How to Get Into Brown University: Requirements & Tips

Rhoade Island State House
June 7, 2024
10 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/17/24

Are you interested in learning about Brown University? Read on to explore Brown's everything you need to know about Brown including, admissions requirements, class profile, and essay prompts.

Founded in 1764 and located in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown University has a growing population of 7,639 undergraduate students, 2,955 graduate students, 595 medical students, and over 2,477 undergrad courses, Brown is a prestigious and competitive Ivy League university that will open your doors to a bright future and foster a life-long learning attitude. Let’s learn how to get into Brown University.

Brown University - 5.16% Acceptance Rate

Brown University’s acceptance rate is 5.16%. For the class of 2028, only 2,521 students were accepted to Brown out of over 48,000 applicants.

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2024 48,898 2,521 5.16%
2023 51,316 2,686 5.2%
2022 50,649 2,562 5%
2021 46,568 2,568 5.5%
2020 36,793 2,822 7.7%

Brown University Early Decision Acceptance Rate: 14.38%

It’s difficult to get into Brown University, but you might have a better chance with early admission. Out of 6,244 applicants for the early admission 2028 graduating class, 898 were accepted. But, you’ll have to really wow them to be accepted early.

Year Number of Early Applicants Number of Students Accepted Early Early Decision Acceptance Rate
2024 6,244 898 14.38%
2023 4,230 769 18.2%
2022 3,502 738 21.07%
2021 3,170 695 21.92%
2020 3,030 669 22.08%

How Hard is it To Get Into Brown University?

With an acceptance rate of only 5.16% that’s decreased in the last couple of years, Brown University is known for its difficult admission. You’ll have to have an excellent GPA, superior SAT and ACT scores, and many academic transcripts that demonstrate your prowess to even be considered.

If you want some more insight into your individual chances of admission, give our Brown University acceptance quiz a try! This tool takes several factors into account and evaluates them according to Brown’s admission requirements to predict your chances.

Brown University Admissions Statistics

Brown University is a highly prestigious school with thousands of applicants who apply and are denied each year. To increase your chances to maximum capabilities, take a look at the statistics below.

Brown University Average GPA: 4.1

The average GPA score at Brown University is 4.1. As a highly competitive school, students must meet the minimum requirements to be considered.

Brown University Average SAT Score: Between 1510–1570

The Brown SAT average score is between 1510-1570. This is a highly sought-after school, so students should aim for the higher end of this threshold.

Brown University Average ACT Score: 35

The Brown ACT average is between 35. Students who apply with a score under 35 will not be accepted.

What Is Brown University Looking For In Applicants?

Beyond Academics
Brown University looks for students who are highly motivated about their education and are diverse from all walks of life. Relevant academic and extracurricular interests are how Brown University evaluates applications.

Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Rigor of secondary school record X
Class rank X
Academic GPA X
Standardized test scores
Application essay X
Recommendation(s) X

Non-Academic Very Important Important Considered Not Considered
Interview X
Extracurricular activities X
Talent/ability X
Character/personal qualities X
First generation X
Alumni/ae relation X
Geographical residence X
State residency X
Religious affiliation/commitment X
Racial/ethnic status X
Volunteer work X
Work experience X
Level of applicant’s interest X

Brown Key Takeaways From Brown’s Common Data Set

Brown’s Common Data Set shows that they highly value academics, marking every category “Very Important” except for standardized tests. However, for future admissions cycles, Brown will require standardized tests once again, so bear in mind that this may change! 

As for non-academic factors, note that Brown marks talent/ability and character/personal qualities as “Very Important.” You should strive to demonstrate these qualities in your extracurriculars and essays! Show Brown your passions, skills, and values. 

Brown University Admissions Requirements

To receive your admissions letter, there are several requirements at Brown University such as:

How to Apply to Brown University

Brown University

Source: Brown University

To apply to Brown University, you’ll need to submit several documents along with your application. You should use the Common App to apply to Brown. You’ll first need to create an account, then add Brown University to your list of colleges. 

There are three different sections in the Common Application:

  • Personal information common to all schools you’re applying to (expand on it)
  • Brown University-specific questions
  • School forms submitted by your academic instructors and school counselor

You’ll find the Brown-specific questions in the sections labeled “questions.” If you’re applying to the Liberal Medical Education Program or the Brown-Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree Program, you’ll need to complete additional program-specific essays.

