What Are Brown’s GPA and SAT Requirements?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Wayland Hall in Brown University

What Are Brown’s GPA and SAT Requirements?

Understanding the academic expectations of Brown University, particularly its GPA and SAT requirements, is crucial for prospective students. Navigating these standards can be daunting, but it’s an essential step in your journey to getting into Brown.

Brown University GPA Requirements

Your high school GPA is a fundamental aspect of your application to Brown University, as it provides a clear indicator of your academic abilities and work ethic. A strong GPA not only reflects your mastery of academic subjects but also your readiness for the university’s challenging curriculum.

When assessing your GPA, Brown University considers several key factors:

  • High School Courses Taken: The selection of courses throughout your high school years showcases your academic interests and dedication. Brown pays close attention to the subjects you choose and how they align with your intended field of study.
  • Course Rigor: It’s not just about the grades you earn but also the difficulty of the courses you take. Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and honors courses weigh heavily in the evaluation process.
  • Class Rank: Over 90% of admitted students at Brown University are among the top performers in their high schools. Your class rank helps the admissions committee understand your academic standing relative to your peers.
  • Grade Trends: Consistency and improvement in grades throughout high school are important. An upward trend can be particularly favorable, as it indicates your growing academic maturity and capability.
  • School Context: Brown considers the context of your educational background, understanding that different schools have varying levels of rigor and opportunities. This perspective ensures a fair evaluation of your academic accomplishments.

Remember, while your GPA is a critical component of your Brown application, it’s part of a broader assessment that includes your SAT scores, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Achieving excellence in your GPA is undoubtedly important, but it’s equally vital to present a well-rounded application that resonates with the university’s holistic admissions approach.

Does Brown University have a minimum GPA requirement?

Brown University does not officially set a minimum GPA requirement for applicants. This approach aligns with their holistic admissions process, which seeks to evaluate students based on a variety of factors beyond just academic scores.

However, the absence of a minimum GPA does not diminish the competitiveness of Brown’s admissions.

View of a student writing an essay.

Brown University average GPA

While there’s no minimum GPA requirement, understanding the typical GPA range of admitted students is crucial. Most students accepted into Brown University have an average GPA ranging from 3.9 to 4.0.

This high range indicates the level of academic excellence that is common among successful applicants and the quality of students that Brown typically admits. Nationally, this high GPA average signifies the elite academic standing of Brown and its student body, setting a benchmark for aspiring applicants.

Understanding these GPA statistics should serve as a guide, not a deterrent. If your GPA falls within or near this range, it’s an encouraging sign that you’re on the right track.

However, if your GPA is lower, remember that Brown’s holistic review process considers many other factors. In this case, it’s vital to focus on strengthening other aspects of your application to complement your GPA and showcase your full potential as a candidate.

GPA tips for Brown University

For prospective students aiming for admission to Brown University, setting a target GPA of 4.0 or higher is advisable. Achieving this level of academic excellence demonstrates your ability to thrive in a rigorous academic environment and aligns with the high standards of Brown’s admitted students.

To help you reach and sustain a GPA that meets Brown’s requirements, consider the following strategies:

  • Prioritize excelling in core academic subjects, as these are crucial indicators of your academic strength. Strong performances in English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Languages are particularly valuable.
  • Engage in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or honors courses when available. Success in these challenging classes demonstrates your readiness for college-level coursework.
  • Aim for consistency in your academic achievements. Avoid significant fluctuations in your grades, as a steady performance is often more favorable.
  • If you’re struggling with a subject, don’t hesitate to seek extra help. This can include tutoring, study groups, or additional support from teachers.
  • Develop strong time management skills. Balancing academics with extracurricular activities effectively can lead to better performance and reduced stress.
  • Participate in academic competitions, summer programs, or online courses related to your interests. These activities can enhance your understanding and passion for subjects, positively impacting your GPA.
  • Use teachers’ feedback to improve your understanding and performance in different subjects. Constructive criticism is an opportunity for academic growth.
  • Keep your goal of attending Brown University in mind. This motivation can drive you to maintain high academic standards throughout your high school years.

