How to Get Into Brown University: All You Need to Know

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

How to Get Into Brown: All You Need to Know

As a leading research university and a member of the Ivy League, it’s easy to see why many students have their sights set on Brown University. The school has plenty of top-tier programs, in addition to a dual degree program with neighboring Rhode Island School of Design.

Since Brown University has a stellar reputation and receives thousands of applicants each year, students must go the extra mile in order to gain a seat in the upcoming class. Keep reading to learn more about what sets Brown University apart and the best practices that applicants can utilize to increase their chances of admission.

How to Get Into Brown University: Table of Contents

  1. When to Apply to Brown University
  2. How Hard Is It to Get Into Brown: Early Prep 
  3. How to Actually Get Into Brown: The Application
  4. Class Profile 
  5. What Makes Brown University Unique?

When to Apply to Brown University

When it comes to applying to Brown University, one of the first steps students must take is reviewing the application timeline and making sure they’re prepared to meet every admissions milestone. Like most top-tier colleges in the United States, Brown University utilizes a holistic admissions process that requires students to complete various steps and submit different materials on specific timelines. Here is an overview of the Brown University admissions process and the dates to prioritize:

Brown Application Deadlines

Brown’s application deadlines vary slightly from year to year, but generally occur around the same time in the academic calendar. For students applying during the 2022-2023 admissions cycle, the major application deadlines are as follows:

  • Early Decision application deadline: November 1 (11:59 p.m. applicant’s local time)
  • Early Decision letters available online: Mid December
  • Regular Decision application deadline: January 5 (11:59 p.m. applicant’s local time)
  • Regular Decision letters available online: March 31
  • Commitment deadline for Regular Decision candidates: May 1

When students are reviewing admissions timelines for Brown University, it’s important to keep in mind that Brown offers two different admissions options, Early Decision and Regular Decision. Students who choose to commit to Brown through the binding Early Decision process will need to compile their application by early November and learn of their results in mid December. In contrast, applicants who opt for the Regular Decision round will need to submit their materials by early January and will hear back from Brown University by late March. These students will also need to decide whether they wish to commit to the college by the beginning of May.

Early, Rolling and Regular Decision

As students enter high school, they may start hearing about different application processes, such as early action vs rolling admission. While much of the application process will look similar regardless of your timeline, it’s important to understand the distinct differences between early, rolling, and regular decision admissions. 

There are two different forms of early admissions: Early Action and Early Decision. The key differentiator between the two is that Early Decision is binding, meaning a student must enroll in the college they applied early decision to if they are accepted, while Early Action is not binding. There is also Restrictive Early Action, which Brown University does not offer, which stipulates that students cannot apply to any other private college through an early admissions program. Generally speaking, most Early Decision and Early Action deadlines occur around the beginning of November, with decisions released approximately one month after. 

In contrast, rolling admissions do not follow a strict deadline. At most schools that offer this option, applications are accepted from September through May, although it is best to submit your application as early as possible, since RA schools will continue to accept students until they reach their enrollment capacity. Brown University does not offer rolling admissions. 

Finally, there are regular round admissions. Students who apply via the regular round generally need to submit their applications by early January and they learn of their results in April. Brown University does offer a regular round admissions option.

Waitlisted Applications

Given how competitive it is to get into Brown University, it’s not surprising that the college generally waitlists a portion of its applicants. The waitlist is composed of exceptionally strong and distinguished applicants; the college just doesn’t have enough room to admit every single qualified student that applies. Students who are waitlisted will learn of this outcome when decisions are released, and they will have the option to choose whether they wish to remain on the waitlist or not. It’s important to note that admissions waitlists are not ranked; instead, applicants will be admitted off of the waitlist to fill institutional needs and ensure the upcoming class is balanced. 

If students apply via Early Decision, there is not a waitlist outcome, but there is something known as deferral, which means students will need to wait until regular round decisions are released to learn if they will be admitted or not. Many students want to know what to do if they have been deferred. Much like waitlists, the first step is to determine whether or not Brown University is still your first choice college. If so, it’s important to find out what materials the school needs from you (such as an updated transcript) and send them out as soon as possible.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Brown: Early Prep

Brown University is one of the most prestigious colleges in the country. Every year, thousands of applicants apply and only a small percentage of these students gain a seat in Brown’s upcoming class. While Brown’s application process is notoriously competitive, students can increase their chances of admission by preparing well in advance and doing their research to become experts on the school. 

Build Your Profile

Since Brown University gets an influx of applications each year, students must understand what the university is looking for so they know how they can stand out from the crowd. In Brown University’s admissions process, it is academic performance that will carry the most weight in admissions decisions. Brown’s admissions officers will affirm intellectually curious students who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to challenging themselves and expanding their horizons. Brown University’s website states that Brown University expects that students will take a minimum of four academically challenging courses each semester, and that a fifth course is preferable. The same source outlines that students should take a broad range of classes, including four years of English and math, as well as three to four years of science, history and social studies, and foreign language. 

In addition to academic excellence, Brown University is looking to affirm students who have passions and interests that they have continued to pursue throughout high school. The university  asks students to identify their top choices for concentrations, or areas of study that other colleges often refer to as majors. While their website acknowledges that some students may not be ready to commit to a particular area of study, the institution would like to learn more about an applicant’s academic interests and goals.  

Throughout their application process, students should highlight what they are passionate about, what they’ve done to pursue these passions throughout high school, and how attending Brown University will help them take these pursuits to the next level. Students can discuss both academic interests as well as extracurricular activities that are meaningful to them. Rather than trying to pad their application with as many activities as possible, it’s best for applicants to focus on a handful of interests that they genuinely care about and those that they have dedicated a significant amount of time towards. 

