Like many institutions dedicated to the liberal arts, Brown encourages its undergraduates to study broadly, to become self-reflective, to engage in community life and to rigorously develop their communication skills. Unlike other American colleges and universities, Brown has no required core curriculum or distribution requirements that students must complete in order to graduate. Students at Brown have unparalleled freedom to shape their own education and to make their college curricula a more thorough reflection of their own interests and aspirations.
Brown’s Open Curriculum is based on three principles. The first is that students ought to take an active role in their education by assuming responsibility for the direction of their learning. Secondly, an undergraduate education is seen as a process of individual and intellectual development, rather than simply a way to transmit a set body of information. Finally, the curriculum should encourage individuality, experimentation, and the integration and synthesis of different disciplines.
The only specific curricular requirements at Brown are that all students must successfully complete at least 30 courses in eight semesters, that every undergraduate must complete at least one concentration program (often called a “major” at other colleges), and that students must be able to demonstrate excellent skill in written English before they graduate.
Brown is located in historic Providence, Rhode Island. Providence is the capital and most populous city of the state of Rhode Island. By train or car, we are about 1 hour south of Boston, MA and about 3 hours north of New York, NY.
Brown's vibrant, diverse community consists of 6,400 undergraduates, 2,000 graduate students and 450 medical students.
Brown University does not offer the option of pursuing a minor.
Yes, housing is guaranteed for all four years that you are at Brown.
All first-year students live in residential "units," which are comprised of 40-60 first-year students and 3-4 peer counselors. The first-year units are staffed by Resident Counselors (RCs), Minority Peer Counselors (MPCs), and Women Peer Counselors (WPCs) who work together to build community within their units and to provide their residents with information about campus resources and opportunities for dialogue around academic, wellness, and diversity topics.
All students are required to live on-campus for their first six semesters, with the exception of Resumed Undergraduate Education students. For more information about Residential Life at Brown, please visit their website.
We read each applicant's file in its entirety. Every component of the application conveys important information, but your accomplishments as a high school student will have the most influence on our admission decision. The process is holistic: we want to see what you have accomplished, as well as evaluate your potential to thrive within the unique offerings of Brown University. Each application will be reviewed by more than one member of our admission committee, and then all decisions will be made collectively by the Board of Admission.
Does Brown show a preference in the admission process for students who have demonstrated interest by visiting, calling and emailing?
Not at all. Contacting the Admission Office is neither a requirement nor an advantage in our admission process. We offer campus tours and information sessions to provide you with the information you need to make an informed college choice, not evaluate you. And we welcome calls and emails for the same reason. Please do not feel compelled to contact us to demonstrate your interest in Brown; we know by the very fact of you applying that you are seriously interested in Brown. The number of times you call or email us will not have and impact on your admission decision.
The most important consideration is your high school performance and preparedness. When it comes to assessing performance, we look beyond your grades to also consider how well you have mastered certain skills associated with learning. We review your teacher recommendations to get a sense of your curiosity, problem-solving abilities, openness to different points of view, ability to express yourself orally and in writing, work ethic, etc. To assess preparedness, we review the depth and breadth of the academic learning you have undertaken thus far. We want to know whether you have taken advantage of the courses available to you in your school, and whether you have challenged yourself in advanced classes, and whether you have stretched yourself with outside-of-school educational opportunities.
Does Brown limit the number of applicants who can be admitted from a school or geographic area in a given year?
No. We view our applicants as individuals and pay no attention to the number of candidates from a single school or area. We know that there are rumors about patterns of admission for an individual school, but the truth is that we never place restrictions on the number of students we might admit from a certain school or geographic location.
We read each applicant's file from cover to cover. Every component of the application conveys important information, but your academic accomplishments as a high school student will have the most influence on our admission decision.
All of our interviews are conducted by a team of alumni volunteers. After you have submitted your Brown Supplement, your name will be forwarded to our volunteers. One of them will contact you directly to set up the interview. Early Decision interviews will be completed by early-December and Regular Decision interviews will be completed by mid-February.
The conversation you will have with a graduate of the University is just one aspect of your Brown application. Our alumni/ae write to us about the strengths they see in candidates based on one relatively brief encounter. Rarely will an interview be the determining factor in an application. We suggest that you view it as an opportunity to learn more about Brown and to further convey your best qualities as a student and person.
We require you to take either:
1) The SAT Reasoning Test (“SAT I”) and any two (2) SAT Subject Tests (“SAT II”); or2) The ACT with the writing component.
Official test results should be sent directly to Brown from either the College Board (SAT) or from the American College Testing Program (ACT). If the scores are recorded on your high school transcript, we will accept the scores provided to us on an official transcript.
We highly recommend that international applicants or students whose first language is not English should take the Test of English as a Foreign language (TOEFL) or the IELTS and arrange for Brown to receive the official results. A TOEFL score of 600 or above on the written exam or 100 or above on the internet-based exam is expected in most cases. If your score on the SAT Critical Reading test is 650 or above, it is not necessary to take the TOEFL.
No. While we do receive many applications from students with high test scores, we consider standardized test results in the context of all the other information we have about a candidate. We find that many of our applicants demonstrate strong academic potential in spite of relatively modest test scores.
We look at your test scores along with other information about your academic promise as we read your complete application. We do not attempt to assess test results in a formulaic way. If you have taken tests more than once, we concentrate on your highest scores. For the three components of the SAT, we focus on your best scores, regardless of the date you took the test. We do not calculate averages, nor do we look at the sum total of the components.
You do not need to rush your test scores. Please have them sent directly to us by the administering body. Please be sure that, before your testing date arrives, that you have selected Brown as one of the colleges to receive your scores.
We accept Score Choice, and will also super score the SAT; we do not super score the ACT.
We automatically focus on your highest test scores and therefore Score Choice is a bit redundant. With Score Choice, it is very important that you have the SAT Critical Reasoning tests and two SAT Subject Tests results available to us when we begin reading completed Early Decision applications in December. You must not wait to see December or January test results before making your score choices.
We will consider test results from the December and January SAT exams as those scores will reach us in time for us to see them before our final decisions are made in late March.
In our experience, the required counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations provide all we need to make a thoughtful, informed admission decision. If, however, someone has unique knowledge of certain strengths or accomplishments that would not be addressed in the required recommendations, you are welcome to have another person write on your behalf. You may submit up to 4 teacher recommendations through the Common Application.
In our experience, the required counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations provide all we need to make a thoughtful, informed admission decision.
If, however, someone has unique knowledge of certain strengths or accomplishments that would not be addressed in the required recommendations, you are welcome to have another person write on your behalf. Please have your recommender send the letter directly to the Office of College Admission, Box 1876, Brown University, Providence RI 02912, or they may be emailed to email@example.com, or faxed to 401-863-9300. Be sure to ask your recommender to include your full name and high school in their letter, so that we can match the letter to your application.
You should include the achievements that make you feel particularly proud or that help to demonstrate your talents and interests. Keep in mind that a judiciously selected sampling may make a stronger impression than an exhaustive list.
For academic awards, please include enough detail so that we will understand the context of your accomplishment. For example, if you have won a poetry contest or placed high in a math competition, let us know in general terms the number of entrants or competitors and whether your award is an individual or a team achievement. You would not need to provide descriptions for common extracurricular recognitions, such as first chair of the orchestra, science club officer, sports team captain, or yearbook editor, but do note your title or role. If the activity or achievement would be less familiar to those outside your community, you may wish to include a brief explanation.