Providence, RI
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 397 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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4 College Sophomore

Diversity: There is a great range of the diversity of students coming from many different cultural backgrounds, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and economic background. I think there are more students that are economically well off rather than not, however I know there are people coming from many different standings that attend this school. RISD is also very open in terms of culture and ethnicity and it is very easy for many different kinds of people to get along and feel comfortable in this environment that I feel doesn't exist in many places outside of the school.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: There is an overal 30 min walking radius around RISD and Brown that has the most safe and interesting parts of Rhode Island in my opinion. I think its location is pretty great, however there isn't that much to do outside of school work. It's a nice environment to take walks but not all places are very comfortable because safety may be a concern. Some things like the water-fire and occasional festivals are interesting and fun for students to attend, however besides the mall and Thayer, there isn't that much else.

4 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Local ethnic food shops are everywhere, which is good. There is a wide price range, so if you spend wisely, you will probably not be broke

5 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Providence is the perfect college town, there are plenty of places to get good food, and unlimited student bus access throughout the state of RI transports us to beaches, shopping centers, and the Zoo in Bristol (not like i have time for those things, that is) Providence is not so exciting that it distracts from my work, so I can focus on my studies. The Brown University Library and Providence Atheneum are wonderful if you are looking for a quiet place to work.

4 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: RISD is a fairly small school (2,000 undergrad) but that leads to a pretty close knit community. Also there's not a lot surrounding the school but there's still plenty to do for entertainment. There are three main streets that offer good dining (Westminster, Thayer, and Wickenden), all of which also offer shopping. There's also a large mall downtown. For nightlife, many RISD students tend to hang out in smaller groups although there are some parties off campus and especially at Brown University which is close by.

5 College Sophomore

Computers: There are several computer labs based throughout campus, they're Mac however they're completely compatible with PC software and transferring work from one computer to the other won't be a problem. Some labs have designated class times so you need to be careful and look at the schedules listed if you're relying on getting your work done in one place by a certain time. You'll definitely want to bring your own laptop, especially for work in liberal arts classes, and its incredibly important to have your own USB or flash drive to back up work.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Living on campus is a really convenient in terms of social needs as well as getting to class easily. The dorms are really just a 2-3 minute walk away from any class room buildings. There a few exceptions to this like the Charles Landing dorms which are a 10-15 minute walk off the main campus which a lot of students will bus or shuttle to at night (the plus side to these dorms is that they offer a lot of space which is why they're popular among upper classmen and graduate students). Also, if you choose to be an architecture major, you'll have a little more of a walk to your department building but that just means about a 6 minute walk. All in all, the campus is pretty condensed. All of the freshman with an exception of about 50 students live in the freshman quad so you get to know everyone pretty well in your first year. Majority of sophomores live in 15 West so you stay pretty well connected with everyone. After that, people choose to either stay on campus or move off campus.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Majors: you can get really in depth with a particular major, but it would be nice if RISD made it easier for students to double major

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Freshman

Weather: it's pretty cold most of the year, there was also a lot of ice this winter. Also, college hill, a main road at RISD, does not make icy conditions fun.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Housing: providence has various apt options, both on the east side and the west side. the apts have nice character as the architecture of new england houses are beautiful with detailed wood work. it tends to be more spacious and affordable than on campus housing as well. it is also very easy and convenient to use a bicycle as primary mode of transportation. both neighborhoods offer restaurants and cafes and outdoor spaces to enjoy

5 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: A for strictness. Strict as hell. What RISD says, RISD means.
If you miss studio twice, they make you drop the class - no matter what.

If an RA sees you drunk, or suspects a dorm party, they will give you strikes. You will be penalized. That's only ..IF you get caught.

Although they are not as strict in the beginning of the year. A lot of people were smoking weed around here, but no one was persecuted.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: I feel pretty safe, especially in my dorm complex. There are lots of cameras just outside of the dorm area, so if you are close by, you should feel safe.
In campus buildings, I don't feel AS safe, just because of the higher potential of more non-students to be wandering around.

but our digital card system, instead of old-fashioned keys, filters the traffic well.

4 College Freshman

Majors: i am a freshman i have no life outside of working.

