How to Get Into Brown University: Requirements & Tips

Rhoade Island State House
September 15, 2023
10 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 9/5/23

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

Students are sitting outside at Brown University's campus.

Applying to college can be stressful and time-consuming. Deciding what schools you want to apply to and learning all the requirements for each can be tricky, too. We make things easy for you; if you’re considering applying to Brown University, you’ve come to the right place. 

With a population of 7,125 undergraduate students, 2,689 graduate students, 611 medical students, and over 2,400 undergrad courses, Brown is a prestigious and competitive Ivy League university that can open your doors to a bright future and foster a life-long learning attitude. 

We’ll cover everything you need to know about how to get into Brown University.

Brown University Acceptance Rate

Brown University has an acceptance rate of 6%, although it has gotten as low as 5.08% for the undergraduate Class of 2027. Despite this seemingly low number, it’s one of the Ivy League schools with one of the highest acceptance rates.

Brown University Yield Rate

Brown University’s yield rate is the percentage of accepted students who enroll divided by the total number of admitted students, which is currently 67%. This is also behind other Ivy League schools like Harvard, Stanford, UPenn, and Yale. 

How Hard Is It To Get Into Brown University?

The acceptance rate for Brown is 6%. This means that out of 100 applicants, only six are admitted, making it a very selective school. If you prepare accordingly and strive to meet the school’s requirements and beyond, you’ll have no problem standing out. 

However, being academically excellent isn’t enough to get into Brown University; the vast majority of the school’s applicant pool is in the top 10% of their high school class. You’ll need to show why you’re the perfect candidate through your application materials.

Brown University Requirements

Brown University admissions requirements

A strong GPA and test scores are basic requirements for admission to Brown University.

While there’s no minimum required test score or GPA for Brown University, it’s wise to pay attention to the average statistics of accepted students, as they can give you an idea of what level of excellence the school seeks. 

One of the most important requirements to get into Brown University is the rigor of your senior year academic coursework. Applicants who take more challenging classes and continue to excel during the last year of high school are viewed favorably. 

Brown carefully reviews all candidates' transcripts to ensure they continue performing equally well throughout their high school trajectory. 

Since the admissions committee values quality over quantity, they prefer students who have chosen a more rigorous approach to their high school education, which usually means the AP or IB version of a course rather than honors or standard options. 

Test Scores

Here are the testing requirements at Brown University. 

Brown SAT Requirements 

There’s no exact SAT requirement at Brown University. However, based on data from previous years, you’ll need at least 1500 to be considered more competitive, as the Brown University average SAT score range is 1500 and 1570. 

Brown ACT Requirements 

While there is also no ACT score requirement, the middle 50% ACT score range at Brown is 34 to 36.


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. 

It’s also important to note that standardized test scores will be optional for first-year applicants, at least through the 2023-2024 admission cycle. If submitted, they’ll be considered within the context of your application. If you don’t submit SAT or ACT scores, it will not jeopardize your application. This won’t change until further notice. 


Brown University requires applicants to be at the top of their class and have excellent grades. The average GPA of the admitted freshman class at Brown University is 3.94 on the 4.0 scale. 

The average unweighted GPA is 4.08. For this reason, we recommend that you stay on top of your course load and grades, especially in your senior year of high school. 

Brown University Essays

Brown requires you to answer three prompts, all with a word limit of 250. Extensive preparation is critical when writing your college application essays. We’ll discuss Brown University’s prompts and how to nail the essays below. 

Brown University Essay Prompts

Take a look at these required essay prompts available on Brown’s website:

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. (200-250 words)
2. 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)
3. 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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 

Start Writing

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

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!

Brown University Supplemental Essay Example

To demonstrate how to write an essay for Brown, let’s answer the third prompt. Brown University essay examples can offer inspiration and valuable insight into how to write your own essay. So, keep reading for an example of a brown university supplemental 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 leisurely 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.

How to Prepare for the Brown University Interview

Two people shaking hands after an interview

There’s no required college interview for applicants at Brown University. However, every applicant has the opportunity to submit a video introduction and alumni interview along with their application. Both are optional, though the alumni interview isn’t offered currently. 

While not a Brown University prerequisite, the video introduction is a great way to provide information beyond what’s provided in your application. No specific topic or format exists, so you can be creative and share whatever you want. 

If you decide to submit a video interview, you should be strategic about it; share something meaningful that makes you unique and will help you stand out. The time limit for the video introduction is two minutes. 

Video Introduction Tips 

Here are some quick video introduction tips: 

  • Begin your video by saying your name and where you went to high school; everything else is up to you. 
  • Videos won’t be evaluated for production and film-making quality. However, we recommend you check the lighting and listen to the audio after recording to ensure you’re happy with the result. You can keep it simple by sitting in front of the camera/laptop/phone and choosing a plain background, making lighting and audio easier for you. 
  • Keep it simple, and be sure to limit the time to two minutes. 
  • Dress casually.
  • Prepare in advance but don’t make a script either. To ensure you mention everything you want to without sounding robotic, we recommend creating an outline and rehearsing a couple of times before recording. 

