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

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female student smiling with her classmates.

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

Choosing the right college can be a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider, and the decision can have a significant impact on your future. For those considering Brown University vs Amherst College, this article will provide a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision about which school is the right fit for you.

Academic Programs and Majors: Brown University vs Amherst

When it comes to academic programs and majors, both Brown and Amherst offer a wide range of options. However, the schools differ in their approach to curriculum. Amherst has a core curriculum that requires students to take courses in various disciplines, while Brown has an open curriculum that allows students to design their own course of study.

Amherst is also known for its strong science programs, while Brown has a reputation for excellence in the humanities and social sciences. As such, the right choice for you will depend on your academic interests and career goals.

Another factor to consider when choosing between Brown and Amherst is the size of the schools. Brown has a larger student body and offers more diverse extracurricular activities, while Amherst has a smaller, more intimate community with a strong focus on undergraduate education.

Additionally, Brown is located in Providence, Rhode Island, a bustling city with many opportunities for internships and networking, while Amherst is situated in a more rural area of Massachusetts.

Faculty and Student Body: Brown University vs Amherst

One important factor to consider when choosing a college is the quality of the faculty and the makeup of the student body. At Amherst, the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1, while at Brown, it’s 7:1. Both schools have highly qualified and accomplished faculty members who are dedicated to helping their students succeed.

As for the student body, Brown is known for its diversity, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Amherst also has a diverse student body, but its smaller size means that it has somewhat fewer international students and a lower overall diversity index.

Three students walking in front of a school building.

Another important aspect to consider when looking at the student body is the size of the school. Brown has a larger undergraduate population, with over 7,000 students, while Amherst has a smaller student body of around 1,800. This can impact the overall feel of the campus and the level of individual attention students receive from faculty and staff.

Additionally, it’s worth noting the academic strengths of each school. Brown is known for its strong programs in the humanities and social sciences, while Amherst is highly regarded for its liberal arts curriculum and emphasis on undergraduate research. Depending on your academic interests, one school may be a better fit for you than the other.

Admission Requirements and Selectivity: Brown University vs Amherst

Admissions to both Brown and Amherst are highly competitive. Brown’s acceptance rate for the class of 2024 was 7.7%, while Amherst’s was 11%. Both schools consider a range of factors when evaluating applicants, including academic performance, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities.

One notable difference between the two schools is that Amherst is test-optional, meaning that applicants can choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores as part of their application. Brown also allows students to apply without submitting standardized test scores, but it still considers them as part of the application if provided.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, both Brown and Amherst also consider an applicant’s demonstrated interest in the school. This can include attending information sessions, visiting campus, and reaching out to admissions representatives with questions.

Another important aspect of the application process is the essay. Both schools require applicants to submit a personal essay, which provides an opportunity for students to showcase their writing skills and share their unique perspectives and experiences.

Cost of Attendance: Brown University vs Amherst

When it comes to cost, both Brown and Amherst are expensive schools. However, they also offer significant financial aid to help make their education more accessible to students from all backgrounds.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, the total cost of attendance at Brown is $80,056, while at Amherst, it’s $77,920. However, these costs can be reduced significantly through financial aid, which is based on a student’s demonstrated financial need.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance includes not only tuition and fees, but also room and board, books and supplies, and personal expenses. At both Brown and Amherst, students have access to a variety of resources to help them manage these costs, such as work-study programs, scholarships, and grants.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: Brown University vs Amherst

Both Brown and Amherst offer need-based financial aid, which means that they provide support to students who demonstrate financial need. Brown also offers merit scholarships to a select group of students, while Amherst offers a range of scholarships and prizes to students who excel academically or in extracurricular activities.

Ultimately, which school offers better opportunities for financial aid and scholarships will depend on your individual financial situation and academic qualifications.

Female student looking intently on her laptop.

It’s important to note that both Brown and Amherst have generous financial aid packages, with Brown meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need and Amherst meeting 100% of demonstrated need without loans. Additionally, both schools offer work-study programs to help students offset the cost of attendance.

However, it’s worth considering the differences in the cost of attendance between the two schools. Brown’s total cost of attendance for the 2021-2022 academic year is $80,236, while Amherst’s is $78,800. This difference may impact the amount of financial aid you receive and should be taken into account when comparing the two schools.

Student Life and Extracurriculars: Brown vs. Amherst

When it comes to student life and extracurriculars, both Brown and Amherst offer a wide range of activities and opportunities. Brown is known for its vibrant social scene and active student organizations, while Amherst offers a more laid-back and intimate community.

Both schools have a variety of clubs, organizations, and athletic teams for students to get involved in. However, Brown has a larger number of clubs and a thriving arts scene, while Amherst has a strong tradition of athletics and a close-knit community. At Brown, students can participate in a variety of arts-related activities, including theater productions, Cappella groups, and dance troupes. The university also has a renowned creative writing program and hosts a number of literary events throughout the year.

In contrast, Amherst has a smaller arts scene, but still offers opportunities for students to explore their creative interests through clubs and organizations such as the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble and the Amherst College Film Society.

When it comes to athletics, Amherst has a strong tradition of success in Division III sports, with numerous national championships in sports such as basketball, soccer, and lacrosse. The school also has a strong intramural sports program, allowing students of all skill levels to participate in a variety of sports.

Brown, on the other hand, has a more casual approach to athletics, with a focus on recreational sports and fitness classes. The university also has a popular outdoor recreation program, offering opportunities for students to explore the natural beauty of Rhode Island and beyond.

