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4 College Junior

Technology: There are both mac and windows. Most labs have Mac but there are labs that offer Windows which I think is great.

5 Recent Alumnus


5 College Sophomore

Technology: 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 Freshman

Technology: Computer labs are very nice and usually pretty empty. They have very nice, large screens for working.

5 College Sophomore

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


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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It may sound surprising for an art school, but computers are actually a big part of most major curriculums at RISD. Many majors use CAD (Computer Assisted Design) programs in in order to prepare students for competitive job markets, as well as the different ways they may approach their art on a personal level. If you already have your own computer and printer, they are extremely handy to have at school. However, there is a chance that you will enter a major that will require you to purchase a very expensive laptop package through the school, so it is a really bad idea to buy a computer before you come. Also, even if your major does not participate in the laptop program, you may have to learn CAD programs for which there will be plenty of computers available—you would not be able to obtain the appropriate software for a personal computer.

Aside from the more major-specific labs that have certain CAD programs on them, there are general labs that students may use to type and print papers and use the Internet. These labs are equipped with several computer stations that usually have two flatbed scanners and a negative scanner and two LaserJet printers, one color, one black and white. Students who sign in and are recognized by the network may print from any computer station and get their work within a matter of seconds. Also, almost all the labs on campus are networked, which means that if the printer is down in one lab, a student may put work on the network space and print it in another lab. RISD also has a wireless network, but in order to print work, a student must send a project to the printer from a physical computer station in one of the labs. The network is fairly reliable, although it does go down from time to time. The computers in the labs are replaced every few years, and you will always have the newest versions of programs with fairly new computers. The lab resources are sufficient, and labs are rarely overcrowded.

Facts & Statistics

Wireless Access
All housing, studios, workspace, offices, cafeterias, and library
24-Hour Labs?
Charged to Print?
10 cents for black and white, $1 for color (these do not apply to graphic design students who print a lot)
Special Software & Hardware Discounts
Adobe Acrobat, ADobe Cretaive Suite, Adobe Photoshop, AutoCAD, Corel Painter, Corel Student Essentials, Final Draft, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Sharepoint Designer, MindManager, QuarkXPress
Did You Know?
Many majors have their own Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs. Everyone knows that Architects use AutoCAD, but did you know that Textiles, Furniture, ID, Glass, and even Apparel have their own CAD programs?

Student Polls

Rate computers on the following subjects    Based on 27 responses

Very weak
  • Availability of computer labs
  • Campus tech support
  • Free/discounted software
  • Number of computer labs
  • Printing cost/quota limits
  • Reliability of network
  • Speed of network
  • Technology in classrooms and labs
  • Wireless availability

How necessary is it to bring your own computer?    Based on 13 responses

  • 15% Don't waste your money; there are plenty of computers to use on campus.
  • 23% Not necessary for school work but relatively important for socializing and entertainment.
  • 62% Extremely important, especially when the labs are crowded during semester crunch times.
  • 0% The school supplies each student with their own laptop.


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