StudentsReview :: The Rhode Island School of Design - Comments and Student Experiences
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The Rhode Island School of Design

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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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I'm going to keep this short and sweet.Quite BrightFine Arts - Painting/Sculpture/Photography/etc
I'm going to keep this short and sweet. If you absolutely know you want to go here and are extremely passionate about pursuing your art career, go here. It's truly a great school.

Every negative review on here is mainly people who thought art school would be fun, or people who hate one small thing so they decide to bag on everything else. You have to really know you want to go here to like this school.

The surrounding town is great, the people are friendly. Yes, there are weird people, but there are everywhere. The professors will critique you A LOT. Just be prepared for it. Remember, they're there to make you a better artist.I have had a great experience here. I made great friends, I fell in love, and I have became an even more incredible artist than I was when I first got here. I highly recommend this school.

3rd Year Female -- Class 2014
Education Quality: A+, Campus Aesthetics: B
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Rest assured -- RISD is hard, particularly foundationQuite BrightDesign Arts - Industrial Design/Graphic Design/etc
Rest assured -- RISD is hard, particularly foundation year. But it is also a time of self-discovery and sleepless nights driven purely by passion and stamina. You will not believe the things you learn in such a brief time.

CURRICULUM:
For freshmen year, studio classes are intense and take up eight hours three days a week. So yeah, definitely not a typical laid-back college experience. But you are with the same group of people for all three studios, so you're not suffering alone. Also, because of the small class size (around 20 or so) people can get pretty intimate about themselves in crits, particularly because the nature of art is self-expression. You learn as much from your peers as from your professors. Speaking of which, there are some profs that will change your life and some that really shouldn't be teaching at all, but that's the case with every school, so don't count that too much. Either way you will have left term with a ton of new skills and perspectives.

RISD also emphasizes the liberal arts, which as far as I know is pretty unique for an art school. Granted, the liberal arts classes here are pretty underwhelming, but you can always cross-register at Brown for various courses even if you're not a dual-degree student. Here, you don't have to sacrifice a typical university experience to study art.

SOCIAL LIFE:
A previous comment said that there's no community here, and that is simply not true. RISD does everything possible to ensure a community: the section system, the interconnected dorms, the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of majors. But whether you choose to take advantage of these things is up to you. Because of the insane workload, it is easy to isolate yourself from people around you, and many do. But even then, most people manage to make friends. There are various extracurricular student groups, and an increasing number of groups shared with Brown, so if you are proactive you can definitely get involved outside the RISD bubble.

PEOPLE:
Since the curriculum spans all different genres of art, foundation year helps to temper The Great Artistic Ego. Naturally some kids are arrogant about their work, but they usually don't outlast the beatings from half the professors. Not all the kids are friendly -- and there is definitely the perpetually looming presence of hipsters -- but there's enough diversity among people types to find your own niche, even if most of us are white or Asian.So yeah. It's hard work, but totally worth it if art is what you want to do.

1st Year Female -- Class 2013
Innovation: A+, Scholastic Success: B
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