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Brown University Admissions

brown university admissions

Get Into Brown University

About Brown University

Brown University is part of the Ivy League and was founded in 1764, 128 years after Harvard and two years before Dartmouth came to be.  Brown, located in Providence, Rhode Island, was the first college in the United States to accept students regardless of their religion.

The campus is beautifully set in a federally listed architectural district where students are living among Colonial-era buildings and a charming group of restored seventeenth- and eighteenth-century architecture while also having access to downtown Providence with all the coffee shops and great restaurants imaginable.  Brown has been forward thinking about sustainability for years, with active student groups around this issue on campus.

Brown is ranked #14 on the U.S. News and World Report Best College rankings guide.  There are about 6,400 undergraduates at the College of Brown University, 12% are international students. 

Brown’s student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1 and 100% of the faculty teach undergraduates. 69% of Brown’s undergraduate classes have fewer than 20 students. There are about 79 majors available, called “concentrations” at Brown, and if students don’t find something to their liking, they can design a concentration. About 80% of Brown graduates pursue graduate school. 

Brown has two coveted undergraduate-level dual programs:

1.) Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program: This is a collaboration between Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University.  It’s incredibly competitive with a 2 or 3% acceptance rate and only 15-22 students typically accepted from a pool of over 700 applicants.  It’s unique because students may combine disciplines such as philosophy with biology or art history with art and design or even math with architecture.  Brown offers majors or concentrations in the physical and biological sciences, social sciences, mathematics, and the humanities. RISD offers specialized education in all categories of visual media, architecture, and design.

The program is five years in length. Students may receive a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree or, a Bachelor of Science (Sc.B.) from Brown and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree from RISD.  Prospective students have to be accepted to both institutions and then be approved by a separate Brown/RISD Dual Degree admissions committee.

And 2.) Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME): This too is a coveted program with about a 3-4% acceptance rate.  This makes these two programs more difficult than Harvard or Stanford in terms of acceptance.  Typically 90-95 students annually are admitted to PLME. This is an eight-year program leading to both a bachelor’s degree and an M.D. degree from Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.

Applying to Brown

Brown typically accepts about 8-9% of applicants.  If you are interested in Brown and hope to attend, you first want to make sure that you are in the top 10% of your high school class as 97% of accepted freshmen this year held that status. If you are not in the top 10% of your high school class and don’t have a hook of some sort (athletic recruit, legacy, underrepresented minority, parent on the Board) then we’d suggest you rethink your plans if you are a senior.  If you are younger, then focus on your grades above all else!  47% of students identified as “students of color.” This can be misleading however.  Indian and Asian applicants are not considered underrepresented minorities, but they are considered students of color.

Brown offers Early Decision (apply by Nov. 1 and hear back in mid-December) and Regular Decision (apply by Jan. 1 and hear back by late March) rounds of admission. If you choose to apply to Brown under Early Decision, you cannot submit an application to another institution under another Early Decision plan, or a single-choice Early Action plan. If you are admitted under Brown’s Early Decision option, you are required (by Brown) to withdraw all pending applications, including those you may have already submitted to Regular, Rolling, or Early Action programs.

Brown offers an option for alumni interviews conducted by alumni volunteers. After you have submitted your application to Brown, one of them will contact you directly to set up the interview. Early Decision interviews are completed by early-December and Regular Decision interviews are completed by mid-February.

Admissions Wrap Up for Brown University:

Brown made 2,027 offers of admission (out of 29,554 applications received) to the Class of 2021 in the regular round representing an almost 6.9% acceptance rate. Admitted students for the Class of 2021 include these 2,027 students from Brown’s regular decision pool combined with the 695 students offered admission in the early decision program, for a total of 2,722 admitted students. This represents 8.3% of the 32,724 students who applied, the largest applicant pool in the University’s history. Students have been admitted from all 50 states and from 77 countries. Brown accepted 22% of its early decision applicants to the Class of 2021, offering spots to 695 students out of 3,170 applications — the largest number of students ever admitted early decision. Brown accepted 22% of early applicants to the Class of 2020, 20% to the Class of 2019 and 18.9% to the Class of 2018. 

Here are some Common Application main essay first few lines from accepted Brown applications:

  1. Heading to the post-impressionist gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston last summer, an unfamiliar image stopped me in my tracks.
  2. I was running low on water, my back ached and I was losing feeling in my legs, but I rallied myself for the 10th consecutive hour of Orange is the New Black, Season 3.
  3. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the one who asked the tough questions.

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