Brown University vs. Yale: Which is the Better Choice?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two students talking to a professor.

Brown University vs. Yale: Which is the Better Choice?

Choosing the right university can be a daunting task. With so many options available, examining the key factors that differentiate each school closely is important. In this article, we’ll compare two prestigious Ivy League institutions: Brown University vs. Yale.

By the end, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of each university’s history, academic programs, research opportunities, campus life, and more. By weighing the pros and cons of each school, you’ll be better equipped to make the right choice for your education and career goals.

Introduction to Brown University and Yale

Brown University and Yale are two world-renowned universities with long-standing histories of academic excellence. Brown University, located in Providence, Rhode Island, was founded in 1764, making it the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.

Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, was founded in 1701, making it the third-oldest university in the country.

Both universities have produced numerous notable alumni, including Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and U.S. presidents. Brown University is known for its open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study.

At the same time, Yale University is renowned for its strong programs in law, business, and medicine. Both universities also have beautiful campuses, with historic buildings and modern facilities that provide students with a rich and vibrant learning environment.

History and Prestige of Brown University and Yale

Brown University and Yale have both earned a reputation as some of the most prestigious universities in the world thanks to their long-standing histories of academic excellence. Brown has produced over 9 Nobel laureates, with notable alumni including John D. Rockefeller Jr., Emma Watson, and CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour.

Yale has an impressive list of 5 US presidents and 20 Nobel laureates among its alumni, with notable names such as George W. Bush, Meryl Streep, and Robert Frost.

a female student typing in her laptop

Brown University was founded in 1764 in Providence, Rhode Island, making it the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Originally known as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, it was renamed Brown University in 1804 in honor of Nicholas Brown, Jr., a prominent Rhode Island businessman and philanthropist who donated a large sum of money to the institution.

Today, Brown is known for its innovative curriculum and commitment to undergraduate research.

Yale University, on the other hand, was founded in 1701 in New Haven, Connecticut, making it the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Originally known as the Collegiate School, it was renamed Yale College in 1718 in honor of Elihu Yale, a British merchant and philanthropist who donated a significant amount of money and goods to the school.

Yale is known for its strong liberal arts program and its prestigious graduate schools, including the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management.

Admissions Process at Brown University and Yale

Both Brown University and Yale have highly selective admissions processes, with acceptance rates hovering around 6-7%. However, both universities are committed to creating a diverse student body that represents a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

Applicants to both schools can expect to submit transcripts, standardized test scores, essays, and letters of recommendation, as well as participate in interviews in some cases.

In addition to the standard application materials, both Brown and Yale offer the option for applicants to submit supplementary materials to showcase their talents and interests. These can include art portfolios, research papers, or recordings of musical performances.

However, it’s important to note that submitting supplementary materials is not required and will not necessarily increase an applicant’s chances of being accepted.

Brown University vs. Yale: Campus Life

When it comes to campus life, both universities offer vibrant communities that are brimming with intellectual curiosity and cultural diversity. Brown’s campus is located in the heart of Providence, a city known for its arts and cultural scene, while Yale’s campus is situated in the charming town of New Haven, just two hours from New York City.

Both universities offer a wide range of clubs and organizations, from a cappella groups to political organizations, that provide students with opportunities to pursue their passions and make lasting connections with their peers.

In addition to the numerous clubs and organizations, both Brown and Yale offer a variety of events and activities throughout the year. Brown hosts an annual Spring Weekend, which features concerts and other festivities, while Yale’s International Festival showcases the diverse cultures represented on campus.

Both universities also have extensive athletic programs, with opportunities for students to participate in varsity, club, and intramural sports. Whether you’re interested in attending a lecture by a renowned scholar, cheering on your favorite sports team, or exploring the local community, there’s always something to do at Brown and Yale.

Academic Programs at Brown University and Yale

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a university is the quality and diversity of its academic programs. Brown University boasts a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including popular majors such as Computer Science, Biology, and Political Science, as well as interdisciplinary programs like Science and Society or Ethnic Studies.

a female student sitting and appears to be thinking

Yale offers over 80 majors, including unique programs such as Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Cognitive Science, and Theater Studies.

Both Brown University and Yale are known for their strong liberal arts programs, which provide students with a well-rounded education. Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to design their own course of study, while Yale’s distributional requirements ensure that students explore a variety of subjects.

Additionally, both universities offer extensive research opportunities for students, with access to state-of-the-art facilities and renowned faculty members.

Faculty and Student Ratio Comparison

Both Brown University and Yale pride themselves on their low student-to-faculty ratios, with Brown at 6:1 and Yale at 5:1. This allows for more personalized attention from professors and a greater focus on cultivating strong mentor-mentee relationships.

