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How To Get Into Brown University: Comprehensive Guide

Embarking on the journey to gain admission to Brown University, an Ivy League institution renowned for its distinctive Open Curriculum and vibrant academic community, is both exhilarating and challenging. 

Situated in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island, Brown stands out for its commitment to fostering independent thought and interdisciplinary learning. This comprehensive guide is designed to navigate you through the intricacies of Brown’s admission process. 

From understanding the critical aspects of academic performance and extracurricular depth to mastering the art of personal essays and interviews, we’ll delve into what it takes to transform your application into a standout submission for this prestigious university.

Understanding Brown’s Distinctiveness:

Brown stands out for its Open Curriculum, which allows students unprecedented freedom in shaping their educational journey. This flexibility encourages interdisciplinary exploration and fosters a culture of intellectual curiosity and self-driven learning. 

Applicants should understand and embrace this ethos, demonstrating how their individual academic interests align with Brown’s unique approach.

Admission Statistics and What They Mean:

Admission Statistics and What They Mean:

Gaining admission to Brown is highly competitive. With an acceptance rate hovering around 5%, Brown seeks students who not only excel academically but also exhibit intellectual curiosity, creativity, and a strong sense of self-direction. 

For instance, in recent years, 95% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their high school class, highlighting the importance of academic excellence.

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Key Components of the Brown Application:

Academic Performance:

Excelling in high school is pivotal for Brown University applicants. Aim for a high GPA, ideally in the top 10% of your class, as Brown’s admitted students often come from this bracket. Embrace challenging coursework such as AP, IB, or honors classes, showcasing your ability to handle a rigorous academic load. 

Brown appreciates applicants who consistently perform well in a demanding educational environment, reflecting their readiness for the university’s academic challenges. Strong academic performance is a testament to your intellectual curiosity and dedication, key traits valued by Brown.

Standardized Tests:

While Brown University has adopted a test-optional policy, submitting SAT or ACT scores can still be beneficial. Historically, the middle 50% of admitted students score between 1480-1560 on the SAT and 33-35 on the ACT. If your scores fall within or above these ranges, they can significantly bolster your application. 

However, if your scores are not as strong, focus on other application aspects, as Brown evaluates applicants holistically. Remember, your scores are just one part of your application and not a definitive factor in Brown’s admission decisions.

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Extracurricular Activities:

Brown University prioritizes depth and commitment in extracurricular activities. They seek students who engage passionately in a few areas, demonstrating leadership, innovation, and sustained involvement. Your extracurriculars should reflect your genuine interests and showcase your ability to contribute meaningfully to your community. 

Leadership roles, significant achievements, and unique projects in these activities can set you apart. Brown looks for how these experiences shape your character and align with your aspirations, emphasizing the quality of engagement over the quantity of activities.


Essays are a critical component of your application to Brown, offering a platform to express your individuality and how you align with the university’s values. Authenticity is key; write about your true intellectual interests, personal growth, and genuine joy. Reflect on how your experiences tie into Brown’s Open Curriculum and liberal arts philosophy. 

Your essays should articulate your unique perspective, showcasing how your experiences and insights would contribute to the Brown community. Invest time in crafting thoughtful, reflective essays that resonate with your personality and academic goals.


Letters of recommendation are vital, providing insight into your academic and personal qualities. Choose teachers and counselors who know you well and can speak to your strengths, character, and potential. 

Brown values recommendations that reflect your classroom contributions, intellectual curiosity, and personal growth. These letters should not just recapitulate your achievements but offer a deeper understanding of your character and how you engage with your learning community. 

Thoughtfully consider whom to ask for recommendations, ensuring they can provide detailed, supportive insights into your abilities and character.

Interviews and Video Submissions:

While interviews are not typically part of Brown’s admissions process, the optional two-minute video introduction offers a unique opportunity to present yourself beyond the written application. 

Use this video to highlight your personality, passions, and interest in Brown. Be authentic and creative, showing aspects of your character that might not be evident in other parts of your application. 

This is your chance to make a personal connection with the admissions committee, demonstrating why you are a great fit for Brown’s vibrant and intellectually curious community.

