Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, RI, USA

Reviews

Rhode Island School of Design
4.02 Average Rating

Anshika from Ellicott City, MD

accepted here and planning to attend soon
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is on a beautiful campus. Their facilities are endless, and the professors are very accomplished. It's definitely a place I can see myself spending four years in.
Tips for prospective students
I'm a prospective student, and tips I've gotten are bring LOTS of charcoal, be prepared to work harder than you ever have, but try to have fun.
Academic Rigor
I've heard from many students the courses are challenging, and the professors are demanding. But that's what makes a good artist.
Dorm Life
The dorms are small at best and are completely stark white. There's not much room to do anything in your room at all.
Food and Dining
The food is amazing. On a campus visit they gave us meal tickets. Everything is organic, freshly grown, and delicious. There are options for vegans, vegetarians, and the chef accommodates all food allergies.
What to do for fun
There are numerous things to do for fun. There is the artist's ball in the fall (costume party/dance) as well as hundreds of clubs. Around Providence there are many restaurants, shops, and places to hang out.
Bang for the buck
Like any art school, RISD is on the upper scale cost wise. I feel the education they will give me will be well worth it though.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Our mascot is very unusual to say the least. Also there's The Beach: it's a grassy hill located in the front of the main building. A few years ago students filled it with sand, hence the name, but it all got washed out by the rain.
Great for these types of students
Hardworking, creative, focused, and self motivated.
Clubs and Activities
There's everything from the anime club to the RISD yogis. Whatever your interest is, you can be sure someone else here will share it.
Campus Safety
It's a college town so everyone on campus is either a teacher, student, or parent. It's nice and safe.
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Jessica from PROVIDENCE, RI

a current student here
0 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
AMAZING facilities, very stressful, hard work
Tips for prospective students
Get used to minimal sleep, save money for artsupplies, shop at thrift stores
Academic Rigor
studios challenging, some liberal arts are some are lacking
What to do for fun
go to shows
Greek Life
non existant
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Catherine

a current student here
33 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
If you enjoy art and design, this is the school for you. Foundation year you take studios such as Drawing, 2D and 3D. The hours of those studios are long, however, you learn so much and the professors are great. You can get lucky or sometimes unlucky with the different professors you get, but usually no matter how their styles or teaching techniques are, you will gain a lot of experience.
Am enjoying being here
Sure, the state of Rhode Island can be quite boring sometimes. It's a small state and there isn't much you can do. However, while attending Rhode Island School of Design, you're usually too caught up with studio work and liberal arts homework, that you usually don't get the time to do anything else. Yeah, I guess that sounds somewhat bad, but if you enjoy art then it really shouldn't matter. You meet many new friends that will have similar interests as you, even some from Brown University! The food is quite delicious since students from Johnson & Wales come to help serve it up. You're also not too far from Boston and can even take a bus to New York time to time. But besides all those, if you enjoy creating art, experimenting and challenging yourself, you will definitely enjoy attending this school.
Bang for the buck
It's definitely worth it to come to RISD if you know you want to proceed through your future through art and design. However, RISD can get quite expensive. It is a private school and tuition is pretty high up there in numbers. Each year, expect to pay a little over 40k. Also, art supplies can get somewhat pricey. I would definitely recommend this school if you know you can afford it. There are always ways to get the money - scholarships, grants, loans, etc. So if you're set on coming here, do your best to save money and work your butt off. Don't waste your parents' money by coming and slacking off. RISD is competitive and it is an honor to learn from the best.
Tips for prospective students
1. Rhode Island School of Design isn't for EVERYONE. But most people I know love it here and wouldn't want to go anywhere else. So make sure you visit the campus and know all that there is to know about this school.
2. Be prepared to work your butt off 24/7, especially during foundation year. You have studio classes every week as well as two liberal arts classes in between. Although you do have a week between each individual studio class to finish homework, one should know that art takes long periods of time. Don't waste any minute, cause every minute is precious.
3. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. I am a hypocrite of this, I must admit. However, it must be done.
4. Don't be shy, go out and have fun. RISD is a great school filled with various people and connections will always help you in the long run.
Great for these types of students
For those that can't stop sketching in their sketchbooks..
For those that must try out new ideas and enjoy challenging themselves..
For those that think of creative designs and ideas 24/7..
For those that love to share similar thoughts with people who share similar ideas..
For those that want to pursue in something a bit more different than the average kid..
For those that LOVE art and design.