Alumni interviews have been offered in the past as a way for potential students to get to know the university while also sharing about themselves. This optional part of the application is unavailable until further notice, but you can still participate in the video introduction.

How to Apply to 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. The required documents include: 

  • 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.

Brown Application Deadlines

Submitting your application in a timely fashion is crucial. So, here are the dates that you should save to your calendar. 

Brown University Regular Application Deadline

The regular application deadline is January 3. If you apply under the Regular Decision plan, you’ll have the opportunity to consider other college options before making a final decision by May 2. In this case, you’ll receive an admission decision from Brown University by early April. 

Brown University Early Decision Date and Acceptance Rate

If you’re applying through Early Decision, you must submit your Common Application by November 1. If you apply under Early Decision, Brown University asks you not to submit another early application to any other school. 

There are three possible outcomes when you apply under the Early Decision plan: 

  • Accepted: In this case, you need to withdraw all applications to other colleges.
  • Deferred: Your application will be revisited with the Regular Decision pool of applicants.
  • Denied: In this case, you may not reapply under the Regular Decision admission plan during the same year. 

To recap, here are all the deadlines you need to know:

Application Deadline Early Decision Regular Decision
Application Deadline November 1 January 3
Decision Released Mid-December Early April

It’s a good idea to put together a timeline of deadlines, so you can prepare well in advance and stay on top of each one.

Brown University Tuition & Fees

Here are Brown University’s 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 demonstrated financial need for all students.

Tips To Get Into Brown University

After looking at Brown University’s requirements for admission and learning how to apply, we can conclude it’s not a piece of cake to get into this Ivy League university. Here are some tips to make the process of applying as smooth as possible.

Submit a Video Presentation 

Brown University allows you to submit an optional two-minute video along with your application; take advantage of it! Even though they encourage applicants who want to give some additional information to do it, we think everyone should consider submitting a video. 

Let your uniqueness shine through at the same time that you remain professional. Since Brown University doesn’t use interviews in the undergraduate admissions process, it’s the only opportunity you have to let the admissions committee see and hear you, which can make a big difference. 

Find Good Recommenders 

Teacher recommendations are significant in the eyes of Brown University’s admission committee. They want to get more than just a vague idea of who you are; they want to hear from a reliable source what you excel in and what makes you unique. 

Choose your recommenders wisely! Ask teachers who know you well and who are likely to write remarkable and genuine things about you. 

Don’t Obsess Over Admissions Data

While it may seem challenging, don’t let the data let you down. Focus on your strengths and what you have to offer instead. Instead, focus on what you can do to elevate your application and strategically position yourself as the ultimate applicant. 

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. 

Ivy League alumni are communities, and it always pays off to let the admission committee know that you’re related to someone who attended in the past. 

Start Your Application Early 

Extensive preparation is your best friend. From gathering documents to brainstorming the essay prompts, we can’t stress this enough; get started as soon as possible.

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. 

Do your grades align with the average GPA of Brown University? Are you taking or planning to take college-level classes? From the moment you decide to apply, focus on improving yourself (and your profile) every day. 

Your academic standing is important, but take a look at your extracurricular activities. Are you involved in something specific? Do you volunteer? If you don’t, this is the perfect time to find a passion you may not even know you had. 

It’s also helpful to get involved in summer activities to demonstrate your proactive approach to personal growth and learning.

You shouldn’t let fear stop you from applying to any school. Hard work goes a long way; you will if you’re committed to doing it. Passion, motivation, constancy, and vision; are what you need to create a perfect application in less than two years. 


Take a look at these frequently asked questions for more information on how to get into 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 ranked as “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 unique Open Curriculum, which lets students design their own education. Collaboration, problem-solving, and public service are key to transcending traditional boundaries. 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 generally 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. The other Ivy League members are Columbia University, Cornell, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, UPenn, Princeton, and Yale 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 special abilities. 

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

With a mere 6% acceptance rate, Brown University employs a holistic approach to admissions. A 4.0 GPA alone won't suffice; they seek your distinct talents, motivation, and drive. Standing out requires showcasing exceptional and personal qualities, aligning with Brown's pursuit of excellence and uniqueness.

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. 

Use the summer before senior year to gather documents and prep. When the application portal opens, you'll be set to complete it. Early prep avoids last-minute surprises, crucial for timely and flawless submission.

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 it's an option. Utilize the Brown Applicant Portal to share updates or additional info. Include resume, writing sample, research abstract, art portfolio, or anything not covered in Common App.

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.

Final Thoughts

Brown University is indeed a very prestigious and competitive school. Famous for its flexible Open Curriculum, Brown students enjoy a welcoming and diverse environment while powering through rigorous coursework. 

Standing out in the application process won’t be easy, but being motivated and determined will help you get there; remember to be yourself along the way and show how you’re an excellent candidate. If you need a helping hand, enlist the help of our admissions counselling. Our team of experts will offer valuable support and expert advice. Now that you know how to get into Brown University, it’s time to get to work. 

Remember, start early, visualize your goal, and do it!

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