Pratt vs. RISD MID (with a twist)

Which school would you pick?

  • Pratt
  • RISD

0 voters

I’ve been looking through the core boards throughout the application process, it’s been an invaluable resource. I’ve been taking classes at various schools and like that I’ve been able to cherry pick the good from each. Which brings me to my dilemma:

I’m having a really difficult time deciding between RISD and Pratt’s MID programs which I’ve been accepted for this fall. My undergrad was in biology and psychology. This past year I’ve been taking classes to build a portfolio. At Otis I took away basic ID methodologies, at Parsons I experienced the more aesthetic side of design, PCC I liken it to Art Center lite with a emphasis on building hand-drawing skills. At this point, my sketching skills are mediocre, but not bad for someone with a year of classes.

I like Pratt because of their additional half year for those with non-design backgrounds, and it seems like more of their curriculum is concentrated on aesthetics. On the otherhand, I like the conceptual level of thinking in the projects coming from RISD albeit not as slick looking, and overall I felt it had a vibe that I felt is more “me.”

I also received a scholarship to Parsons summer program for a design fieldwork class. It sounds like a fantastic opportunity to become immersed in the city and uncover real-time problems that can be addressed through design.

If I go to RISD, I’m thinking of forgoing the Parsons’ program and take a class at Art Center at Night to bulk up on sketching/rendering this summer. If I go to Pratt I think I will take the Parsons’ fieldwork class to pick up research experience.

I’ve always heard and believe that it’s harder to learn how to think than it is to learn how to draw. Which points me towards RISD. But hearing the posts about how many of the students are good thinkers but unemployable makes me hesitate. I’ve looked for corefolios from RISD MID students but there aren’t very many.

One of the things that I love about ID is that there’s so much you can do within the field, and I don’t feel particularly tied down to a specific area. In my design career, I want to be a designer, a researcher, a director, and a teacher. I’d love to do design within the scientific realm and help those in need (think Design for the other 90%), but I’m into fashion/luxury as a consumer and think it’d be interesting to tie it into sustainability.

Based on all of this (and thanks if you’re still reading,) what would you do in my situation? Honestly I think I will like whichever school I end up but feel overwhelmed to make such a huge decision by Wednesday. I’ve already extended RISD’s deposit deadline. I’d appreciate if anyone has a couple of cents to throw in, especially those who’ve finished school (or about to) and can look back on their experience.

iro*iro: I’m heading to RISD this fall. I chose it for a lot of reasons, but the final thing I had to remember was that it is a means to an end. I was an ID undergrad (and professional…for a little over 4 years now), and I feel like you can learn all the skills you want from either place (drawing, rendering, making things…that stuff just takes practice), but for me grad school is going to be about thinking big and really focusing on something I am interested in.

Is there a big reason can’t you do the Parsons thing then go to RISD? I think that’s what I would chose. Although, from what I have heard, if you want the super flash ID skills, maybe Art Center is the better place to hone up on those things. I also got a private message from someone that is also going to RISD in Jan. '10 and doing a 2.5 year program to first build their skills as well.

It has also been my experience that a slick looking portfolio is nice and all, but if you can’t tell me why…back it up with some thought…it’s just a pretty picture. If you really want “to be a designer, a researcher, a director, and a teacher”, then I vote go to whichever place will drop you off as close to that as possible. Good luck! and maybe I’ll see you in Sept. :slight_smile:

Audrizzle, thanks for responding. One of the main reasons behind doing Parsons/Pratt was because I could move once from CA to Brooklyn a couple months early, versus multiple times within a few months. Also, the rationale was that the combination or ACCD/RISD would be good balance in terms of education.

In the end, I’ve decided RISD is where I want to be, and the place that I feel will help me achieve my goals. I can’t wait!! I will be seeing you this September!! It’d be awesome to find other students in the program on Core before the school year begins.

That’s great! Congrats on the decision making…I found that once I had that part over…it was really easy to start to get excited. I hear you on the not wanting to move any more than you already have to thing. Never much fun.

I’m glad to hear you’re into sustainability as well. That is what I hope my thesis will pivot around…social, ecological, and economic sustainability. I’d like to think about how we can bring more of that into everyday lives. Like how can we as designers slow down what we do and try to make objects that are less commodity products and more along the heirloom lines. I’m also interested in the potential of bringing more service-learning projects into the realm of design education. Working for that other 90% you mentioned and learning design skills in the process.

It would be cool to see who else is on the Core Boards that will be joining us. Anyone out there??? I guess we’ll see you in the fall!!

iro and audrizzle,

my girlfriend is thinking of applying to the grad program at RISD. I was wondering if you guys maybe have an online portfolio to see they level of quality that RISD is looking for?

I am sure it must be outstanding…


Here’s my Coroflot portfolio

I also think it’s about more than just your work (for example: some people do things other than design). I think it’s also a little about grades…and a whole lot about what you say you’re hoping to accomplish in your essay.

Good luck to her.

bepster, this is the portfolio I submitted.

As you can see, it’s pretty simple. No CAD, done with paper/prisma/markers and laid out in InDesign. My first ID class was a little over a year ago, with only high school art as prior drawing experience. As long as her portfolio and statement of intent shows passion, potential, and a desire to work hard she’ll have a good shot. Good luck to her!


thanks a lot guys!

I got admitted to the 2.5 year program.
I’ll be seeing you guys in January.
Most of the stuff I showed in my portfolio is here.
Looking forward to meeting ya’ll next year.