How to Get Into Brown: Tips and Strategies for Aspiring Students

27/12/202317 minute read
How to Get Into Brown: Tips and Strategies for Aspiring Students

With a highly competitive admissions process, getting into Brown can seem difficult for many aspiring students. But with the right approach and a strong application, it’s possible to increase your chances of getting accepted into this renowned university.

In this blog, we’ll shed light on just how hard it is to get into Brown, as well as provide expert tips on how to maximize your chances to get into Brown.


The admissions process at Brown University is highly selective, with only only those with exceptional academic achievements and well-rounded profiles granted admission.

This means that it’s essential to carefully prepare your application and demonstrate your strengths and potential as a student.

How Hard Is It To Get Into Brown?

Acceptance into Brown is quiet competitive. Like most Ivy League universities, Brown receives a large amount of applications and has especially low acceptance rates. The university accepted just 5.1% of applicants into the Class of 2027!

Brown Acceptance Rates For The Last Five Years

Brown's overall acceptance rate for the Class of 2027 was just 5.1%. With an average of just 6.18% over the last five years, Brown is one of the most competitive schools in the world.

Brown was test-optional for the 2022-2023 application cycle, likely contributing to record-high application numbers and record-low acceptance rates.

Brown Admission Statistics
Total ApplicantsAccepted StudentsAcceptance Rate
Class of 202751,3022,6095.1%
Class of 202650,6492,5575.0%
Class of 202546,5682,5375.4%
Class of 202436,7942,5336.9%
Class of 202338,6742,5516.6%
Class of 202235,4382,5667.0%

What is Brown Looking For?

Since Brown offers a unique curriculum and a distinctive undergraduate experience, the university tends to attract students with unique views, experiences, and perspectives. Brown undergraduates thrive in the Open Curriculum model and believe schools can be both flexible and rigorous.

1. Intellectual curiosity

Brown is known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education. To get into brown, you’ll need to be intellectually curious, open-minded, and eager to explore new ideas and perspectives.

Demonstrate your intellectual curiosity, highlight any research projects, independent studies, or intellectual pursuits that you have pursued outside of the classroom. Show how you have taken the initiative to explore your interests and push the boundaries of your academic pursuits.

2. Academic excellence

While Brown values intellectual curiosity, it also places a strong emphasis on academic excellence. The university is looking for students who have demonstrated a strong academic record, particularly in challenging courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes.

Besides that, Brown values students who have excelled in areas that align with their intended major or academic interests. Make sure to showcase your academic achievements, and highlight any unique or challenging academic experiences that you have had.

College acceptance calculator

3. Community engagement

Brown values students who are committed to making a positive impact in their communities. The university is looking for students who have demonstrated a willingness to engage with others and make a difference through service, activism, or leadership.

To showcase your community engagement, highlight any extracurricular activities or volunteer experiences that you have had, particularly those that align with your intended major or academic interests.

4. Resilience and adaptability

Brown is a rigorous academic institution, and the university is looking for students who have demonstrated resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges.

To showcase your resilience and adaptability, highlight any obstacles you have faced in your academic or personal life and demonstrate how you overcame them. Show that you are able to learn from your experiences and adapt to new situations and challenges.

A Day in the Life: Brown University Student

How To Get Into Brown

The Brown admissions team doesn't look for students who fit specific criteria. They look for students with unique talents and accomplishments. They want to admit students with energy and curiosity, especially those with fresh perspectives on the world around them.

Brown only accepts The Common Application, and all students must apply through this application.

Students must include the following sections within the Common Application:

  • General information related to all schools to which you are applying
  • Brown University-specific questions
  • Forms submitted by your school counselor and academic instructors

Us Application Ebook Banner

1. Achieve a High GPA

Brown doesn't specify a minimum GPA, but most accepted students rank at the top of their high school graduating class - about 95% of admitted students are in the top 10% of their graduating class.

While grades are only one part of the application, they are still important. Admissions officers want to see students take challenging courses that enhance their educational journey, and they also want to see students commit to their coursework and learning experiences.

In general, a Brown student's average high school GPA is about 4.1. To get this GPA, you’ll need nearly straight A's. You should also take AP or IB classes to show that you can challenge yourself beyond the average requirements. If you weren’t able get these grades, you should consider taking the SAT or ACT to help compensate for the grades.

2. Submit Your SAT/ACT Scores

The SAT and ACTs are still test-optional as of the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. The test-optional policy gets updated regularly, so check the website for updates. Brown emphasizes that students who do not submit test scores will not be disadvantaged during the admissions process.

The admissions team takes a holistic approach when reviewing applications, and they look at all parts of the application, including grades, academic rigor, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and essays. With that being said, submitting your test scores can help your application stand out.

While Brown doesn't have a minimum SAT requirements, a Brown student's average SAT score is about 1485.

Similarly, Brown doesn't specify an ACT minimum, but most applicants score between 33 and 35 on their ACT.

College acceptance calculator

3. Write Your Personal Essay and Supplemental Essays

To apply to Brown, students must complete the personal essay found in the Common Application.

Brown also requires applicants to complete supplemental essay questions.