Additionally, both universities have some of the most respected faculty in the country, many of whom are leaders in their respective fields.

However, there are some differences in the way that Brown and Yale approach their student-to-faculty ratios. While both universities have small class sizes and encourage close relationships between students and professors, Brown places a greater emphasis on undergraduate teaching.

This means that Brown professors are more likely to teach undergraduate courses and have a greater focus on undergraduate research and mentorship. In contrast, Yale has a larger graduate program and a greater emphasis on research, which means that some undergraduate courses may be taught by graduate students or adjunct faculty.

Despite these differences, both universities are committed to providing high-quality education and fostering a supportive academic community.

Brown University vs. Yale: Research Opportunities

Both universities offer students a plethora of research opportunities that allow for hands-on learning and real-world experience in their chosen fields. Brown University is home to the Brown/Wheaton Faculty Fellows Program, which provides funding for collaborative research between Brown and neighboring Wheaton College.

Meanwhile, Yale offers a variety of research centers and institutes, including the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation.

Additionally, Brown University has a strong focus on undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on projects in a wide range of disciplines.

The university also hosts an annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, where students can showcase their research findings to the wider community. At Yale, students can participate in the Yale Undergraduate Research Association, which provides resources and support for students interested in pursuing research projects.

The association also hosts an annual research conference, where students can present their work and network with other researchers.

Career Services and Alumni Networks at Brown University and Yale

Both Brown and Yale offer robust career services that help students navigate their post-graduation futures.

Career services at Brown assist students with everything from job searching and interviewing to resume writing and networking. Meanwhile, Yale has a dedicated Office of Career Strategy that offers workshops, networking events, and counseling services for students. Both universities also have expansive alumni networks with professional connections that can be invaluable for transitioning into the workforce.

Young woman talking to an interviewer.

In addition to career services and alumni networks, both Brown and Yale also offer a variety of resources and support for students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Brown’s Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship provides mentorship, funding opportunities, and workshops for students looking to start their own businesses.

Similarly, Yale’s Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking offers resources and programming for students interested in social entrepreneurship and innovation. These resources can be incredibly helpful for students looking to pursue non-traditional career paths or start their own ventures.

Brown University vs. Yale: Tuition, Financial Aid, and Scholarships Comparison

When it comes to paying for college, both Brown and Yale offer generous financial aid packages that help make their institutions more accessible to a wider range of students. The estimated cost of attending Brown University for the 2021-2022 academic year is $78,308, including tuition, room and board, and other fees.

Yale’s estimated cost of attendance is similar, at $78,725. However, both universities offer substantial financial aid packages that can make the actual cost much more affordable for eligible students.

It’s important to note that the financial aid packages offered by Brown and Yale differ in some ways. Brown University, for example, offers need-blind admission, which means that a student’s ability to pay for college is not taken into consideration during the admissions process.

Yale, on the other hand, practices need-aware admission, which means that a student’s financial aid may be taken into consideration during the admissions process.

In addition to financial aid, both universities also offer a variety of scholarships to help offset the cost of attendance. Brown University, for example, offers merit-based scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, leadership, and community involvement. Yale offers a similar range of scholarships, including need-based scholarships, merit-based scholarships, and scholarships for students with specific talents or interests.

Brown University vs. Yale: Athletics Programs

For sports enthusiasts, both Brown and Yale offer robust athletic programs that provide opportunities for students to participate in competitive sports. Brown University offers a Division I athletic program that includes 34 varsity teams and a number of club teams in sports ranging from squash and sailing to Ultimate Frisbee.

Meanwhile, Yale boasts a long tradition of athletic excellence, with 35 varsity teams competing in 35 sports, including basketball, football, and tennis.

Aside from varsity and club teams, both Brown and Yale also offer intramural sports programs that allow students to participate in sports in a more casual setting. These programs are open to all students, regardless of skill level, and provide a fun and inclusive way to stay active and meet new people.

In addition to sports programs, both universities also have state-of-the-art athletic facilities that are available to all students. These facilities include fitness centers, swimming pools, and indoor and outdoor sports fields. Students can take advantage of these facilities to stay in shape, train for their sport, or unwind after a long day of classes.

Location Comparison: Providence vs. New Haven

One of the critical factors in deciding which university to attend is the location of the campus. Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, a charming city with a vibrant arts and culture scene that’s just a short drive from Boston and New York City. Meanwhile, Yale’s campus is situated in New Haven, Connecticut, which is known for its bustling downtown area, historic architecture, and excellent food scene.

