I've heard CalArts looks for gestural type figure drawings and contemporary stuff as well as realistic. It has a great reputation with the cg industry and has plenty of connections. Not sure what they stress in their program however. The Experimental Amination program is self explanatory, but I'm not sure about the Character Animation one. I believe they do lots and lots of 2d animation before moving on to 3d animation.
As for Ringling, that's odd that they would say that they could all get in. Although I'd have to see their work. Maybe they were good or had something that interested the interviewers. I've heard that they can be brutal, telling people how bad they were and making them cry and such. Not sure about that...when I talked to one of their representatives, they were nice and gave me a helpful critique. I remember them saying that I had a good chance, but that I had to render out my drawings more fully. Ringling also has great connections to the industry and has a great rep too. They emphasize story and strong fundamentals in all aspects of art and animation. You won't even get near a computer until your 2nd year. That first year is all about drawing fundamentals and a bit of animation. They like to see strong drawing skills in the portfolio, most importantly though is your ability to render something to its fullest. Make it look academically polished. Oh, and RSAD is NASAD accredited so they should be able to transfer no prob...
VFS also has a pretty good rep. But, their program is accelerated. So it's wihtout a doubt, an intensive workout. From what my brother says though, Vancouver is basically "a city without people". The whole time, he was wondering where all the people were. I'm sure he was exaggerating though I've seen some of the work of their graduates and they are impressive. Downside though is, it's a certificate program and may hurt your chances should you ever decide to be a teacher or want to work overseas.
And I've never heard of Ex'pressions so I can't help ya there .
Check out the student work, teacher credentials, and stuff like that. That's probably the best way to gauge a school's worthiness. Try not to trust those job placement stats the admissions dept. gives you. Many schools have been known to artificially inflate that number far beyond the actual number of people in the industry.
PS...post some of your work sometime
"So now we have modeled something that will get us nowhere in life"