How to Write the Brown Supplemental Essay

Brown requires three supplemental essays. If you are applying to PLME or BRDD, you must additionally answer their program-specific questions. Here’s a guide to answering the general supplemental essays:

Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it. (250 words)

The first step to answering this question is researching Brown’s Open Curriculum. This is essentially a policy that the university enforces so that students have the freedom to study anything they are interested in without worrying about completing general education requirements. Once you understand the Open Curriculum and Brown’s philosophy behind it, you should describe a passion or passions that you want to explore at Brown. Look for courses relating to that topic in Brown’s course catalogue and mention them in your essay. Include professors and any types of research as well. Feel free to mention where your curiosity for that topic comes from and how learning about it at Brown specifically will help your intellectual and personal development. Ultimately, Brown wants to see how intellectually curious you are and the ways you plan to take ownership of your learning.


At Brown, you will learn as much from your peers outside the classroom as in academic spaces. How will you contribute to the Brown community? (250 words)

Like the first question, this question requires a bit of research. Look into Brown’s mission statement to learn more about their values and how they overlap with yours. You’ll want to make this essay as specific to Brown as possible while also adding unique insight into your personality. Remember that Brown is less competitive of an environment than other schools and is more about collaboration and learning for learning’s sake so speak to how you’ll proactively learn and grow outside the classroom as well. What clubs and student organizations will you join? Who will you interact with? How will you engage with the Brown community? Ultimately Brown wants to admit highly motivated and enthusiastic students who think, share, engage and achieve with others successfully.


Tell us about a place or community you call home. How has it shaped your perspective? (250 words)

Feel free to define community in whatever way you choose for this question. Community can mean a cultural, geographic, ethnic, or religious community, or it can mean a community that’s less traditional — perhaps the orchids at the florists’ where you work or the patients at the hospital where you volunteer. A creative approach to this question would pique the admissions officers’ interest by sharing an experience that is very personal and unique to you. Focus on how you fit into this community, how it has shaped you into the person you are, and how you have impacted the community. Think outside the box and talk about how this community allowed you to grow, think, and learn more about others as well as yourself. Consider concluding with how you’ll take your newfound sense of home/community into the community at Brown.