In this two part series I will be taking a look into the lives of some current grads in hopes of providing you with some insight into our graduate community at RISD. This week I had the pleasure of meeting our first grad we will be profiling, Christina Webb.
Christina Webb is a first year student in our Graphic Design MFA program. Previously, Christina was living and working in Los Angeles, California when she decided to start applying to grad schools. She received her undergraduate degree in Graphic Design from Cornish College in Seattle Washington.
I asked Christina how she ended up here at RISD and about her decision making process and quickly realized this was a big question. As many of you know there are a lot of options out there and there is no one answer on how to make this decision.
Christina always knew she wanted to go to grad school but took the time to build on her perspective as a designer before beginning the application process. She had her choices of some top schools in the nation but for her it came down to her visits. When she visited RISD she met with faculty and current students and it was those interactions that made up her mind. After these thoughtful and authentic conversations she knew ultimately she would never second-guess this decision. Her advice to any of you trying to make this decision is to visit the school and get a feel for the faculty and current students there. In the end, selecting a graduate program is an extremely individualized process.
Christina is quite involved on campus, her background and interests lie in education, community and non-profit institutions and she has the work experience to back it up. On campus, she works at the RISD Design Guild as a Grad Advisor to undergraduate students. She advises them on best practices as a designer working methods and managing clientele. In order to add to their experience she organized a trip to Boston to visit design studios.
RISD Graduate Studies
I asked Christina if she was able to do any interdisciplinary work here since we don’t have “interdisciplinary” programs. As seen in the world of art and design today, work is often interdisciplinary in nature, but there was no doubt after talking with Christina that interdisciplinary study happens at RISD, quite naturally. She identified that the visiting designers and different perspectives they bring to the table promotes projects that manifest themselves in a very interdisciplinary way. All of the facilities are available to you so no matter what department you are in, your education is what you make it. Additionally, the three-year Graphic Design students come from diverse studio and cultural backgrounds, so they too add to an atmosphere of interdisciplinary culture.
Graduate school does not come without its challenges. But I think that is what the ideal candidate seeks out. Christina shared a story about a course that pushed her and challenged her in new ways. She was pushed to think independently and learned how to be not just adaptable, but how to be confidently independent. As a result of this she sought out a public installation site of her own. The installation is what she calls a “Typographical Intervention” and will be displayed in providence during the warmer months this year.
You can see Christina’s work on our Portfolio site: http://portfolios.risd.edu/christinawebb
While waiting out the winter, it’s a good idea to look ahead to warmer months and upcoming excitement at RISD. With the summer, comes Pre-College, an intensive art program for high school students age 16-18. For six weeks from June to August they get the chance to see what it’s like to be a RISD student, with classes like Drawing Foundations, Design Foundations, and Critical Thinking in Art. Each student also pursues a concentration in one of these 20 majors:
Animation, Architecture, Ceramics, Comic Book Art, Drawing, Fashion Design, Film/Video, Furniture Design, Game Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Jewelry, Painting, Photography: Digital, Photography: Traditional, Printmaking, Sculpture, Textile Design.
In Admissions, we’re particularly thrilled to meet these talented young artists, to see the amazing artwork they’re creating, and to offer any guidance in applying to RISD as a full time college student.
Pre-College is facilitated by the Division of Continuing Education, who work hard to provide an action-packed introduction to RISD. Joy McLaughlin, the Pre-College + Summer Programs Coordinator, sheds more light on this program:
As RISD’s Pre-College + Summer Programs Coordinator, I have the unique experience of watching our Pre-College students transform from excited, nervous and a bit intimidated teens into students who confidently walk and talk as if they own the RISD campus–in only six short weeks.
Each summer, over 400 high school students from around the world come to RISD to immerse themselves in a comprehensive introduction to the college art school experience. The six-week residential Pre-College program (definitely not a summer arts camp) is focused, serious and challenging. Students experience the core elements of a RISD education: critical thinking and critical making.
Students who come to RISD’s Pre-College have varied backgrounds and choose the program for many reasons: to find out if the visual arts is the right choice for them, to further pursue their art or to build their portfolio for college applications. Most come for a combination of reasons, but whatever the case students attending Pre-College all have one thing in common: they are passionate about art and design and are seeking an incomparable arts education and summer experience.
