Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: A Comprehensive Guide

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Group of students looking at a laptop in a table.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the right university can be a daunting task for any prospective student. In this article, we will compare Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis to help you make an informed decision. Let’s dive in and explore the many facets of these two prestigious schools.

Location and Campus

One of the first considerations when selecting a university is its location and campus. Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, which is the capital city of the state. The campus itself is spread over a sprawling 146 acres.

Washington University in St. Louis, on the other hand, is located in St. Louis, Missouri, which is known for its Gateway Arch and numerous museums. The campus stretches over 169 acres.

Brown University’s campus is known for its historic architecture, with many buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The campus is also home to several museums, including the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology and the John Hay Library, which houses rare books and manuscripts.

Washington University in St. Louis boasts a beautiful campus with a mix of modern and traditional architecture. The campus is home to several notable landmarks, including Brookings Hall, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, which houses over 7,800 works of art.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Acceptance Rates and Admission Requirements

Both Brown and Washington University in St. Louis are highly selective schools. For the class of 2024, Brown University had an acceptance rate of just 6.9%, while WashU had an acceptance rate of 14%. The average SAT scores for Brown are an impressive 1486 out of 1600, while for WashU, they are 1505 out of 1600.

Young woman smiling at the camera.

Both schools require strong academic performance, extracurricular involvement, and compelling personal essays in their admission process.

Additionally, Brown University has a need-blind admission policy, meaning that a student’s ability to pay for tuition is not taken into consideration during the admission process. WashU, on the other hand, practices need-aware admission, where a student’s financial needs may be taken into account when making admission decisions.

However, both schools offer generous financial aid packages to admitted students who demonstrate financial need.

Student Body Demographics

While Brown and WashU have different cultures and atmospheres, one important element in making a decision is to consider the demographics of their student body. Brown University has approximately 7,000 undergraduate students and is known for its liberal arts education.

It has a diverse student body, with 43% identifying as students of color and 14% as international students. In contrast, WashU has nearly 7,200 undergraduates and is known for its engineering and business programs. It has a slightly less diverse student body, with 32% identifying as students of color and 12% as international students.

It is worth noting that both Brown and WashU have made efforts to increase diversity and inclusivity on their campuses. Brown has implemented initiatives such as the First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center and the LGBTQ Center, while WashU has established the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

These resources provide support and advocacy for underrepresented students and contribute to creating a more welcoming and inclusive campus environment.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Academic Programs and Departments

Both Brown and WashU have highly-regarded academic programs across a variety of fields. Brown is known for its liberal arts and humanities programs, with a strong emphasis on research and innovation. WashU excels in STEM fields, with highly-regarded programs in engineering, business, and the sciences.

In addition to their strong academic programs, both Brown and WashU offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities for students to get involved on campus. Brown has a vibrant arts community with numerous student-run theater groups and a renowned music program.

WashU has a strong focus on community service, with many opportunities for students to volunteer and make a positive impact in the St. Louis area.

Furthermore, both universities have robust support systems in place for their students. Brown has a comprehensive advising program, with advisors available to help students navigate academic and personal challenges. WashU strongly emphasizes mental health and wellness, with various resources available to students, including counseling services and wellness programs.

Faculty Quality and Research Opportunities

Both universities have world-class faculty members who are highly respected in their fields.

Female student holding a folder in a room with her classmates.

Brown has a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1, which is among the best in the country. Similarly, WashU has a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. Both schools offer ample research opportunities for students, with access to funding, resources, and opportunities to work with faculty members on groundbreaking research projects.

In addition to research opportunities, both universities also prioritize teaching excellence. Brown has a unique Open Curriculum that allows students to design their own academic path, while WashU has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning.

Both schools also offer small class sizes, allowing for personalized attention and mentorship from faculty members. Overall, students at both Brown and WashU can expect to receive a top-notch education from world-renowned faculty members.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Campus Life and Extracurricular Activities

Campus life is an essential component of the university experience. Brown is known for its vibrant and inclusive community, with a lively arts scene and a wide range of cultural and social activities. WashU has a similarly active campus life, with a focus on community service and philanthropy through student organizations and university initiatives.

At Brown, students can participate in over 300 student organizations, including clubs for sports, music, theater, and community service. The university also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as the Spring Weekend music festival and the annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit.

Meanwhile, at WashU, students can get involved in over 350 student organizations, including clubs for entrepreneurship, sustainability, and social justice. The university also has a strong Greek life presence, with over 25% of students participating in fraternities and sororities.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Housing and Dining Options

Both schools offer a variety of housing options for their students, ranging from traditional dormitory-style living to apartment-style accommodations.

Brown has more student housing options in close proximity to campus, while WashU’s housing options are spread throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Both schools offer diverse dining options to meet the needs of their diverse student populations.

Brown University offers a unique housing option called the Program Houses. These are themed living communities that allow students to live with others who share similar interests or identities. For example, there is a Program House for students interested in environmental sustainability and another for students who identify as LGBTQ+.

WashU also offers themed housing options, such as the Global Citizenship Program, which focuses on international issues and cultural exchange.

In terms of dining options, both schools have a variety of on-campus eateries, including cafes, food courts, and sit-down restaurants.

Brown University has a popular food truck program, where local vendors park their trucks on campus and offer a range of cuisines. WashU has a unique program called “Dine with a Prof,” where students can sign up to have a meal with a faculty member and engage in intellectual discussions outside of the classroom.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Athletics and Sports Teams

Different balls placed on the floor.

