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Amherst vs Brown University: Which School is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Amherst College

Amherst vs Brown University: Which School is Right for You?

Choosing the right school for your undergraduate studies can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. With so many options available, it can be tough to differentiate between schools that all seem to offer similar academic and social opportunities. In this article, we’ll compare Amherst vs Brown University to help you decide which school is right for you.

Location and Campus Overview: How Amherst and Brown University Differ

Location is one of the first things to consider when selecting a university. Amherst College is situated in Amherst, Massachusetts, a small, vibrant college town known for its quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants. Amherst College’s campus is home to 1,836 undergraduate students, and it spans over 1,000 acres of picturesque landscapes.
On the other hand, Brown University is situated in Providence, Rhode Island, a bustling city that’s home to 179,883 residents. The university hosts approximately 10,257 students, both undergraduates and graduates, and sits on 143 acres of land. Brown also has several affiliated programs, including the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the Flatiron Institute in New York City.

Aside from location, another factor to consider when choosing a university is the academic programs offered. Amherst College is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum, with majors ranging from English and history to neuroscience and computer science. The college also offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs, such as the Five College Coastal and Marine Sciences Program, which allows students to study marine biology and oceanography.

Brown University, on the other hand, is known for its open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study. The university offers over 80 concentrations, ranging from Africana studies and applied mathematics to visual art and computer engineering. Brown also has a strong focus on research, with opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on projects in fields such as neuroscience, environmental studies, and public health.

Front view of Brown University

Academic Programs and Majors: Which School Offers the Best Options for You?

Both Amherst and Brown University offer robust academic programs that cater to a diverse range of interests. Amherst College, for instance, offers over 40 different majors, including Anthropology, Film and Media Studies, Religion, and Neuroscience, among others. The university also hosts five interdisciplinary centers that allow students to explore multiple fields of study.

Brown University, on the other hand, has a wide range of academic programs spread across departments. The institution offers over 80 undergraduate majors, including Environmental Studies, Biomedical Engineering, Public Health, and Africana Studies, among others. Brown also has a unique program called the Open Curriculum, which allows students to design and personalize their academic experience without following a core curriculum.

It is important to note that while both Amherst and Brown University offer a wide range of academic programs, the approach to education differs between the two institutions. Amherst College has a strong emphasis on a liberal arts education, which focuses on developing critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. Brown University, on the other hand, has a more interdisciplinary approach to education, which encourages students to explore multiple fields of study and make connections between them. Ultimately, the choice between the two schools will depend on your personal preferences and academic goals.

Amherst vs Brown University: Student Life on Campus

Student life varies across universities, and Amherst and Brown are no exception. At Amherst College, students have access to over 100 student organizations, ranging from cultural and social groups to academic and pre-professional organizations. Some popular clubs include Amherst Political Union, Queer Resource Center, and WAMH Radio.

Brown, on the other hand, boasts over 400 student organizations, including literary magazines, social justice groups, club sports teams, and international student organizations like the Brown-RISD French Club and the Korean Culture Association.

Despite the differences in the number of student organizations, both Amherst and Brown offer a variety of social activities for students to participate in. Amherst hosts several events throughout the year, such as the Spring Concert and the Fall Festival, which feature live music, food, and games. Brown also has a vibrant social scene, with events like the Spring Weekend concert and the annual Drag Show, which showcases the talents of Brown’s LGBTQ+ community.

Admission Requirements for Amherst and Brown University: What You Need to Know

Admission requirements vary, but generally, both Amherst and Brown look for applicants who exhibit academic excellence, leadership skills, and extracurricular involvement. Amherst College, for example, reported a 12.7% acceptance rate in 2020, with an average ACT score of 34 and an average SAT score of 1520. Brown University’s admissions rate was 7.7%, with an average ACT score of 34 and a median SAT score of 1490 for admitted students.

In addition to academic excellence, leadership skills, and extracurricular involvement, both Amherst and Brown also value diversity and inclusivity in their applicant pool. They seek students who come from a variety of backgrounds and have unique perspectives to contribute to the campus community.

It’s important to note that meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance to either school. Both Amherst and Brown have holistic review processes, which means they consider a range of factors beyond just test scores and grades. They also evaluate essays, letters of recommendation, and other application materials to get a better sense of each applicant as a whole person.

Brown University in daylight

Cost of Attendance: Understanding Tuition Fees, Financial Aid, and Scholarships at Both Universities

A college education is a substantial financial investment, and it’s essential to consider the cost of attendance when choosing between Amherst and Brown University. In the 2020-2021 academic year, Amherst’s tuition stood at $60,850, with the total cost of attendance estimated at $78,820. Brown University’s tuition fee in the same academic year was $60,696, with the total cost of attendance estimated at $78,332.

