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How to Get Into Brown University

Brown University, an Ivy League institution, stands tall among the most prestigious educational institutes worldwide. But with greatness comes competition. So, how can prospective students navigate the challenging process of admission to secure a place at this academic giant? This comprehensive guide elucidates all the nuances.

Brown University Acceptance Rate

Historical Trends in Acceptance


In the recent decade, Brown University’s acceptance rate has been in the single digits, reflecting its selective admissions process. A few years ago, the acceptance rate was approximately 8%, but as more students vie for the limited seats, this percentage fluctuates annually.

Comparing with Peer Institutions


When placed against its Ivy League counterparts, Brown’s acceptance rate is similar to schools like Dartmouth and Columbia. However, understanding the nuances of Brown’s specific admission requirements and process can be the key differentiator in a successful application.

Requirements to Get Into Brown

Academic Requirements

Brown University, like other Ivy League institutions, tends to admit students at the pinnacle of their high school class. According to the university’s data from the class of 2024:

Class Rank: Approximately 96% of enrolled students were in the top 10% of their high school class. This indicates that to be competitive, prospective students should aim for an outstanding GPA and strong course rigor throughout high school.

Advanced Placement (AP): A significant number of students, nearly 90%, reported taking AP classes when applicable. This shows that Brown values students who challenge themselves with advanced coursework.

Extracurriculars and Leadership Roles


Beyond academics, Brown values diverse interests and leadership qualities. Active involvement in clubs, sports, or community services, especially in leadership roles, significantly enhances your application.

  • Student Activities: Data suggests that over 80% of admitted students held leadership positions in their extracurricular activities. This could be in areas such as student government, sports teams, debate clubs, or community service projects.
  • Unique Pursuits: Brown appreciates applicants with diverse interests. The 2020 freshman class included published authors, entrepreneurs, and even nationally ranked athletes.

Standardized Test Scores:

Standardized tests have traditionally played a critical role in Brown’s admission process:

  • SAT/ACT Scores: For the class of 2024, the middle 50% SAT score ranged from 1420 to 1550, while the ACT composite score ranged from 33 to 35. Although these scores are not strictly cut-offs, they provide insight into the competitive nature of the applicant pool.
  • Test-Optional Policy: Brown University has implemented a test-optional policy for the classes of 2025 and 2026, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that submitting SAT or ACT scores is optional, but if applicants believe their scores reflect their academic ability, they are encouraged to submit them.

Letters of Recommendation


Strong endorsements from teachers, counselors, or mentors can amplify an applicant’s attributes and potential contributions to the Brown community.

  • Teacher Recommendations: Brown typically requires two teacher recommendations. According to admissions officers, the most effective letters provide a nuanced understanding of how a student contributes to class discussions, collaborates with peers, and handles academic challenges.
  • Counselor Recommendations: These offer a comprehensive view of the student’s academic history, including context about the school’s curriculum and an understanding of the student’s place within their graduating class.

Professional Programs At Brown

Whether you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate aspirant, Brown offers a plethora of professional programs tailored to various academic aspirations.

Undergraduate Professional Programs

At the undergraduate level, Brown has a unique curriculum known as the Open Curriculum, which does not have general education requirements, allowing students the flexibility to craft their academic journey. This approach encourages students to be the architects of their educational experience. While the university does not offer “pre-professional” tracks in the traditional sense, there are several concentrations that align with professional fields:

  • Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations (BEO): This is a multidisciplinary concentration that provides a rigorous foundation in the fields of business, encompassing organizational behavior, entrepreneurship, and technology.
  • Health and Human Biology: Designed for students interested in health-related careers, this program allows students to understand health from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining biology with social sciences.
  • Public Policy: For those inclined towards public service or policy-making, this concentration offers an in-depth understanding of policy analysis, economic reasoning, and more.
  • Environmental Science: This program is for students aiming for careers in environmental policy, conservation, and related fields.

These are just a few examples. Brown’s flexible curriculum enables students to blend courses from various disciplines, making their education truly interdisciplinary and tailored to professional aspirations.

Postgraduate Professional Programs

Brown’s Graduate School offers a range of master’s and doctoral programs. Several of these are geared towards professional advancement:

  • IE Brown Executive MBA: Offered in collaboration with IE Business School, this program is designed for executives aiming to integrate innovative management skills with humanistic perspectives on leadership.
  • Master of Public Affairs (MPA): This 1-year program is for those seeking careers in public service, equipping them with skills in policy analysis, economics, management, and more.
  • Master of Science in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship: Geared towards those seeking to drive innovation in organizations or launch startups, this program covers a range of topics from product development to venture capital.
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity: With the increasing importance of cybersecurity, this program offers interdisciplinary training, encompassing technology, human behavior, and organizational practices.
  • Master of Arts in Teaching: This program is for aspiring educators, aiming to blend theory with hands-on teaching experience.

In addition to these, Brown offers numerous other postgraduate programs, each designed to provide depth in the subject, research opportunities, and a strong foundation for a successful career.

What Does Brown University Look for in Students?

Personal Qualities and Characteristics


While academic prowess is essential, Brown highly values individuality, curiosity, and passion. Demonstrating a unique perspective or a genuine commitment to an interest can make an applicant stand out.

Diversity and Global Outlook


Inclusivity is at Brown’s ethos core. Students with diverse backgrounds, experiences, or global perspectives can add richness to class dynamics.

Intellectual Curiosity and Academic Excellence


Brown’s open curriculum seeks self-directed learners. Showcasing academic hunger and the drive to explore is key.