The RISD Admissions Office plays a vital role for our Pre-College students. While on campus, students interested in attending an art college or pursuing a visual arts major at a university are able to meet with advisors, whether it be casually in the Met Dining Center during lunch, at a portfolio review appointment or at an evening lecture on how to apply to RISD. This gives our students the advantage of making the college application process much more manageable.
Pre-College students create life-long friendships that boast a common bond and they share a confident, critical language and thought process that influences all of their future endeavors–not to mention they create incredible artwork!
If you’d like to learn more about RISD Pre-College, there will be a Pre-College PreView this Saturday, March 1st at 8:30am in our RISD Auditorium. For more information, click the link below or contact Continuing Education at 401.454.6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about RISD in general, please feel free to contact the Admissions Office at 401.454.6300 or email@example.com
~Marin Brennan, Admissions Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Not everyone comes to RISD right from high school. Some take a different path to get here and apply as a Transfer student. Transfer students add something a little different to the atmosphere on campus. They arrive to RISD with a variety of experiences and add texture to the fabric of the RISD community. They are, no doubt some of the most motivated students in class.
If you’re thinking of applying to RISD as a Transfer applicant, here are some application reminders and how-to’s:
APPLICATION DEADLINE : March 15, 2014
- This is a received by date, so please make sure to get your application materials in before or by this date. This year our Transfer application deadline falls on a Saturday, so we will continue to process materials through the rest of the week.
- For a complete listing of application requirements visit our website. Transfer applicants should apply online using The Common Application, which allows you to save an application in process and return to it later. The Common App offers a direct link to Slideroom where you can upload your portfolio. Just click “yes” on the Art Supplement question.
- When you choose a start date on the application, please select Summer 2014.
- Transfer applicants enroll directly into a RISD department, so when you apply, you will need to choose one of our 16 majors.
- Portfolio: Applicants may include work relevant to their major of choice, but you can also choose other work that you feel shows your strengths as an artist or designer.RISD requires two additional home test drawing as part of the application. All Transfer applicants are asked to complete these and send them in their original format. Fold your drawings in half and then in half again to a finished size of 8″x 10″ (20cm x 25cm) and be sure to note your full name, date of birth and address on the back of each drawing. Drawings must be mailed to the Admissions Office in their original form, do not submit reproductions.
Drawing #1 | reference a bicycle
Your bicycle drawing must be done using graphite pencil.
Drawing #2 | select one of the following options:
- In the course of a single calendar day, draw 11 related images in a single visualization
- Make a drawing that uses both sides of the sheet of paper
- Create a drawing instrument. Make a drawing with the instrument you have created. Send the original drawing to us and upload an image of the instrument with your portfolio in SlideRoom.
For Drawing #2, you may use any dry (fixable) medium, a water-based medium (such as ink, watercolor or gouache) or a combination. Do not use any oil-based medium or collage. Remember that whatever medium(s) you choose, you must be able to fold the paper in order to mail it to our office.
You may approach these two drawings in any way you wish. Other than the stated requirements related to paper size (16″x 20″), subject (in the case of Drawing #1) and medium (graphite pencil), everything and anything else are up to you. Using photographs as a source for your drawings, however, is not recommended.
Most transfer students are required to begin their RISD education with the Summer Foundation Studies Program, a six-week session that runs from mid-June through the end of July. Modeled on the full-year Foundation Studies curriculum that all freshmen follow, the summer program is an integral part of the RISD learning experience, offering courses in drawing, design and spatial dynamics. Being in Providence during the Summer will help get you into the swing of things before the start of the Fall semester. It’s also a great convocation period to meet future classmates and roommates.
Visiting RISD is highly recommended to get a true feel for the atmosphere and the nature of our studio process. We have regular information programs and tours, as well as open houses for admitted transfers after the decisions go out.
Financial Aid Deadline: March 15th, 2014
We are dedicated to helping undergraduate students understand the financial aid process and how best to finance their education. Students should contact our Financial Aid office and view the website if they have any additional questions or concerns regarding financial aid.
- The CSS Profile is used to award need-based financial aid from RISD.
- The FAFSA is used to award all federal financial aid, including grants, work-study jobs and loans. Applicants wishing to apply for federal student aid exclusively should only complete a FAFSA application.
We look forward to receiving and reviewing your applications! As always, if you have any questions please email us!
RISD Admissions, email@example.com
I want to visit RISD.