Seriously. :)
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van donsel from waltham, ma

researching this school
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
risd is an amazing opportunity and one of the best art schools in the world. if it's really for you, one visit seals the deal: you won't want to go anywhere else and the price of admission will seem trivial in comparison with the amazing opportunity. be prepared to work very hard, but love every minute of it because it doesn't feel like work to you.
Tips for prospective students
the recurring tips i've heard for any applying students are (1) make sure your portfolio has a lot of variety (risd eats that stuff up), and (2) don't slack off on academics because it's just an art school. although the application is judged primarily by the portfolio, if your grades are low, you might get rejected just because of that.

- if you're interested in risd, sign up to receive their information in the mail. the stuff they send you is helpful.

- the cost of art supplies adds up. bring whatever you can from home. buy from second life, a store on campus that sells secondhand supplies. you only need new paper, you don't need a brand new ruler / paintbrush / drawing board.

- providence is like san francisco for several reasons: (1) it's liberal (2) it's arsty (3) there are so many hills your calves are gonna grow calves of their own. travel light on campus.

- don't bring your car to campus. the buildings are close together. if you want to cut your travel time, ride a bike / scooter.

- bring a fan and an extra-heavy winter coat.
Academic Rigor
heavy, heavy workload, i hear, although the liberal arts classes leave much to be desired in terms of academic quality. but it's an art school, not a liberal arts school.
Dorm Life
nothin' special, just what you need. bed. four walls. closet. i've heard it's fairly small. i wouldn't expect to spend much time in the dorms, anyway, especially freshman year, due to the long studio hours and with a city to explore. so it's more like a room for sleeping. what more would you need?

freshmen and sophomores have to live on campus.
Food and Dining
i toured the met cafeteria, which was awesome. they've got everything you could ever want. they even had a little miso soup dispenser / bar.

if you're looking off campus for somewhere to eat, after my tour, a student recommended geoff's sandwich shop, which was excellent. the sandwiches they have there are creative and delicious. the service was great, too. they replaced a bag of chips for us free because we didn't like the flavor of the one we bought.

there are also a couple of student-run cafes, which can be a work opportunity.
What to do for fun
work.
Bang for the buck
very expensive, financial aid is not generous and complicated to get. while i advise you take what you can get from this school, look elsewhere for the aid you need.

housing is also very expensive, but it's more expensive to live off campus.

still, if it's really for you, i think it's worth the cost.

as i mentioned above, the cost of art supplies adds up. bring whatever you can from home. buy from second life, a store on campus that sells secondhand supplies. you only need new paper, you don't need a brand new ruler / paintbrush / drawing board.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
you've probably heard about the (unofficial) mascot scrotie from other reviewers.

there's a room full of dead (and a few living) animals, and if you go on tour you'll probably get to see it. that was pretty cool.
in the same building was a microscope lab where students can study microscopic samples for the purpose of creating art.

library is amazing example of repurposed architecture. it used to be a huge marble building with big empty rooms, but they added a bunch of cool, modern structures to it to facilitate studying. huge collection of art books. i believe it was designed by architecture students there. look it up on google images, or, better yet, visit!

