Providence, RI
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 427 total reviews with an average rating of 3.7

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2 College Sophomore

Parking: The majority of the parking is metered and you can't leave your car overnight.

3 College Sophomore

Majors: Needs Help – I'm in Apparel Design, and well, I wouldn't come to RISD for fashion... Go to NYC or London.

5 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Sophomore Housing – The Sophomores have to live on campus and the lottery is pretty stressful. Charles Landing is usually whats always left last, and although no one wants to live there because its a 12 minute walk from campus, I would say its the nicest dorm. It feels more homey and separated from campus. I got lucky and my apartment was even remodeled. 15 West is the "nicest," its newer but it feels like a hospital. Colonial is so cute, but small apartments.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: College Town – Providence is a college town, there's Brown JWU within steps of RISD's campus. I don't really interact much with people from the surrounding schools but I know others do. Providence doesn't really have much of a nightlife, so pretty much anything that happens is on campus. Don't go to clubs, lotta' townies.

3 Recent Alumnus

Parking: Not Many Cars – You're allowed to have a car, no one's going to stop you...but there isn't really anywhere to keep your car. Providence is really strict about having cars parked on curbs at night too. It's easier to just walk everywhere. There's no need for a car.

3 Recent Alumnus

Athletics: This is an art school; you don't come to art school for athletics, but we do pride our mascot, Scrotie. Hell, our mascot, and thrown-together hockey and basketball teams (the Nads and the Balls) are a joke. The whole thing is a joke, but then again, you don't come to art school for the sports. Atletic facility is great, and if your standard gym scene isn't enough, you're allowed to use any of the training equipment and gym at Brown right across the street. We're very proud of Scrotie though.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Facilities: the facilities are amazing. the faculty is also wonderful. providence is cheaper to live in than nyc

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Providence Local Scene – college town, lots to do, its actually a city but its really compact. most artists per capita

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Student

Weather: Never Do a Rain Dance. You will be carrying 50 lbs of supplies with you most places. Plus hat ever masterpiece you spent all night on in the work room. And the school is on a mt. everest like hill. This "hill" is hell in the rain. your work gets wet, you get wet,your supplies weigh you down so everything gets wetter. god forbid it is winter and that rain freezes. if this happens you are better off scootching down on your butt all the way to class, melting the ice with your own tears.

3 people found this useful Report
4 College Student

Campus Housing: Hot Hot Hot – In the summer, these dorms(in the quad) are a steaming ball of fire. Of corse the south dorms have air conditioning and so do the 15 west dorms.

Other than that the dorms are excellent. some big enough for you and your roommate to work on the floor together. Single rooms tend to have really pretty windows. And the studio/ work spaces are excellent.

3 College Student

Local Atmosphere: Beautiful City, Even Better Food. Providence is an amazing city architecturally. Every building is unique especially in the area around RISD. Most students hang out on Thayer st. It is close and is lined with interesting clothing, craft and book shops. Oh and it is home to some of the best food you will ever eat. Nice slice pizza , all the sushi you could ever want/ need, bubble tea, burgers, crazy good ice cream and frozen yogurt. It is located in the middle of the Brown campus too so the few times you do interact with your non art student counterparts, is usually here. This is all , of corse , depending on the fact that you have somehow scrubbed your self clean of charcoal and peeled yourself off the floor of the studio. And if not (which is most likely) most places deliver, so before classes start go around the city and collect menus!

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: As the school is located in a small city, if you don't have a car, you will have quite limited off-campus dining options.

5 College Sophomore

Computers: Network Reliability – They provide very reliable network service. It usually guarantees high speed.

2 College Freshman

Weather: Well It Is the Northeast – It is cold throughout most of the school year causing it to snow. Once the weather turns nice, everyone hangs out outside.

4 College Freshman

Diversity: Known Worldwide – Rhode Island School of Design or (RISD) is known around the world for being the #1 art school in the United States. RISD being known around world will allow many cultures and ethnicity to be part of the RISD community.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: Athletics are treated as a joke, but if you really want to stay in shape and participate in clubs, it is very easy

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: Girls Girls Girls – The girl guy ratio is definetly nice for the guys.

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Transportation: While bringing your car might just be the worst idea conceivable, RISD students enjoy free RIPTA service (bus and trolly) around the entire city, quite convenient!

2 College Sophomore

Athletics: A Joke, but a Really Funny One. Nobody at RISD really has time for a full fledged division type of athletic system. They are for the most part treated as inter-murals. Teams often play other top tier art schools in the northeast such as MassArt, Pratt Institute, Cooper Union and SVA. These games usually involve heavy but humorous taunting as RISD loves to basque in their position as the definitive #1 art school in the country. The unofficial mascot (official to students) is Scrotie the giant penis, a large and anatomically detailed penis crafted by apparel and industrial design students. He is seen as a reminder that RISD takes athletics pretty lightly.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Facilities: Eclectic Mix of Old and New – RISD is an urban campus which pretty much means that over the years it has acquired a number of different buildings throughout Providence. Some buildings, such as 15 Westminster (15 west for short) a neo-classical refurbished and repurposed bank building which contains RISD's (quite impressive) Fleet Library, dining cafe and hundreds of dorms. The Freshman Quad on the other hand is getting on in age but serve their purpose for what they are...freshman dorms. The workout center is what you would expect from a small art school but it is surprisingly sophisticated and has just undergone a major renovation. Each Major either has its own building or its own portion of a building, this is where RISD really shines. Each major provides its students with an incredible selection of expensive state of the art tools facilities and machines that few other institutions in the world can say they provide.

4 College Freshman

Health & Safety: I <3 Kpags – Public safety does a really good job of making the campus feel safe. You can call them at any time and they will get to you immediately. This should be common sense, but be sure you call pub safe, not 911. The providence police have a ton of serious crime on their hands and they won't be able to get to you right away if you're sleep deprived and accidentally slice your finger off with an exacto. It's easy to forget that Providence is a regular city with a fair share of crime, so they send out regular safety advisory emails that alert students of different crimes committed around campus. If you travel in groups of at least three or four at night and stay out of bad areas, you will be totally fine.

We also have RISD rides, which is a shuttle service that takes students to and from dorms and studios. They're technically only supposed to go to and from RISD buildings and only drive you to direct locations until midnight (after that the vans go between bus stops around campus) but the drivers are awesome and genuinely care about student safety so they'll usually make exceptions.

RISD is extremely (and pretty excessively) strict about drug and alcohol use in campus housing, but Res Life is responsible for that bullsh*t. In general, public safety officers just want to make sure you're ok if you drink too much and need to go to the hospital. If you're nice to them, they'll be nice to you. Res Life will bust your ass every time and they're NEVER nice about it. I can only speak for freshman housing in the quad though, Reslife is supposedly more lenient in upperclassmen housing.

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Majors: Number One – There is no doubt that RISD gives much work to students. However, it's worth it especially when our education is rated #1 in the nation when it comes to art. Most students are here because they want to, so it is a very determined group of students that you get to work with.

3 College Freshman

Weather: The weather here is bipolar. Hot one day and cold the next.

3 College Freshman

Drug Safety: RISD is pretty strict about drugs so if it is done, then they are done in secret.

4 College Junior

Transportation: Very Good – Your ID card will get you onto almost any public bus. The buses go all around Rhode Island so that's convenient. There are also shuttles that bring you to Michael's or food shopping. There's also a night shuttle that drives girls back to their dorms if they work late.


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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Helen Koh
Chicago, IL
Graphic Design/Painting
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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.

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