Brown University Requirements and Campus guide

School Name: Brown University

School Location: Providence, MA

School Type: Research University / Ivy League

Class of 2025

  • Early Applications: 5,540
  • Early Admitted: 885
  • Early Acceptance Rate: 16%
  • Overall Acceptance Rate: 5.4%

General Info

SAT/ACT Score (Test Optional for 2020 Applicants)

  • Math: 720-790
  • ERW: 700-760
  • ACT: 32-35


  • High Reach


  • Early Decision: November 1
  • Early Results: Mid-December
  • Regular Deadline: January 5
  • Regular Results: End of March

Brown Application Requirements, Admissions Tips, and University Guide:

How do I apply to Brown?

You can apply to Brown through the Common Application. Through the common app, Brown requires a personal statement submission along with three 250-word Brown-specific supplement essays. Brown also has an optional interview program, which you can opt into through the Common Application. This interview allows you to offer insight into you as a person, and while it is not a Brown University requirement, it is a valuable opportunity for you to demonstrate how you can be a wonderful addition to their student body. However, interviews are rarely the determining factor in a student’s admission. If you have any questions and want to speak with someone from Brown about the application process, you can find that contact information here.

Where is Brown?

Brown is located in Providence, Rhode Island. With a population of about 180,000, Providence is the most populous city in Rhode Island, making it a vibrant city to live in, but not so crowded as to be overwhelming (the same can be said about the campus itself). If you ever want to escape the college bubble, it couldn’t be easier: Brown is about one hour south of Boston, about three hours north of New York City, and 30 minutes from the beach by train or car. Even though Providence is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., with eight colleges and universities, it’s home to plenty of young people. While visiting campus is not a Brown admissions requirement, a campus tour can help you figure out whether or not you can make Brown University your home for four years.

What is Brown’s Acceptance Rate?

36,794 hopeful students applied to be a part of Brown’s class of 2024. Brown accepted 2,533 students total, or 6.9%. Brown admitted 800 students early decision out of 4,562 applicants (an all time record) making their early acceptance rate about 17%. Their specialty programs typically have even lower acceptance rates. In 2019, of 694 applicants who applied to the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program, 18 students were admitted (2.59%). 94 out of 2,641 (3.56%) applicants to the Program in liberal Medical Education (PLME) were admitted.

What is Brown University’s Transfer Acceptance Rate?

In the 2019 spring application cycle, 2,130 transfer students applied to Brown, 164 of whom were admitted, or 7.7%. This number fluctuates each year—in 2018, 7.7% of transfer applicants were admitted, whereas 8.3% were admitted in 2017.
Here are some other helpful admission statistics to help you determine your likelihood of admission:

  • SAT EBRW (Middle 50% of Admits): 720-760
  • SAT Math (Middle 50% of Admits): 740-800
  • ACT Composite (Middle 50% of Admits): 32-35
  • Average College GPA of Admits: 3.89

Of course, as with first year admissions, transfer admissions depends on more than simply test scores and GPA. Brown seeks transfer students with a long-term commitment to extracurricular activities and who will contribute a fresh perspective to Brown’s student body.
Over the past four years, Brown has admitted transfer students from 218 community colleges and (fellow Ivy League) universities in the U.S. as well as abroad.

What is the student body like at Brown?

Brown University consists of ~6,700 undergraduate students. Of those students, 53% are female, 47% are male, 69.2% are white, 24% are Asian, 14.2% are Hispanic or Latino, 11.2% are Black, 2.1% are American Indian or Alaskan Native, and 0.6% are Pacific Islander (including those who identify with more than one ethnicity). In terms of Early Decision accepted students in 2020: Brown noted on their website that “44 percent are students of color, defined as those who self-identify as Black, Latinx, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or Asian.” Brown is an incredibly diverse place with students from different backgrounds and cultures.

Additionally, over 900 students participate in community service activities and there are more than 400 student organizations on campus. 60% of students participate in the arts either through a club or by organizing their own projects. Because 74% of students live on campus, and 100% of Freshman live in university housing, Brown is a very tight-knit, connected community. Brown students are also known to be intellectually curious, kind, and happy.

What standardized tests do I need to take to get into Brown?

Brown requires all applicants to submit either the SAT I or ACT, both with or without writing. If you’ve taken the SAT multiple times, Brown will accept score choice, or the ability to super score the scores you send them. For students who took the ACT route, Brown will consider your highest scores from each category when going over your application. They also typically recommend two SAT subject tests, but will not starting with the class of 2025– meaning you can submit them for the 2020-2021 application cycle but will NOT be penalized if you do not submit them. If you are an international student from a non-English speaking country, you will be required to submit either your scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or your International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores.

What is a good SAT Score for Brown University?

Here is what a “good” (aka average) SAT and ACT score for Brown is:

  • SAT English Reading and Writing: 742
  • SAT Math: 770
  • ACT Composite: 34

Those are all pretty impressive scores, but don’t worry if you don’t score that on your first time around. Brown does not calculate averages across multiple tests; they accept Score Choice and will superscore the SAT. For the ACT, they consider the highest scores submitted for each section, but do not calculate a superscored Composite score.

