Brown Likely Letter: What to Know

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Brown Likely Letter: What to Know

For students who are interested in applying to the most competitive and prestigious colleges and universities in the United States, the process of applying to schools and waiting to hear back can be a really stressful one. After all, the students that apply to these kinds of schools are ones that work incredibly hard when it comes to their academics and have a lot of really high expectations for themselves.

That is especially true for students who plan on applying to Ivy League schools such as Yale, Princeton or Brown.

While students do typically have to wait to hear back until the schools start sending out official letters of acceptance, there is one other way that some schools alert students that they are highly interested in the fact that they can soon expect to receive an official acceptance letter. These are known as likely letters and if you are planning on applying to Brown you are probably wondering what the chances are that you might end up receiving a Brown likely letter before you accept a Brown acceptance letter.

But what is a Brown likely letter and what does getting a likely letter from Brown truly mean when it comes to your chances of actually getting into the school? On top of that, what can any student do to improve their own chances of getting a Brown University letter?

Brow university school building with stairs and surrounded by trees.

At AdmissionSight, our college admissions consultants make it a top priority to give the students that we work with the information and tools that they need to improve their chances of getting into the schools of their dreams.

Understandably so, a lot of the schools that we try to help students get into are the elite of the elite such as one or more of the eight schools that make up the Ivy League or other top-10 schools elsewhere in the United States Stanford, Caltech or MIT. These schools very often have acceptance rates that are well under 10.0 percent, so the fact that 75 percent of the students that we work with end up getting into an Ivy League school or a top-10 school outside of the Ivies is something that we are very proud of!

While we are not able to teach our students how to make sure that they are among the small group of students that receive a likely letter from Brown, we can help students utilize the tools and strategies necessary to make themselves the most attractive undergraduate applicants possible. This, in turn, can absolutely end up leading to them receiving a likely letter from a school like Brown, Dartmouth, or Harvard.

So, if you are interested in learning about what it means to get a Brown likely letter, what to do once you receive one, and how you can improve your chance of getting one (and getting into a school as prestigious as Brown at all), then you have come to the right place!

Let’s get started on breaking it all down together

What are likely letters?

Before we get into the specifics of Brown likely letters, we wanted to quickly break down the basic facts when it comes to what likely letters are in general and what role they play in the undergraduate admissions ecosystem.

Essentially, highly selective universities and colleges, such as Brown will sometimes write what are known as “likely letters” (also sometimes known as “love letters”) to elite applicants who have applied to the school.

These letters are especially popular for students who are being considered to receive merit-based or athletic financial aid such as a scholarship or a full ride. Essentially, these letters are used to give these top tier applicants a “heads up” or sorts that they will likely be admitted to the school before the official decision notifications go out in March and April. The letters are not only used to flatter the applicant, but they are also used to start planning for their enrollment at the school!

Likely letters do effectively have the effect of a letter of admission, but that does not mean that students are as good as in no matter what they do. Even when a student does receive a likely letter, students do have to sustain “the academic and personal record reflected in the completed application.” That means that a student still has to make it a top priority to uphold their great grades and remain involved in their extracurricular activities even after getting a likely letter or official letter of acceptance.

Moreover, students need to avoid any run-ins with the police or getting in trouble at school. Given the fact that these types of students are typically very mature and highly focused on their future and success, these kinds of lapses are rare, but they are still important to mention!

Does Brown send likely letters?

Even though it is already an established fact that a large number of the United States’ most prestigious schools do indeed send likely letters, we still want to make it clear about Brown University, specifically. After all, if you have gotten this far in this breakdown, chances are pretty good that Brown is amongst your top choices.

Aerial view of Brown university.

On top of that, when it comes to learning about the schools that you plan on applying to specifically, you will want to make sure you know the ins and outs of their application requirements and the general way that they carry out their admissions process. While schools tend to have a lot of similarities, there are also some specific differences that students will want to keep in mind. Knowing these differences can sometimes be the difference between receiving a letter of acceptance or a Brown likely letter and not!

Though most schools in the United States do not send likely letters to undergraduate applicants, all four of the Ivy League schools – including Brown – have been known to send out these letters. Other prestigious schools that send likely letters include schools like Stanford, Duke, and the University of Chicago. More often than not, larger state schools – even the more prestigious ones like the University of Berkley, University of Michigan, and University of Texas, Austin – do not send likely letters.

All of this is basically to say that Brown does indeed send likely letters to some students each application cycle. In fact, it is generally believed that approximately 1/5th of the students that are eventually offered a spot at Brown will be offered a likely letter. Moreover, about one-half of the total number of likely letters are sent to athletes applying to Brown.

So what kind of numbers are we looking at now that we know that approximately 1/5th of students who are accepted to Brown end up getting likely letters? Let’s take a look at some of the statistics surrounding the class of 2026 to find out.

In the 2021-22 application cycle, Brown received a record-high number of applicants of 50,608. Of that massive pool, the school reported that the acceptance rate was just 5.0 percent, another record for the school. The previous all-time low acceptance rate at Brown was from the previous year and came in at 5.4 percent!

So, 5.0 percent of the 50,608 students ended up getting in, meaning that around 2,530 students ended up getting an official letter of acceptance. But 1/5th of those students received a likely letter before even getting official word from the school.

