Our application deadlines for September 2013 admission have now passed. If you’re looking ahead to 2014, the deadlines are:
Early Decision deadline » November 1, 2013
Regular deadline » February 1, 2014
All prospective applicants are urged to follow a college preparatory program in secondary school, taking courses in studio art and art history where possible. Graduation from secondary school is a prerequisite, although in certain cases a high school equivalency diploma may be accepted. Candidates for the Bachelor of Architecture degree must have completed two semesters of algebra, one semester of trigonometry, and one year of science (preferably physics). Courses that develop visual and design skills, such as studio drawing, are strongly recommended.
Applicants must provide official secondary school transcripts of all academic work accomplished through their most recent grading period. If you are attending school in another country, all of your academic credentials must be translated into English by an approved translator.
Two drawing samples are required of all candidates. Your first
drawing must reference a bicycle. Your second drawing should be chosen from this list of options:
- In the course of a single calendar day, draw 25 related images in a single visualization
- A drawing that uses both sides of the sheet of paper
- A drawing that interprets the phrase “Inside/Outside”
Each drawing must be done on a sheet of white paper measuring 16" x 20"
(40 cm x
50 cm). Your bicycle drawing must be done using
graphite pencil. For your second drawing sample, you may use graphite pencil or any dry
(fixable) medium, a water-based medium (such as ink, watercolor
or gouache) or a combination of these media. Do not, however, use any
oil-based medium, or collage, for your second drawing and remember that
whatever medium(s) you choose for this drawing, you must be able
to fold the paper to mail it to our office.
You may approach these two drawings in any way you wish. For
example, your drawings may be abstract expressions or representational observations; you may choose to draw an object alone or place it in a
situation; you may choose to cover the entire surface of the page or
only a small portion of it, etc. Other than the stated requirements
related to paper
size (16" x 20"), subject (i.e., bicycle) and medium (graphite pencil), everything and anything else are up to you.
These drawings must be submitted in their original form, not as
reproductions. 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 and address on the back of each drawing.
An important thought: we consider drawing to be as much about process as presentation, so
we encourage you to consider your drawing submissions as exercises in
experimental thinking and risk-taking more than final presentations or
examples of technical proficiency. We encourage you to consider the full
range of possible expression in your submissions, as we do not value
any particular style of drawing more than another. Finally, using photographs as a source for your drawings is not recommended.
Your portfolio should consist of 12 to 20 examples of any type of two- or three dimensional work you have completed recently. We suggest that the work reflect your ideas, interests, experience and abilities in the arts to date. It may be in any media, may be finished or in sketch form, and may be the result of an assigned class project or a self-directed exploration. We strongly suggest that as part of this visual presentation you also reproduce and submit 2-3 pages from your journal or sketchbook to indicate your process of research, thinking or investigation.
To submit your portfolio, we prefer that you use Slideroom, an online portfolio submission service. Detailed instructions for using Slideroom are available on the site (risd.slideroom.com), which charges $10 for using this submission option.
As an alternative, you may
reproduce your work and submit it as digital image files on a CD or DVD or as
unmounted digital or photographic prints (no larger than 8.5" x 11"
or 21.5cm x 28cm each). If you choose to send your portfolio directly to RISD on a CD/DVD, each image should be submitted as a separate file in .jpg format. Individual files should not exceed 3MB. Do not combine images in a prepared presentation or slideshow of any type (e.g., PowerPoint or Keynote). Please be sure to include a printed thumbnail page showing all the images submitted digitally. Time-based work or performance pieces may be submitted as QuickTime or .mpg files on your CD or DVD.
Whichever format you select, include a work description sheet. Number the examples you are submitting and on your description page list the corresponding number, medium, size, date of completion and title for each work. It is very important that your full name and address be clearly noted on each CD, DVD, print, description and thumbnail page submitted.
Submit two examples of writing, each between 200 and 400 words. In your first sample, please look ahead and address this question: How do you hope to have changed at the end of your time as a RISD student?
Your second sample should be chosen from this list of options:
- Every day we’re confronted by circumstances that range from the
worrisome to the inspiring. What do you find most compelling in the
world right now? How might this impact our future? What influence can
you have on this situation?
- Is there something you love, have to do, can’t stop thinking about?
Write about a personal passion or obsession other than visual art or
- Do visual creators have a responsibility to contribute to their community? If so, why and how?
While we encourage you to adhere to the rules of good writing, we
look for applicants who are not afraid to take risks in their
expression. Please don’t hesitate to use a writing style or method that
may be outside the mainstream as you express a dynamic position in the
samples you submit.
If you choose to use the Common Application process for your RISD application, note that the essay included within Common App does not satisfy our requirement for writing. You must submit two samples from this group to complete your RISD application requirements. Please be certain that your full name and address are
clearly noted on each writing sample
Letter(s) of Recommendation
Recommendations should be written by teachers or other professionals
have a first-hand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and
can comment on your potential as a student. Although not required, these
letters can be very helpful in the consideration of your application.
One letter is suggested, although as many as three may be submitted.
We suggest that your recommender(s) use our recommendation form (pdf).
Recommenders may also use their own stationery, but it is critical that
they include your full name in the letter. Recommendations should be
sent by the writer directly to the Admissions Office in time to meet the
Download recommendation form »
SAT Reasoning Test (SAT)
Please be sure to specify RISD (CEEB code no. 3726) as one of the recipients of your score reports. The examinations administered by the American College Testing Program (ACT) may be submitted in place of the SAT (RISD ACT code no. 3812). RISD requires that SAT or ACT scores include the Writing component.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) If English is not your native language, you must submit results from the TOEFL.
Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for acceptance and applicants
must attain an acceptable score on this test. Different versions of this
examination may be available, depending on where you are in the world.
We expect a minimum score of 93 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT), which
is becoming more widely available. On the paper-based version, which is
still in use in some testing centers, we expect a score of 580.
Finally, some applicants may have taken the Computer-Based TOEFL (CBT),
which uses a different scoring scale; if you took this version of the
test, we expect a result of at least 237. You should plan to take the
TOEFL well in advance of the application deadline since (depending on
the test center location and the test format) it may take six weeks for
your scores to be sent to RISD.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Students may choose to submit results from the IELTS in place of the TOEFL. RISD expects a minimum score of 6.5 from an IELTS examination.
BROWN/RISD DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM
Students applying for admission to the dual degree program must complete the application process at both institutions and must do so by our respective deadlines: January 1 for Brown and February 1 for RISD. Students must be admitted both to RISD and Brown before they will be considered for admission to the dual degree program. However, please indicate your interest in this program on your RISD application form. The only additional credential required to apply for this program is the Dual Degree Supplement. A copy of this supplement must be submitted to both Admissions offices as part of your application.
Download Dual Degree Supplement »
Please note that you may not apply to both RISD and Brown using the Early Decision deadline. You may apply to either school using Early Decision, but not both.
SENDING YOUR MATERIALS
Most applicants will use two different mailing addresses to submit all
of their required credentials.
Transcripts, test scores and recommendations should be sent to RISD by
your school, the test agency and your recommender(s). (NOTE: If you
choose to use the Common Application, these credentials may be submitted
to RISD through that process.)
You should also send your writing samples to this address:
Rhode Island School of Design
Admissions Mailing Center
PO Box 2667
Providence, RI 02906
You should submit your portfolio (if not using Slideroom) and drawings directly to the Admissions Office (together, in one envelope).
The Admissions Office mailing address is:
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College Street
Providence, RI 02903