It’s a great idea to visit the colleges you’re interested in before you apply. So you’re a junior in high school, or a sophomore? Great! This is an excellent time to visit! Spring semester is underway, and seniors are preparing their degree projects and senior shows. You can literally feel the energy in the air!
So when can I visit?
This spring we will be hosting information programs in our office that are coupled with tours. These run two and sometimes three times during the week. We will also hold these events on five different Saturdays during March and April!
Information Programs start at 1PM, and then you’ll meet your tour guides and depart at 2PM. You can expect to be on campus for about 3 hours total.
Follow this link for a list of dates for Undergraduate Information Programs.
If you can’t make it during the spring semester, we have lots of opportunities to visit during the summer. I’m talking tours every weekday!
What can I expect during my visit?
An Information Program is a presentation hosted by one of our Admissions Officers. They are all RISD Alumni, and are experts on RISD and the application process. This is the perfect introduction to our school, and also gives you the opportunity to have any of your questions answered.
Your tour guides are all current students from virtually every department at RISD. Their fresh insight gives you a rather candid look at what it’s like to be a student at RISD. Your tour will give you a general overview of the school, its resources, and the Foundation Studies Studios, but you may also be able to visit specific departments that you may be interested in.
Should I sign up in advance?
Yes! You should absolutely sign up in advance, and you may register yourself online using the calendar: here. Keep in mind that if an Information Program and Campus Tour are full, they will not show up on calendar.
Alright, I’ve signed up. Where do I go?
You’ll be joining us in our Admissions Office, on the second floor of the Woods Gerry Building. That’s at 62 Prospect Street, Providence RI, 02903. Be sure to give yourself some extra time to browse through the gallery on the first floor!
Arrive early! We don’t have any open parking lots for our students or visitors. You may decide to find a public lot (where you pay $5-10), but there is also plenty of street parking right around our office. I recommend choosing a 3-hour parking spot.
Wear comfortable shoes. RISD sits on college hill, so trust me – you’ll want them.
Be prepared: our tours run rain or shine, and New England weather can be unpredictable!
Bring questions! Have a running list prepared of things you’d like to have answered during your visit. This will ensure you’ve made the most of your experience.
Lastly, give yourself time to stop by the RISD Museum after your tour! Visitors of RISD Admissions receive complimentary admission to the museum!
Feel free to contact us!
Click here to register for an Information Program & Campus Tour.
See you around Campus!
Admissions Officer • firstname.lastname@example.org • 401-454-6310
In late January, I had the great pleasure of meeting alumna, Jennifer Hom, Illustration 2009, at Google Headquarters. Jennifer has the great task of creating Google Doodles, Google’s homepage illustrations, using everything from pens and pencil to Pac-Man and puppets, all the while reminding the world that work should be fun. Jennifer has been with Google since graduating RISD in 2009. She works in a small team of 15 bringing art and design to the masses while celebrating great discoveries, inventions and accomplishments.
While eating lunch with Jennifer, I learned more about her journey to RISD and Google.
Jennifer always enjoyed making and drawing. She began illustrating early on, teaching herself computer skills and drawing on tablets. She found happiness in drawing fairies, unicorns, magical flying unicorns, princesses, and flowers. She grew up in the suburbs of Long Island, NY. She was interested in attending RISD but didn’t know a lot about the school or exactly what program to pursue. Luckily, she attended Pratt Portfolio Day and met our Assoc. Director, Lucy king. Lucy fondly remembers meeting Jennifer, reviewing her work and even saying, “You need to go into Illustration!” It was from that encouragement that Jennifer applied as a Transfer applicant to RISD.
Jennifer spoke fondly of her memories and friendships formed during her years at RISD. She loved the campus and Wintersession. She took every opportunity to intern each summer. One year, she was one of 12 interns with Dreamworks! Each internship she learned something new about herself and the industry.
Some great advice she shares: 1) Always follow up on your email. 2) Intern everywhere and anywhere. Since joining Google, Jennifer has helped bring 2 more young alumni into the Doodler team, Sophia Foster-Dimino and Kevin Laughlin. Google has numerous RISD alums working as UI/UX designers.
Here’s a video of Jennifer and colleagues sharing about their passionate work, Google Doodler Video.
She recently led the design for Valentine’s Day.
Hi! I’m Shannon and I’m here to interrupt your regularly scheduled Admissions blogging to go over some important information if you want to apply for financial aid. The most important piece of advice I can give you is apply now! You don’t need to know your admission status before completing the financial aid documents and the earlier you apply, the better.