So how many students ended up getting a likely letter during the 2021-22 application cycle? Approximately 505 students! That is an incredibly small number compared to the over 50,000 students that applied to the school that year!

That should give you a pretty good idea of just how hard it is to get one of these letters from Brown or any other Ivy League school.

What does a Brown likely letter typically say?

If you are hoping to one day get a likely letter from Brown, you may be curious about what these kinds of letters typically say. Overall, likely letters are known to be somewhat flattering so entice the student to remain invested in potentially attending that school one day. Here is a quick example of what a likely letter from Brown might say:

“Greetings from the Office of Admissions at Brown University! I am writing to you today to update you on your application and let you know how impressed my colleagues and I have been with your many accomplishments, both academic and otherwise. We feel that your interests and talents, as well as your goals, are a fantastic match for Harvard University. While we will not be sending out official offers just yet, we thought you would like to know that you are likely to be admitted when the time comes. Congratulations!”

Remember, this is just an example based on the likely letters that AdmissionSight has seen from the students that we have worked with in previous application cycles.

It is also interesting to note that likely letters are sometimes used as a way to help a unique applicants “prepare” themselves and their family for the soon-to-come acceptance letter. This is primarily for people who may not come from the traditional pool of students that apply and get into Brown.

This refers specifically to students who are coming from unique circumstances, like applying from a different country or being the first person in their family to likely receive a college education. These kinds of students may need more time to prepare, both emotionally and logistically, for the journey ahead. Schools use the likely letter as a way to help those students prepare!

Does a likely letter from Brown guarantee admission?

This is a really important aspect for students to be aware of when it comes to getting a likely letter from any school that they apply to.

Young woman reading a letter.

A likely letter is typically seen as something that is just as good as getting an official letter of acceptance, but there are some definite caveats. As previously mentioned, the most notable caveat is that students who receive a likely letter and then go on to stop caring about their school performances and see their grades and activities out of the classroom suffer as a consequence will definitely risk losing their spot at the school.

The primary things that any student who receives a likely letter should avoid in order to make sure they get another positive letter from Brown soon is keep your grades up, don’t get suspended, and – of course – don’t have any run-ins with the law or an arrest. That is true for both likely letters and official letters of acceptance as those official letters can also be rescinded if a student’s grades drop too low or if the student deals with issues that lead to a suspension from school or an arrest.

How to get a likely letter from Brown

Given the fact that Brown has had an acceptance rate under 6.0 percent in both of the last two application cycles, and that just 1/5th of students who get accepted end up getting these Brown likely letters, it should be abundantly clear that there is really no way to guarantee to get one such letter. However, based on trends that we are aware of, there are certain kinds of students that tend to be more likely to get one of these letters compared to others.
Based on that info, here are some of the ways that could help you receive a likely letter from Brown.

Earn a distinguished sporting record

One of the best ways for students to improve their chances of getting a likely letter from Brown is to be a great student-athlete. As a member of the Ivy League, Brown does not award either academic or athletic scholarships. With that being said, that does not mean that the school does not value student-athletes.

Young woman preparing for her sprint.

If a world-class athlete with a highly impressive academic record, especially if that student plays a sport that the school is well-known for, the chances of receiving a likely letter go up dramatically.

Brown has a number of sports teams that it is home to for its undergraduate students, including:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Field hockey
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Swimming and diving
  • Track and field
  • Water polo
  • Volleyball
  • And more!

If you are planning on applying to Brown, are an accomplished high school athlete, and have an interest in continuing your athletic career as an undergrad, you should absolutely make that a point to mention somewhere in your application to the school.

Display a unique devotion to your community and groups

While Ivy League schools absolutely do focus on a student’s academic preparedness first and foremost when deciding what students should be accepted to the school, another crucial aspect of any student’s application is how they got involved in their community during high school.

One of the best ways to prove this is by getting deeply involved in your passions and interests by way of extracurricular activities, groups and clubs.

Young woman standing in line with her colleagues.

But why does this matter when it comes to getting a likely letter? Essentially, Ivy League schools love finding students that will contribute to the campus community in strong ways. If you can show that you were highly committed to your community in high school, the admissions officers at Brown will feel confident that you will do the same if you get into the school!

Have an incredible academic record

Just like the most elite students compete for spots at the most elite schools in the United States, so too do elite schools compete for those elite students. This typically refers to students who have excelled academically throughout their high school years. Likely letters sometimes serve as a way for schools to get a leg up on the competition in terms of convincing a unique and accomplished student to enroll at their school. If you want to be one of those students, you are going to have to make sure that you are earning incredible grades in advanced courses throughout your high school education.

When Brown likely letters come out

Per Ivy League regulations, colleges are able to send out likely letters between October 1st and March 15th. Of course, the timing of a likely letter being sent is going to depend entirely on whether a student applies to Brown through early admissions or regular admissions. And when students do get likely letters, they can feel confident that an official acceptance letter is going to follow close behind.

Get a Brown likely letter

There is no way to truly guarantee to get a likely letter from a school as selective as Brown. If you are interested in learning more about the Brown application process and what goes into getting a likely letter from this school, contact us at AdmissionSight today to schedule a free consultation.



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