Visit the Campus and a Class

If you’re eager to attend Brown University, visiting the campus is one of the best things you can do to convey your desire to enroll. Registering for a campus tour is a powerful way to demonstrate your interest in attending the college, which is something admissions officers consider during their application reviews. If possible, see if you can sit in on a class to get a taste of the lecture experience and make sure to spend several hours walking around so that you get a feel for the campus.

Connect With a Student

In addition to touring the campus, it can be helpful to get a student’s perspective on their experience at Brown University. If you have any friends or acquaintances that are currently enrolled, don’t hesitate to reach out to get your burning questions answered.

Learn About Any Student Experiences

When you’re touring Brown, your tour guide will likely be a current student. If you have the opportunity to ask your guide a few questions, use this as another chance to learn more about the student experience, straight from the source. 

How Do You Actually Get Into Brown: The Application 

The bad news: there’s no magic trick or tried-and-true strategy that you can use to guarantee your admission to Brown University. The good news: there are several steps that students can take to increase their odds of admission and set themselves apart for all of the right reasons. 

GPA Requirements

Brown University doesn’t have a required GPA that students must meet to apply. However, the university emphasizes that academic excellence is the factor that carries the most weight during their admissions process. Most students who gain admission to Brown have GPAs that hover around 4.0. In fact, 94% of admitted students graduated in the top 10% of their high school class. 

SAT and ACT Scores

Much like GPAs, there’s no minimum SAT or ACT score that students must reach to apply to Brown. However, for SAT scores, the middle 50 percent of admitted students scored between 1480 and 1560 on the Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portions of the SAT. For the ACT, the middle 50 percent of admitted students scored between 33 and 35. When it comes to acing the SAT or ACT, the best thing students can do is begin preparing many months before their testing date and take several practice exams. 

Personal Statement

The personal statement is an opportunity to demonstrate not only your writing skills but also who you are and the qualities that set you apart. Students will have the chance to choose from a handful of different essay prompts, and will write an essay that is between 250 and 650 words long. Instead of worrying about what you “should” sound like, it’s best to focus on letting your authentic voice and unique personality shine through. 


In addition to the Common App essay prompts, Brown asks applicants to answer three supplemental essay questions to learn more about a student’s interests and the role they would play on campus. Each response must be between 200 and 250 words. The questions are as follows:.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

Letters of Recommendation

Brown University requests two letters of recommendation and will accept up to four, in addition to a required counselor letter of recommendation. Teacher recommendations should highlight your love of learning and the impact you have on the classroom, while a statement from your counselor can speak to your character and how you interact with the community at large. Since most teachers and counselors will get an influx of requests for letters of recommendation, aim to ask your instructors by the start of your senior year so they have plenty of time to compile their responses. 

Admission Interviews

In years past, students had the option to interview with Brown alumni as a way to learn more about the school and share more about themselves. However, for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, Brown University has decided not to offer interviews. Instead, applicants are encouraged to consider submitting a two-minute video introduction to tell the admissions office more about themselves.

Contribution to the Brown Community

Like many colleges, Brown University admissions officers are eager to admit applicants who will make a lasting impact on the Brown community. Throughout every component of your application process, including supplemental essays and videos, make sure to highlight your goals and the role you would hope to play once admitted to Brown University. Don’t shy away from specific details; it’s best to call out clubs you’d wish to join, classes you’re excited to take, and research opportunities that you would be enthusiastic to take part in. 

Class Profile 

Acceptance rate 5%
Class size2569
Undergraduate majorsComputer science, Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, Biology/Biological Sciences

As you’re learning about how to get into Brown University, don’t forget to review their class profile. Class profiles give applicants a window into what the admissions outcomes at a specific college look like. Every school includes slightly different information in their class profile, but almost all highlight their most recent acceptance rate, their class size, and some of the majors that the college is best known for. This information can help students get a picture of the college and assess their chances of admission. 

What Makes Brown University Unique?

There are plenty of differentiators that make Brown University unique. The university is known for its Open Curriculum, designed to allow students to develop a personalized course of study. As opposed to many other colleges, Brown does not have a set of core courses all students must complete. Instead, their Open Curriculum provides greater freedom for students to study what they choose and flexibility to discover what they love. 

In addition to choosing their own classes, students have no shortage of options when it comes to extracurricular activities. Brown University has more than 400 student organizations, from Debating Club to Outdoor Leadership Team to Sustainable Food Initiative. Brown also has an array of athletic offerings, including 34 varsity sports teams and 25 intramural sports options. 

The university also has an abundance of must-see destinations. Brown is home to the John D. Rockefeller Library, as well as the John Carter Brown Library, an independent center for advanced research in history and the humanities. Students will also be close to the RISD Museum, which houses an amazing collection of art and design from around the world. It’s one of the largest university art collections in the country.

Brown has a host of famous alumni, including Emma Watson, John Krasinski, John F. Kennedy Jr., and Janet Yellen.

Admission Consulting

Most students and families can benefit from college admissions counseling, especially if they’re interested in gaining admission to a top-tier college like Brown University. Working with an admissions counselor gives students the chance to receive personalized guidance throughout every step of the application process, including compiling a balanced college list and brainstorming for their personal statement. 

While working with a college admissions counselor is an invaluable experience, it’s important to assess whether you’re ready to give the admissions process your all. To make the most of college counseling, students must be engaged in the process and excited about their academic future. It’s also important to select a college admissions counselor who is accredited, qualified, and has ample admissions experience. Do plenty of research so you can pick an admissions counselor who brings out the best in the students they work with.


It’s needless to say that getting into Brown University can be tough since it’s one of the top schools worldwide, but IvyWise’s admission experts are here to make it happen. Take the first step towards getting into your dream school and set an initial consultation.

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