Essay Scoop: How to Answer Brown Essays

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Julia de Raadt
Julia de Raadt

Julia has dedicated much of her career to education. Since commencing with Empowerly, Julia has looked after the research team which handles student questions on different topics about college admission.

Brown University is a member of the Ivy Leagues. As expected, Brown receives a highly competitive applicant pool each year. But even from this high-achieving pool, they must narrow the field dramatically. According to recent numbers, Brown reported a 9.3% acceptance rate for the class of 2020. Below we provide some advice on how to approach each question in the application for the Brown essays. Join us!

The short answer questions in this intense application provide you an invaluable opportunity: the chance to stand out from the rest. Given that many students these days are able to achieve impressive GPAs and test scores, you must set yourself apart to succeed. Most of all, these essays should explain how you would contribute to—and benefit from—the academic, social, and extracurricular activity at Brown.

Brown Essays: The Prompts

1. 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)

Based on notes from Brown admissions officers, the university looks for self-direction in learning. This means that your goals are intimately tied to your academic pursuit. Explain the connection between them.

2. 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.

(150-word limit)

Your surroundings shape your perspective. Sometimes you can pinpoint moments that have had a lasting impact on your understanding of the world. What are the salient factors that contribute to your identity (interpret broadly).

3. 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)

As an expansion to the previous prompt, describe the space(s) you’ve grown up around and how they relate to who you are. These can be geographic areas or any other settings where you grew up.

4. Why Brown?

(200 word limit)

This is a very straightforward “why us” question. It will require research on aspects specific to Brown that match your interests, rather than just ivy league essays in general. Show that you have done some research on academic programs, professors, courses, clubs, or traditions; and, mention your extracurricular activities that prove your interest in those specific Brown areas. It is important to talk about both Brown and why you would be a good fit.

Final thoughts

Brown University is a unique campus with lots to offer students. Have you included other Ivy League schools on your college list? If so, you can never start planning too early. Our counselors can keep you on track to success.

Questions? Let us know!