Also know that it is okay if you don’t have a 4.0 or 1600 on the SAT. Brown looks at course load, leadership, and the Common App/writing. Additionally, the website states that “if you have artistic talents, Brown University encourages you to show off your work. You can use SlideRoom (via the Common Application) or submit Vimeo, YouTube, or SoundCloud links with your application materials. Brown will look at up to 15 images of visual art and up to 15 minutes of recorded work.”

What is Open Curriculum at Brown University?

Like many liberal arts colleges, Brown prioritizes a well-rounded education full of opportunities for community engagement, self-reflection, and intellectual growth. However, Brown distinguishes itself from the majority of other colleges in that it accomplishes these goals without forcing students to take university-mandated courses. Brown’s “open curriculum” celebrated its 50th Anniversary just last year, and means no distribution requirements or general education courses will get in the way of you discovering your strengths and passions. The only requirements for graduation are that you complete a minimum of 30 courses in eight semesters, fulfill the requirements for one concentration program (aka major), and demonstrate “excellent skill” in written English by taking designated WRIT courses. Other than that, students at Brown have complete freedom in their learning over their four years.

What special opportunities does Brown have?

Students interested in both Brown and medical school should consider applying to their eight-year Program in Liberal Medical Education. As the only combined baccalaureate and medical degree program in the Ivy League, the PLME guarantees that you can both take advantage of their unique open curriculum and attend a competitive and well-resourced medical school at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. PLME is by no means easy to get into—it has an acceptance rate of 3.9%—but if you want to experience the best of both worlds by enjoying a liberal arts education, and feeling adequately prepared for medical school, it’s certainly worth applying to. To learn more about PLME or other combined BS/MD programs, click here.

Brown also has a program for design-oriented students. Their five-year Brown-Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree Program (BRDD) integrates a liberal arts education with concentrated work in the fine arts. In this program, you’ll complete roughly half of your coursework at Brown and half at RISD, resulting in an A.B. or Sc.B degree from Brown and a BFA degree from RISD. In order to be considered for BRDD, you must apply to both Brown and RISD through the Common App and indicate your interest in the dual degree program. Studying at two esteemed institutions is a great opportunity, but will require lots of hard work and dedication. Take a look at the requirements before you decide if this program is right for you.

Do all students live on campus at Brown?

Housing is guaranteed for all four years that you are at Brown, but, as mentioned earlier, only 74% of students live on campus. All first year students live in residential “units,” with 40-60 other freshmen and 3-4 peer counselors. Additionally, in each first year unit you’ll find Resident Counselors (RCs), Minority Peer Counselors (MPCs), and Women Peer Counselors (WPCs) to ensure you feel a sense of community in your new home. Students are required to live on campus for their first six semesters. By your final year, you’ll have the option of living on campus or moving off campus. For more information about Residential Life at Brown, please visit their website.

What does Brown’s financial aid package like?

Applying to a private university like Brown may raise a major concern: how much will it cost me and/or my family? The total cost of studying at Brown, including estimated personal costs, is $77,490 per year. Luckily, Brown meets 100% of demonstrated financial need, thanks to the Brown Promise. In 2020, 70% of admitted students intend to apply for financial aid.

If you intend to apply for financial aid, you’ll need to do so even before you get admitted; November 1 and February 1st are the deadlines for Early Decision and Regular Decision applicants, respectively. Brown practices need-blind admissions, meaning that they don’t consider your family’s financial circumstances, for all U.S. citizens, permanent U.S. residents, undocumented students, and D.A.C.A students. You can use Brown’s net price calculator to estimate how much Brown would cost for you.

Should I apply to Brown Early Decision?

Early Decision is a binding application, meaning that if you get accepted to Brown, you must withdraw any applications to other schools. In the event that you change your mind about wanting to attend, you’re pretty much out of luck; you can choose not to go to college, but you can’t accept an offer from a different college. While there is a higher admissions rate for the Early Decision round of applications, Brown cites the reason for that as there always being a high proportion of exceptionally accomplished students in this applicant pool. You should only apply ED to Brown if it is your top choice, and if you don’t want to apply to any Restricted Early Action programs at schools like Harvard or Stanford. Additionally, if you plan on applying early, you should make sure you have test scores you’re happy with by the October test date. You may submit scores from the November test date, but Brown cannot guarantee that they will receive those scores in time to consider them.

What can I study at Brown?

This question is difficult to answer, because Brown offers over 80 concentrations and 1,800 undergraduate courses. With so many concentrations, it might be difficult for you to narrow down your options. However, Brown is all about being curious and exploring your interest. Brown also allows students to double concentrate, as long as you can meet the requirements for both concentrations within eight-semesters. With an open curriculum, you can easily design your course plan so that you get specialized knowledge in subjects aside from your concentration. Brown does not specifically offer pre-law, pre-med or pre-business concentrations; however, many students go on to successful careers in law, medicine or business. There are also a ton of graduate programs offered for after undergrad.
What other resources are offered at Brown? (Here’s our top 5 to look into)

  1. Over 400 student organizations
  2. Study abroad programs
  3. Research opportunities
  4. Incredible Professors and small student-teacher ratio of 6:1
  5. Centers and Institutes