RISD is my dream school, but unfortunately, my chances aren't looking too good due to my grades. What type of essay or things in my portfolio could increase my chances of getting in?
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What grade are you in right now?
I would recommend you applying to their precollege program as it is a great way to show your interest in them, and it will make you to stand out a bit more.
One thing you can do is get on RISD's contact list: https://www.risd.edu/admissions/first-year/request-more-information
Through this, you will receive detailed information about the programs at RISD as well as the application requirements.
RISD is holding an informational session for providing portfolio tips on Nov 22 7:00 - 8:00 a.m. EST:
Since you're in 9th grade, it's too early to conclude that you won't get in due to your grades. It's just the beginning of high school, so there's a lot of scope for improvement. When you'll apply, the most recent grades (11th grade) will matter more than your 9th grade grades.
Here's some data regarding the previously admitted classes:
It should give you a good idea about where you need to be in the next few years.
Essays can be a deciding factor between (seemingly) equally qualified applicants, but you don't need to be worrying about them right now. The essay prompts for RISD might change (not likely) by the time you apply, so there's no point in stressing about those yet.
Although the CollegeVine chancing simulator won't give you a numerical chances of acceptance, if you fill out your academic and extracurricular profile, it will give you a qualitative idea about how good your stats are. Keep filling out the profile as you move through high school (you probably won't have much to put on for now).
Hope this helps!
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