Am I Good Enough for Brown?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Brown University building

Am I Good Enough for Brown?

For students who have the dream of attending an Ivy League School, there is little doubt that one of the schools they look at is Brown University. That is especially true for students who want the prestige, resources and opportunities provided by an Ivy League while also looking for a more liberal arts styled education.

With that in mind, because Brown is just so difficult to get into, many students with this lofty goal end up asking themselves, “Am I good enough for Brown?”

Surely, it is an important question to ask. And it is important to know that applying to prestigious schools such as Brown does naturally come with a certain amount of doubt and anxiety. However, there are some really fantastic ways in which a student can approximately gauge their chances when it comes to getting into top schools across the United States.

At AdmissionSight, we know that one of the best ways that students can gauge their ability to overcome the acceptance rates at Brown and other top schools is knowledge of the typical requirements and expectations that students face when they apply to these schools.

On top of that, another way for students to improve their chances of getting into Brown is by understanding what the school considers its “ideal” student.

That is why we are going to go over both of those important factors in detail, so that you can gain a better understanding of where you may stand currently and what you can do going forward to improve your chances of getting into this fantastic school.

As comprehensive admissions consultants, we know just how important it is that students know everything that they can do in order to improve their chances of getting into their dream schools. That is just one of the many reasons why 75 percent of the students that we have worked with in the past end up getting into either an Ivy League school like Brown, Harvard or Yale, or a top-10 school elsewhere in the United States like MIT, Stanford or University of Chicago.

So, if you are getting ready to start applying to schools and are curious to learn more about your chances of getting into Brown based on your grade point average, standardized test scores and more, then you have absolutely come to the right place.

Let’s get started!

Brown admissions requirements

When it comes to answering the question, “Am I good enough for Brown?” it is important to note that there are not any actual admissions requirements. Instead, it is more useful to consider these important tangible benchmarks more as expectations.

One of the gates in the Brown University

Basically, if you want to have a fairly solid chance of getting into Brown – or similarly prestigious and selective schools – you are going to want to earn grades, standardized test scores and more similar to numbers that we are just about to break down.

To start off, let’s break down the kinds of courses that the admissions committee at Brown looks for on a student’s high school transcript. This is really the first benchmark that an admissions officer is going to look at to make sure that you, as a high school student, took your academics very seriously for all four years.

You are going to want:

  • Four years of English (including continued practice in writing)
  • Four years of mathematics (including calculus for students interested in engineering)
  • Four years of one foreign language
  • At least two years of laboratory science (including physics and chemistry for students interested in engineering)
  • At least two years of history

Beyond that, you should be making sure that you put extra emphasis on taking additional core courses or elective classes in subjects that you are particularly interested in and passionate about. It is important to keep in mind that this is not code for “take as many STEM electives as possible” or anything of the sort. Truly, what schools are most interested in is seeing a clear trend of a student following their passions inside and outside of the classroom.

While these kinds of classes are of course very important when it comes to gauging your chances of getting into Brown, it is without a doubt incredibly important to perform as well as possible in all of your high school classes if you want to get into Brown or similarly competitive schools.

For students who get into Brown, the average grade point average that they earn in high school is an incredibly impressive 4.08. This average grade point average makes it abundantly clear that if you have the goal of getting into Brown, you are going to have to be at the very top of your graduating high school class in terms of overall performance in the classroom.

While this may tempt you into enrolling into easier, core-level classes in your high school to ensure that you get better grades, that would be a major mistake in the eyes of admissions officers at Brown and similarly competitive schools.

Brown university campus


In fact, if you really want to know one of the main admissions expectations at schools like Brown, the answer is advanced courses. Most notably, students who want to improve their chances of getting into Brown will want to enroll in as many AP or IB courses as possible during their high school years. Typically, students are able to take AP or IB courses beginning at the start of their sophomore year of high school.

For that reason, it is smart to do some curriculum planning to make sure that you are taking enough advanced courses each semester while also avoiding overloading your curriculum, making it hard for you to succeed overall.

The primary reason why admissions officers love seeing AP or IB courses on a student’s high school transcript is that these classes are considered to be much more difficult and competitive than the typical high school class. But what is the reason for such an emphasis being put on these courses, you may ask?

Essentially, admissions officers at top schools know that only the most academically gifted and committed students stand a real chance of excelling in the school’s competitive and rigorous academic environment. The last thing they want to do is offer a spot in an upcoming graduating class to a student who is not prepared to deal with that level of difficulty.

If a student took many advanced courses in high school and was able to maintain a high grade point average throughout, then the admissions officers feel much more confident about that student’s ability to succeed once they begin their undergraduate studies.

Another very important aspect of the admissions expectations for students applying to Brown has to do with the two standardized tests that students in the United States have taken for years. Of course, we are referring to the SAT and the ACT. For students planning on applying to Brown, it is important to note that there is no preference the admissions office has between the two. Really, the choice is upon the student based on which testing format they feel more comfortable taking.

2019 High school students pose with their academic advisor at Harvard

For students that take the SAT, the average score for students who get into Brown is 1485. The 25th percentile score is a 1420 and the 75th percentile score for students who get into Brown is a 1550 out of the perfect score of 1600.

For students that take the ACT, the average score for students who get into Brown is 34. The 25th percentile score is a 32 and the 75th percentile score for students who get into Brown is a 35 out of the perfect score of 36.