College Freshman

Majors: i have not had one yet because i am a freshman and have no time outside of my foundation studies

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Athletics: We try hard, but ... we are not that great. I mean, we have so many other things to be focused on you know! no one here is going into the NFL or NBA.
We are really fun to watch though! lotta school spirit :) GO BALLS

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Campus Housing: The freshman dorms are perfect for socializing. The quality isn't that great itself, but what you get out of, covers it all. The upperclassman dorms are just like apartments and they are one of the best apartment qualities you could find in providence for the same price. Many live in the dorms and don't feel like they are living in one.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Majors: I am very happy about my program , interior architecture.
Professors and fellow students are all helpful. The atmosphere is a learning atmosphere, all the grads and undergrads are on the same floor. (Family-like) I would do it over again. Learned a lot for the past 2 years. My career goals is to do something related to space. I'm sure I need more education (like Masters) to pursue an architecture career.

4 College Junior

Majors: There were not too many difficulties or challenges getting into my major. It was relatively easy - I just needed to choose one. There might have been some difficulty if too many people applied, but my major is pretty good with numbers.

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Campus safety may not be super super friendly all the time, but will always help you. I have never felt unsafe on campus and they are very active in the area. I never hear about any crime happening on campus. The only problem with health services is that you have to make an appointment for anything, but the doctors are very nice people.

4 College Freshman

Academics: As a freshman, the program involves 3 studio classes and 2 liberal arts classes. The studio classes are 7.5 hours long, much longer than those at any other art school, and the workload is pretty incredible, if you do not have good time management skills, you will feel like youre drowning in the work. The facilities are good for freshman, but they do get better once everyone goes into their majors. Each major has an incredible amount of internship and job opportunities, especially because of RISD's reputation.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Academics: The thing about RISD is that you go here knowing that you will work your butt off. The workload is outstanding, the classes are much longer than most other art schools, the curriculum is more intensive, and most every professor is a professional practicing artist. There are a great array of majors, with some of the best facilities in the country (The painting department has an extremely rare ventilation system and is the best painting facility in the united states) and a rigid liberal arts program which also has concentration areas. You can study abroad, take a middle semester class in a different country, and there are tons of different opportunities for anyone here.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Providence has it's ups and downs. Although so areas a a little depressed, it gives the city a certain charm. Providence is unique because it has the qualities of a city but does not feel so large that you don't feel connected to the whole city. Providence as beautiful beaches and areas that also allow one to have the experience of the city and nature

4 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: The food at RISD is great for college food. There are a fair number of options plus grills that make food to order. Sushi, vegetarian and vegan options are also avaiable, making the dining halls accessible for all.

4 College Sophomore

Nightlife: The night is when RISD students come out. During the working week, students are up at all times of night so that they can complete their school work. This way of life changes during the weekend in the sense of instead of being at the studio until 4 or 5 in the morning you are out or just up. No matter what your having fun. The social life is what you make of it, if you want to party you can and if you don't well then no one is forcing you.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Junior

Athletics: There are no varsity sports at RISD. We have our own gym which is not very substantial. We do however, have access to all the sports facilities at Brown University which includes a gym and a heated pool. There are also free Yoga classes which some students go for. All in all though athletics are not very big in RISD.


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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Helen Koh
Chicago, IL
Graphic Design/Painting
View all previous student authors

Many students love and hate RISD at the same time. The workload may be extremely demanding, but RISD students are not coming to receive the typical college experience. They are coming to get in touch with a community of artists that will enrich their understanding of art as a medium. RISD students come to gain access to an amazing amount of resources and equipment, which enable them to push their art form as much as possible. They aren’t looking for the big party school or a Greek scene—they are coming here to find themselves, to be individuals, and excel in their individual talents.

RISD students work very hard and are rewarded in the end. Many feel they are prepared to enter some sort of job or pursue a way to become active professionals in their field. In many ways, RISD is like boot camp for art, but it’s also an amazing opportunity for students to make the work that they want, while learning about themselves and their surroundings in the process. Once students let go of any ideas of what college is supposed to be, they will realize that RISD is not only a completely unique and exhilarating experience, but also provides a degree that holds a lot of weight in the professional world and skills that will serve students for their entire lives. Ask any RISD student, and they will say that as much as they complain, they would never go anywhere else.

Admitted Students' GPA/Test Scores More on admissions . . .

Applicant Status At Rhode Island School of Design

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