Boston University vs Brown University: Which University Is the Right Fit for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a curly girl thinking while holding her pencil and notebook

Boston University vs Brown University: Which University Is the Right Fit for You?

Choosing a university can be a daunting task, especially when multiple options are available. Boston University and Brown University are two of the most renowned universities in the United States. Both universities share a rich history of academic excellence, research opportunities, and job placements for students. However, each of these universities has its unique characteristics that might suit some students more than others. In this article, we will compare Boston University vs Brown University based on various factors to help you determine which university is the best fit for you.

Boston University vs Brown University: Location, Campus, and Surrounding Area

One of the critical factors that you should consider when choosing a university is the location and the campus’s surrounding area. Boston University is located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, and occupies a sprawling urban campus. The campus is fully integrated into the city, and students have access to a wide range of amenities, including museums, libraries, theaters, and restaurants. Brown University, on the other hand, is located in Providence, Rhode Island. The Brown University campus is set within a vibrant urban environment, with a mix of historic and modern buildings.

Both universities offer students a wide range of cultural and social opportunities. Boston University’s campus is located near Fenway Park, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Brown University’s campus is situated in Providence’s College Hill neighborhood, which has a lively arts and cultural scene. However, Boston University’s urban location might appeal more to students who thrive in a city environment, while Brown University’s quieter surroundings might suit students who prefer a calmer environment.

Boston University’s location in the heart of Boston also provides students with numerous internship and job opportunities. The city is home to many top companies, including General Electric, Liberty Mutual, and State Street Corporation. Students can take advantage of these opportunities to gain valuable work experience and build their professional networks.

On the other hand, Brown University’s location in Providence offers students easy access to other major cities in the Northeast, including Boston and New York City. Students can take weekend trips to explore these cities and experience their unique cultures and attractions.

Boston University vs Brown University: Admissions Requirements and Acceptance Rates

Admissions requirements and acceptance rates are crucial factors to consider when choosing a university. Boston University and Brown University have competitive admission requirements, and the admissions committees review each applicant’s academic credentials. Boston University’s acceptance rate is 19%, while Brown University’s acceptance rate is 6%.

Applicants to Boston University must submit the Common Application or Coalition Application, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores (SAT or ACT). Brown University operates on a need-blind admission policy and accepts the Common Application. Brown University also gives students the option to submit test-optional applications.

Aside from academic credentials, extracurricular activities, and community involvement are also important factors that universities consider during the admissions process. Boston University values community service and leadership and encourages applicants to showcase their involvement in these areas. Brown University, on the other hand, places a strong emphasis on intellectual curiosity and creativity and looks for applicants who have pursued their passions outside of the classroom.

Both universities also offer early decision and early action options for applicants. Early decision is a binding agreement, where students commit to attending the university if accepted, while early action is non-binding and allows students to apply to multiple universities. However, early decision and early action applications typically have earlier deadlines and require students to submit their applications earlier in the year.

Boston University vs Brown University: Academic Programs and Majors Offered

Both Boston University and Brown University offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various fields of study. Boston University has over 300 programs across 17 schools and colleges, ranging from business, sciences, and arts, to public health and engineering. Brown University has over 80 areas of study and various interdisciplinary programs.

Brown University is more focused on the liberal arts, while Boston University offers a broader range of subjects and professional programs. Students interested in pursuing a career in business, engineering, or health sciences might be drawn to Boston University. Brown University, on the other hand, is renowned for its liberal arts programs and its strong undergraduate research opportunities.

Additionally, Boston University has a strong emphasis on international education, offering over 90 study-abroad programs in over 30 countries. Students can choose to study in locations such as London, Sydney, Shanghai, and Madrid, among others. Brown University also offers study abroad opportunities, with programs in over 50 countries, including options for language immersion and research-based programs.

Both universities also have a variety of joint degree programs with other institutions. For example, Boston University has a joint program with the New England Conservatory of Music, allowing students to earn a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree. Brown University has a joint program with the Rhode Island School of Design, offering a dual degree in Fine Arts and Liberal Arts.

Boston University vs Brown University: Faculty and Student Ratio

The faculty-to-student ratio is a crucial factor that can affect the level of education quality that students can receive. At Boston University, the student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1, while at Brown University, the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1. This indicates that Brown University offers a more personalized and individualized education experience, with students having access to more one-on-one interactions with their professors.

professor teaching in class

However, it is important to note that a lower student-to-faculty ratio does not always guarantee a better education experience. Other factors such as the quality of teaching, resources available, and student engagement also play a significant role in determining the overall education quality.

In addition, some students may prefer a larger student-to-faculty ratio as it allows for a more diverse range of perspectives and experiences in the classroom. It also provides opportunities for students to learn from their peers and develop important social skills that can be beneficial in their future careers.

