Along with the basic Common Application essay, the Ivy League schools require supplemental essay responses. These additional essays help these elite schools gain a deeper understanding of you as an applicant. They are your opportunity to explain how the school is a good match for you and how you can enhance the college community. These schools want to know what is important to you and how they fit into your goals for the future.
When addressing each prompt, it is essential to consider the overall character and focus of the school in relationship to your personal objectives. Visit the school website, read about their educational mission, and think about how the school supports your interests. Did you know that an impressive 100% of Brown faculty teach undergraduates? As the first Ivy League school to accept students from all religious affiliations, Brown is known for its openness. It is also renowned for its innovative approach to education and outstanding research. Brown is committed to undergraduate autonomy and the process of free inquiry. For students this means that while a framework of specific departmental concentration requirements guides you, you must take responsibility as an “architect of your courses of study.” Take a close look at the distinctive Brown Curriculum on the school’s website. Imagine what it might be like to have this level of control over the content of your studies.
Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated in our Member Section, earlier in this application? If you are “undecided” or not sure which Brown concentrations match your interests, consider describing more generally the academic topics or modes of thought that engage you currently. (150 word limit)
Begin by discussing the subject areas you are interested in studying. Then discuss what specifically attracts you to explore these areas. You can include examples from previous coursework, volunteer experience, personal research, or any other factors that influence your interests. How you respond to this question demonstrates your potential to succeed in Brown’s independent academic framework. Don’t panic if you are truly undecided. This is a great opportunity to reflect on how you approach learning and discuss which subjects engage you. As you explain the scholarly topics you are passionate about, you are providing a context for your interests and offering insight into how you navigate the academic world.
Why Brown? (150 word limit)
Do not underestimate the impact of this response—it is a direct and powerful question. This is your opportunity to convey how the college fits with you now and potentially in the future. If you did your research, you will be able to identify what you find most exciting about Brown. Share your enthusiasm here! What specifically draws you to Brown that you cannot find anywhere else? This prompt also allows you to discuss how you can contribute to the intellectual and social atmosphere at the school. What are your thoughts about its educational approach? Make sure to consider how the Brown Curriculum complements your learning style. Think about why you are attending college and how Brown supports your goals. It is relevant to you that 80% of Brown students go on to graduate or professional school? Are you planning to go on to graduate studies?
Tell us where you have lived – and for how long – since you were born; whether you’ve always lived in the same place, or perhaps in a variety of places. (100 word limit)
This prompt allows you to share your geographical landscape. In addition to recounting the places you have lived, you should also consider the influence of these locations on you. Your response to this question provides context regarding your life experience. You can also include your impressions about where you lived. Were there specific cultural ties? Was it a diverse or homogeneous community? Did you feel comfortable there? Did your family move for job opportunities? Or did you basically live in the same place for most of your life?
We all exist within communities or groups of various sizes, origins, and purposes; pick one and tell us why it is important to you, and how it has shaped you. (100-word limit)
Briefly describe your selected community/group and your place within it. Then focus your discussion on how the group affects you. Why is this community important to you? Your response reflects how you view yourself in relation to others. This prompt touches on the impact of groups on individual thinking and vise versa. What does your membership within this community reveal about you? Discuss how you are similar or different from the larger group.
Note: If you are interested in Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geology, Mathematics or Physics, you must complete additional Science/Engineering statements. Likewise, if you are applying to the 8-year Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) or the 5-year Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program (BRDD), you must also complete additional special programs statements.
There are a lot of numbers to take into account. Brown has a highly competitive applicant pool. It received 30,397 undergraduate applications for the class of 2019. Only 2,580 or 8.5% were offered admission and more than 90% of the students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class. Your essays make you more than the sum of your numbers.
Don’t panic. The best approach is to stay relaxed and focused. Keep in mind, while adhering to the designated word limits, your goal is to distinguish yourself from your peers by sharing your personal examples, anecdotes, and perspectives. In short, by providing sincere insight into what makes you unique and a good match for Brown! Be sure to allow yourself appropriate time to reflect on your educational goals and to convey your most compelling self to the admissions committee through your essay responses.
By Marie Todd, Accepted’s college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications.
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