Brown vs. Dartmouth: Which College to Choose?

Brown vs. Dartmouth
May 7, 2024
6 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/7/24

Do you need help choosing between Brown and Dartmouth? Read on for a detailed comparison of the two schools to help you make an informed decision.

Choosing the right college is an important decision in your academic journey. Brown University and Dartmouth College, both prestigious Ivy League institutions, offer robust academic programs. While renowned for their exceptional educational quality, each school also boasts distinctive strengths.

These are both renowned because of the world-class education they offer and their unique strengths. Before you make your decisions, you should consider the distinct features that make each college stand out to make an informed decision.

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of each school, compare their admissions requirements, and break down the factors you need to consider before deciding between Brown vs. Dartmouth. Let’s get started! 

Brown vs. Dartmouth: Overview

Familiarizing yourself with key statistics about Brown and Dartmouth is essential before deciding which school to apply to. Here is a table that outlines factors for both schools, including their ranking, acceptance rates, and average test scores:

Brown Dartmouth
Location Providence, Rhodes Island Hanover, New Hampshire
US News Ranking #9 #18
Undergraduate Enrollment 6,605 4,458
No. of International Students 1,762 984
Student-to-Faculty Ratio 6:1 7:1
No. of Applicants 48,898 31,657
Acceptance Rate 5.16% 5.32%
Mid-50% SAT/ACT Scores of admitted students SAT: 1490 to 1580
ACT: 34-36
SAT: 1500 to 1580
ACT: 33-35
Average Tuition (Undergraduate Studies) $68,612 $66,123

Brown vs. Dartmouth: Admissions Requirements

To make sure you’re well-prepared for the application process for either Brown or Dartmouth, we’ll take a close look at their distinct admissions requirements.

Brown Admission Requirements

The first step toward securing a spot at Brown is to review exactly what it will take to join this esteemed institution.

Brown University

GPA and Completed Courses

While Brown does not have a minimum GPA requirement, it’s no surprise that students are still expected to meet rigorous academic standards. 

About 95% of applicants are in the top 10% of their graduating class with a GPA that averages around 4.10. This means you’ll need to maintain high grades, earn competitive test scores, and get as close to a 4.0 as possible to give yourself the best chance of getting accepted. 

Along with a strong GPA, Brown also recommends applicants take a minimum of four to five academically rigorous courses, which include different core subjects:

  • Four years of English language, which focuses on literature and academic writing
  • Four years of mathematics with a focus on calculus
  • Three to four years of sciences, including biology, physics, and chemistry.
  • Three to four years of history and social studies, including history and government
  • Three to four years of foreign languages with a high probability of continuous learning of the same language

Brown also encourages students to study music, art, and other electives to diversify their educational experience, foster a well-rounded perspective, and nurture creativity.

Essay and Short Answers

Brown requires you to submit a personal essay as part of the application process. It’s your opportunity to share your story, values, and goals with the admission committee.

You’ll also need to answer the Brown supplemental essays. These short answer questions give the admissions committee another chance to learn about your interests and how you will benefit their campus. Your response for each essay prompt must be between 200 and 250 words for this part.

Letter of Recommendations

Brown applicants will also need to submit two to four letters of recommendation. These recommendations can be written by a counselor or teachers of major academic subjects, like social science, math, English, or science. 

When choosing a recommender, ask individuals who know you well and can speak to the progress you’ve made within your academic journey. 

Additional Application Items

Brown may also ask you to submit other materials, like additional test scores, information about particular extracurricular activities, or even a portfolio.

These additional items can give the admission committee more insight into your qualifications and fit for your prospective program.

You may also be asked to submit a two-minute video responding to several prompts. This video introduction aims to give the admission committee a better sense of your hobbies, interests, and accomplishments.

Dartmouth Admission Requirements

If you’re leaning towards Dartmouth, here are the admissions requirements you’ll need to apply:

Dartmouth College

GPA and Completed Courses

Like Brown, you’ll need to earn high grades to boost your chances of getting into Dartmouth. Successful applicants typically apply with a 4.11 GPA, so taking challenging coursework is not only expected but also makes you a more competitive candidate. 

Dartmouth recommends at least taking the following courses:

  • Four years of English with a preference for writing-intensive literature courses
  • Four years of mathematics with calculus for STEM and engineering students 
  • Three years of history and social sciences
  • Three years of laboratory science with an extra year with physics for engineering students
  • Three or four years of a single foreign language

Personal Insight Questions

You will also be required to answer personal insight questions via Common App and write several school-specific supplemental essays revealing your values, goals, and interests.

The essay prompts change every year; hence, it is important to check the current application for the specific prompts for the year you are applying.

Letters of Recommendation

While Dartmouth requires three recommendation letters, a counselor evaluation, and two teacher recommendations, they also encourage students to submit a peer evaluation. You also have the option to include additional letters, including one from an art instructor, if it would enhance your application.

Providing recommendations from various people gives you the chance to provide the admissions committee with insight into your involvement and personality from diverse perspectives.

Additional Application Items

In addition to the items above, you may need to submit a portfolio, resume, or additional test scores. 

Brown or Dartmouth? Factors to Consider

Choosing between Brown vs. Dartmouth is an important decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. To help you make sure your decision aligns with your individual preferences and goals, we’ll break down exactly what you need to keep in mind. 


Brown University is a leading research university and the seventh-oldest college in the United States. It is highly committed to academic excellence and intellectual freedom and focuses on making an impact. It is renowned for its Open Curriculum, which is an education approach rooted in flexibility.

Brown offers 80 undergraduate majors, including Computer Science, Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, and Biology/Biological Sciences. The school also offers a wide array of graduate programs.

Dartmouth, on the other hand, is known for providing students with an excellent liberal arts education. With 60 programs to choose from, students have the opportunity to explore a diverse range of academic disciplines and interests.

