration, because that major's claim to fame is that it's "flexible" and "broad". So I thought I could "make it my own" and do tons of animation stuff by myself by picking a variety of essential electives, while staying in illust.

Don't trust that opinion.
For animation specifically, that doesn't work very well, if you're unsure and indecisive like me. Interdisciplinary study was very hard between illust and animation, so you must pick a concrete path and pick it ASAP in your RISD career. Preferably before sophomore year.

Also, true for all majors: Everyone agrees they had to "Bullshit a project idea they didn't want or hated, as long as it could be quickly executed and satisfy the teacher" more often then they wished. This left no freedom to really explore who you are, without fear. Fear of judgement ruled students, especially in Illustration. This adds to the fact that my decision was swayed too easily.

Now, back to animation:
Animation is packed and barely any classes are available for people who "aren't sure what they want to focus on yet." It was a very exclusive major, and the spots for course registration run out very fast. If you go in the major, you'll get what you need, in terms of computer program training and basic principles.

But! The animation facilities are not that great. Other schools specialize much better in animation and are more well equipped.

RISD animation is very, very experimental. They don't force this, but again it is an unsaid "peer pressure". All students tend to make their work on the grandiose, abstract, and deep side. This does not exclude the animation dept. I felt RISD animation looked down upon commercial style (what you see in disney/pixar, cartoon network, and nickelodeon). I can say I personally would have hated it even if I chose animation, because I prefer to make art that is meant for entertainment--unpretentious, accessible, humorous, and fun, yet still meaningful as well.

I was not able to learn this about myself...until I left the fine-artsy, clique-ish, and highly critical atmosphere of RISD (this is not necessarily bad for everyone, but it does create an inescapable mindset and kind of heightens one's nervousness).

Bottom line:
Not the right college for someone who doesn't know EXACTLY what they want for their future right away. Even in freshman foundation, some teachers expected us to confidently state where we wanted to work.

Not good for people with anxiety. Not very forgiving towards nervous or worrisome types.
Remember, perfectionism is different from anxiety. If being perfect makes you feel happy or adventurous, it'll suit you. If it leaves you feeling more nervous than adventurous, seek more freedom in your education.

And if you're hoping and dreaming of a college to improve your self esteem and social skills, this is NOT the one.

Another thing worth noting:
It's hard to travel to buy basic amenities in providence. It rains all the time, windy, clammy, the town is often creepily empty looking, and grocery/dorm essential/appliance shopping is often more than 20-30 mins away on foot. Add in the steep hilly landscape and you'll wish there were just a simple hardware and grocery store were right near you.

This is seriously important, as art projects require you to buy weird supplies youd never imagine.
DO NOT LET THE SCHOOL'S FAME SWAY YOUR DECISION!

4th Year Female -- Class 2013
Innovation: A, Extracurricular Activities: F
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