Strategic Application Tips:

To Get Into Brown University

Early Decision:

Applying Early Decision (ED) to Brown University is a strategic move if it’s your top choice. This binding agreement signals a strong commitment to the university, potentially giving you a slight edge in the admissions process. For instance, Brown’s ED acceptance rate has historically been higher than Regular Decision. 

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However, it’s crucial to consider this decision carefully, as it means you agree to attend Brown if accepted, foregoing other college options. Ensure that Brown is undoubtedly your first choice and that you have thoroughly considered financial and academic factors before committing to ED.

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Personal Narrative:

Crafting a compelling personal narrative is essential in your Brown University application. This narrative should seamlessly connect your academic pursuits, extracurricular activities, and personal experiences, reflecting your identity and aspirations. 

It’s about telling your story in a way that highlights your unique perspective and how it aligns with Brown’s culture and values. Your narrative should illustrate how your interests have evolved, your accomplishments, and how these experiences have shaped you. 

A well-articulated personal narrative helps the admissions committee understand who you are beyond grades and test scores, showcasing your potential contribution to the Brown community.

Research and Specificity:

In your application to Brown University, specificity and thorough research are key. Go beyond general statements about the university; instead, delve into specific programs, courses, and opportunities that align with your academic and career goals. 

Discuss how particular aspects of Brown’s curriculum, such as the Open Curriculum or specific research opportunities, resonate with your interests. 

Showcasing your knowledge about Brown and how its unique offerings connect to your aspirations demonstrates not only your genuine interest in the university but also your readiness to take full advantage of the opportunities available at Brown.

The Worth of Brown University:

Brown University, an esteemed member of the Ivy League, holds significant worth for students seeking an exceptional education with a unique approach. Known for its Open Curriculum, Brown offers unparalleled academic freedom, encouraging students to explore various disciplines and tailor their education to their interests. 

This fosters a culture of intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and innovation. Beyond academics, Brown’s diverse community, extensive research opportunities, and strong alumni network offer invaluable resources and connections. 

Graduates often excel in varied fields, carrying forward the university’s reputation for producing well-rounded, versatile individuals. The worth of a Brown education extends far beyond the classroom, shaping successful and impactful careers.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it hard to get into Brown University?

Yes, it is quite challenging to gain admission to Brown University. As one of the Ivy League schools, Brown is known for its highly competitive admissions process. The acceptance rate hovers around 5%, indicating that only a small fraction of applicants are admitted each year. 

This low acceptance rate reflects the high standards and rigorous selection criteria that Brown employs to choose its student body.

2. What GPA do you need to get into Brown University?

While Brown University does not have a specified minimum GPA for admission, the academic standards are extremely high. Most admitted students are in the top 10% of their high school class, with many maintaining near-perfect GPAs. Typically, a GPA of 3.9 to 4.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is considered competitive. 

However, Brown adopts a holistic admissions process, so a slightly lower GPA may be offset by strengths in other areas of your application.

3. What kind of student goes to Brown?

Brown University attracts intellectually curious, self-driven, and highly motivated students. The typical Brown student thrives in a flexible academic environment, like the one provided by Brown’s Open Curriculum. 

These students are often passionate about their interests, whether academic or extracurricular, and are eager to explore subjects in depth. They are innovative, creative thinkers who value diversity and inclusivity, and they often seek to engage actively in their communities and the world at large.

4. What kind of students does Brown look for?

Brown University looks for students who demonstrate academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, and a strong character. Brown values applicants who show a passion for learning, a willingness to challenge themselves, and the ability to think critically and creatively. 

The university seeks students who will contribute positively to the campus community and who have the potential to make significant contributions in their future careers. Leadership qualities, community involvement, and a diverse range of interests and experiences are also highly regarded in the admissions process.


Applying to Brown requires a strategic approach that balances academic excellence with a deep understanding of the university’s unique educational philosophy. Showcase your intellectual curiosity, commitment to personal growth, and alignment with Brown’s ethos through every component of your application. 

Remember, authenticity and self-awareness are key in making your application stand out in a highly competitive pool.

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