At Dartmouth, you are provided with the guidance and tools needed to do research in fields ranging from anthropology to zoology and all other majors.

Class Profile 

The class profile is a tool that details a class and the individual student. This factor plays a key role in shaping the overall experience and opportunities available to their students. 

Here’s Brown University’s profile for the Class of 2027

  • Total number of applicants: 51,316
  • Number of students accepted: 2,686
  • Number of students that matriculated: 1,699
  • Number of transfer students: 77
  • First-generation college students: 15%
  • International citizens: 12%

The areas with many applicants include economics, computer science, biology, and international and public affairs.

Here’s Dartmouth's profile for the Class of 2027:

  • Total Number of Students: 1,209
  • Men: 614
  • Women: 571
  • Genderqueer/Non-binary/Questioning: 24

The above class profiles show that the two colleges are highly dedicated to establishing and maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for students of all races. 


Pursuing higher education can be pricey, so it’s important to consider finances when comparing Brown vs. Dartmouth. It currently costs about $91,676 per year to attend Brown, considering both direct and indirect expenses. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Tuition: $68,612
  • Fees: $2,800
  • Housing: $9,940
  • Food: $7,504
  • Miscellaneous Personal Expenses: $2,820

Attending Dartmouth will be slightly cheaper than Brown at $91,312 per year. Students must pay for all these six weeks before the term starts. Here’s an estimate of  the direct and indirect costs students will need to cover: 

  • Tuition: $66,123
  • Fees: $2,145
  • Housing: $12,018
  • Food: $7,981
  • Books, Course Materials and Supplies: $1,005
  • Miscellaneous: $2,040

Students should also consider additional expenses like travel, health insurance, and the cost of a computer.

Financial Aid

Regarding financial aid, Brown University strives to meet 100% of each student's demonstrated need through grants and scholarships. To make college more accessible to students of all income groups, Brown has adopted a no-loan policy and a need-blind admissions process.   

On the other hand, Dartmouth has made several financial aid options available to students, including:

  • Grants and scholarships
  • Work-study and student employment
  • Student loans
  • Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
  • Private educational loans

The profile of the class of 2026 shows that about 56% of the students are financial aid recipients, and the total scholarships offered are about $34.4 million. Through financial aid, Dartmouth shows they are highly committed to ensuring that talented students from all income levels join the college.

Sports and Extracurriculars

Brown has over 400+ student organizations that meet students’ diverse interests, whether in academic, cultural, artistic, or social activities. 

If you’re interested in sports, you can participate recreationally or competitively within 34 varsity and 37 club sports teams. Brown student-athletes can enjoy the university’s state-of-the-art, 10,000-square-foot fitness center. 

Similarly, Dartmouth College offers 160 clubs and organizations for its undergraduate students, house communities, several Greek societies, and a student newspaper. These activities enable the student to develop new skills, acquire new passions, and build lasting friendships. 

Athletics is a major at Dartmouth. The school fields different types of sports, including football, basketball, rowing, and skiing—which reflect Dartmouth’s commitment to excellence in both athletics and academics. 

Choosing Between Brown and Dartmouth: How to Decide

Choosing between the two great schools can put students at a crossroads. Dartmouth and Brown have much to offer their prospective students, giving them the freedom to choose the one that appeals to them. 

Brown allows you to explore different interests and choose the curriculum you want. On the other hand, Dartmouth offers a more structured approach to learning. It is important to note that Dartmouth also affords flexibility by allowing the students to pursue other interests while on a break away from school. 

Both schools have a strong alumni network in which its members actively engage their students and provide mentorship and career opportunities for them. Brown has a huge alumni base with over 90,000 members worldwide. Dartmouth also has about 70,000 graduates worldwide.

Brown offers students various leadership, internships, and research opportunities, which will help them greatly move from studentship to working class. They also have career services centers that provide the students with the experiences needed to make their professional resume stronger. On the other hand, Dartmouth gives career resources, including career advising, resume critiques, and on-campus recruiting.

Ultimately, the decision between Brown vs. Dartmouth is personal and depends on your own interests and goals. After considering the major factors that make up each school, you can choose one that will give you a fulfilling college experience.

FAQs: Brown vs. Dartmouth

If some of your questions remain unanswered, we are sure the frequently asked questions and answers below will provide clarity on other areas:       

1. How Do the Computer Science Programs at Brown and Dartmouth Differ in Terms of Curriculum and Focus Areas?

Here’s a breakdown of Brown vs. Dartmouth computer science programs:

Brown has changed its curriculum for computer science programs. They now offer artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning courses. Students can also pursue a specialization in cybersecurity and computational biology, and Brown also has various research opportunities for students.

On the other hand, Dartmouth offers an undergraduate program that ensures students have a good blend of theory and practice. As part of the program, students must complete courses such as data structures, computer architecture, and algorithms. Students are also encouraged to participate fully in research work and algorithms.

2. How Does the Size of the Dartmouth Campus Compare to the Brown Campus?

The size of the Dartmouth campus vs. Brown campus greatly differs. Dartmouth has 4,417 undergraduate students and over 2,100 graduate students, which makes it smaller than Brown, which has 7,222 undergraduates and 2,920 graduate students.

3. Is It Harder to Get Into Brown or Dartmouth?

While both universities are highly competitive, Dartmouth has a slightly higher acceptance rate, so you can consider Brown as a more selective and challenging option. However, keep in mind that to get into either school, you’ll need to put together a strong application to stand out from other competitive candidates. 

Final Thoughts

When choosing between Brown and Dartmouth, students must carefully consider the factors that characterize their academic and personal experiences. Ultimately, it is important that making decisions is based on individual goals and preferences to give a fulfilling and enriching experience.

Good luck!

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