there are some random pianos all over campus.
Great for these types of students
- you work hard anyway
- "homework is my high!"
- you have nothing better to do anyway / in high school you didn't have a life
- you get super absorbed in your work and don't want to be interrupted for hours
- you don't mind being antisocial / not seeing the light of day for weeks because it's finals.
- you know how to critique
- you create art with a purpose and can defend your thought process
- if you have a bad teacher, you're the type to step up and fill the learning gap with your own studying
- you like hills, walking up hills, walking down hills...
- you were raised in new england so you don't mind erratic weather, below zero weather, or ten feet of snow
- you love old architecture (providence has some beautiful houses)
- you have a sense of humor & deeeeep thoughts
Clubs and Activities
risd doesn't really advertise its clubs and activities. they also usually aren't very interesting, but it depends on what you're into. there are also a lot of organizations based on ethnicity, so what risd lacks in diversity, it makes up for in resources.
it does have a site dedicated to the clubs: http://csi.risd.edu/clubs

from what i've heard, nobody in the clubs really cares, and you might not have time to join, but there is a large number of clubs available.

in terms of athletics, there are a few teams, but they're play-for-fun types of teams. they do have really... creative... team names: the basketball team is called "the balls," the fencing team is called "the pricks," the sailing club is called "the seamen." you get the idea. risd does love its sports.
Greek Life
there is no greek life at risd, but brown has one, and i hear that risd students can sometimes get involved.
Campus Safety
from what i saw when i was there, providence looks pretty safe, but there are also people available to give you rides around campus when you don't want to walk across the city in the dark. but according to some reviewers, providence can be dangerous and sometimes the shuttles don't show up. others advise you always travel in groups when leaving the studio at night.

on an unrelated note, apparently health services are horrible. just try not to get sick and you'll be fine.
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William

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
This school is an incredibly challenging school, however the ability to grow as an artist and a designer is limitless. The amount of talent and dedication here is something that doesn't exist at other schools and is something that forces a student to perform to their upmost ability. However, the intensity level is sometimes too high and seems like it has the potential to burn students out.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure art and design is what you want to do. This school offers an incredible amount of opportunities to succeed but will seriously challenge every individual who steps over the threshold into the art and design world.
Academic Rigor
As I mentioned earlier, this school is rigorous but not unnecessarily so. You wil be challenged in all aspects of learning, however the liberal arts aspects of this school seem to be lacking a little bit. There is an opportunity to take classes at Brown which is an easy solution to this problem.
Dorm Life
I haven't experienced much of dorm life at other schools but I know that RISD students all live in the freshman quad their first year and this creates an environment where students are really able to bond with each other and create strong relationships that last.
Food and Dining
Coming from the Bay Area in California, I knew the food wasn't going to be like anything at home. The food here is fine if you don't really mind or haven't experienced top notch dining. There are some quality restaurants in the area though.
What to do for fun
Most of the time students are working in the studio so free time is sparse but when it exists there are tons of activities to do at Brown.
Greek Life
RISD Greek life doesn't exist but you can rush Brown fraternities and Sororities
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Clara from Providence, RI

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
RISD is competitive, everyone is expected to be self-motivated and self-reliant. Asking for help is strongly encouraged and freely given, but you have to self advocate. The school is small but the resources available are without equal.
Tips for prospective students
Work hard and show off that you worked hard. Rely on your eccentricities and outlying interests. Expect to work, don't come here if you're planning to glide through college, and be honest with yourself.
Academic Rigor
It's just plain difficult. The studio classes will be your hardest classes, liberal arts and other academic classes end up being the break
Dorm Life
Freshman year is cozy enough. You will be in a double, almost guaranteed, but the rooms are big and the furniture isn't bad. The bathrooms are well cared for and distributed at comfortable ratios.
Food and Dining
The food is generally good here, the big cafeteria gets dull by the end of the year but otherwise it's fine. The freshman meal plan is awesome.
Bang for the buck
For me, it's perfect. I doubt any other art school will prepare you as thoroughly for being a professional artist than this place does, and the doors RISD opens up are worth the money on their own.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Scrotie. That is all.
Great for these types of students
self-driven, open-minded, willing to try anything
Clubs and Activities
Good, but harder to break into as a freshman.
Greek Life
HAHAHA NO.
Campus Safety
Very very good. The officers are everywhere, and RISDrides is super convenient.
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Julie

