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MICA vs. RISD

meronymsmeronyms 0 replies1 discussions Forum Champion
I've been trying to decide between these two schools for a month, and with a week left I'm still very much on the fence. Here are my pros/cons/questions/musings:

- It's very important to me to be engaged in an intellectually rigorous liberal arts education in addition to the studio work that I'll be doing. I'd be doing Humanistic Studies/Photography at MICA, and Photography at RISD (taking classes at Brown as well, I hope). Have any of you been involved with/heard about MICA's Humanistic Studies program? It's new, which doesn't necessarily mean it's not wonderful, but it does mean I haven't found a huge amount of info on it.

- I informally visited MICA last week (my full-time job means I won't have time to visit RISD). When I told a group of students my options, they half-joked "Definitely go to RISD. It's way better," seeming to imply that I'd be getting a better arts education there. Is there any merit to the common conception that RISD is a "better" school? What does that even mean in this context?

- How are the photography departments at each school? How do they differ?

- What about the campus life? Providence and Baltimore are obviously very different, but I'm trying to understand how their differences would play out during my time at school.

- Do you have any thoughts on this decision I'm not accounting for? Obviously money is an issue, but I am going to use that as a final factor once I feel I have more information on these schools.

Thank you so much for your time and advice, guys - it really means a lot.
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Post edited by meronyms on
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Replies to: MICA vs. RISD

  • MustardSoupMustardSoup 1 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    I've never gone to MICA so I can't really give you any perspective on that school, but I am a current student at RISD so I can definitely give you some insider information :).

    Liberal Arts at RISD is really a hit or miss. Even though they offer a wide range of classes to study from, there is a registration system that is set and if you don't get a good time you'll likely end up in a random last-choice class that you'll end up hating. Also, some of the teachers their are absolutely horrible, and there doesn't seem to be a middle ground. Plus, a lot of the kids there are there just to get credits and aren't really into it. So if you're the type of student that wants to be challenged intellectually and really likes class discussions then you may be left short-handed. Of course, this isn't the case all the times. As I was in this one class called Anthropology of Science where we studied about the abuses of science in the food industry and there were a few students in the class who knew a lot about the subject and we had some very fruitful discussions. Just keep in mind that a lot of the times RISD students are more pre-occupied with there artwork and the course-load is immense, so most of them just aren't really in the mood. However, we are close to Brown, so I'd highly recommend you to take courses over there. Plus, Brown understands that most RISD students are overworked so they will grade you as Pass-Fail.

    Hope this helps! I'd love to answer your next questions, but I'm in a hurry right now. I'll try to get back to your post later tonight. :) Good luck! Oh, and if you happen to think of anymore questions just feel free to post them and I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible!
    edited May 2013
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  • wonderrrwonderrr 1 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    And I've never gone to RISD but I'm a current MICA student.
    As far as liberal arts at MICA it's pretty much the same as MustardSoup has said. You can take classes at Johns Hopkins (and other colleges in Baltimore too). There are some liberal arts classes that cannot really be taken seriously. From my experience with the few liberal arts classes I've taken at MICA, my essays have been graded extremely easy and the teachers use a syllabus more as a guideline than law (like most regular four year universities). However, depending on the class, and if you ask around you will definitely be able to find more challenging liberals arts classes that promote insightful discussion.

    It might have been when the MICA students were telling you to go to RISD, they're probably more completely joking than just half joking. There's apparently a rivalry between MICA and RISD, so they might have been just scoffing at that.

    I don't know much about RISD's photography program and not really much about MICA's either actually (sorry, I'm a painting major). It's always good to look at student work to give you an idea MICA Portfolios :: Gallery (this is work of undergraduate photography students).

    MICA has a great campus community. Everyone is very supportive of each other and want to help you make better work. People here are very open and very close. The community here is one of the best things about MICA. Baltimore, although small, is more fun than it seems. There is a thriving art community and good music here too.

    One thing you might want to account for is that MICA is more open to interdisciplinary study than RISD might be. For example, as a painting major I can take illustration courses if I want to. Honestly, I don't think you could go wrong with either school. I would just think more about the community and where you would enjoy and fit in the most. Always trust your intuition. I think both schools can equally offer you what you are looking for as far as the BFA program goes.

    If you have any more questions feel free to ask!
    edited May 2013
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