Application process for first-year students (2023)


November 1

Early decision request period

The decisions will be published in mid-December. Please note that requesting Early Decision is a commitment to participation, if approved.

November 15

Deadline for granting an early decision

Ene 17

Ordinary period for application of decisions

The decisions will be published in mid-March.

February 15

Regular deadline for financial decision support

Application requirements for entry in 2023

  1. You initiate and manage your RISD application process by completing thiscommon application. There is a non-refundable application fee.$60 fee for using this service, plus a $10 non-refundable fee for submitting an online portfolio required byslide room.

    fee exemption

    RISD wants to ensure that application fees are not a barrier for any student. If you meet certain requirements, you can request a fee waiver for app sharing. You can apply for a common application waiver in the following two ways:

    1. Go to the common application fee waiver section and check the answer that best fits your family circumstances and you will be able to submit your application without entering your credit card information.
    2. If your situation does not meet any of the waiver criteria in the App Share Fee Waiver section, please emailZulassungen@risd.eduand process the dismissal manually. To receive a SlideRoom fee waiver, please
  2. Applicants must provide official transcripts of all secondary academic work up to the last grading period. Your counselor may submit your testimonial via general request, parchment, email, or post. If your transcripts are not in English, they must be translated into English by an approved translator before submitting them.

  3. Optional test, SAT and ACT

    RISD offers all applicants (domestic and international) the opportunity to be tested without submitting SAT or ACT scores. Students may opt out of this process by selecting the optional testing option in the Testing section of the RISD section of the general record. For students who choose to submit test scores, RISD will superscore your scores and analyze your best score across multiple test dates.

    The RISD institution code for the SAT is3726; for ACT is the code number003812.

    transfer credits

    Some Advanced Placement (AP) credits, A-Level classes, and International Baccalaureate (IB) can be used toward RISD liberal arts requirements. Freshmen may transfer a maximum of nine credits from AP courses with a score of 4 or 5, A-level classes with a grade of C or higher, or higher-level IB scores of 5, 6, or 7. RISD will not accept AP or IB points from art classes or studio. View the RISD in fullCredit Transfer Policy.

    english exams

    All applicants who speak English as a second language, including US citizens, must submit results from one of these three options:TOEFL(Test of English as a Foreign Language),IELTS(International English Language Testing System) orDuolingo(an online English test). As English proficiency is a requirement for admission, applicants must obtain a minimum TOEFL score of 93, IELTS 6.5 or Duolingo 115.

    Schedule your TOEFL or IELTS test well in advance of the application deadline, as it can take three weeks for the testing agency to send your results to RISD. It may take up to four days for RISD to receive your Duolingo test results.

    The language test may be waived for applicants who studied at an institution where English is the language of instruction. You have to send an email to the registration office.Zulassungen@risd.eduto explain your educational background and determine if you qualify for an exemption.

  4. portfolio submission

    Your portfolio should include 12-20 examples of your most recent work that showcase your thinking and work. As soon as you start your RISD application incommon application, you will be redirected to SlideRoom, a separate online platform where you upload your portfolio.

    what to include

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

    We encourage you to add some examples that involve drawing from direct observation (rather than imagination, a photo or video). Drawing is a fundamental tool for visual creators, from initial concept to execution, so it's valuable for reviewers to see examples of their experiences and approach to drawing.

    While most of your portfolio should include finished pieces, we suggest including some research or preparatory work on up to three:but no more than three—Loading folders/slides. This helps reviewers better understand how you develop your ideas.


    Finally, we strongly discourage including excessive images and textual descriptions in a single slide submission. These are difficult to see and likely exceed the allowable upload limit. Additional angles or detailed shots of any job can be submitted via multiple slide uploads, combined into a maximum 3-image composite or a single video upload. Editing is an important part of curating your portfolio. You may need to find creative solutions to better present your work within the confines of the submission guidelines.

    Our recommended file formats are: jpeg, png, gif, mp4 and mov. These formats are the most compatible with SlideRoom. Google Drive or compressed files are not recommended.

    You may be interested in attending one of our events or watching the recordingPortfolio Suggestion Webinarsfor more tips on how to approach your RISD application portfolio.