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
RISD is a diverse community.
RISD is well known for its strong academics.
Students are very talented and enthusiastic about art in general.
Tips for prospective students
I assume that my essays helped me the most to get into this school.
RISD also cares about your high school GPA so don't get lazy on getting good grades.
Academic Rigor
Once you are in, expect spending a lot of time working on your projects.
Projects given in classes are meant to inspire you and designed to make you think critically. It is pretty hard to make A's in classes.
Dorm Life
15 Westminister dorm is sanitary, quite, and close to classes. RA's are also helpful and nice.
Food and Dining
Cafeteria food is quite good compared to other schools. Quite a variety of choices of menus and also for vegetarian.
What to do for fun
Providence is quite a boring place. Be aware of this. If you are a total metropolitan person and cannot live in a rural environment, consider going to another school.
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meri

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
risd is a challenging school that will help you to look at art in new and interesting ways. the professors are amazing and always willing to help. the diverse cultural and artistic styles help to stir creativity.
Tips for prospective students
draw, draw, draw!! admission is mostly about your artistic talent and abilities. keep your grades up and write interesting essays. they are looking at your artwork and grades mostly, so concentrate on them during junior and senior year!
Academic Rigor
the academic classes, as well as the art classes, are extremely challenging. professors are always willing to help, but you need to put in the work as well.
Dorm Life
dorms are great! providence is a wonderful city and easy to walk. the dorms are clean and close to all risd buildings. some dorms are old, historical houses. they are amazing to live in since the whole area surrounding risd is very historic with interesting, beautiful architecture. another building, 15 west, is a giant old bank in the middle of the city, but still close to classrooms. there are restaurants and activities nearby, including a library in the bank building.
Food and Dining
the food is amazing with great options, especially vegetarian. they stress locally grown, fresh produce so everything tastes great. also, you can use your dining card in some restaurants off campus, which is also great. or, you can go to one of the many restaurants in the area.
What to do for fun
anything in providence....walk to thayer st, walk downtown, go to waterfire, go to an art show, a movie, a club, dinner. there is always something fun to do.
Bang for the buck
make the most of your professors.....go to their readings and shows. they have much insight and knowledge to offer.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
risd beach is a great place to sit and relax!
Great for these types of students
artists, creative, architectural
Clubs and Activities
any you can think of, except sports really. there is a biking club and a couple sports teams, but it is not a huge part of campus life.
Greek Life
none
Campus Safety
campus safety is always driving around, and as it is a compact campus, they can be there quickly if you need help. there are blue lights around campus that have alarms attached to them if you have a problem and you can call campus security for a ride back to your dorm late at night.
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Julia from Horsham, PA

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
An amazing school with a good perspective on the importance of knowledge of art and design in the world, which they show through interwoven disciplines. This school gives you a great foundation to go off and be successful in whatever you want, if you work hard to get there. I love RISD and although the price is steep, I believe its worth it.
Tips for prospective students
Get your work done. If you let things pile up, you will drown under all of the work. Also, stay organized. Life will be a lot easier for you if you do
Academic Rigor
RISD is extremely hard, but time management helps keep stress levels down
Dorm Life
Theyre not anything special, especially for first year students, but to me its not as important as the education
Food and Dining
The food is ok, but compared to Brown University, the food is pretty good and a lot of the chefs are either current students or graduates from Johnson and Wales Culinary School
What to do for fun
Your artwork
Bang for the buck
Again, I know its steep. But its worth it when you are offered more internships and high paying jobs in the end
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Our mascot and sports team..
Great for these types of students
Hardworking! Determined!
Clubs and Activities
There are a ton of clubs to participate in, such as the adventure club, the knitting club, even the Pigeon club. Plus, you are free to come up with your own clubs as well
Campus Safety
Its a city, but I always feel safe and Public Safety really cares about the safety of all students.
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