Research Opportunities on Campus: Brown University vs Amherst

Both Brown and Amherst offer excellent research opportunities for students. Brown is known for its cutting-edge research in a variety of fields, including biology, neuroscience, and computer science. Amherst also has a strong research focus, with opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects.

However, Brown’s larger size and greater resources mean that it has more research opportunities available and more funding available for student research projects.

Additionally, Brown has several research centers and institutes that provide students with unique opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary research. These include the Brown Institute for Brain Science, the Center for Computational Molecular Biology, and the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation.

Amherst, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on undergraduate research and provides students with opportunities to present their research at conferences and publish their findings in academic journals.

Career Services and Alumni Networks: Brown University vs Amherst

Both Brown and Amherst have strong career services and alumni networks that can help students succeed after graduation. Brown’s CareerLAB offers a range of services, from resume writing to networking events, while Amherst’s Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning provides similar support and resources.

Both schools also have active and supportive alumni networks that can provide valuable connections and job opportunities to recent graduates.

Group of students talking in a room.

However, there are some differences between the two schools’ career services and alumni networks. Brown’s CareerLAB has a larger staff and offers more specialized services, such as career counseling and mock interviews. On the other hand, Amherst’s Loeb Center has a strong focus on helping students explore their career interests and offers a variety of career-related workshops and events.

Athletics Programs and Facilities: A Look at Brown Bears vs. Amherst Mammoths

When it comes to athletics, both Brown and Amherst have competitive NCAA Division III programs. Brown has 38 varsity teams and a range of state-of-the-art athletic facilities, while Amherst has 27 varsity teams and a smaller, more intimate athletic complex.

Ultimately, the right choice for you will depend on your athletic interests and whether you prefer a larger, more competitive program or a smaller, more intimate one.

It’s worth noting that both Brown and Amherst offer a variety of intramural and club sports as well. These programs provide opportunities for students who may not be interested in varsity athletics but still want to stay active and involved in sports.

Brown offers over 30 club sports, including ultimate frisbee, fencing, and equestrian, while Amherst has a range of intramural sports such as flag football, dodgeball, and volleyball.

Study Abroad Opportunities: Where Can You Go with Brown or Amherst?

Both Brown and Amherst offer excellent study-abroad opportunities for students. Brown has a robust study abroad program with over 300 programs in more than 90 countries, while Amherst offers programs in over 30 countries.

Studying abroad can be an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and gain valuable international experience. Both schools offer support and resources to help students navigate the study abroad process and make the most of their experience.

At Brown, students can choose from a variety of study abroad programs, including semester-long programs, summer programs, and even year-long programs. Some of the most popular destinations for Brown students include Spain, Italy, and France. In addition to traditional study abroad programs, Brown also offers unique opportunities such as internships abroad and research programs.

Similarly, Amherst offers a range of study abroad options, including semester-long programs, short-term programs, and even language immersion programs. Some of the most popular destinations for Amherst students include Japan, Germany, and South Africa. Amherst also offers opportunities for students to participate in service-learning projects and internships abroad.

Campus Diversity and Inclusion: How Do Brown and Amherst Compare?

Both Brown and Amherst are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. Brown has a range of initiatives and programs designed to support underrepresented students, while Amherst has a long history of promoting diversity and inclusivity. Ultimately, both schools strive to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds.

Group of students talking while walking in the campus.

However, there are some differences in the approaches taken by Brown and Amherst. Brown has a strong focus on intersectionality, recognizing that individuals may face multiple forms of discrimination and working to address these complex issues. Amherst, on the other hand, places a greater emphasis on community building and dialogue, encouraging students to engage in conversations about diversity and inclusion.

Notable Alumni from Brown University and Amherst College

Both Brown and Amherst boast a number of notable alumni, including writers, actors, politicians, and business leaders. Brown alumni include novelists Jeffrey Eugenides and Junot Diaz, CNN reporter Anderson Cooper, and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee. Amherst alumni include poet Robert Frost, former Secretary of State Daniel Webster, and business leader David H. Koch.

Brown University has also produced several notable scientists and researchers, including Nobel laureate physicist Leon Cooper and neuroscientist John Donoghue. Amherst College has its own share of accomplished scientists, such as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and chemist Henry Eyring.

Both universities have also contributed significantly to the arts. Brown alumni include Tony Award-winning actress Laura Benanti and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel. Amherst alumni include Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper and Grammy Award-winning composer John Harbison.

Final Verdict: Which School is the Best Fit for You?

Choosing between Brown University and Amherst College is a difficult decision, as both are excellent schools with a lot to offer. Ultimately, the right choice will depend on your individual preferences and priorities.

If you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate college with a strong focus on personalized education, then Amherst may be the right choice for you. If you’re interested in a larger university with a diverse range of academic programs and an open curriculum, then Brown may be the better fit.

Regardless of which school you choose, both Brown and Amherst offer outstanding educational opportunities and a supportive community that can help you succeed in whatever field you choose.

It’s important to consider the location of each school as well. Brown is located in Providence, Rhode Island, which is a vibrant city with a lot of cultural and social opportunities. Amherst, on the other hand, is located in a small town in western Massachusetts, which may appeal to those who prefer a quieter, more rural setting.

Another factor to consider is the cost of attendance. Brown is a more expensive school, with a higher tuition and cost of living. Amherst, while still a private college, maybe more affordable for some students.

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.


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