What is PreCollege at Ringling College of Art and Design? From their web site:
“Students from around the country and abroad come together to study the arts in a four-week intensive, residential program while earning college credit. They live together, learn together, and experience a summer of discovery, growth and exploration.”
Credit to a student that wanted to take some of his summer and continue his education and career planning. We sat down with dPaul and spoke with him about the experience. Imagine me sitting on a rocking chair chatting with him.
Weekly schedules were different depending on the student. With the roughly 120 students attending the PreCollege program at Ringling College of Art and Design, students were split up into multiple groups to keep from filling a classroom with 40 or more kids. My schedule consisted of five different classes that covered many different interests in the art and design industry, and two specialized courses that were selected by the students during the sign up process.
- Monday: Figure Study (Traditional Figure drawing)
- Tuesday: 2-D Design (Graphic Design)
- Wednesday: 3-D Workshop (Wire Sculpting)
- Thursday: 4-D Visual Design (Videography)
- Friday: Form and Space (Traditional Still life)
Following these standard classes, we had our immersion classes, or a field trip depending on the day. Monday and Thursday was Visual Development for me, which was a concept design class involving illustrating characters based on prompts given to us every two classes. Tuesday and Friday was 3-D Animation, where the students worked in Autodesk’s 3-D animation software Maya creating 3-D animations. Wednesday was typically the day that the entire program went on a field trip.
How was the work-load?
My parents both warned me that the program would “work my ‘butt’ off”, and while I wasn’t expecting the program to be a breeze, the entire program definitely kept me real busy. Art school isn’t all fun and games, it can really work you to the bone! Some kids had to stay up all night to get their work done, but others were able to manage their time wisely. I applaud those who could manage their time, I found myself struggling here and there, and had to stay up one night to finish a group project. However, the load was not enough to make anyone crack. Everyone in my classes seemed to genuinely enjoy their time there.
All of the teachers were great. I never felt lost in a class because the teachers and the teaching assistants were always on top of things if the students needed help. Not only were the teachers friendly and helpful, but they also had very effective methods of teaching. I felt that the relationship between the students and teachers helped the productivity in class, students and teachers became comfortable with one another very early on.
How was the social climate? Being somewhere new for an entire month can be intimidating.
I can’t speak for all of the students that were at the PreCollege program, but I know that I felt very at home with all of the people at Ringling. Everyone eventually found their group of people to hang around with, and the residence assistants were always willing to be friendly. I found I had a lot in common with some of the R.A.s (residence assistants). I also made the strongest friendships of my life with a few people from the program. The best part about the social element to this program was that everyone at the school is there for something that they’re interested in. That common ground makes it very comfortable for people to find their friends, and I’ve never had closer friends until going to Ringling.
What was the artistic focus like?
The five unconditional classes helped balance the different art forms, even if someone was an avid graphic designer, not only will the designer work in the medium they enjoy but they would be forced to step out of their comfort zone and draw some figures, or make a sculpture. The same can be said for an illustrator that prefers to work with a pencil and paper, they would find themselves working digitally as well as traditionally to get a balance of all sorts of art forms.
Absolutely, for a while I was a little unsure of where I wanted to go for college. While I knew of plenty of art schools that I felt would be a good fit for me, I couldn’t really immerse myself in the environment until I got to my freshman year of college. I think that attending this PreCollege program solidified my goals for college, and I’m certain I would like to attend Ringling College of Art and Design. I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone that can manage attending. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Ringling PreCollege changed my life, and I think it was for the better.
Feel free to comment on the blog and “talk” with dPaul, he is a wealth of information and is willing to continue to share his experience with us. I want to thank him for taking the time to talk with us.