School Spotlight: Ringling College of Art + Design

There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. And while the media tends to focus on just a handful of schools, we at College Coach encourage students to think outside the box during their college selection process and explore a wide range of colleges. As such, we are highlighting a new college each week in our School Spotlight series. Check out the college below, along with the other posts in our series, and you may just stumble upon your dream school!

School Spotlight: Ringling College of Art + Design
Sarasota, Florida

Many students assume they must attend art school in New York City, or maybe Los Angeles or another massive metropolis. But down in Sarasota, Florida (population just under 60,000), is Ringling College of Art + Design, a fully accredited, not-for-profit institute that should convince any prospective art student otherwise. Ringling is based on a studio model of teaching, yet also requires students to take liberal arts courses, all of which are taught by artists and designers. This is an approach Ringling champions because, in their words, “History’s most successful creative works address current social, political, and ideological questions.” These questions are asked via the curriculum Ringling calls, “Liberal Arts for Creatives.”

Alongside this liberal arts curriculum, students can choose from 11 Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees and two Bachelor of Arts degrees. In addition to common art school majors like Fine Arts, Illustration, and Visual Studies, Ringling offers many tech-centric majors, including Computer Animation, Game Art, and Virtual Reality Development. One of the most unique majors you’ll find is Entertainment Design, described as such: “With a focus on the built environment, your artistic and technical skills are applied to project designs for theme park design, museums and exhibitions, concerts, sporting events, expos, hotels and restaurants, retail spaces, and more for an industry expanding worldwide.”

Ringling students have plenty of opportunities to gain skills and experiences to help them land a job post-graduation. And these opportunities start from day one. The First Year Communities program brings students from different majors together into classrooms and studios, where they must collaborate and learn from one another, excellent preparation for creative workplaces, which thrive on group effort. Through Ringling’s Collaboratory, students are challenged to provide design-based solutions to businesses and organizations, either through daylong, immersive workshops or semester-long, detailed campaigns. And a robust career services program has strong relationships with companies like Nickelodeon, Disney, Sony, Apple, Blizzard Entertainment, Pixar, and Riot Games.

If you have any questions about applying or would like to tour the campus, reach out to an Admissions Counselor at or call 941-309-0195.

Image Credit: Top, Courtesy of Ringling College of Art and Design

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Written by Emily Toffelmire
Emily Toffelmire is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Prior to joining College Coach, Emily worked as an admissions officer at University of Southern California as well as a college counselor at high schools in the US and Thailand. Visit our website to learn more about Emily Toffelmire.