Can I Get into Brown University with a Low GPA?

While Brown University’s GPA and SAT requirements are crucial factors in the admissions process, it’s possible for students with lower GPAs to still be competitive applicants.

The university’s holistic review process means that a lower GPA can be offset by strengths in other areas of your application:

  • Strong SAT/ACT Scores: High standardized test scores can help balance a lower GPA, demonstrating your academic capabilities and readiness for college-level work.
  • Extracurricular Achievements: Exceptional accomplishments in extracurricular activities can make a strong impression. Leadership roles, community service, or significant contributions to clubs or organizations are all valued.

University students checking something in a notebook.

  • Personal Growth: If your GPA improved over time, make sure to highlight this growth. It can show resilience and a commitment to academic improvement.
  • Compelling Essays: Your essays are a chance to tell your story, express your passions, and explain any academic struggles. A well-written, authentic essay can significantly boost your application.
  • Strong Letters of Recommendation: Letters from teachers or mentors who can speak to your strengths, work ethic, and potential can be very influential.

In summary, a lower GPA does not automatically disqualify you from consideration at Brown University. By focusing on other strengths and aspects of your application, you can still present yourself as a well-rounded and compelling candidate.

Brown University SAT Requirements

Alongside GPA, your SAT score plays a significant role in your application to Brown University. A strong SAT score can not only complement your academic achievements but also highlight your readiness for the university’s challenging academic environment.

Your SAT score is a crucial metric in the admissions process, as it provides a standardized measure of your critical reading, mathematical, and analytical skills.

Your SAT score is often viewed in conjunction with your high school GPA to assess your overall academic preparedness. A high SAT score, especially when paired with a strong GPA, can make your application more competitive.

It’s important to understand that Brown looks for scores that align with its high academic standards. Therefore, investing time and effort in preparing for the SAT can be a key step in enhancing your application.

In summary, while Brown University adopts a holistic approach to admissions, your SAT score is an essential component of your application.

Does Brown University have a minimum SAT requirement?

Brown University does not have a minimum SAT requirement for applicants. This aligns with their holistic admissions approach, which considers various aspects of a candidate’s profile.

However, understanding the typical SAT scores of admitted students is essential to gauge the level of competition and the caliber of students Brown typically admits.

Brown University average SAT

Here are the typical SAT scores of admitted Brown students:

Average SAT Score 25th Percentile SAT Score 75th Percentile SAT Score
1530 1500 1560

Within Brown University, these scores reflect the institution’s high academic standards. Nationally, they place Brown among the most selective universities, indicating that the majority of its students have demonstrated exceptional aptitude in their standardized testing.

Scoring within these ranges is a strong indicator of your academic preparedness for Brown. A score at the average (1530) or 75th percentile (1560) can significantly strengthen your application.

However, if your score falls at the 25th percentile (1500), it’s more important to complement your application with strong performances in other areas. Achieving a SAT score at the 25th percentile does not disqualify you, but it does mean that other aspects of your application need to shine brighter to demonstrate your full potential and fit for Brown University.

Remember, the holistic admissions process at Brown allows for flexibility and the opportunity to present a well-rounded profile.

View of a student taking an exam.

SAT tips for Brown University

Aiming for the 75th percentile SAT score of 1560 or higher can significantly enhance your application to Brown University. Specifically, reaching for a score of 800 in SAT Math and 780 in SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing will place you in a competitive position.