Along with the application, you’ll be presented with methods to invite school officials and instructors to supply records and recommendations. This process should begin as early as possible to allow them plenty of time to respond before the deadline.

  • Transcript: An official copy must be sent by your school counselor or school official
  • School Report: You can find the School Report on the Common App website, and it must also be completed and submitted by your school counselor or official. 
  • Midyear School Report: This should include final grades for fall courses and a list of your upcoming spring courses and can be submitted online. 
  • Counselor recommendation: You need to invite your school counselor to complete this form. 
  • Two instructor evaluations or recommendations: Two letters of recommendation must be submitted from teachers who have taught you major subjects like science, social studies, math, a foreign language, or English. 
  • Bachelor of Science and PLME recommendations: At least one of your recommendations should come from a math or science teacher if you’re thinking about a concentration in a STEM field or the PLME program. 
  • Your first quarter or trimester grades: If you’re applying through the Early Decision program, you’re required to have your counselor submit first quarter or trimester grades as soon as they’re available.

To complete your application, you’ll need to submit a $75 non-refundable application fee or a fee waiver.

Pam, an expert admissions counselor, provides some insight below into the importance and purpose of all the different application requirements in our Ivy League webinar

    Brown University Application Deadlines

    You should put together a timeline of deadlines so you can be well-prepared. When applying to Brown University, you must keep these deadlines in mind:

    Application Step Deadline
    Early Decision Application November 1st, 2024
    Regular Decision Applications Open December 2024
    Early Applications are Reviewed and Notified December 2024
    Regular Decision Application January 3rd, 2025
    Regular Decision Applications are Reviewed and Notified March 28th, 2025

    Brown University Regular Decision Deadline

    If you wish to apply for the regular application, the deadline is 11:59 pm (applicant’s local time) on January 3rd, 2025.

    Brown University Early Application Deadline

    If you wish to be one of the first applicants, the deadline for early applications is 11:59 pm (applicant’s local time) on November 1st.

    Admissions counselor Pam offers some insight into the advantages behind applying for early decision at Ivy League schools like Brown University: 

      How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Brown University

      With only a 5% acceptance rate, it’s difficult to get into Brown. However, there are things you can do to increase your chances. Here’s what we recommend.

      1. Stay On Top of Deadlines

      Give ample time for the admissions team to review all your documents and transcripts. Avoid handing things in at the last minute, as they may deem you undesirable.

      2. Be Honest and Authentic

      Throughout the entire process, use your own words and stay true to who you are. Don’t come up with an answer you think Brown will want to hear. Brown has a strict zero plagiarism and zero artificial intelligence policy that you’ll want to keep in mind during the application process.

      3. Take the Video Introduction Seriously

      In recent years, Brown has strayed from the alumni interview program and now invites applicants to send a two-minute video as an extra step to their application. While not mandatory, applicants are strongly encouraged to tackle each prompt in two minutes.

      4. Pay Attention to Small Details

      Don’t skim over little details that Brown informs its applicants. For example, in the essay portion, Brown mentions that “files cannot exceed 500 KB in size and should be in .doc, .docx, .wpd, .rtf, .xls, .pdf or .txt format.”

      5. Keep a Record of Your Application

      Make copies of your entire application, including essays, interviews, videos, and forms and letters.

      6. Recognize the Importance of Recommenders

      A big step of your application that is weighted quite high is your recommenders. Brown requires students to submit two letters of recommendation from teachers. Always exceed expectations as Brown accepts up to four recommendation letters, so you should aim to submit four letters from four different teachers.

      Admissions expert Pam discusses the importance of considering your recommendations carefully!

        7. Submit an Art or Music Portfolio

        Applying to an arts program at Brown? You should submit a portfolio to the admissions faculty. Include your best pieces of work that represent you as an artist.

        8. Be Specific About Your Distinctions

        Brown University only wants to see the awards and achievements that matter most to you. Your awards and achievements should demonstrate your passion for the program. You can explain these in greater detail in your video submission.

        9. Mention Family Members Who Are Brown Alumni

        Brown University refers to students with immediate relatives who also attended the university as legacies. If you have a parent who graduated from Brown, be sure to mention it in your application or your essays, as it will give you a clear advantage over other candidates who may have a similar academic profile. 