IE Brown Executive MBA

Brown University, in partnership with IE Business School, offers a distinctive Executive MBA program that synergistically combines Brown’s excellence in the humanities, social, biological, and physical sciences with IE’s demonstrated expertise in global business education. This collaboration between two intellectual powerhouses is designed for senior professionals who aspire to lead in a world of continuous change.

Program Structure and Highlights

  • Duration and Modality: The IE Brown Executive MBA spans 15 months and leverages a blended learning format. This means participants get the best of both online learning experiences and face-to-face sessions, making it convenient for working professionals.
  • Global Perspective: The program integrates diverse global perspectives with sessions held in Providence, Madrid, Cape Town, and other locations, allowing students to understand global business dynamics firsthand.
  • Liberal Arts Meets Business: This program uniquely bridges the gap between a liberal arts perspective and business acumen. It incorporates humanities into the business curriculum, thereby nurturing innovative thinking and a holistic understanding of global challenges.
  • Leadership Development: With a focus on fostering visionary leaders, the curriculum includes leadership labs, team projects, and personal coaching to hone leadership skills.
  • Capstone Project: The program culminates with a strategic consulting project where students apply their learning to solve real-world business challenges.

Admission Requirements and Procedure

Work Experience: Applicants typically have a minimum of 10 years of professional experience, with at least five years in managerial or leadership roles.

Academic Background: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is a must. While an undergraduate focus on business is not mandatory, a robust academic track record is crucial.

GMAT/GRE Scores: While some candidates may be asked to submit GMAT or GRE scores, based on the quality of their application, these tests can sometimes be waived.

Interview: Shortlisted candidates will undergo an interview process, typically with program alumni or admissions directors.

Application Components: Along with the application form, prospective students need to submit a statement of purpose, professional resume, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts.

Language Proficiency: Since the program is conducted in English, non-native speakers might be required to prove their proficiency through exams like the TOEFL or IELTS.

Brown University Application Deadlines

From Early Decision to Regular Decision, Brown offers various application timelines, each with its unique advantages and considerations.

Early Decision Deadlines:
Applying early can convey genuine interest, but it’s a binding commitment. Prospective students should apply by November for this.

Regular Decision Deadlines:
This non-binding option, with a typical January deadline, offers applicants more time but might be comparatively more competitive.

Transfer and Special Program Deadlines:
Brown also provides pathways for transfer students or those eyeing special programs, each with distinct timelines.

Brown University School of Professional Studies

The Brown University School of Professional Studies (SPS) is renowned for offering exceptional academic programs that equip students with the skills required to excel in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Here, we delve deeper into the offerings and distinctive characteristics of the SPS.

Programs Offered

The SPS caters to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, offering a range of programs tailored to meet diverse professional goals:

  1. Undergraduate Degrees: Programs such as Business, Engineering, and Healthcare Leadership allow students to grasp the basics while preparing for the professional world.
  2. Master’s Programs: SPS features master’s programs in areas like Cybersecurity, Data Science, Healthcare Leadership, and Technology Leadership.
  3. Executive and Professional Certificates: For professionals seeking to hone specific skills or gain knowledge in a niche area, the SPS provides certificate programs in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, Nonprofit Leadership, and more.

Distinctive Features vs. Other Schools at Brown

  • Practical Focus: Unlike many traditional academic programs at Brown, SPS emphasizes experiential learning. The courses are structured to blend theory with real-world application.
  • Flexible Learning: SPS caters to working professionals, hence many programs offer part-time options, evening classes, or weekend schedules to accommodate varied needs.
  • Diverse Student Body: With many mid-career professionals enrolling, SPS boasts a diverse student body that enriches discussions with varied perspectives and experiences.
  • Industry Connections: Given its professional emphasis, SPS maintains strong ties with industries, ensuring students have ample opportunities for internships, networking, and post-graduation placements.

Application Process and Requirements

General Application: Prospective students must fill out an online application available on the SPS website.

Transcripts: Official academic transcripts from previously attended institutions are required.

Letters of Recommendation: Depending on the program, one or two recommendations might be needed.

Statement of Purpose: A written essay detailing the candidate’s motivation for joining the program, their career aspirations, and why they believe SPS is the right fit for them.

Resume/CV: A professional resume or CV detailing the applicant’s academic and professional journey is essential.

Test Scores: Some programs might require GMAT, GRE, or other standardized test scores, though there are waivers available for eligible candidates. Remember to aim higher than the average scores.  

Online Course Availability

Brown University’s SPS understands the evolving nature of education and the need for flexibility. Many programs and courses are available online, allowing students from around the world to access Brown’s distinguished faculty and curriculum. These online offerings maintain the same rigorous standards as their on-campus counterparts.

Tuition and Financial Considerations

  • Tuition: While the tuition varies depending on the program, on average, master’s programs at SPS might range from $50,000 to $70,000 for the entire duration.
  • Financial Aid: Brown SPS offers financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loan programs, to eligible students.
  • Payment Plans: Understanding the needs of professional students, SPS provides flexible payment plans, allowing students to spread out the cost over multiple installments.
  • Employer Sponsorship: Given the professional orientation of many programs, some students might be eligible for tuition reimbursement or sponsorship from their employers.

Successfully navigating the maze of Ivy League admissions requires strategic planning, preparation, and genuine passion. With this guide, we hope to offer clarity and direction to aspirants aiming to tread the hallowed halls of Brown University.

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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