To reach this goal, consider these tips:

  • Begin your SAT preparation well in advance. Create a study plan that allows sufficient time to cover all sections thoroughly.
  • Identify your weaker sections and allocate more time to improve in these areas. Regular practice can significantly boost your performance.
  • Utilize resources from the College Board, including official SAT practice tests. These materials provide the most accurate representation of the test format and question types.
  • Enrolling in SAT prep courses or workshops can provide structured learning and expert guidance. Both online and in-person options are available.
  • Practice with real SAT test papers under timed conditions. This helps build stamina and familiarizes you with the test’s pace and pressure.
  • For the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, regularly read a variety of texts and practice summarizing, analyzing, and critiquing them.
  • Regularly practice math problems, especially those topics you find challenging. Focus on understanding concepts rather than just memorizing formulas.
  • Practice managing your time effectively during the test. Knowing how much time to allocate to each question is crucial.
  • Simulate test day conditions by taking full-length practice tests. This will help you get comfortable with the test format and identify areas for improvement.
  • After each practice test, thoroughly review your answers, especially the incorrect ones, to understand your mistakes and learn from them.
  • Keep track of any changes to the SAT format or content and adjust your preparation strategy accordingly.

Brown University testing policy

Brown University has adopted a test-optional policy for standardized testing. This means that submitting SAT or ACT scores is not mandatory for applicants.

The test-optional policy allows you more flexibility in your application to Brown University. If you have strong SAT or ACT scores, submitting them can enhance your application by showcasing your academic abilities.

However, if you feel that your standardized test scores do not accurately reflect your academic potential or if you’ve faced challenges in taking these exams, you can choose not to include them.

In the absence of test scores, other components of your application will carry more weight. This includes your high school GPA, the rigor of your coursework, essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

It’s important to ensure these elements of your application are as strong as possible to convey your abilities, character, and readiness for the challenging academic environment at Brown.

This test-optional policy allows for a more inclusive approach, considering the diverse backgrounds and experiences of applicants. Brown University values the unique perspectives and skills each student brings, and this policy ensures that all students have a fair opportunity to present their best selves, regardless of their access to standardized testing.

Should I submit my SAT scores to Brown University?

Deciding whether to submit your SAT scores to Brown University is a significant consideration, especially in light of the university’s test-optional policy. Notably, about 54% of successful applicants who were admitted and chose to enroll have submitted their SAT scores.

Young female student focused on her desk in the bedroom, studying at home with a laptop.

This statistic suggests that a significant portion of students felt their SAT scores positively represented their academic abilities and chose to include them as part of their application.

If your SAT score aligns with or exceeds the average scores of previously admitted students (around the 1500-1560 range), it can be advantageous to submit them. High SAT scores can strengthen your application, potentially giving you an edge in the competitive admissions process.

However, if your SAT scores are not within this range and you believe other aspects of your application are stronger and more reflective of your potential, it may be more strategic not to include them. Brown’s holistic review process means that they consider each part of your application to build a complete picture of who you are as a student and individual.

Whether to submit SAT scores to Brown University depends on how well those scores represent your academic capabilities and how they compare to other parts of your application. The decision should be based on a careful evaluation of your overall profile and the strengths you wish to highlight in your application to Brown.

Does Brown University superscore the SAT?

Brown University adopts a superscoring policy for the SAT. This means that if you have taken the SAT multiple times, Brown will consider only the highest individual section scores from all the test dates and combine them to create your best possible composite score.

This policy allows you to showcase your best performance in each section of the SAT, potentially boosting your overall score. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your highest academic potential.

For instance, if you excel in Math but feel you could improve in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, you can retake the SAT with a focus on the latter, knowing that your high Math score will still be considered.

Brown’s superscoring policy is a student-friendly approach that acknowledges the complexities of standardized testing. It encourages you to put forth your best effort in each section of the SAT, ultimately aiding in presenting the strongest application possible to Brown University.

Can I get into Brown University with a low SAT score?

Gaining admission to Brown University with a low SAT score can be challenging, but it’s not impossible, especially considering Brown’s holistic approach to its GPA and SAT requirements.