For sports enthusiasts, both Brown and WashU have a wide range of athletic programs. Brown boasts 38 varsity sports teams, including football, basketball, and lacrosse. WashU has a smaller athletic program, with 19 varsity sports teams, but is known for its consistently strong performance in athletics, particularly swimming and diving.

Additionally, both universities offer a variety of intramural and club sports for students who want to participate in sports at a more casual level. Brown has over 30 club sports teams, including ultimate frisbee, rugby, and sailing.

WashU offers over 25 intramural sports, such as flag football, volleyball, and dodgeball. These programs provide opportunities for students to stay active and engaged in sports, regardless of their skill level or previous experience.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Career Services and Alumni Networks

Another important consideration when choosing a university is the accessibility of career services and alumni networks. Brown has a robust career center, which provides career exploration, resume building, and interview preparation services. It also has a strong network of alumni who are actively engaged in mentoring current students and offering job opportunities.

WashU similarly offers career services, including job fairs and career counseling, and has a vast network of alumni in various industries.

Additionally, both universities have programs and resources specifically designed to support students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Brown’s Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship offers workshops, mentorship, and funding opportunities for students looking to start their own businesses.

WashU’s Skandalaris Center provides similar resources, as well as access to a network of successful entrepreneurs and investors.

Furthermore, both universities have strong alumni networks that extend beyond the United States.

Brown has alumni clubs and associations in over 70 countries, providing opportunities for students to connect with alumni and potential employers around the world. WashU also has a global alumni network, with chapters in major cities across the globe, offering students access to a diverse range of career opportunities and connections.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Tuition and Financial Aid Options

Attending a prestigious university can come at a steep price. Brown’s tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year is $60,696, while WashU’s tuition is $55,292. Both schools offer a range of financial aid options, including need-based aid, merit-based scholarships, and student employment programs.

FAFSA application form

It is important to note that the cost of attendance goes beyond just tuition. Students should also consider expenses such as room and board, textbooks, and personal expenses. Brown and WashU both provide estimates for these additional costs on their websites, and students can use this information to create a more accurate budget for their college experience.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Graduate School Opportunities

For students interested in pursuing graduate studies, Brown and WashU offer a range of advanced degree programs across a variety of fields. Brown is particularly well-regarded for its graduate programs in the humanities and social sciences, while WashU’s graduate programs in the sciences and engineering are highly ranked.

In addition to Brown and WashU, there are many other universities that offer excellent graduate programs. Some of the top-ranked universities for graduate studies include Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. These universities offer a wide range of programs, from business to law to medicine.

Graduate studies can be a great way to advance your career and increase your earning potential. Many employers value advanced degrees and offer higher salaries to employees with graduate-level education. Additionally, graduate programs often provide opportunities for research and networking, which can be invaluable in building a successful career.

Student Success Metrics and Rankings

Both Brown and WashU have consistently ranked highly in national and international university rankings. Brown is ranked #14 on the 2021 U.S. News & World Report ranking of national universities, while WashU is ranked #16. Both universities boast impressive statistics related to student success, including high retention and graduation rates.

In addition to their high rankings, both Brown and WashU have implemented various programs and initiatives to support student success. Brown offers a comprehensive advising program, which includes academic, personal, and career advising, as well as peer mentoring and tutoring services.

WashU has a strong commitment to undergraduate research, providing students with opportunities to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. These programs and initiatives contribute to the overall success of students at both universities.

Community Engagement and Service Opportunities

Both Brown and WashU have a strong focus on community engagement and service opportunities.

Brown offers numerous volunteer opportunities through its Swearer Center for Public Service, while WashU has a dedicated Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement. Both institutions encourage their students to engage in meaningful and impactful service work throughout their academic careers.

At Brown, students can participate in community-based research projects that allow them to work with local organizations and community members to address real-world issues.

The university also offers courses that integrate community service with academic learning, providing students with a unique opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world situations.

Similarly, WashU’s Gephardt Institute offers a variety of programs and initiatives that allow students to engage with the St. Louis community and beyond. These include service trips, community-based research projects, and partnerships with local organizations.

The institute also offers a Civic Scholars Program, which provides students with a comprehensive civic education and leadership development experience.

Brown University vs. Washington University in St. Louis: Campus Safety and Security Measures

Campus safety and security is a top concern for any university. Both Brown and WashU have extensive safety measures in place to ensure the well-being of their students, including 24/7 campus security, emergency response protocols, and safety initiatives. These schools prioritize the safety and security of their students above all else.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Additionally, both universities offer resources and support for students who may experience any form of harassment or violence. This includes confidential counseling services, reporting mechanisms, and prevention education programs. Students can feel confident that they will be supported and protected while on campus.

Technology Infrastructure and Resources Available on Campus

Finally, both Brown and WashU offer extensive technology infrastructure and resources to support their student’s academic and research endeavors. Both schools have robust technological resources, including access to high-speed internet, cutting-edge research equipment, and state-of-the-art computer labs.

These resources are essential for students to succeed in today’s digital world.

Ultimately, the choice between Brown University and Washington University in St. Louis will depend on your unique interests, goals, and preferences. Both universities have much to offer in terms of academic excellence, community engagement, and student success.

By considering the various factors outlined in this article, you will be better equipped to make an informed decision about which institution is best for you.

Moreover, both Brown and WashU have dedicated IT support teams that are available to assist students with any technological issues they may encounter.

These teams provide assistance with software installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance of personal devices. Additionally, both universities offer online resources and training programs to help students develop their technological skills and stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in their respective fields.


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