Rhode Island School of Design Top Questions

What is your overall opinion of this school?

Gene

One unadvertised advantage is that RISD is directly next to Brown. RISD students can take Brown classes. So RISD is not only a top design and art school it is also a kind of Ivy League university all rolled into one. Brown students also have access to RISD but, note that Brown students do not get RISD degrees and are subject to the same minimal skill levels and prerequisites required for a particular course. One possible advantage that is also a kind of disadvantage is that RISD is in a kind of amazing bubble all its own. It is hard to describe but, I guess all great schools are like this. The faculty, your fellow students, and the atmosphere is kind of off on its own. totally focused and really into the field you are studying. Other art schools might not have this intensity. Maybe they have more distractions being in more exciting cities or are in the boondocks/depressed cities and students are distracted with boredom. Providence seems to be just the right amount of college town. Not like Boston with hundreds of colleges in the metro area but, just a few (mainly RISD, Brown, and Johnson and Wales). Providence is also charming and livable (if always slightly high for petty crime, robbery, and burglary - a problem that seems endemic to Rhode Island. Never leave a thing in your car and rent a place with an alarm system!) It is also close but not too close to Boston (if needed) and a short drive or train ride to NYC. All these factors create a kind of special atmosphere I have never seen at any other school except one or two in the U.S. and some in Europe. The downside is that, to a certain degree, this is a fantasy world. Grasping at unrealistic solutions to complex problems. When students graduate, they realize, the profession they are entering is not at all like the RISD world. Their colleagues might not have loved typography or gotten as much of it as they did or other examples in other fields. So you find yourself surrounded by people at work who, well, are not as into design as you are. It can be a shock and you have to adapt and understand that, while at RISD, typography is God and was a God to be worshiped. But once you leave Oz, Xanadu, Skull Island, or whatever incredible place RISD was for you - you have to adapt.

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