If your SAT scores are not a strong point, focusing on enhancing other parts of your application can still make you a competitive candidate:

  • Strong Academic Record: A high GPA, especially in challenging courses, can offset a lower SAT score. It shows your ability to handle rigorous academic work.
  • Exceptional Essays: Compelling and well-written essays that provide insight into your personality, experiences, and aspirations can significantly strengthen your application.
  • Robust Extracurricular Profile: Demonstrating leadership, commitment, and passion in extracurricular activities can showcase your potential to contribute to the Brown community in unique ways.
  • Outstanding Letters of Recommendation: Letters that speak to your academic abilities, character, and potential can have a substantial impact, especially if they provide context to your SAT scores.
  • Unique Talents or Achievements: Special accomplishments in areas like arts, sports, community service, or research can make your application stand out.
  • Personal Growth and Character: Evidence of personal growth, resilience, and a strong character can be persuasive, showing that you are more than just your academic scores.

Indian male mentor and latin female young professional sitting in creative office space.

Remember, Brown values diverse talents and perspectives, and a lower SAT score does not necessarily preclude you from being a compelling applicant.

Brown University Acceptance Rate

The competition to get into Brown University is intense, with an acceptance rate of around 5%. This highly selective nature underscores the importance of not only meeting but exceeding the standard academic benchmarks.

Understanding Brown’s GPA and SAT requirements is key to navigating the admissions process successfully. These metrics are key indicators of academic preparedness and potential for success at such a demanding institution.

However, they are just one part of a holistic admissions process that considers a range of factors. Given Brown’s acceptance rate, applicants must find ways to stand out. This involves showcasing unique talents, experiences, and perspectives, in addition to academic prowess.

A well-rounded application that aligns with Brown’s values and academic standards is essential for making a strong impression on the admissions committee.

Other Ways to Boost Your Academic Profile for Brown University

While focusing on Brown University’s GPA and SAT requirements is important, there are additional ways to enhance your academic profile for your application. These methods can help demonstrate your readiness and suitability for the challenging academic environment at Brown.

  • Advanced Courses: Enroll in AP, IB, or dual-enrollment college courses. Excelling in these can show your ability to handle college-level work.
  • Academic Competitions: Participate in academic competitions such as math leagues, science fairs, or writing contests. Success in these areas showcases your expertise and passion.
  • Independent Research Projects: Conducting independent research, especially in an area of interest related to your intended major, can display initiative and deep engagement with academic subjects.
  • Intellectual Experiences Outside School: Attend lectures, workshops, or summer programs at local colleges or universities. These experiences can broaden your academic perspective and show your commitment to learning.
  • Strong Online Presence: Create a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast on a subject you’re passionate about. This can demonstrate expertise and enthusiasm for learning.
  • Relationships with Mentors: Cultivate relationships with teachers and mentors who can provide guidance and potentially write compelling letters of recommendation.
  • Language Proficiency: If you speak multiple languages, especially less commonly taught ones, highlight this skill. It can reflect cultural awareness and intellectual versatility.
  • Volunteer Work and Internships: Engage in volunteer work or internships related to your field of interest. These experiences can offer practical insights and enhance your academic profile.

Incorporating these elements into your application can significantly strengthen your academic profile, providing a more comprehensive picture of your abilities and interests. They can serve as valuable complements to your GPA and SAT scores, illustrating your full potential as a candidate for Brown University.


Your GPA and SAT scores are significant factors in your application to Brown University. Excelling in these areas aligns with the high standards of Brown’s academic requirements, setting a solid foundation for your application.

However, it’s equally important to remember that Brown values a holistic approach in its admissions process. This means every part of your application—from your essays and extracurricular activities to letters of recommendation and personal achievements—plays a crucial role.

The holistic approach ensures that you are evaluated not just as a set of numbers, but as a whole person with unique experiences, talents, and aspirations.

Brown seeks students who not only excel academically but also bring a rich array of perspectives, experiences, and talents to their campus. Balancing academic excellence with a well-rounded, thoroughly developed application is the key to presenting yourself as an ideal candidate for this prestigious institution.



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