While these figures may seem daunting, both universities offer financial aid and scholarship opportunities to their students. Amherst College, for instance, meets 100% of demonstrated financial need without loans for all admitted students, while Brown University awards scholarships and grants to students based on merit and demonstrated need.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance may vary depending on factors such as housing, meal plans, and other expenses. At Amherst College, for example, the estimated cost of room and board is $16,970, while at Brown University, it’s $16,160. Additionally, students may incur additional costs such as textbooks, transportation, and personal expenses. It’s crucial to factor in these expenses when considering the overall cost of attendance at both universities.

Faculty and Teaching Methodologies: A Comparison of Professors, Class Sizes, and Academic Support Services

Faculty quality is crucial to academic success, and both Amherst and Brown universities boast some of the best professors in the country. Amherst College has a student-faculty ratio of 7:1, ensuring that students have access to personalized attention and support from their professors. Brown University, in contrast, has a slightly higher student-faculty ratio of 7.8:1 but maintains a high standard of teaching and mentorship.

Both universities also offer excellent academic support services, including writing centers, learning labs, and career development services that help students excel academically and professionally. At Amherst College, students can access support programs like the Writing Center, the Quantitative Skills Center, and the Speaking Center, while Brown University hosts career fairs, alumni mentoring programs, and internships and research opportunities.

Another important factor to consider when comparing faculty and teaching methodologies is the diversity of the professors. Amherst College has made a concerted effort to increase the diversity of its faculty, with 40% of its faculty identifying as people of color. Brown University also prioritizes diversity in its hiring practices, with 36% of its faculty identifying as people of color. This diversity not only enriches the academic experience for students but also provides them with a wider range of perspectives and ideas.

Amherst College

In addition to academic support services, both universities offer a variety of extracurricular activities that allow students to explore their interests and passions outside of the classroom. Amherst College has over 100 student-run organizations, including clubs for community service, cultural awareness, and sports. Brown University also has a wide range of student organizations, including a student government, a radio station, and a literary magazine. These extracurricular activities provide students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, make new friends, and pursue their hobbies and interests.

Career Prospects After Graduation: Which University Offers the Best Opportunities?

The ultimate goal of studying at a university is to prepare for life after graduation, and both Amherst and Brown University have impressive track records when it comes to career development. According to Times Higher Education, Brown ranks among the top 20 universities in producing graduates who go on to earn substantial salaries. Graduates of Amherst College, on the other hand, have high success rates in pursuing graduate and professional degrees, with a 93% acceptance rate for medical school and a 99% acceptance rate for law school.

However, career prospects after graduation are not solely dependent on the university’s reputation. The student’s major, internships, and extracurricular activities also play a significant role in shaping their career path. For instance, a student majoring in computer science at a less prestigious university may have better job prospects than a student majoring in a less in-demand field at a top-ranked university.

Furthermore, the location of the university can also impact career opportunities. Universities located in major cities or near business hubs may offer more internship and job opportunities compared to universities in rural areas. For example, a student studying finance at a university in New York City may have better access to internships and job opportunities in the finance industry than a student studying the same major at a university in a small town.

Amherst vs Brown University: Campus Housing Options

Accommodation options vary across universities, and both Amherst and Brown offer a range of housing options to students. At Amherst College, students can choose between single-gender residence halls, co-ed housing, and apartment-style living. Brown University, on the other hand, offers traditional residence halls, suite-style living, and apartment-style living, with some residence halls designated for students interested in specific themes or programs, such as Global Environmental Governance and the Italian House.

In addition to these options, both universities also offer off-campus housing choices for upperclassmen. At Amherst, students can choose to live in off-campus apartments or houses, while Brown offers a variety of off-campus housing options, including apartments, houses, and co-ops. These off-campus options provide students with more independence and flexibility in terms of living arrangements.

It is important to note that housing options may vary depending on the student’s year of study, as well as their personal preferences and needs. Some students may prefer the social atmosphere of a traditional residence hall, while others may prioritize privacy and independence in an apartment-style living arrangement. Ultimately, the housing options available at Amherst and Brown provide students with a variety of choices to suit their individual needs and preferences.

Amherst College

Amherst vs Brown University: Student Body Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are important aspects of campus life, and Amherst and Brown University are committed to fostering a welcoming, inclusive environment for all students. Amherst College, for example, has a diverse student body, with 48% of students identifying as people of color and international students from over 50 countries. The university also has a robust multicultural resource center that promotes inclusion and diversity through trainings, programming, and community-building opportunities.

Brown University boasts a similarly diverse student body, with over 47% of undergraduates identified as students of color and over 16% international students. The university also has a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan that outlines strategies and initiatives to foster a welcoming, inclusive environment for all students, staff, and faculty.

Both Amherst and Brown University have taken steps to ensure that their curriculums reflect their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Amherst College offers courses such as “Race and Ethnicity in American Literature” and “Global Blackness,” while Brown University has a “Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education” course. These courses provide students with the opportunity to learn about different cultures and perspectives, and to engage in meaningful discussions about diversity and inclusion.

Additionally, both schools have student-led organizations that promote diversity and inclusion on campus. Amherst College has the Multicultural Resource Center Student Advisory Board, which works to create a more inclusive campus community through events and initiatives. Brown University has the Third World Center, which provides support and resources for students of color and promotes cultural awareness and understanding through programming and events.