        10. English Proficiency Through TOEFL/IELTS

        If you’re an international student or you’ve completed your high school education in a language other than English, you’ll also need to prove your English proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS. There’s also no requirement for admission, but a score of 100 or above on the TOEFL exam or 8.0 or above on the IELTS is expected. 

        In addition to these tips, you might also consider reaching out to Quad Education for help with your application! Our team can provide expert insight on how you can boost your acceptance chances at Brown. 

        Brown University Essay Prompts

        An important step of the application process is completing three essays that can be no more than 250 words based on these prompts:

        • “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. (200-250 words)”
        • “Brown’s culture fosters a community in which students challenge the ideas of others and have their ideas challenged in return, promoting a more profound and more precise understanding of the complex issues confronting society. This active engagement in dialogue is 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? (200-250 words)”
        • “Brown students care deeply about their work and the world around them. Students find contentment, satisfaction, and meaning in daily interactions and significant discoveries. Whether big or small, mundane or spectacular, tell us about something that brings you joy. (200-250 words)”

        How to Write the Brown University Essays

        First, consider the length of the admission essay. Each of the prompts has a word count between 200 and 250. Your answers should be concise and straight to the point. Here’s a breakdown of how to approach the Brown University supplemental essays. 

        1. Research

        First, do extensive research about the school, the Open Curriculum, and everything that makes it different. The first prompt is a hybrid of the old and common questions “Why us” and “Why this major.” You’ll have to strategically adapt the answer to Brown University’s teaching style, mission, and values. 

        Kayla Kirk, a Brown University graduate and admissions official, also points out the importance of research in our college essay tips webinar

          2. Brainstorm

          After researching, consider some of the things you’re the proudest of about yourself. In the Brown essays, you’ll need to comfortably talk about yourself, your strengths, and what makes you unique. Write down some ideas, and let them grow. 

          3. Organize

          After brainstorming, organize your ideas in an outline. You’ll notice you probably want to talk about more things than you have space for. This is why creating an outline is helpful; cut down sections and sacrifice the parts that don’t necessarily help expand on your main idea. 

          4. Start Writing

          Write your essays based on the outlines – they’re here to make your job a lot easier! 

          5. Make Revisions

          Revise, revise, and revise. Once you’re finished, give yourself time to revise your writing; look for grammar errors, spelling mistakes, and clarity. It’s a good idea to ask for external feedback; let others read your essays and give you their opinion. Unbiased feedback can go a long way.

          If you follow these steps, you’ll create impressive essays. Don’t forget to start early and write from the heart!

          Darryl Tiggle, an experienced admissions officer, emphasizes the importance of authenticity in essays! 

            Brown University Supplemental Essay Example

            To demonstrate how to write an essay for Brown, let’s answer the third prompt to learn what Brown essays that worked. Examples like these can offer inspiration and valuable insight into how to write your essay.

            Essay Prompt:

            Brown students care deeply about their work and the world around them. Students find contentment, satisfaction, and meaning in daily interactions and significant discoveries. Whether big or small, mundane or spectacular, tell us about something that brings you joy.

            Essay Example 

            “Every weekend, rain or shine, I find myself at the local animal shelter. The place is a symphony of barks and meows, a haven for abandoned pets searching for a second chance. Amidst the cacophony, there's a golden retriever named Luna who never fails to light up my heart.

            Luna isn't the most boisterous dog in the shelter, but her gentle eyes and wagging tail speak volumes. Every Saturday morning, I walk into her enclosure, and she greets me with a comforting and reassuring warmth. Our routine is simple yet profound: a game of fetch, a stroll around the yard, and a moment of quiet companionship.

            In those moments, surrounded by wagging tails and hopeful eyes, I find an inexplicable sense of joy. Luna doesn't care about the world's complexities or my worries about college applications; she's a reminder of the beauty in the present. 

            As I scratch behind her ears, I'm reminded that happiness isn't always tied to grand achievements or monumental discoveries. Sometimes, it's found in the simplicity of a shared moment, a wagging tail, and a heart full of empathy.

