During July, I had the opportunity to visit four Rhode Island colleges: Providence College, Rhode Island School of Design (Providence), Bryant University (Smithfield) and Salve Regina University (Newport). In addition to taking a tour of each campus, I was able to speak to Admissions Representatives and students.
Providence College has a beautifully landscaped campus, and is located on the outskirts of a vibrant downtown Providence. A Liberal Arts Dominican Catholic College, with about 3,850 undergrads, I liked its friendly and warm atmosphere.
One distinctive program at PC is an unusual major in Public and Community Service Studies. Courses are open to all, and each require two to four weekly hours of community service. Students who major in this program do a range of service work such as direct service, community development, community organizing and public policy. Another interesting program is its major in Theater, Dance and Film, preparing students to become theater artists. PC is also known for its Pre-Med and Biology programs.
Rhode Island School of Design (often referred to as “RIS-D”) is located in historic East Providence, and is in walking distance to downtown. Founded in 1877 it is among the world’s most regarded colleges of art and design. It has a diverse student population, committed to their endeavors and future careers.
Nineteen majors are offered undergraduates, of which there are approximately 2,000, and many programs are studio based. Some of their offerings include Architecture (including Landscape Architecture), Ceramics, Illustration, Furniture Design, Apparel Design, and Film.
I was impressed with the RISD Museum that students have access to. There are over 85,000 works of art from around the world. RISD also has a unique Nature Lab with a collection of more than 80,000 live specimens and natural history objects, connecting research in art, science and other fields.
Bryant University is located in a rural area of Smithfield, but is only a few miles from numerous restaurants and shops, as well as only a ten-minute drive to Providence. There are about 3,200 undergrads. One program I found unique is their nationally known First-Year Gateway experience for all incoming Freshmen. This is an interdisciplinary program which explores global foundations in leadership, organizations, and business.
I found the Bryant students and staff to quite welcoming. The University offers majors in Liberal Arts as well as in Business School, which is their most recognized and pursued major. Bryant is known as a leader in International Education, and is presently ranked twenty-first in the nation for student participation in Study Abroad programs during Junior and Senior years.
Salve Regina College, with about 1,950 undergraduates, is located on a beautiful campus in historic Newport. It has a campus set around seven estates from the Gilded Age. Many of their other buildings include those from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
It is bordered by the Cliff Walk, visible from campus, and accessible to students. I found the beautiful ocean views both soothing and breathtaking. Downtown Newport is also available and in walking distance.
A Catholic coed college of Liberal Arts, Salve offers a well known program in Criminal and Justice Studies, Law Enforcement, Nursing as well as a newer program in Business and Economics. Students here are engaging and friendly. Class size is small, and students are able to easily communicate with faculty and staff.