Both locations offer a unique blend of rich history, cultural diversity, and access to exciting metropolitan areas.

However, there are some differences between the two locations. Providence is a smaller city, which means that it has a more intimate feel and is easier to navigate. On the other hand, New Haven is a larger city, which means that there are more opportunities for entertainment and cultural events.

Additionally, Providence is located closer to the coast, which means that students can easily access beaches and other outdoor activities. Meanwhile, New Haven is located closer to the mountains, which means that students can enjoy hiking and skiing in the winter months.

Student Body Diversity Comparison

Students standing next to each other while talking.

Both Brown University and Yale are dedicated to creating diverse and inclusive communities that represent a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences.

Brown has a student body that’s 49% white, 19% Asian, 14% Hispanic, and 7% Black/African American, while Yale’s student body is 47% white, 15% Asian, 12% Hispanic, and 7% Black/African American. Both universities have taken steps in recent years to increase diversity on campus and foster a more inclusive environment for all students.

Brown University has implemented several initiatives to increase diversity on campus, including the creation of the First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center, which provides resources and support for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Additionally, the university has established partnerships with historically black colleges and universities to recruit more Black/African American students.

Yale University has also made efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, such as the establishment of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the creation of the Native American Cultural Center. The university has also implemented a need-blind admissions policy, which means that a student’s financial situation is not taken into account during the admissions process.

Brown University vs. Yale: Campus Facilities Comparison

Both Brown and Yale offer state-of-the-art campus facilities that provide students with the resources they need to succeed academically and thrive socially.

Brown offers comfortable on-campus housing options for all four years of undergraduate study, along with a variety of dining options that cater to all dietary needs. Yale’s residential college system, which functions as small, self-contained communities within the larger university, provides students with a unique social and academic experience.

Yale also offers an array of dining options, including kosher, halal, and vegetarian/vegan options, and a robust library system that includes 15 libraries across campus.

In addition to housing, dining, and library facilities, both Brown and Yale offer a range of other resources to support student success. Brown’s Writing Center provides individualized writing support to students at all levels, while the Swearer Center for Public Service offers opportunities for students to engage in community-based learning and social justice work.

Yale’s Center for Teaching and Learning provides academic support services, including tutoring and study skills workshops, and the Office of Career Strategy offers career counseling and job search resources.

When it comes to recreational facilities, both Brown and Yale have plenty to offer.

Brown’s Nelson Fitness Center features a variety of exercise equipment, group fitness classes, and recreational sports leagues, while Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium boasts an Olympic-sized swimming pool, indoor track, and squash courts. Both universities also have extensive outdoor recreational spaces, including parks, trails, and athletic fields.

Brown University vs. Yale: Prospective Job Opportunities with a Degree

Both Brown and Yale have highly regarded reputations that can open doors for graduates in a variety of fields. Many alumni of both universities find success in fields such as finance, consulting, law, and politics, while others pursue careers in areas such as scientific research or the arts.

Ultimately, your career prospects will depend on your individual academic and career goals, as well as your own personal drive and ambition.

Graduates from Brown and Yale are highly sought after by employers due to the rigorous academic programs and the critical thinking skills that are developed during their time at these universities.

View of students answering in their desks.

The career centers at both institutions offer a wide range of resources to help students and alumni navigate the job market, including career fairs, networking events, and job search tools.

In addition to the traditional career paths, graduates from Brown and Yale are also well-equipped to pursue entrepreneurial ventures. Both universities have strong entrepreneurship programs that provide students with the skills and resources needed to start their own businesses.

Graduates from these programs have gone on to launch successful startups in a variety of industries, including technology, healthcare, and social impact.


Choosing between Brown University and Yale will ultimately come down to your individual needs and preferences as a student.

Both schools offer academic excellence and vibrant campus life, as well as ample opportunities for research, community involvement, and career success after graduation. By weighing the pros and cons of each school and considering your own personal goals and needs, you’ll be able to make the right choice and embark on an exciting journey of academic and personal growth.

One factor to consider when choosing between Brown and Yale is the location of the schools. Brown is located in Providence, Rhode Island, which is a smaller city with a more laid-back atmosphere. Yale, on the other hand, is located in New Haven, Connecticut, which is a larger city with more opportunities for cultural experiences and internships.

Depending on your interests and career goals, one location may be more appealing than the other.

Another important consideration is the size of the schools. Brown has a smaller undergraduate population, with around 7,000 students, while Yale has a larger undergraduate population of around 6,000 students.

This may impact your experience on campus, as smaller schools may offer a more tight-knit community, while larger schools may offer more diverse opportunities and resources.


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