    RISD mapping is no longer part of the application

    After extensive research and discussion, it has been determined that the RISD placement requirement acts as a barrier to applicants and indirectly conflicts with the RISD Inclusion and Social Justice Action Plan. To provide more access and fairness in our admissions process, we have made the decision to remove RISD placement as an application requirement beginning with the 2022/23 application cycle. We will continue to prioritize the portfolio when evaluating the visual component of a candidate's application.

  5. RISD requires the Common Application Personal Essay (up to 650 words). For writing suggestions, see the Common Application Writing section.

    While we encourage you to follow the rules of good writing, we look for candidates who are not afraid to take risks with their writing. Feel free to use an unconventional writing style or method when expressing a distinctly personal position in your essay.

  6. Recommendation letters can be very useful for your application. One letter is required, although up to three can be sent. Letters of recommendation should be written by professors or other professionals who have first-hand knowledge of your artistic or academic achievements and can comment on your potential as a student.

    Use the general app to invite your recommendation writers to send letters through this service. Letters can also be sent directly to our postal address (see below) or by email

Sending your materials

  • Submit your application form and writing sample viacommon application.
  • Have your school submit official transcripts to the Admissions Office, either electronically (via joint application, parchment, or email) or by mail.
  • Upload your portfolio via SlideRoom. (Applicants must begin their general application before gaining access to their RISD SlideRoom account.)
  • Request your letters of recommendation through the joint application.
  • We prefer that you submit your registration information electronically using the online methods described above.
  • Paper versions of official transcripts, endorsements and reviews can also be sent to:

    admission office
    Rhode Island School of Design
    Washingtonplatz, 20
    Providence, RI 02903

Application support

Thinking of applying? We're here to guide you and answer any questions you might have along the way. Ourdetailed schedulewill help you prepare to apply within our early decision deadline or regular decision deadline. The guide also includes an application checklist and a list of portfolio tips to help you get started. OurApplication preparation and webinars with portfolio tipsI also have many clues. Do you have any questions and would like to hear from us directly?Fill out this quick formand one of our admissions consultants will be happy to get in touch with you.

Double Degree Program Brown|RISD

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

The only additional proof required to apply for this program is the Dual Degree Supplement included in the joint application. Please note that the dual degree essay is not a substitute for the university essay.

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

He cannoapply to both RISD and Brown using the advance decision deadline. If you wish, you can also apply to just one school for Early Decision. If you do, you can apply to the second school by the regular decision deadline. Otherwise, you may apply to any of the schools during the applicable regular decision period. Use the same Brown|RISD Double Degree Supplementary Essay answer in both applications. Each school announces its decision separately. After that, Brown|RISD dual title decisions will take place at the end of March.


A high school diploma is a prerequisite, but an Abitur may be accepted. Prospective applicants are encouraged to complete a college preparatory program in high school and, if possible, take courses in studio art and art history. Courses to develop visual and design skills (eg studio drawing) are recommended. Students interested in our architecture program are strongly encouraged to complete a sequence of math courses (including algebra, geometry and trigonometry) and a year of science (preferably physics).

start your application


Why is the college application process so difficult? ›

It's simple math: when admit rates go down, it means that more applicants are rejected, and a more competitive application pool is inevitably created. The drastic increase in selectivity impacts virtually every aspect of college admissions, from heightened pressure on test scores to diversity and inclusion factors.

How do I make my college application process easier? ›

5 Ways to Make the College Application Process Less Stressful
  1. Plan Ahead and Get Organized. ...
  2. Don't Believe Everything You Hear. ...
  3. Be Honest and Realistic. ...
  4. Take Time Off from Thinking About College Applications.

What is the first step in the college application process? ›

What are the steps in the college application process?
  • Create a list of colleges you're interested in.
  • Research and visit schools to narrow down the list.
  • Fill out the FAFSA®, and consider finances and scholarship opportunities.
  • Get letters of recommendations, if required.
  • Take college admission tests.

What do colleges look for during the application process? ›

Good grades, a challenging high school curriculum, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, and a strong essay are a few key factors admissions officers assess. Each university may emphasize different elements of the application process.

Is the college application process fair? ›

Share this Article. Only 23% of high school students believe the college admissions process is a fair one. Almost half of students (47%) are unsure or indifferent about how fair the process really is. 44% of students believe colleges should help underserved populations pursue higher ed.