From the average scores that students who get into Brown earn on both the SAT and ACT, it is very clear just how exceptional of a test taker you need to be to improve your chances of getting into Brown. With that in mind, this would not be a complete guide to answering the question, “Am I good enough for Brown?” without discussing the current place that standardized tests hold in the university application process in the United States.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many schools across the United States have adopted a standardized test optional policy for applying students. Brown University is one of those schools. Here is what the school has to say about its current policy regarding the SAT and ACT:

“Brown will extend our test-optional policy to all first-year, transfer and Resumed Undergraduate Education applicants in the 2021-2022 admission cycle,” the school announced on its site. “We hope that applicants will have the opportunity to take the SAT or ACT and submit test scores as part of the admission process this year. The SAT or ACT, when submitted, will continue to be considered in the context of all the other information we have about a candidate. As with every aspect of the admission process, this policy will be evaluated again before the 2022-2023 application cycle begins.

“Students who are not able to submit scores this year will not be disadvantaged in our admission process, and we will look at other aspects of the application, from course grades and curricular challenges to insight from counselors and teachers, to assess academic preparation.

Scores may be self-reported or sent officially to Brown, and we continue to accept Score Choice and will always consider a student’s highest scores if multiple results are submitted. While standardized testing has long been a component of our holistic admission process, it has always been one among many components that we consider. Testing can be informative but is only one part of a much larger and more important story about an individual applicant.”

Brown admission facts

Now that you have a better idea of the school’s admissions requirements or expectations, let’s break down the facts regarding the school’s most recent graduating class that was accepted to the school.

For the graduating class of 2025, a total of 41,028 students applied to Brown via Regular Decision. From that pool, just 1,652 students were accepted, leading to a miniscule acceptance rate of just 4.08 percent. Meanwhile, for the 6,146 students that applied to Brown via Early Decision, 896 students ended up getting in, good for a much more favorable acceptance rate of 14.58 percent.

Here are some additional facts about students that applied to Brown in 2021:

  • 55 percent of the students that applied to Brown in 2021 identify as students of color
  • 17 percent of the students that applied to Brown in 2021 were part of the first generation of students in their family that applied to college
  • 69 percent of the students that applied to Brown in 2021 applied for financial aid
  • While students from all 50 U.S. states were admitted to Brown, the top five states were:
    • California
    • New York
    • Massachusetts
    • New Jersey
    • Texas
  • Finally, the students that were admitted to Brown came from a total of 1,703 individual high schools. 58 percent of those schools were public schools, 31 percent of schools were private schools and 11 percent were parochial schools.

What we know about Brown’s “ideal student:

So, now that you know basically all there is to know about the admissions expectations and basics at Brown, let’s wrap this up by breaking down some of the key characteristics that Brown looks for in its “ideal” student.

Here are some of the key things that you should figure out how to demonstrate in your application to Brown if you want to maximize your chances of getting in:

Brown looks for unique individuals

One thing that you will absolutely want to do to improve your chances of getting into Brown is stick out of the crowd. Brown absolutely prides itself on creating and fostering an environment on campus where students can thrive as individuals. They do this by allowing students to explore countless opportunities on campus as well as allowing students to create their own academic schedule and structure.

a class in a traditional school

Finding ways to prove that you will take advantage of these opportunities and this unique level of freedom by making it clear that you are a unique person with clear passions and goals will help you improve your chances of getting into the school.

Brown looks for students heavily invested in their community

This is something that you are going to find is a major point of interest for all top schools in the United States. As these schools make it a prime point to create an engaged and proud community on campus, they want to offer admissions to students that are going to take advantage of that community.

For that reason, you will want to make it clear how you got involved in your school and/or local community during your high school years. Whether that means getting involved in your school’s student government or other clubs, or by actually getting involved in your hometown’s community through charity work, local politics and more, you can certainly improve how you look as a candidate in the eyes of admissions officers at Brown.

Brown looks for students with creative passions

As a school overall, Brown is known for its commitment to humanities and liberal arts. In fact, along with Dartmouth, Brown is considered a perfect choice for students who want to attend an Ivy League while also wanting to learn in a liberal arts style of learning.

For that reason, no matter what your academic interest is, being able to show that you think creatively and thrive in a smaller classroom environment will go a long way to showing admissions officers at Brown that you are not only gifted and committed enough to succeed at Brown, but also creative enough to really utilize the strengths that the school offers its students every academic year.

Brown looks for students who are committed to self-discovery

Above all, the undergraduate years for any student are meant to be a major moment of self-discovery and self-actualization for young people who dream of doing great things in the future. One of the best ways to prove that you are committed to such things in your application to Brown is to take the personal essay section of the application very seriously.

high school students taking an exam

The personal essay section of the application is seen as the best way for students to show admissions officers who they are as people, what their dreams are, and what they hope to achieve personally and professionally going forward.

Will you get into Brown?

When it comes to applying to some of the most prestigious and competitive schools in the United States, getting in is never a sure thing for any student. That is absolutely true for students that apply to Brown.

However, there are many things that a student can do to improve their chances of getting into any school, no matter how low the acceptance rate is.

If you are interested in learning more about what AdmissionSight can do to help you improve your own chances of getting into Brown, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.




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