Boston University vs Brown University: Extracurricular Activities and Clubs on Campus

Engagement in extracurricular activities is essential for students’ holistic development and can also help them stand out in the competitive job market. Boston University has over 450 clubs and organizations, including student government, academic organizations, and artistic clubs. Brown University has over 350 clubs and organizations, including cultural groups, sports teams, and academic clubs.

Both universities offer their students a wide range of opportunities to participate in sports, theater productions, music groups, community service, and more. The extracurricular activities available at both universities could make a difference in which university is a better fit for you.

At Boston University, students can join the BU Outing Club, which organizes outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing. The club provides students with an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of New England and make new friends who share similar interests. Brown University, on the other hand, has a strong focus on community service and offers several volunteer opportunities through its Swearer Center for Public Service.

Moreover, both universities have a thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem, with several clubs and organizations dedicated to fostering innovation and creativity. Boston University has the BU Entrepreneurship Club, which hosts events and workshops to help students develop their entrepreneurial skills. Brown University has the Brown Entrepreneurship Program, which provides students with resources and mentorship to launch their startups.

Boston University vs Brown University: Cost of Attendance

The cost of attending a university is an essential factor to consider when making a college decision. The total cost of attendance includes tuition, fees, room, and board. For the tuition and fees, Boston University charges $62,360 per year not including the room, and board, while Brown University charges $65,146 per year.

Both universities are committed to making education accessible and offer financial aid and scholarships to eligible students. Boston University’s need-based financial aid system aims to bridge the financial gap between the total cost of attendance and what a student and their family can afford. Brown University also offers generous financial aid packages, and it is need-blind for both domestic and international students.

A woman counting her money.

It is important to note that the cost of attendance may vary depending on the program of study, housing options, and other factors. For example, some programs may have additional fees or require students to purchase specific materials or equipment. Additionally, students may choose to live off-campus, which can affect the cost of attendance. It is essential to research and understand all the costs associated with attending a university to make an informed decision.

Boston University vs Brown University: Housing Options

Student housing is an essential factor that can affect students’ quality of life while in college. Boston University offers on-campus housing through its dormitories, while Brown University has a variety of housing options, including dormitories, apartments, and off-campus housing.

Both universities offer students different options to choose from, based on their preferences and budget. Boston University’s on-campus dormitories, like Warren Towers, Myles Standish Hall, and Kilachand Hall, can house up to 7,000 students. Brown University’s various housing options have different features and locations, ranging from Colonial-era dorms to modern apartments.

Living in on-campus dorms can provide students with a sense of community and convenience, as they are located within walking distance of classes and campus facilities. However, off-campus apartments offer more independence and privacy, as well as the opportunity to live in different neighborhoods and experience the local culture. Students need to consider their priorities and lifestyle when choosing between on-campus dorms and off-campus apartments.

Boston University vs Brown University: Student Life

Choosing a university partly involves assessing the surrounding environment’s quality and students’ social life. Boston is a bustling, cosmopolitan city, with plenty of outdoor activities, cultural events, and historical landmarks. Providence, on the other hand, is a quiet, mid-sized city, with a friendly community and a rich artistic and cultural scene. Each city has its unique charm and character.

Boston University students can explore various neighborhoods, including Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the South End. Brown University students can take a stroll along Downcity, explore the Riverwalk, or visit Thayer Street, a vibrant commercial strip that has multiple shops, restaurants, and cafes.

However, despite their differences, both Boston and Providence offer a wide range of opportunities for students to get involved in extracurricular activities and clubs. Boston University has over 450 student organizations, including academic clubs, cultural groups, and sports teams. Brown University also has a diverse range of student organizations, including a student-run radio station, a literary magazine, and a social justice advocacy group. Both cities also have a thriving music scene, with numerous venues hosting concerts and performances throughout the year.

Boston University vs Brown University: Career Opportunities and Internships for Students

Securing employment after graduation is a priority for many students. Both Boston University and Brown University provide programs and services to support students’ career development and help them find internships and employment opportunities.

Boston University has a Career Services office that offers various career development resources, including job and internship opportunities, resume and cover letter critiques, and career coaching. Brown University’s CareerLAB provides students with similar resources, including individual advising, career programming, job search platforms, and career fairs.

a young man shakes someone's hand after being interviewed

Additionally, both universities have partnerships with various companies and organizations to provide students with exclusive internship opportunities. Boston University has partnerships with companies such as Google, IBM, and Goldman Sachs, while Brown University has partnerships with organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution and the United Nations.

Boston University vs Brown University: Alumni Network and Job Placement Rate

The strength of an alumni network and the job placement rate are important factors that you should consider when choosing a university. Boston University and Brown University have robust alumni networks that connect current students and graduates to various professional opportunities worldwide.

Boston University’s alumni network is significant, consisting of over 300,000 graduates from over 180 countries. The university’s job placement rate for graduates is around 93 percent. Brown University also has a strong alumni network, consisting of over 90,000 graduates in various sectors, including business, education, government, and the arts. Brown University’s job placement rate for graduates is around 92 percent.