What college has the most difficult application process? ›

With a record-low admission rate of just 3.19% for the class of 2026, Harvard currently ranks as the most difficult school to get into.

What are the 4 mistakes to avoid when applying for a college? ›

10 College Application Mistakes to Avoid
  • Leaving out Vital Personal Details. ...
  • Your Essays are One-Sided. ...
  • Lacking Ambition and Vision. ...
  • Lack of Familiarity with the School: Demonstrated Interest is Crucial. ...
  • Avoid “TMI” ...
  • Incomplete Activities List. ...
  • The Repurposed Essay: Answer Each Essay Prompt Individually. ...
  • Thesauras-itis.

What matters most on a college application? ›

Courses and Grades

A student's grades in college-preparatory classes remain the most significant factor in college admission decisions. Highly selective colleges look for students who: Complete core academic requirements.

How do I calm my college application down? ›

How to Relax While Applying to College
  1. Breathe. ...
  2. Organize your apps. ...
  3. Reduce essay stress by telling your story. ...
  4. Apply to a college you like that will probably admit you. ...
  5. Take advantage of test-optional policies. ...
  6. Ask an adult to proof and review your applications so you are confident there are no mistakes or omissions.
Nov 18, 2020

How long is the college application process? ›

Once you have all your materials gathered, the basic information on an application can usually be completed in less than an hour. Writing the essay and personal statement can take a few days up to a few weeks, depending on the content and number of revisions.

What does it mean to process a college application? ›

The college application process refers to the steps that prospective students must take to apply to an institute of higher education. Although the applications differs from one school to the next, it typically includes a tour of the campus, meeting with an admission officer, and submitting a formal application.

How do you answer college application questions? ›

Short Answer Questions
  1. Don't repeat the question.
  2. Don't use unnecessarily large words. ...
  3. Answer honestly. ...
  4. Supplement your résumé. ...
  5. Always use details to bring even a short story to life.
  6. Don't be afraid of the word limit. ...
  7. Describe your personal growth. ...
  8. Be specific about each institution.

What makes a student stand out? ›

Good grades and test scores, a rigorous academic program, and a full compliment of academic classes during all four years are all necessary to be accepted into a good school. A list of a thousand activities will not be helpful.

Do colleges look at freshman year? ›

Yes, your freshman year grades do matter when applying to college. Admissions officers will take your overall high school GPA into consideration which includes your freshman year performance.

How stressful is the college application process? ›

Applying to college is undeniably stressful. The process comes at an intense time in a student's life, with schoolwork, clubs, athletics, music, volunteering, and more, to say nothing of the emotional and psychological work of being a teenager.

What should you not say on a college application? ›

What should you not say on a college application?
  • Never rehash your academic and extracurricular accomplishments.
  • Never write about a "topic"
  • Never start with a preamble.
  • Never end with a “happily ever after” conclusion.
  • Never pontificate.
  • Never retreat into your thoughts.
  • Never hold back.

Do people make mistakes on college applications? ›

Even if you're meticulous when completing your college application, there's a chance that you'll make a mistake. You may leave out something, fail to follow instructions, or do something incorrectly. If you realize you've made a mistake, don't panic.

What is the least accepting college? ›

What Colleges Have the Lowest and Highest Acceptance Rates?
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 4%
  • Princeton University: 4%
  • Stanford University: 4%
  • Yale University: 5%
  • Brown University: 6%
  • Dartmouth College: 6%
  • Duke University: 6%
  • University of Chicago: 6%
Sep 2, 2022

What college has lowest acceptance? ›

Top 20 Institutions with Lowest Acceptance Rates
Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ4%
Stanford UniversityStanford, CA4%
Yale UniversityNew Haven, CT5%
Brown UniversityProvidence, RI6%
16 more rows
Feb 24, 2023

What college has the happiest students? ›

The 10 Colleges With the Happiest Students
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Terre Haute, IN) ...
  • University of Dallas (Irving, TX) ...
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX) ...
  • Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS) ...
  • Auburn University (Auburn, AL) ...
  • Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) ...
  • Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)
Jan 4, 2023

What will colleges reject you for? ›

Colleges can revoke an admitted student's acceptance at any time. The most common reasons include poor grades, disciplinary infractions, and honor code violations. Students at risk of not graduating high school can have their admission revoked. Colleges typically reach out before revoking an admission offer.

