Admission to Brown University

Brown Admission, Brown University Admissions, Getting Into Brown

Admission to Brown University has changed over the years as the university seeks to distinguish itself into a high-powered research university. For Brown, the “college-university” model is out (photo credit: Ad Meskens).

There’s a great piece today in the “Brown Daily Herald” about admission to Brown University and the university’s quest to distance itself from being a “university-college” in order to be known globally as a major research university. In the 1940’s, former Brown president Henry Wriston sought to distinguish Brown as a “university-college” and by that he wanted a large research university that valued the liberal arts education and great teaching. But now, Dean of Admission Jim Miller says that he sees Brown and that most applicants view Brown as a “high-powered research university” rather than a “university-college.”

Outgoing Brown president Ruth Simmons stressed that this by no means indicates that the university recruits professors who lack an interest in teaching. In fact, she insists that the university weeds those job candidates out. While they may be trying to create a high-powered research university, undergraduate teaching is still a high priority, according to Simmons. But if they didn’t change from the “university-college” model, she thinks they might no longer be on the map. The article on admission to Brown University cites evidence that 80% of applicants who declined Brown’s offers of admission in 2010 chose instead to attend another Ivy League school like a Princeton or a Harvard. By and large, they’re not choosing small liberal arts colleges if they don’t go with Brown.

On a global scale, in China, people have historically known Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and UC Berkeley, according to a Brown dean of continuing education. But now, she says, people are starting to know Brown and it’s because the university has changed its course. According to the “Brown Daily Herald,” ‘”We used to talk about local and global, but it’s pretty clear today that they are virtually one and the same,’ Simmons said. ‘So it’s imperative that Brown have a place in the international sphere, to be seen as an institution that is important globally.'”

While you’re here, check out this post on Brown University Admissions. And let us know your thoughts on the changes at Brown over the years by posting below!


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