RISD undergraduate ID said no...i'm a little surprised : (

here’s my portfolio that i submitted to RISD for undergraduate ID: artbyjeremiah.blogspot.com

I honestly thought I had a very good chance of getting in with my resume alone (MA in Art History from the University of St Andrews; 4 yrs running my own antique/design business; experience with woodworking, welding and other construction methods; a number of other creative endeavors) and then i had a number of my colleagues (who happen to be risd alums) telling me from the day that i mentioned applying that i was a shoe in.
honestly, i always thought there was a good chance that i wouldn’t be accepted, but i worked hard to create a portfolio that not only represented my current interests, but also showed what I’d like to be working on in the future. Now, i’m very disappointed, especially considering all that I could have brought to the table for the next 4 yrs.
I would love more than anything to sit down with John Maeda or one of the members of the selection committee or board of trustees and have them clearly explain what was lacking in my application and what i could have done better.
RISD has always been a dream of mine and now I don’t know whether to do more work and apply again or go on with my life and try to prove risd wrong so that they’ll give me an honorary degree 20 yrs down the road.


A lot of your work seems to be based on or have a high relation to things other people have done, it may have been a turn off.

Design schools (and employers) like to see creation and thought process in a portfolio; process work that justifies and backs up the final outcome. You have some towards the end with your small sketch models and form studies, but it seemed like the bulk of your portfolio was lacking process. For design school, a process book or sketchbook full of high quality drawings will be far more important than a resume.

I would tell you not to give up, you obviously have an appreciation for the field which is a sight better than a lot of my classmates had when they started. Apply to other programs and consider transferring, or wait and try again next year.

If a bully shoves you, don’t cower in the corner the rest of your life; hit the weights so next you don’t get shoved so easily. Use this as motivation to strengthen your skills on your own then when you get accepted you’ll have a head start.

There are many schools out there that are just as good as RISD. RISD has probably had to tighten the screws a bit on their acceptance policies with John Maeda running the show over there now; so they’re probably only taking the very upper crust of applicants. Don’t get down on yourself, but also don’t focus all your effort on just one school.

There are many factors that go into these things. They review many portfolios and the chances of them having notes on your specific case might not be good. In my experience, they tend to like to see a lot of fine arts based original art work. Drawing from observation, painting… along those lines. Remember, you are applying to be in freshman foundation.

Personally, I think you have a some great stuff. Very playful. You also obviously have a high level skill in 3d and process oriented, 2d (print making). Though your drawing skills look a bit stiff. There is no shading, which is a key to show you understand and can interpret 3d into 2d. That could be ion a shoe, on a face, on a tree, doesn’t matter.

did you apply to other schools as well? You are too good to not be in a program.

I’d have to agree with Yo on this one. Back when I applied, they were looking for things like drawing from observation, painting, etc. Your shoe drawings are on the stiff side but your 3-d work is good, you should definitely be going somewhere.
Also, keep in mind that the selection process isn’t always consistent. I could be wrong since it was so long ago but I vaguely remember having a conversation with a student while I was there who was one of the people going over submitted portfolios. I think it was one of the summer jobs they had where they got to work with whatever office handled submissions and she told me that people would sometimes get cut for an arbitrary reason like using yellow too much or something weird like that so the student put them in the no pile. So it’s very likely that you would get a different result if a different person happened to be the one to run across your portfolio.
If you really feel the need, definitely talk to someone there to get feedback or a second opinion. But there are also plenty of other good places you could apply to.

I think you have very good work. You should apply elsewhere.

College admission is a very imprecise art form and this is especially true for art school admission. My daughter got waitlisted and eventually rejected from RISD(since she didn’t clear the waitlist) and is doing exceedingly well at the school that she is in. She has had coops who all loved her and offered her jobs. I am sure that RISD made a mistake not taking her,but she turned out to be better off at the school that she is at.

Bottom line: There are MANY top notch art and design programs. Go elsewhere and never look back.

Also, if you get into one of the other east coast programs, you’ll be able to do a semester at risd. I forget what it’s called but there are a list of colleges that are linked like that that, if you get accepted to any one, you’ll be able to do a semester at any of the others. It’s been a while so the memory is fuzzy but you could look into that if they’re still doing it.

unfourtunatly RISD is one of the most expensive schools around, and I know there has been internal complaints about admitting students on thier ability to pay rather than talent.
their financial reality forces tough choices

This is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard. First schools don’t know what your financial status is when applying. Money is only discussed once you have been accepted, not before. As far as RISD, they have one of the largest endowment in the country, so money is certainly not a problem for this particular school.

actually, schools do know your financial status when you apply- at least if you will be applying for any type of aid during your time there. THey know this through either FAFSA (FAFSA.ed.gov), CSS (collegeboard.com), both, or a specific form the schools creates for themselves. Most schools are need blind (meaning that they don’t base a decision based on your ability to pay), however there are a few which aren’t (one that comes to my mind is carnegie mellon). This definitely doesn’t mean that they will outright reject you if you need more aid, they would just rather have someone who can pay the full bill. I don’t know anything about RISD’s admissions though (didn’t apply heh)

don’t know what you’re basing your statement about carnegie mellon on. I’ve had a couple of friends who couldn’t go to CMU because they are too poor but were admitted into Design. A few of my current classmates are on full scholarship/financial aid, or half.