Why do I keep getting rejected from colleges? ›

Here are seven common reasons why college applications get rejected, according to some experts: Failure to meet high GPA or test score standards. Insufficient academic rigor. Lack of demonstrated interest.

How do colleges decide who to reject? ›

In addition to a student's academics, extracurriculars, application essay, recommendation letters, and thank-you letter, admissions counselors look at their own college itself, considering enrollment projections, student body diversity, faculty and course curriculum volume, and recruitment goals.

What GPA matters the most for college? ›

Though most schools set their requirements, it's usually no lower than a 2.0 GPA. Having a 3.5 GPA or higher also has its perks. You can qualify for honors programs at your university, earn certificates of distinction, and become eligible for merit-based scholarships.

What is college application anxiety? ›

After application deadlines pass, seniors may worry that their applications or supporting documents have gone missing or never arrived at colleges. Some students may be feeling anxious because a college has notified them that elements are missing from their application.

How do you reject a college rejection? ›

Sample “rejection” email

After long and serious consideration of my offers, I have decided to attend *name of chosen college* instead. I wanted to let you know as soon as I made my decision, and greatly appreciate your time and consideration. Thank you for your assistance in my college search.

Why am I so stressed about college applications? ›

Furthermore, the rising tuition fees, falling application acceptance rates among universities, and the fear of not getting a job in present market conditions make the college application process an even more highly stressful activity for some students.

How long should college application answers be? ›

Personal statements

The primary essay for your college application, often called a personal statement, is typically around 400-600 words. The Common App personal statement — which is used as the primary application essay by more than 800 colleges — must be 250-650 words.

How soon do colleges look at applications? ›

It can take a few weeks to a few months to hear back for a college admissions decision, depending on the type of application you submitted. Early applicants — such as early decision or early action — will generally hear back in December while regular decision applicants will receive their admission decision in April.

How many hours is good for college application? ›

It is recommended that having 50 – 200 hours on a college application gives it a good chance of being seen favorably by college admissions officers.

What does application process mean? ›

Application Process means the process of reviewing and making a determination on the Completed Application.

What does application being process mean? ›

What Does It Mean to Process an Application? Processing the application means gathering and reviewing all necessary information and determining eligibility.

What does processing mean on application status? ›

"In process" means that the application is being looked at by different managers in different departments and/or the application has been selected by a manager and the background checks and work history are being verified.

What should I say on a college application? ›

✓ Who are you and/or where are you currently studying ✓ What are you applying for (e.g. English literature, bricklaying, childcare) ✓ Your reasons for wanting to study your chosen subjects ✓ Your reasons for wanting to study at that particular college (e.g. what makes that college standout for you?)

What are the 10 most common college interview questions and answers? ›

How to Answer Common Admission Interview Questions
  • Why do you want to attend this university? ...
  • Why do you want to study this subject? ...
  • What are you reading at the moment? ...
  • How would your friends describe you? ...
  • What achievement are you most proud of? ...
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?

What qualities do colleges look for? ›

Top Character Qualities Colleges Want
  • Leadership.
  • Willingness to take risks.
  • Initiative.
  • Sense of social responsibility.
  • Commitment to service.
  • Special talents or abilities.

What are 3 characteristics of a successful student? ›

Characteristics of a Successful Student
  • Successful students attend classes regularly. ...
  • Successful students take advantage of extra credit opportunities when offered. ...
  • Successful students are attentive in class.

What should I avoid my freshman year of college? ›

Top 12 freshman mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Not attending campus events or sporting events. ...
  • Not reaching out to professors for help. ...
  • Not communicating with your roommate if you have a problem. ...
  • Not introducing yourself to others. ...
  • Not managing time properly. ...
  • Skipping class. ...
  • Being afraid to go places alone.
Apr 5, 2022

What GPA do colleges want? ›

If you have your hopes set on attending a highly selective four-year university, you'll want to stand out from other applicants. A good way to achieve this is to have a GPA of around 3.8 or higher. To earn a GPA that high, you'll need to get mostly A's in your classes in high school.

Which years GPA do colleges look at? ›

Your first year and sophomore year affect your cumulative GPA, which is important to most colleges. However, a solid academic record in your junior year is likely to carry more importance with an admissions committee.

