On the subject of learning 3d before applying to Ringling's Computer Animation Major.
Before I considered Ringling I had gone to a very intensive year long 3d certificate program and actually studied under a Ringling Grad (that's where I found out about the school). So when I visited I was told by the admissions guy, Eric Kaster to forget everything I learned in maya because the 3d instructors have a very specific way of teaching and don't want students to develop bad habits. He also went as far as to tell me to not mention in my application any former 3d training, as it wont really help my chances of getting into the program.
On the other hand he did say if you have exceptional 3d skills to include them in your portfolio, and I am talking really awesome stuff. Other than that use the energy and time you would use for learning Maya/Blender etc. to work on beefing up your traditional art skills.