            Brown's ethos of finding contentment in everyday interactions resonates deeply with me. My time with Luna is a constant reminder that joy can be as simple as a gentle touch, an unspoken connection, and the knowledge that, even in a small way, I'm making a difference in her world.”

            For more sample essays, check out our extensive college essay database! You can get inspiration from these essays, written by real admitted students. 

            Brown University Video Introduction

            Brown has “transitioned away from our previously-offered alumni interviewing program and instead encourages applicants to submit a two-minute personal video introduction as an additional component of their application.”

            The new video introduction format allows students to deeply explore their own identities and articulate why they are a perfect match for Brown University. While not a requirement, the video introduction is a great way to provide information beyond what’s provided in your application.


            Let’s explore the most frequently asked questions when applying to Brown University.

            1. What Does Brown University Look for in Applicants?

            Brown University is looking for students who “possess an intense curiosity and aspire to make a positive impact on the world.” The following categories are very important to the admission process: class rank, GPA, transcripts, test scores, application essays, recommendation letters, talent and abilities, and personal qualities. 

            2. What Is Brown University Known for?

            Brown University is known for its Open Curriculum, which lets students design their education. As a nonprofit research university, Brown prioritizes student-centered learning and making a positive impact locally and globally.

            3. Does Brown University Accept Transfer Credit?

            Brown University accepts transfer credits but doesn't assess them before acceptance. No specific credit agreements exist, and credits from correspondence, online, summer courses, or AP tests aren't recognized. However, liberal arts courses from accredited institutions are transferable. Use the online tool to check transferability and course matches.

            4. Is Brown University an Ivy League School?

            There are eight Ivy League schools, and Brown University is one of them. It’s a private and very competitive research university.

            5. Can I Get Into Brown University With a 3.5 GPA?

            Earning a high GPA is not enough to get into Brown University. Factors other than the GPA itself determine whether a 3.5 GPA is good enough to get in. You'll have a higher chance of getting accepted if you stand out in other ways, like test scores, essays, recommendation letters, and a great video introduction. 

            6. How Do I Stand Out In the Brown University Application Process?

            With a mere 5% acceptance rate, Brown University has a strict approach to admissions. A 4.0 GPA alone won't suffice; they look for your talents, motivation, and drive. Standing out requires exceptional qualities that reflect your character, aligning with Brown's pursuit of bringing students together in creative ways.

            7. When Should I Prepare for Brown University?

            The deadline for regular application is January 3, and if you’re applying through Early Decision, it’s November 1. In both cases, you want to start preparing as early as possible. 

            To help you get on top of deadlines, give our college prep timeline tool a try! We’ll help you zero in on a timeline that will make applying to Brown easy. 

            8. Can I Submit Additional Materials With My Brown Application?

            If you're applying to Brown University, there’s no obligation for extra materials, but we always recommend going above and beyond. Use the Brown Applicant Portal to share additional info or documents.

            9. When Does Brown University Release Decisions?

            ​​The majority of first-year students opt for Regular Decision, due by January 3 (11:59 p.m. applicant's local time). Regular Decision applicants will receive decisions by early April.

            10. What Are the Fees and Tuition Prices at Brown University?

            Here are the tuition and fees to help you better understand the cost of your education:

            Fall Spring Total
            Tuition $32,828 $32,828 $65,656
            Fees $1,287 $1,287 $2,574
            Housing $4,825 $4,825 $9,650
            Food $3,474 $3,474 $6,948
            Books & Materials $650 $650 $1,300
            Personal $1,410 $1,410 $2,820
            Total Cost $44,474 $44,474 $88,948

            While the price of attending Brown can feel discouraging at first glance for some students, there are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options

            Thankfully, Brown also meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students. 

            11. Should I Apply to Brown University?

            Some students see getting into Brown University as impossible. Don’t let these doubts rule you. Applying to the school will be a challenging and long process, but it’ll be worth it. 

            So, if you’re considering going to graduate school or applying to medical or law school, we recommend applying to Brown, as these “life after Brown” statistics are very promising.

            • 96% of graduates immediately go on to employment or graduate school 
            • 81% of graduates who apply to law school are admitted
            • 81% of graduates who apply to medical school are admitted

            If you’re still a sophomore or even a junior, and you’re starting to consider the possibility of applying to this Ivy League school, we recommend you take an informed and honest look at your academic profile. 

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