What are the top 4 things college admissions officers are looking for? ›

Basically, there are six main factors that college admissions officers consider: AP classes and challenging course loads, high school GPAs, SAT and ACT scores (unless they are test-optional), meaningful extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and your personal statement.

Do admissions officers actually read essays? ›

Admissions officers do read for writing quality. Application essays should be error-free examples of the student's best work. The consensus among admissions officers is that most students don't spend enough time on their essays to make a real impact.

What do admissions officers look at first? ›

In the US admissions process, colleges and universities take many factors into consideration. Admissions officers look at “hard factors” (GPA, grades, and test scores) and “soft factors” (essays, extracurricular activities, recommendations, and demonstrated interest) to gain a full picture of applicants.

Why is the college admissions process so competitive? ›

Here are two of the major reasons for the increased competitiveness in college admissions: There are more students, and many of these students are applying to more schools. Many of today's college applicants are part of what's referred to as the “Echo Boom” – kids of Baby Boomers and beyond.

How is the college admissions process unfair? ›

Standardized testing is just one of the many ways college admissions is unfair to students. Another, controversial way college admissions is unfair is through the extensive use many families make of private college consultants for essays, activities, resume building, interview prep, and more.

Are college applications hard to fill out? ›

Yes, the process is daunting—particularly for people who lack a support network from their school, family or private admissions counselors.

Why college applications are rejected? ›

Here are seven common reasons why college applications get rejected, according to some experts: Failure to meet high GPA or test score standards. Insufficient academic rigor. Lack of demonstrated interest.

How do colleges decide to accept you? ›

Factors That Most Affect Admission Decision. Many small, selective colleges pay greater attention to personal statements and essays, teacher and counselor recommendations, leadership experiences, and the individual talents of applicants. They typically offer the chance for a face-to-face interview.

How do I not get nervous for college admissions? ›

5 Ways to Stay Calm While Waiting for College Admissions...
  1. Stop overthinking; stop doubting; stop what-iffing. ...
  2. Tell your family and friends that you don't want to talk about it. ...
  3. Distract yourself. ...
  4. Keep your options open.

Does it matter how fast you apply for college? ›

Earlier is Better for Rolling Admission

They generally promise students a decision anywhere from 4-12 weeks after their application becomes complete. However, most schools wait until they have a critical mass of applications before they begin reviewing them, so there is not an advantage to submitting early.

Can a college accidentally accepted you? ›

Mistaken acceptances or scholarship offers are nothing new. In 2009, 28,000 students received a mistaken email saying they had been accepted to the University of California at San Diego. In 2016, 130 hopeful Tulane University applicants were mistakenly welcomed as students and even given university email addresses.

Can a college reject you after acceptance? ›

Yes, colleges can and do rescind offers of admission. They will do so for poor grades on your final transcript and/or for school expulsions, suspensions, honor violations, and tangles with the law depending on the situation.

What should you not write on a college application? ›

15 Topics to Avoid in Your College Essays
  1. Inappropriate Topics.
  2. A Rehash of Your Activities List and Transcripts.
  3. Relationships, Romance, and Breakups.
  4. Writing About Your Hero.
  5. The Sports Story.
  6. Tragedies.
  7. Highly Personal Topics.
  8. Controversial Topics: Politics, Religion, and More.
Apr 21, 2022

Do colleges read your whole application? ›

Yes, every college essay is read if the college has asked for it (and often even if they did not ask for it). The number of readers depends on the college's review process.

Do colleges look at social media? ›

About 65% of admissions officers view social media as “fair game” when evaluating potential enrollees, according to a survey performed by Kaplan Test Prep in 2020. With that said, only 36% of the 313 officers surveyed said they actually took the time to browse applicants' TikTok, Instagram and other accounts.

What to do if every college rejects you? ›

How to Deal with College Rejection
  1. Know You are not alone.
  2. It's not personal.
  3. Don't Dwell on the “what ifs”
  4. Celebrate the acceptance letters.
  5. Embrace the schools that did accept you.
  6. Consider Your other options.
Dec 22, 2022

How often do people get rejected from college? ›

Almost every senior receives at least one college rejection letter. This is tough advice, but try not to take the rejection personally. Most U.S. colleges admit a majority of applicants. Only 3.4% of schools fall into the most selective category, meaning they admit fewer than 10% of applicants.


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