Amherst vs Brown University: Extracurricular Activities

Both Amherst and Brown universities have a vibrant campus life that’s enriched by various extracurricular activities. Amherst College has a robust athletics program, with 27 varsity sports teams, including basketball, cross country, and track and field, among others. The university also hosts several performing arts groups, including the Amherst College Glee Club, the Amherst Symphony Orchestra, and the Amherst Jazz Ensemble.

Brown University has a similarly impressive athletics program, with over 30 varsity sports teams, including football, soccer, and lacrosse, among others. The university also has several performing arts groups, including the Brown University Orchestra, the Brown Chorus, and the Production Workshop, a student-run theatre organization.

Aside from sports teams and performing arts groups, both universities offer a wide range of other extracurricular activities. Amherst College has a thriving student government association, which allows students to get involved in campus politics and make a difference in their community. The college also has a variety of student-run clubs and organizations, including a debate team, a literary magazine, and a community service group.

Brown University also has a diverse range of extracurricular activities, including a student-run radio station, a film society, and a student newspaper. The university also has a strong commitment to community service, with many opportunities for students to get involved in local and global initiatives.

The Culture of Each Institution: Comparing the Values, Traditions, and Norms that Define Amherst vs Brown University

Universities have unique cultures and traditions that shape student life and experiences. At Amherst College, traditions like the Valentine’s Day Ball, the first-year orientation, and the singing of the college song at commencement embody the university’s values of community, diversity, and excellence in education.

Brown University has similarly unique traditions, including the annual Spring Weekend, a three-day festival featuring music, food, and entertainment, and the Blueno, a famous sandwich offered at Campus Deli, a popular eatery on campus. Brown University’s values of academic freedom, social justice, and innovation are embodied in traditions like the Open Curriculum and the Brown-RISD dual degree program.

Another defining aspect of Amherst College’s culture is its commitment to sustainability. The college has implemented numerous initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, including a comprehensive recycling program, energy-efficient buildings, and a student-run farm that provides fresh produce to the campus community. This commitment to environmental stewardship reflects the college’s values of responsible citizenship and global awareness.

Amherst College

Research Facilities and Opportunities Available at Amherst vs Brown University

Research opportunities are crucial to academic success, and both Amherst and Brown University offer extensive resources and facilities for research and exploration. Amherst College has several research centers and institutes, including the Center for Humanistic Inquiry, the Center for Community Engagement, and the Center for Teaching and Learning, among others. The university also offers research fellowships and summer research opportunities to undergraduate students.

Brown University, on the other hand, is home to several research centers and institutes, including the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, the Climate and Development Lab, and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, among others. The university also offers undergraduate and graduate research programs, including the Brown-Umbra Institute in Italy and the Brown in Washington Summer Internship Program.

Additionally, Amherst College has a strong focus on interdisciplinary research, with opportunities for students to collaborate across departments and fields of study. The college also has partnerships with nearby research institutions, such as the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Five College Consortium, providing students with even more opportunities for research and exploration.

Similarly, Brown University has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, with programs such as the Open Curriculum allowing students to explore a wide range of subjects and fields. The university also has partnerships with several research institutions, including the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the Rhode Island School of Design, providing students with unique opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and research.

Internship Programs at Both Universities: How They Help Students Build their Resumes

Internships and other experiential learning opportunities are excellent ways for students to gain hands-on experience and build their resumes. At Amherst College, students can access the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning, which provides internship resources, career coaching, and networking opportunities with alumni and employers.

Brown University hosts several internship programs, including the Brown Internship Program, which allows students to pursue internships in any industry across the world. The university also has a unique program called the Breakthrough Lab, which provides funding, mentorship, and resources to student-led startups and entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, both universities offer opportunities for students to receive academic credit for their internships. At Amherst College, students can enroll in the Career Exploration and Planning Internship Program, which allows them to earn academic credit while gaining professional experience. Brown University offers a similar program called the Internship Credit Program, which allows students to earn academic credit for internships that meet certain criteria.

Alumni Networks at Amherst vs Brown University: The Benefits of Staying Connected After Graduation

Staying connected to alumni networks can be invaluable to your career and personal growth, and both Amherst and Brown University have extensive alumni networks. Amherst College’s alumni network spans over 20,000 people across the world, and the university hosts several events and initiatives that bring alumni together, including regional events and reunion weekends.

Brown University’s alumni network is similarly robust, with over 100,000 graduates across the globe. The university has the Brown Alumni Association, which hosts events, provides career resources, and connects alumni with each other and current students.

Amherst campus from afar

Conclusion

Choosing between Amherst and Brown University requires weighing several essential factors, including location, academic programs, student life, admission requirements, and alumni networks, among others. Both universities have unique strengths and traditions that make them attractive to students seeking an excellent education and fulfilling college experience. Ultimately, the decision to attend either institution will depend on your priorities, goals, and interests, and we hope this article has provided valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

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