Financial aid can include scholarships, grants, loans, and work study. Most financial aid for undergraduate students, including our RISD Scholarship, is based on financial need, so if you don’t apply you won’t be considered. We encourage all domestic undergraduate students to apply for financial aid by completing the 2014-2015 CSS Profile and the 2014-2015 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Graduate applicants only need to complete the FAFSA. Easy, right?
You can complete both forms online and by putting our school code on them, the information will be sent electronically to our office. RISD’s school code for the CSS Profile is 3726 and our school code for the FAFSA is 003409. The priority deadline for freshmen and graduates is February 15th. The priority deadline for transfer is March 15th. You and your family can use estimated income information if you don’t have the actual figures.
That’s it! You don’t need to send anything else to our office unless you receive a letter or email from us asking for additional documents. Admitted applicants with completed financial aid applications will receive an award letter with their admissions decision.
I know that the process can seem a little scary, but we’re here to help. You can reach the Financial Aid Office at email@example.com or 401-454-6661.
Associate Director of Financial Aid
We’re in the midst of Wintersession at RISD, and this mini semester is an excellent time for RISD students to expand their horizons or focus more deeply on studio practice. Some students are taking a studio class outside their major, some are studying abroad, and others are taking on internships! This year about 90 students at RISD are involved in internships programs all around the world. We have students assisting the Running/Fitness/Training team at Puma, to helping prepare for style week at Restoration by Design, to building mock-ups for NASA, or animating for Soup2Nuts, just to name a few. These experiences are excellent opportunities for students to learn professional skills in the fields they are interested in, and for professionals to learn more about what our students and alumni can bring to the table.
RISD Careers is here to help our students throughout their time at RISD and well afterwards. They provide one-on-one career counseling, programs to strengthen resumes and build portfolios, and workshops on how to market yourself. Every fall, RISD Careers also conducts an event called Internship Connect, which brings over 60 companies and organizations with internship opportunities to RISD. Students get the chance to receive feedback on their artwork by a number of different representatives, and can learn more about the internship opportunities available.
Have any other questions? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
With the freshman application deadline rapidly approaching (February 1st), it’s time to start putting those finishing touches on your portfolios!
Back in September I wrote an article for this blog about preparing your portfolio, what to include, and how to document and submit your work. Today, I’ll recap and give some tips for finishing touches and – most importantly – your peace of mind.
You already know by now, that when applying to RISD your portfolio should consist of 12-20 examples of your best and most recent original works. You may also include an additional 3 images from your sketchbook the give a “behind-the-scenes” look at your process and ideas.
So what is your best work, anyway? YOU already know this. The odds are, whatever that work is that you are most passionate about is your best work. When in doubt, trust your instincts. If you love a piece – submit it!
Your portfolio may consist of work in any medium and the content may be a variety of subject matter. Of course, drawing from observation and other demonstrations of technical skill are important, but remember that technique and expression are not necessarily mutually exclusive. If you can, show us a range of work that highlights your abilities. But – don’t show us a variety just for variety’s sake. Make sure that you are proud of every piece that you submit.
There is no specific type of portfolio that is “right.” Students from all types of visual backgrounds may find themselves as the right fit for RISD. Yes, there are many two-dimensional artists who apply to RISD, but three-dimensional artists, photographers, filmmakers, etc, should show us their work as well. Every artist has his or her own unique perspective, and can bring valuable insight to the studios.
Curating your portfolio is incredibly important, and it can become a huge challenge if you over-think it. I’ll share with you the method I like to use to figure it all out.Print your images out small scale – think thumbnail size – and paste them to index cards. This lets you make notes next to the images and on the reverse. Now you can lay out all of your work right in front of you, and get a read of your portfolio as a whole. You can readily see which pieces stand out the most, which have connections to each other, and where you might have a missing piece. This makes it easy to shuffle the order, rearrange, and take away any pieces – if you feel so inclined.
I always recommend getting outside input on your portfolio from your art teachers and fellow students. They might see something that you did not!
Of course – good photographs are essential to a successful portfolio. If your work is blurry, too dark or too light, or doesn’t fit the frame, this can be distracting. Make sure the photos of your work are clear, evenly lit, and completely fill the frame.
>> Check out my post from September for hints on the best ways to photograph you work for your portfolio.
