How to Write the Brown Supplemental Essays

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

How to Write the Brown Supplemental Essays

How to Write the Brown Supplemental Essays

Since Brown is at the top of plenty of students’ best-fit lists, most prospective applicants want to do everything they can to stand out for all of the right reasons. While grades and course rigor carry the most weight in admissions decisions, students also need to write compelling essays that demonstrate their interest in attending the college. 

In addition to the personal statement, students must prioritize the Brown University supplemental essays when compiling their application. Continue reading to learn more about the supplemental essays that Brown requires, as well as what it takes to write a top-tier statement.

What Essays Does Brown Require?

Like most colleges, Brown University requires students to submit a personal statement as part of the Common Application. Students can choose from the Common Apps’ list of prompts and compose a response of approximately 650 words. 

Brown University has a series of supplemental essays that students must answer in addition to the Common App essay. For first-year applicants, there are three questions, and each response should be approximately 200-250 words. For students applying to Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), there are also three questions, two with a 250-word maximum and one with a 500-word maximum. Finally, Brown|RISD Dual Degree applicants must answer one question with a 650-word limit.

2021-2022 Brown Supplemental Essays – Analyzed 

The Brown University supplemental essays may change from year to year, which is why it’s so important for students to stay up to date on current application requirements. If you’re wondering, what does Brown University look for? Know that writing compelling essay responses is certainly a key part of the equation. 

For the 2021-2022 academic year, the essay prompts are as follows: 

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.

Like most colleges, Brown University will affirm applicants with a demonstrated passion in specific subjects or fields. This essay gives students an opportunity to write about what interests them most and pinpoint specific Brown University courses that may help them further their expertise in the subjects they care most about. It’s important to note the duality of this question; in addition to subjects you already know and love, make sure to include some fields you are currently unfamiliar with but look forward to learning more about.

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? 

Take some time to reflect and think carefully before responding to this question. To make the most of this Brown University supplemental essay, students will need to reference a specific time in which they encountered a viewpoint that was different from theirs. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate intellectual curiosity and an eagerness to explore multiple perspectives.

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

Don’t think that you have to write about your biggest accomplishment to compile a strong response to this question. How you analyze and grow from the concept that brings you joy is much more important than the actual thing itself. Whether it’s greeting your neighbors as a cashier at a local grocery or watching your community garden grow, strive to pick something that has had a positive impact on your community at large.

Committing to a future career as a physician while in high school requires careful consideration and self-reflection. What values and experiences have led you to believe that becoming a doctor in medicine is the right fit for you? 

This essay gives students an opportunity to let their passion for a future medical career shine. Use it to articulate what excites you about the profession, what has inspired you to pursue this track, and the impact you hope to make in the future.

Respond to one of the following prompts (250 word limit): A. Health care is constantly changing, as it is affected by racial and social disparities, economics, politics, and technology, among others. How will you, as a future physician, make a positive impact? B. How do you feel your personal background provides you with a unique perspective of medicine?

Admissions officers want to get a clear picture of exactly what kind of impact you’re going to make and what you will bring to the medical profession. Whether you pick choices A or B, make sure you emphasize what makes you unique and the kind of mark you’ll want to make on campus.

How do you envision the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) helping you to meet your academic, personal and professional goals as a person and as a physician of the future? 

The best responses will touch on each of the components addressed in the prompt: academic, personal, and professional goals. This is a chance to reveal something more about yourself outside of your ambition to pursue a medical career and show more of your personality to the admissions office.

The Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program draws on the complementary strengths of Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to provide students with the opportunity to explore diverse spheres of academic and creative inquiry, culminating in a capstone project that interrelates the content, approaches, and methods from two distinct learning experiences. 

Based on your understanding of the academic programs at Brown and RISD and the possibilities created by the BRDD program’s broadened learning community, specifically describe how and why the BRDD program would constitute an optimal undergraduate education for you. As part of your answer, be sure to articulate how you might contribute to the Dual Degree community and its commitment to interdisciplinary work.

Since the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program is a very specialized academic offering, students need to make sure that their response to this question is equally tailored. The strongest responses will articulate how the student will take advantage of both Brown and RISD courses and the impact they will have across both campuses. 

3 Brown Supplemental Essays Examples

Need some inspiration for what successful Brown supplemental essays look like? Check out the following examples below:

#1. “I believe any college should equip you with tools as you embark upon your journey. Brown provides the necessary. That is what the capstone experience does (not to mention the importance of internships given to Brown Students). You can never know everything about anything. But quenching the questions is exactly what the Capstone Experience fosters.

The Open Curriculum was obviously the first thing that caught my eye. In school, you are sometimes forced to take subjects you don’t like. College shouldn’t be the same. It is supposed to be a fresh start and that is exactly why you should be allowed to take the courses that appeal to you. Here is where the S/NC option was interesting. Only if you know perspectives from all subjects, can you determine a solution; S/NC promotes this. Group Independent Study Projects are also unique. Getting into the course is something hard. But creating your own course is amusing.

I would love to be a part of The Society of Women Engineers because I had to fight with my own family to study Computer Science in the United States. If it means providing the help for people I wish I’d got, never better.”

#2. I was born in California, USA. When I was about 7 months old, I moved to Bangalore, India. I’ve lived in Bangalore all my life, until two years ago. I started attending a boarding school, in the same state, but far away from my house. I chose to leave everything behind, even my phone, because I didn’t want to be pampered. I wanted to fold my own blanket; to wipe my own tears; to carve my own name; to befriend people my way; to create my destiny. My parents weren’t happy at first, but I convinced them.

#3. There was a time when I was low and afraid to be with myself. That’s when I dived into programming. I always sat with my laptop. But unlike others on Instagram or Snapchat, I was coding. I always kept myself occupied so I wouldn’t think about hardships. But as I was solving those little Instantiation and StackOverflow errors, I realized that any problem in my life had a solution. I could either modify the code and right the wrong, or just keep compiling them, producing no output. So, life is not all that different. That is why I want to pursue Computer Science. I know I can work to keep myself happy. Inevitably, what makes me happy is Computer Science, which is what I want to pursue.

3 Tips on How to Write a Great Brown Supplemental Essay

If you want to write Brown supplemental essays that will help you stand out from the pack like the examples above, there are a few tips to keep in mind, including:

Use Your Own Voice

Many students mistakenly believe that the best essays are those that sound “academic” or use impressive words. While an expansive vocabulary is always an advantage, what matters most is that the essay sounds authentic and reflects the voice of the student who is writing it. Prioritize writing like you talk so that the admissions office gets a deeper sense of who you are as a person.

Strive for Authenticity

Admissions officers read hundreds, if not thousands, of these essays each year. As a result, they’ve become experts at distinguishing fact from fiction and they will be able to tell who is being sincere when writing their Brown supplemental essays. Instead of trying to guess what you should say, focus on writing statements that genuinely represent your thoughts, beliefs, and goals for the future. 

Have Someone Else Read Your Essay

One of the best essay writing tips for students, regardless of what they’re working on, is to have someone else review their work once completed. Even the most careful writers might miss a typo or fail to see a minor grammatical error. Having another set of eyes can help ensure that your supplemental essays are coherent and error-free. 

How to Ensure Your Place at Brown University?

Now that you are applying to Brown University, you should know what Brown is looking for in a student. Don’t hesitate and learn how Ivywise’s team of experts can help you secure your place at Brown with our college admissions services.

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