Here are Brown’s supplemental essay questions:

  • Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue them while also embracing topics with which you are unfamiliar. (200-250 words)
  • Brown’s culture fosters a community in which students challenge the ideas of others and have their ideas challenged in return, promoting a deeper and clearer understanding of the complex issues confronting society. This active engagement in dialogue is as present outside the classroom as it is in academic spaces. Tell us about a time you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. How did you respond? (200-250 words)
  • Brown students care deeply about their work and the world around them. Students find contentment, satisfaction, and meaning in daily interactions and major discoveries. Whether big or small, mundane or spectacular, tell us about something that brings you joy. (200-250 words)

The Essay That Got Me Into Brown University

4. Participate in Extracurricular Activities

Passion and dedication reign at Brown. You'll likely fit into the Brown community if you're passionate about a particular subject or career area. When applying to Brown, your extracurriculars should align with your passion. If you join a club only because you want to add it to your extracurriculars list, Brown admissions will see right through that. Brown cares more about the quality of your involvement than the number of activities.

If you already know the career path you hope to take, try choosing extracurriculars that fit into that. For example, consider volunteering at an animal shelter if you want to become a veterinarian. Suppose you're interested in media. Consider interning at your local news station. If you connect your passions with your career path, Brown admissions will not only see your dedication to a particular activity, but they will also see your thoughtful approach to choosing extracurriculars in the areas you love.

Brown also likes to see you take leadership roles in your extracurriculars. You don't have to be the organization's president to show leadership. Leading an initiative or fundraiser for the group also shows leadership. If your high school or community doesn't offer a club or organization specific to your passions, start one! Taking the initiative is another form of leadership.

How to Build an Extracurricular Profile for US Uni's

3 Proven Tips On How To Increase Your Chances Of Getting Into Brown

1. Apply Early

Brown offers an Early Decision application plan.

Simply put, fewer students apply early. Statistically speaking, if you apply early, you have a higher chance of acceptance. But, you should only apply early to Brown if it's your first-choice school, as you must commit to attending Brown if you're admitted.

The early application acceptance rate for Brown for Class 2028 was 13%, compared to the regular decision acceptance rate of 3.9%.

Applying early means having your application ready to roll by the November 1st deadline. Ensure your essays are polished, your recommendations are in order, and all necessary documents are submitted. It's not just about being early; it's about being well-prepared.

2. Embrace Your Uniqueness

Brown University thrives on individuality, and the admission committee is eager to get to know the real you. Beyond the numbers, your story matters. Make your application a canvas that paints a vivid picture of who you are.

Your personal statement isn't just a formality—it's your chance to narrate your journey. Share the experiences that define you, the challenges you've conquered, and the lessons you've learned. Authenticity resonates with admissions officers.

Brown's distinctive Open Curriculum encourages exploration. Showcase your genuine interests, whether it's unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos, crafting poetry, or exploring the depths of marine life. Let your passions be the guiding stars of your application.

3. Learn Everything You Can About The Open Curriculum

Brown's Open Curriculum is unique to the school, and no other Ivy League offers anything like it.

Show your excitement by learning about its history, unique opportunities, challenges, and how you hope to navigate the ambiguity of life at Brown. Talk to students and alumni about their experience with the Open Curriculum and how they benefitted from the freedom to build their own career paths.

By researching the school and its unique qualities, you'll show admissions officers how much you love the school and how well you'll fit into the community.

How I Got Into Brown University

Applying to Brown As An International Student

About 15% of Brown students come from abroad. If you're applying as an international student, you'll use the same application as US students and indicate your citizenship status according to the passport you plan to use when entering the US.

Although Brown doesn't require an English proficiency examination for admission, you must be able to understand English in the classroom, express your thoughts quickly and clearly in spoken and written English, and read English easily.

Brown recommends all international students take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo exams.

Brown Overview

Brown University is a private Ivy League university based in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1764, Brown is a leading research university known for its innovative educational philosophy and undergraduate Open Curriculum.

Established in 1764 with the granting of the Charter by the Rhode Island General Assembly, it was officially named Brown University in 1804 after the son of a merchant and the college co-founder Nicholas Brown, Sr.

Brown offers undergraduate students an Open Curriculum, enabling them to build a personalized and challenging degree centered around what they love. Students establish their own goals while exploring academic areas that interest them.

Brown’s Open Curriculum

Brown doesn't offer majors. Instead, students choose from 80+ concentrations. They are required to take courses within their desired concentration but also have the freedom to select classes outside the concentration as well. All of the concentration paths lead to either a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts degree.

Brown's Open Curriculum allows students to develop a personalized curriculum, giving them the freedom to study what they know they already love while discovering new paths and journeys.

Brown undergraduates also have a unique grading system. Students can take a course for a letter grade (A, B, or C) or choose a Satisfactory (S)/No Credit scale. Professors don't record failing grades, and students do not receive grade point averages either.

This unique system allows students the freedom to take classes that might typically be outside their concentration ("academic risks") without the pressure to make a specific grade in the course.

Is Brown Right For You?

Brown is full of curious, intellectual, and free spirits, and students are as diverse as the Open Curriculum. Students who attend Brown are accomplished and passionate about their interests and celebrate each other's interests. Brown students don't fit a mold. Instead, they prefer to follow their own paths and expand their perspectives.

The students who do best at Brown are self-directed and not overly concerned about competing with each other. They understand everyone is on an educational journey, and they respect each other's journeys.

If this sounds like you, then you should definitely apply to Brown. But remember, only a small percentage of applicants get into Brown. Don't be discouraged if you don't get accepted. Some of the world's most brilliant and talented students do not get into this Ivy League school. Consider another school in the Ivy League or one of the top schools in the University of California system.

Make sure you have a solid list of safety, target, and reach schools that fit your academic and career objectives.

Maximize your chances of admission and submit a perfect application to Brown with the help of our expert strategists. Book a free consultation with our experienced counselors who can provide you with personalized advice and support.

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