I frequently get asked if editing the portfolio image in a computer program (like Photoshop) is acceptable. Making adjustments such as a simple crop, or editing the exposure to reveal an accurate representation of the work is okay. But if you make adjustments to the photograph to make it “better,” be sure to note that the work has been digitally altered in the description of your piece (digital work can be considered a medium in and of itself).
Because you are submitting your work digitally on SlideRoom, the sizes of your images are important as well. The file size limit on SlideRoom is 3MB, but somewhere around 2MB will work well. Keep in mind that your portfolio will be viewed on a computer screen – so if they look good on your screen, they will look good on ours too.
Yes – the Internet is a powerful tool, and rather than relying on snail mail, you can submit your portfolio in the blink of an eye. However, I don’t recommend waiting until the last minute to submit. Give yourself time to make the right decisions and allow for any possible glitches or hang ups.
And lastly, don’t forget about the other two drawings! They need to be mailed and received by our office by February 1st!
Most importantly: stay calm.
Admissions Officer • email@example.com • 401-454-6310
January is Deadline Awareness Month in the Admissions Office! Here are some of the upcoming admissions deadlines that you may want to mark on you calendar:
January 10 (TODAY!): Graduate application and credentials deadline
February 1: Freshman application and credentials Deadline
February 15: Freshman and Graduate financial aid deadline
Our deadlines are received by deadlines, so any items that you’re planning on mailing, you should mail a week before the deadline (for international applicants, use a reliable courier service). We do receive a large volume of mail and electronic credentials right at the deadline, so if it takes us a week or so to process your credentials, don’t panic. If you’d like to avoid the crush, try and beat the deadline by a week or so.
Have more questions? Feel free to email me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucy King, Associate Director of Admissions
Wintersession is in full swing here at RISD. Students are bustling up and down hill to classes. Many students look to Wintersession as a time to get a feel for disciplines outside their majors, or to head to New York, London, Milan or Los Angeles—wherever their particular fields offer the most meaningful professional internships. Those who remain on campus choose from a range of Wintersession courses. Recent offerings include such basics as Animation I-A, Beginning Hot Glass and The Woven Blanket, and slightly more esoteric offerings such as Art, Sanity and Insanity, Chains, Toaster and Eat, Drink and Be Merry: The Art of Food Writing (taught by award-winning author Ann Hood).
There are many things happening within the community. Check them out below!
Upcoming Undergraduate Exhibitions:
Opening receptions are generally held on Thursday evenings, 6-7:30 pm
Furniture Department, opening reception January 9
January 10-26, 2014
Architecture Department, opening reception February 6
February 7-February 16, 2014
Apparel Department, opening reception February 20
February 21-25, 2014
Check out some our special visitors, lectures and exhibitions, here. Below are some upcoming highlights. Every year RISD hosts a diverse group of individuals that share their experiences, educate us about their work, which in turn helps our community to continue to grow and explore their paths within art, design and literature.
2014 Keynote Lecture | Marian Wright Edelman
Each year in January, RISD produces the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Series to acknowledge the life and vast contributions of Dr. King in creating a more just and democratic society. The annual series of special events includes lectures, programs, discussions and workshops designed to provide RISD and the local community with impactful moments of service, reflection, skill development, inspiration and celebration.
At the heart of the series, the MLK Keynote Lecture highlights the role of creative endeavor in advancing democracy and equity. Each year RISD invites a speaker to campus who consistently and skillfully employs Kingian values and whose service and commitment to justice make an indelible difference in the world.
RISD CAREERS /
There are a variety of workshops and resources available to students and alumni.
Resume Critique It’s the RISD way, so why not pick up valuable feedback on your resume through a group critique? Professional organizations will be on hand to provide design savvy advice on your resume layout.
Grants Workshop / Find & Apply
Learn about key components of grant applications including proposals, budgets, artist statements and documentation so you’ll be ready to submit your materials for upcoming deadlines.
Career Resources for Freshmen As a Freshman your career path has begun and will be developing throughout your time at RISD. Discover how to establish your career profile; develop a resume; and post your work at RISD Portfolios.
Building & Presenting Your Portfolio Your portfolio is often the most critical element in getting hired for internships and jobs or securing exhibition and grant opportunities. We’ll provide tips on flow, cohesiveness and targeting your best work and iscover how to post your work to RISD’s amazing talent site – RISD Portfolios!
Got questions, contact Admissions, email@example.com