Brown University Admissions
We all know the Brown University stereotypes: a hippie-dippie student body who spend their days writing poetry while picnicking under trees, a curriculum without core requirements allowing students to mold their studies to their liking, and the intersection of liberal activism and Ivy League esteem. If this sounds like heaven to you, we have good news: this is not really an exaggeration. As the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, Brown has been forging this legacy of humanities and justice-driven scholarship for centuries. Its student body contains 3,300 postgraduates and 7,100 undergraduates, and Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen, political commentator Chris Hayes, and actress Emma Watson all count themselves as alumni.
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of undergraduate academics at Brown is the “Open Curriculum,” which was put into place in 1969 in order to expand intellectual freedom and agency for college students. No shared coursework is required, but according to Brown’s website, “most undergraduates sample courses in a range of subjects before diving into one of 80-plus academic concentrations for in-depth, focused study.” While some may interpret the freedom inherent to the Open Curriculum as lacking in rigor, most students agree that it encourages them to break away from their comfort zones and explore their true passions.
One of the most competitive undergraduate programs in the country is the Brown-Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) dual-degree program, which received 916 applications to the Class of 2027 for 20 spots, for a 2% acceptance rate that gives the likes of Harvard and Yale a run for their money! Fortunately for the rest of Brown, students are encouraged to cross-register at RISD in order to take advantage of the resources of the nearby world-renowned arts school. The two adjacent campuses make Providence’s historic College Hill neighborhood bustling with public art, museums, and nightlife opportunities, in addition to it being the site of one of the largest concentrations of colonial architecture in America.
Founded in 1764, Brown University was the first university in the United States to codify in its charter that religious affiliation would have no bearing on admissions, even though the fledgling university maintained ties to the Baptist Church. It was named after its first benefactors, the Brown family of Providence. Their economic ties to the Atlantic slave trade were detailed in 2003 by the “Slavery and Justice” report commissioned by then President Ruth Simmons, the first African American president of an Ivy League school. Brown has since been at the forefront of contending with its own history, setting the tone for the rest of the Ivy League.
Student life on campus is anchored by affinity and extracurricular organizations, such as publications like The Brown Daily Herald andThe Brown Spectator, Ivy Film Festival (the world’s largest student-run film festival), and a cappella groups like The Jabberwocks and The Brown Derbies. Greek life draws only around 12% of the student body, but many others opt to be housed in “program houses,” which are residences organized around shared academic disciplines or cultural affinities. These houses select new members to join at the start of each spring semester. Additionally, Brown sponsors 32 varsity intercollegiate teams, making it one of the biggest university sports programs in the U.S.
Despite (or perhaps because of) Brown’s reputation for free-spirited self-discovery, admission is incredibly competitive. Even though in previous years Brown was one of the easier Ivies to get into (in relative terms!), the university has followed the recent trend of dwindling acceptance rates across all Ivies. For the Class of 2027, Brown received 51,302 applications, and accepted 2,609, for a 5.08% acceptance rate comparable to Columbia and Princeton. The admissions process is test-optional and has pioneered a video introduction component in place of traditional alumni interviews. This changing admissions landscape has increased the importance of supplemental writing, essays, and holistic criteria. Luckily for you, Ivy Coach is here to help you convey that you’re the whole package!
Brown University Admissions Statistics
|Brown University||Overall Accept. Rate||Regular Decision Accept. Rate||Regular Decision Apps Accepted||Regular Decision Apps Received||Early Decision / Action Accept. Rate||Percent of Class Filled by Early Apps||Early Decision / Action Apps Received||Early Decision / Action Apps Accepted||Expected Number of Students to Enroll||Total Apps Received||Total Apps Accepted|
n/a* = not applicable since an EA policy was in place