Road Trip "Aha Moments" at Brown University and RISD

Let me share with you some “aha moments” from my April 2015 college road trip to nine schools in the Northeast. Here you go… Brown University & Rhode Island School of Design –  Aha!

It is nearly impossible to tell the boundaries of the two universities.  

Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design both share the College Hill section of Providence, RI.  The town itself is quite artsy and on the gritty side -Californians might be reminded a bit of Berkeley.  Both schools have a relaxed feel but the preponderance of students is quite serious about their work, be it a form of art at RISD or the liberal arts and sciences at Brown.  Bringing the schools even closer together is their highly selective dual degree program.  Of roughly 500 applicants 18 are accepted and 14 typically choose the program.  An example of a recently accepted dual degree applicant is a student who wants to combine cognitive science with film “to make science fun”. 

Other points of note at RISD: The foundational year is rigorous with a goal of experiencing the breadth and flexibility of art. Industrial Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Architecture are among the most popular majors.  Not surprisingly, RISD has a critique culture, where students critique each other’s work. Yet collaboration is prevalent particularly in the above-mentioned majors. The school takes careers seriously. Entrepreneurship is prevalent on campus supported by this fun fact: the founders of Airbnb graduated from RISD in 2004. 

Consider RISD if you see art as a big part of your life and are committed to your work.

Other points of note at Brown: The open curriculum that defines Brown among the Ivies is not uncommon among small liberal arts colleges – on this road trip alone, Amherst and Smith both have open curriculums.  Open curriculum at Brown by no means reflects a lack of ambition – one type of student wants to explore, but another wants to zoom in on their area of passion and skip the rest. Both fit at Brown.  Interesting program at Brown is an 8 year combined baccalaureate-MD program.

Consider Brown if you are artsy, serious about the liberal arts and sciences, and looking for a relaxed community.