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On the subject of learning the program before you get in: The teachers recommend against it. It can make you learn bad habits that they will have you make you unlearn when you could just start from scratch. Most people come in with little or no experience. I had none, and I'm doing just fine. They do prefer to teach you the program though so they can mold you into the kind of student a professional would want, it's what Ringling is known for.