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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5 Recent Alumnus

Nightlife: There's plenty of clubs and bars and tuns of great restaurants. Just make sure to travel in groups.

5 Recent Alumnus

Off-Campus Housing: All Within Walking Distance – The vast majority of the off-campus housing is within the campus area and within walking distance of wherever you have to go. Most of the local apartments consist of historical houses and condos. You can usually find a sublet at a very reasonable price.

5 Recent Alumnus

Academics: Great School With Focus on Self-Discovery – RISD teaches from the perspective of students learning the most through self-discovery and student teaching. We are expected to work very hard after hours into the morning and teach each other outside of class. By the time I finished school I was very confident in myself. Nothing was handed to me, it was all hard work and exploration.

5 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Best and Safest Campus You Can Ever Find – the social security office is right on the first floor of the campus. There are emergency bottoms all over the campus. After 12am, there are school shuttles that will pick you up no matter where you are. Seriously, this is the best campus in the country!

2 people found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Facilities: Very nice! The librarians are very polite and helpful. They will try their best to find the books or articles that are helpful to you. There are tans and tans of resources about art and design. And the special collection area is amazing!

1 College Sophomore

Scholarships: I am currently bankrupting my family. Financial aid is far too hard to get.

4 College Freshman

Transportation: Buses, Trolleys, Taxis, or Walking – Luckily for RISD students, RIPTA buses and trolleys are free with the swipe of their card and allows students to go anywhere in Rhode Island. Most students just opt to walk to places because RISD buildings, Providence mall, Thayer Street (restaurants), art supply stores, and the night life are within walking distance.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Dining Off-Campus – Students often go to Thayer Street to find food, or the nearby mall provides restaurants like Panera Bread and Cheesecake Factory. There's a very good variety; students can choose from greek, indian, asian, etc. However, the restaurants to choose from are limited to walking distance because most students do not own cars.

1 College Freshman

Scholarships: If financial aid is very important in your college decision, then RISD is not the type of school you'll feel very happy about going to. Even though it has a very high reputation, RISD lacks the ability to help its students financially. Not a lot of money is given in scholarships, and not a lot of students get scholarships. It is incredible that a college with such a high reputation does not have enough funds to provide scholarships to talented students who they lose every year because they have to choose between a great education or $200,000's worth of student loans.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Providence is overall a very small city that does not have a lot to offer, however, even though it does not have a lot of places where you can go hang out with your friends or spend some quality time outside of college, it still has a little bit of everything, like shops, clubs, theaters, and restaurants. Even though RISD is not a party school, it has the advantage of having Brown University right next to it, so if you're a RISD student and want to have some fun after a hectic week, you can go out with your friends and go to Brown parties. Also, there's Thayer st. where night life is incredible due to the great number of restaurants and shops it has. In terms of sports, RISD is not the best school but it does have a basketball and a hockey team. There are many activities and cultural events offered on campus weekly that you can find yourself attracted to as well as many types of clubs and organizations that students can become part of.

5 Recent Alumnus

Overall Experience: A Colorful Experience. The title says it all. I can speak volumes about this school, but if its one thing that is hands down the first thing that comes to mind, its the fact that the breadth of knowledge the teachers have is amazing. Also, the facilities are top notch. The things you learn here prepare you to be a leader in the real world. The prompts and assignments given allow you to think critically. Do not come here if you want to fool around though, be prepared to fulfill the acronym....RISD = Reason I'm Sleep Deprived.....you're gonna work....and you're gonna like it:).

1 College Senior

Drug Safety: This Question Is Not Helpful – Stick to caffeine else you should not go here. Drugs are just too much

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Campus Housing: Living on Campus – it's expensive. From 4,500- 12,000 a year for on campus housing. You can get off campus housing for as little as 300 a month if you look hard enough.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Health & Safety: Health and Saftey – School Health serviced are pretty basic. They could really try to do walk ins since the school gives us such busy schedules.

Security is not bad even though it is pretty spread out. The school has a great "RISD RIDES" shuttle service from 7pm to 330am. Pretty helpful and makes being in studio late helpful

3 College Senior

Overall Experience: It's Got Its Ups and Downs – Organization needs attention. With the budget the school has they seem to not always have the best teachers for the "less important" courses. Students teaching students is probably one of the best aspects of this school. You are surrounded by students who work until they cant stand. And there are always great demos and lectures going around.

1 College Senior

Athletics: RISD has a few informal sports teams. The school also has a very interesting Mascot. However, RISD students are allowed to participate in Brown University sports and recreational activities

4 College Senior

Academics: Interior Architecture – The program is based on the study of sustainability and adaptive reuse in the architectural design, using concept, green design and. The undergraduate program prepares students with an in depth understanding of the reuse of the building in this day in age with courses in structure, human factors and other areas to prepare the student with the understanding of design to both work with the artistic approach and the effect on the user.

3 College Sophomore

Facilities: Celeb Hot Spot. Recently Providence has become known to be a hot celebrity spot. In fact, I know a friend who went to the same Brown party as Emma Watson, and just a couple of days ago I saw James Franco on the elevator up to my class- no kidding. Being a prestigious art school, we gets visits from famous alumni ranging from Nicole Miller to the creator of Family guy.

3 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: Guys and Gals – Not to disappoint the girls, but you have to understand one thing about RISD- its an art school, and an art school is bound to have less guys than girls. I'd say 80% girls, 20% guys, and of the 20%, half would be qualified as gay. But no worries! RISD is located in close proximity to Brown, and there are plenty of opportunities for us girls to attend Brown parties. As for RISD girls, alot of them look and dress like models.

4 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: In one word- Yummalicious. RISD has and continues to serve a variety of high quality meals, there is something for everyone. Ranging from vegan, vegetarian, Asian, Mexican, and good old fashioned American fast food, RISD offers a wide range of choices. The MET located within the freshman quad area, is a buffet style cafeteria that is both convenient and tasty. There is the Portfolio Cafe located within 15 West famous for its Do-it-yourself Moobella ice cream machine with flavors ranging from low-fat pistachio for the weight conscious to rich and creamy white chocolate raspberry. If you are looking for a quick bite, you can stop by the Watermark cafe which offers freshly brewed coffee, sandwiches and desserts. And last but not least, students enrolled under the RISD point plan can purchase personalized sandwiches from Jolly Roger cafe located past the ID building. All in all, RISD catering won't let your tastebuds down.

2 College Sophomore

Weather: Often Unpredictable – New England is known for its unpredictable weather and you can go to class on a bright sunny day then at the end of class have to lug a portfolio through 4 inches of snow that is still coming down hard. Personally, I enjoy such diverse weather, but many can find it off-putting.

College Sophomore

Greek Life: There is no Greek life at RISD and anyone who feels they are missing out can easily walk a block over to Brown University to attend parties, so personal quotas can still be met.

2 College Sophomore

Diversity: Koreans Galore – RISD is known for its largely Korean student demographic--about 30% of the students are Korean. This results in lots of cliques where many can feel alienated, not knowing the Korean language. Still there is a fair amount of diversity in the non-Asian community, just on the surface it is noticeably populated by Asian students.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Junior

Parking: Parking is limited and tends to be scattered around, luckily providence is small so there isn't too much of a need for cars anyways.

3 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Off campus housing is pretty mediocre, everything is pretty much owned by one or two real estate monopolies who can do pretty much whatever they want since students are forced to rent from them anyways for the sake of location. There are some extremely nice apartments but they are very expensive (for their size/quality) and rare, these are usually privately owned as well.


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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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