CMU’s stingy as hell, but the design program admission has nothing to do with your financial eligibility.

like i said, they wont not admit you if you don’t have the money, they are just more likely to admit you if you do. Chances are you are more likely to get rejected because you are not qualified enough (not just in art/design majors), however if you can attend without any aid, they might (thats an important word…they might…no one really knows what an admissions officer is thinking) reconsider their decision at non-need blind schools. Other than that, I don’t think finances play an important role in admissions. sorry if i was sort of ambiguous before- hope this clarified things up a bit :slight_smile:

Interestingly, there were all kinds of articles in both our local papers and the NY Times about how lucky rich kids may be today because of the economy. The gist of these articles is that because college endowments are considerably down, many private schools are admitting kids who don’t need any financial aid despite that fact that these same kids probably wouldn’t have been admitted a year ago. Clearly, according to the articles, not needing financial aid is now playing a considerable role in admission for a number of private schools.

Does thast mean that RISD is admitting some kids who don’t need aid? Maybe, maybe not. I would bet, however, that RISD might admit some kids, in part, because they didn’t need any aid!

I think outside of Cooper Union and the 4 military academy’s, there’s not a single needs-blind admissions school.
In fact, during the last major recession (dot.com bubble) there were demonstrations at Ivy League schools where students demanded more needs blind admissions.
Just go to the (RISD / comparable) campus and count the number of Porsches if you think everyone got in on pure talent.

But what are the actual items you submitted. Did you send the sketches that are on the photos? models? photos? essays? what was the presentation of your portfolio.
I understand a lot of factors are taken in consideration. A resume helps, But its not everything we need to show what you are made of.
My two cents i think in a portfolio submission for a school should not be approached with complacency (i’m not implying you did) you show what you’ve done, how you think and what you’d come with if you push yourself. The juice of the squeeze.
At least that’s how i approach it.

If its what you feel passionate about, its not the end.
If i was you i’d try to go to another school and start in the meanwhile and if you are really fixated on this school try again in the future just to not lose one more year waiting. RISD is not the only key to the career you want.
Cheer up!

I just graduated this May in ID and I have seen many many portfolios. Most students who are accepted to an art and design school have at least one thing in common, their work has been photographed well. Take straight on shots for 2d work and 3d work should be taken with a solid background either white black or grey. Your portfolio should represent you. Most of your images and sketches have other things going on (which hinders you)

sketches are yellowed not plain white (that can be simply fixed in photoshop or photo- editing program) Maybe they were not scanned if you scanned them they should be white.

Your chairs have odd things going on in the backgrounds.

The layouts of your images are all over the place use a grid system keep top/bottom lines together…

no one cares that you have 100’s more sketches of sneakers if they all look similar
and they are mostly side views. draw some dynamic views spice it up and loosen up.

You should like others have said show process as well
ergonomics etc.

You look like you have potential but i do not think you should have taken their rejection so to heart.

There are many really good examples of portfolios online you should look at for layout inspiration. Also apply to more than one school RISD’s ID program isn’t the best its probably more in the same level as other ID programs across the country that are a part of NASAD. The biggest part of school is more so a students individual strive to be become better and keep learning.

Keep trying and good luck! :slight_smile:

This is good advice

Wrong, You can apply to Fafsa after receiving news on scholarships. You don’t need to apply before. I got a scholarship from ACCD before applying to FAFSA…

Wrong, You can apply to Fafsa after receiving news on scholarships. You don’t need to apply before. I got a scholarship from ACCD before applying to FAFSA…

well you can submit a fafsa really late as well… i didn’t say you couldn’t, but I strongly recommend against it

however you are more likely to get need based aid if you submit your fafsa sooner (as each school allots a certain amount of money for that). If you dont submit it, you won’t get need aid. you will however be eligible for merit based money- meaning that the better student/better artwork you make, the more money they will give you. This has nothing to do with need or fafsa or any of that- so while you may not have submitted fafsa, they still thought your work was good, and thus gave you scholarship money. If you submit your fafsa too late, then the school will not have very much money left over to cover need (the school’s cost minus your EFC), and thus your financial aid (not merit based money) package will probably mostly be loans.

That’s all- I’m not saying you won’t get scholarships if you don’t submit a fafsa, you just won’t get need based aid (e.g. a loan, need based scholarship). You still qualify for merit based.

I can see where I was unclear- when i said “aid” in the first sentence. Aid always refers to money given due to financial need (thus a loan is considered aid). Scholarships are usually merit based, and not called “aid”.
Hope that clears up what I said!