Deadlines

Nov 1

Early Decision application deadline

Decisions are released mid-December. Please note that applying for Early Decision indicates a commitment to attend if admitted.

Nov 15

Early Decision financial aid deadline

Jan 17

Regular Decision application deadline

Decisions are released mid-March.

Feb 15

Regular Decision financial aid deadline

Application requirements for 2023 entry

  1. You’ll begin and manage your RISD application process by completing the Common Application. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $60 to use this service, plus a nonrefundable $10 fee to submit a required online portfolio via SlideRoom.

    Fee Waiver

    RISD wants to make sure that application fees do not pose a barrier for any student. If you meet certain qualifications, you can request a Common App fee waiver. You can request a Common App waiver in the following two ways:

    1. Navigate to the "Fee Waiver" portion on the Common App and check off the answer which most fits your family circumstances and you'll be able to submit your application without entering your credit card information.
    2. If your situation does not match any of the waiver criteria on the Common App fee waiver section, email admissions@risd.edu and we’ll process the waiver manually. To receive a SlideRoom fee waiver, please email admissions@risd.edu.
  2. Applicants must provide official transcripts of all secondary academic work through the most recent grading period. Your counselor may submit your transcript through the Common Application, Parchment, email or mail. If your academic credentials are not written in English, they must be translated into English by an approved translator prior to submission.

  3. Test-Optional, SAT and ACT

    RISD is offering all applicants (domestic and international) the ability to be reviewed without submitting results from the SAT or ACT. Students may opt into this process by selecting the test-optional option under the "Testing" portion within the RISD section of the Common Application. For students who choose to submit test scores, RISD will superscore your results, looking at your highest outcome across multiple test dates.

    RISD’s institution code number for the SAT is 3726; for ACT the code number is 003812.

    Transfer credits

    Some Advanced Placement (AP), A-Level classes and International Baccalaureate (IB) credits can be used toward RISD liberal arts requirements. First-year students can transfer a maximum of nine credits from AP courses with a score of 4 or 5, A-Level classes with an earned grade of C or higher or Higher Level IB scores of 5, 6, or 7. RISD will not accept AP or IB credit from art or studio classes. View RISD's full transfer credit policy.

    English language proficiency tests

    All applicants who speak English as a second language, including US citizens, must submit results from any one of these three options: TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or Duolingo (an online English test). Since English proficiency is a prerequisite for acceptance, applicants are required to meet a minimum score of at least 93 on the TOEFL, a 6.5 on the IELTS, or 115 on Duolingo.

    Plan to take the TOEFL or IELTS well in advance of the application deadline since it may take three weeks for your scores to be sent to RISD by the test agency. Duolingo test results may take up to four days to be received by RISD.

    The language test requirement may be waived for applicants who have studied in an institution where English is the language of instruction. You must email the Admissions Office at admissions@risd.edu to explain your school history and determine if you are eligible for a waiver.

  4. Portfolio Submission

    Your portfolio should present 12–20 examples of your most recent work that showcases your thinking and making. Once you've started your application to RISD in the Common Application, you will be directed to SlideRoom, a separate online platform, where you will upload your portfolio.

     

    What to include

    Your selected work should reflect a full range of your ideas, curiosity, experimentation and experience in creating and making. This can include work in any medium, in finished or sketch form, and can be the result of an assigned project or a self-directed exploration.

    We strongly recommend that you include some examples that involve drawing from direct observation (rather than from imagination, a photograph, or video). Drawing is a fundamental tool for visual makers from initial concept to execution, so it is valuable for reviewers to see examples of your experience with and approach to drawing.

    While the majority of your portfolio should feature finished pieces, we suggest including some research or preparatory work in up to three—but no more than three—portfolio uploads/slides. This helps reviewers better understand how you develop your ideas.

    Documentation

    Finally, we strongly discourage including excessive visual elements and text descriptions in a single slide submission. These are difficult to view and are likely to exceed the allowed submission limit. Additional angles or detail shots of some works can be submitted across multiple slide submissions, combined into one composite including no more than 3 images or in a single video upload. Editing is an important part of curating your portfolio. You may need to devise creative solutions to best show your work within the limits of submission guidelines.

    Our recommended file formats are: jpeg, png, gif, mp4 and mov. These formats are most compatible with SlideRoom. Google Drive or zipped files are discouraged.

    You may be interested in attending or watching the recording of one of our Portfolio Tips webinars for more advice on how to approach your RISD application portfolio. 

    The RISD Assignment is no longer part of the application

    After extensive research and discussion, it has become evident that requiring the RISD Assignment functions as a barrier for applicants and is in direct conflict with RISD’s Social Equity and Inclusion action plan. To provide more access and equity in our admissions process, we have made the decision to remove the RISD Assignment as an application requirement beginning with the 2022/23 application cycle. We will continue to prioritize the portfolio when evaluating the visual component of an applicant’s candidacy.

  5. RISD requires the Common Application Personal Essay (up to 650 words). You will find the writing prompts in the Writing section of the Common Application.

    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 distinctive personal position in your essay.

  6. Letters of recommendation can be very helpful to your application. One letter is required, although as many as three may be submitted. Recommendation letters should be written by teachers or other professionals who have firsthand knowledge of your art or academic achievements and can comment on your potential as a student.

    Please use the Common Application to invite your recommendation writers to submit letters through that service. Letters may also be sent directly to our mailing address (see below) or emailed to admissions@risd.edu.

Submitting your materials

  • Submit your application form and writing sample through the Common Application.
  • Have your school send official transcripts to the Admissions Office, either electronically (through the Common Application, Parchment or email) or by mail.
  • Upload your portfolio through SlideRoom. (Applicants must begin their Common Application before they are able to gain access to their RISD SlideRoom account.)
  • Request your letters of recommendation through the Common Application.
  • We prefer that you submit your credentials electronically using the online methods mentioned above.
  • Paper versions of official transcripts, recommendations and test reports may also be mailed to:

    Admissions Office
    Rhode Island School of Design
    Two College Street
    Providence, RI 02903
    USA

Application support

Thinking about applying? We’re here to guide you and answer any questions you have along the way. Our detailed timeline will help you prepare to apply under either our Early Decision or Regular Decision deadline. The guide also includes an application checklist and list of portfolio tips to help you get started. Our application prep and portfolio tips webinars have plenty of pointers, too. Have a question and want to hear directly from us? Fill out this quick form and one of our admissions counselors will be happy to reach out.

Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program

Students applying for admission to the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program must complete the application process at both institutions by our respective deadlines: January 5 for Brown and January 17 for RISD.

The only additional credential required to apply for this program is the Dual Degree Supplement, which is included within the Common Application. Note that the Dual Degree essay does not replace the college essay.

Students must be admitted both to RISD and Brown before being considered for admission to the Dual Degree program.

You may not apply to both RISD and Brown using the Early Decision deadline. If desired, you can choose to apply to only one school for Early Decision. If you do so, you will then be able to apply to second school for its Regular Decision deadline. Otherwise, you can apply to both schools for their corresponding Regular Decision deadline. You will use the same Brown|RISD Dual Degree supplemental essay response in both applications. Each school releases their decision separately. Afterwards, Brown|RISD Dual Degree decisions arrive in late March.

Eligibility

Graduation from secondary school is a prerequisite, although a high school equivalency diploma may be accepted. Prospective applicants are urged to follow a college preparatory program in secondary school, taking courses in studio art and art history, where possible. Courses that develop visual and design skills (such as studio drawing) are strongly recommended. Students interested in our Architecture program are strongly encouraged to complete a course sequence in mathematics (including algebra, geometry and trigonometry) and one year of science (preferably physics).