However, it is important to note that job placement rates can vary depending on the field of study. For example, Brown University has a higher job placement rate for graduates in the humanities and social sciences, while Boston University has a higher job placement rate for graduates in the STEM fields. It is important to research the job placement rates for your specific field of study when considering universities.

Boston University vs Brown University: Research Opportunities

Research opportunities enable students to work closely with faculty members on groundbreaking research projects, gain hands-on experience, and make meaningful contributions to their fields of study. Both Boston University and Brown University prioritize research, and their faculties conduct research across various disciplines.

Boston University is a research-intensive university that conducts cutting-edge research across various fields of study, including science, technology, design, and health. The university has over 17 research centers and institutes, including the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories, the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and the Boston University Photonics Center. Brown University is also committed to research, with faculty members working on various research projects in humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

One of the unique features of research opportunities at Boston University is the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), which provides funding and support for students to conduct research with faculty members. UROP projects range from studying the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems to developing new technologies for renewable energy. Brown University also offers research opportunities for undergraduate students through the Brown Undergraduate Research Fellowship (BURF) program, which provides funding for students to conduct research in any field of study.

Another advantage of conducting research at Boston University is the university’s location in the heart of Boston, which provides access to a vibrant research community and numerous research institutions, including Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, which also has a thriving research community, including the Rhode Island Hospital and the Brown University School of Public Health.

Boston University vs Brown University: Diversity and Inclusivity on Campus

Diversity and inclusivity are essential values that universities should uphold and actively promote. Boston University and Brown University are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus through various programs and policies.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Boston University has established various organizations, including the Cultural Life Program, the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism, the Howard Thurman Center, and the Florence Luscomb Women’s Center, to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. Brown University has robust diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, and the Responsible and Inclusive Conduct Policy.

Both universities also prioritize diversity and inclusivity in their admissions processes. Boston University considers diversity as a factor in its admissions decisions and has a dedicated Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Brown University has a need-blind admission policy and actively recruits students from underrepresented groups.

Boston University vs Brown University: Athletics Programs and Facilities Offered

Athletics programs and facilities are essential for students who want to engage in sports and physical activity. Boston University and Brown University have developed robust athletics programs and facilities that cater to students’ varying interests and abilities.

Boston University offers 24 Division I varsity sports teams, including basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, and rowing. The university also has fitness and recreation facilities, including the Fitness and Recreation Center, the Case Athletic Center, and the Boston University Track and Tennis Center. Brown University also has 32 Division I varsity sports teams, including football, basketball, soccer, and swimming. The university’s athletics facilities include the Brown Stadium, the Pizzitola Sports Center, and the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center.

Both universities also offer a wide range of intramural and club sports for students who want to participate in sports at a more casual level. Boston University has over 30 intramural sports, including flag football, dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee. The university also has over 40 club sports, including rugby, fencing, and sailing. Brown University has over 50 club sports, including quidditch, ultimate frisbee, and ballroom dancing. The university also has a variety of intramural sports, including basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

In addition to traditional sports, both universities also offer unique fitness and wellness programs. Boston University has a Mind and Body Studio, which offers yoga, Pilates, and meditation classes. The university also has a rock climbing wall and a dance studio. Brown University has a Mindfulness Center, which offers meditation and mindfulness classes. The university also has a variety of wellness programs, including nutrition counseling and stress management workshops.

Boston University vs Brown University: Campus Safety and Security Measures

Campus safety and security are crucial factors that universities need to prioritize to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of their students. Boston University and Brown University have established various measures to ensure campus safety.

Boston University has a well-developed safety infrastructure that includes the Boston University Police Department, Student Health Services, and Behavioral Medicine. The university also provides emergency notification systems, security escorts, and safety training programs. Brown University has a Campus Safety and Security Department that collaborates with community partners to create a safe and secure environment. The department maintains emergency notification systems, conducts regular drills, and offers safety training programs.

CCTV Camera

Additionally, both universities have implemented measures to prevent sexual assault and harassment on campus. Boston University has a Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center that provides support and resources to survivors of sexual violence. The university also offers bystander intervention training and has a policy of affirmative consent. Brown University has a Title IX Office that investigates and responds to reports of sexual misconduct. The university also provides confidential support services and has a comprehensive sexual assault and harassment policy.

Conclusion: Which University is the Best Fit for You?

Choosing between Boston University and Brown University can be a challenging decision, given each university’s unique characteristics. Both universities offer high-quality education, robust extracurricular programs, and numerous research opportunities. Consider factors such as location, campus size, academic programs, student-to-faculty ratio, extracurricular activities, cost of attendance, housing options, and campus safety measures when making your decision. Ultimately, the best university for you depends on your academic interests, personality, and lifestyle preferences.


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