Colby vs Brown University: Which One is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Colby vs Brown University: Which One is Right for You?

Are you considering applying to either Colby or Brown University and want to know which one is the best fit for your academic and personal needs? In this article, we will provide a comprehensive comparison of Colby vs Brown University in terms of location, academics, student body, extracurriculars, admissions, the cost of attendance, alumni network, campus life, career services, research opportunities, faculty, study abroad programs, and national rankings. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what each university has to offer and which one suits you best.

Location: Comparing the Campuses of Colby and Brown Universities

Colby University is located in Waterville, Maine, while Brown University is situated in Providence, Rhode Island. Colby is a small liberal arts college that offers a vibrant campus life with most students living on campus. In contrast, Brown is a larger university with a mixture of urban and suburban feel. Brown is surrounded by the city downtown, offering countless opportunities for entertainment and involvement in the community. However, the cost of living is significantly higher in Providence than in Waterville.

Another notable difference between the two campuses is the climate. Colby University experiences cold and snowy winters, while Brown University has milder winters with occasional snowfall. This can impact the types of activities and events that take place on each campus during the winter months. Additionally, Colby is located in a more rural area with access to outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and skiing, while Brown is located in a more urban area with access to cultural attractions such as museums and theaters.

Academics: A Comparative Analysis of Colby and Brown University Programs

Colby and Brown Universities offer high-quality academics and have excellent faculty members. Both universities offer a wide range of academic programs, but Brown offers more extensive opportunities, with over 80 undergraduate concentrations across 7 colleges. Colby offers majors in more traditional fields such as Biology, English, Government, History, and Philosophy among others. Brown offers more marketable fields, such as Business and Entrepreneurship, Individualized Concentrations, and Applied Math.

Math test

Additionally, Colby University has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, with programs such as Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. These programs allow students to explore multiple fields of study and gain a well-rounded education. Brown University also offers interdisciplinary programs, such as the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program, which allows students to earn degrees from both Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Furthermore, both universities offer opportunities for undergraduate research, with Colby’s DavisConnects program providing funding for students to conduct research and internships around the world, and Brown’s Undergraduate Research and Teaching Awards program providing funding for students to work with faculty members on research projects. These programs allow students to gain hands-on experience in their fields of study and prepare them for future careers or graduate studies.

The Student Body: How Colby and Brown Universities Differ in Student Population

Colby University’s student population is composed of around 2,000 students, predominantly white. Brown University has a significantly larger population, with about 10,000 students and a more diverse student body. Brown also attracts more international students, with around 16% of the student body hailing from outside the US, while Colby University’s international student population is less than 12%.

Another notable difference between the two universities is the gender ratio of their student populations. Colby University has a slightly higher percentage of female students, with women making up around 55% of the student body. In contrast, Brown University has a more balanced gender ratio, with women comprising around 50% of the student population.

academic social life of students

Additionally, the two universities have different academic focuses. Colby University is known for its strong programs in the natural sciences, while Brown University is renowned for its liberal arts curriculum. This difference is reflected in the majors offered at each institution, with Colby University offering majors such as biology, chemistry, and environmental studies, and Brown University offering majors such as English, history, and philosophy.

Extracurriculars: A Comparison of Activities Offered at Colby and Brown Universities

Both universities offer a variety of interesting extracurricular activities. Brown’s clubs and organizations number over 300, from a Capoeira Club to a Public Health Club. Meanwhile, Colby boasts over 100 clubs/organizations, including the oldest student-run drama group in the country, the Colby Theater and Dance Workshop.

Despite the difference in numbers, both universities offer a diverse range of extracurricular activities that cater to different interests and passions. Brown University’s clubs and organizations are known for their inclusivity and activism, with groups such as the Queer Alliance and Students for Environmental Action leading the charge. On the other hand, Colby University’s clubs and organizations are known for their strong sense of community and tradition, with groups such as the Colby Outing Club and Colby Volunteer Center fostering a culture of service and outdoor exploration.

It’s worth noting that both universities also offer unique extracurricular opportunities that go beyond traditional clubs and organizations. For example, Brown University has a student-run radio station, WBRU, which provides students with hands-on experience in broadcasting and journalism. Meanwhile, Colby University has a robust internship program that allows students to gain real-world experience in a variety of fields, from finance to politics.

Admissions: The Differences in Acceptance Rates and Application Processes for Colby and Brown

Both universities have selective admissions processes, with low acceptance rates and emphasis on extracurricular involvement, essays, recommendations, and academic records. Colby University’s acceptance rate is 8%, while Brown University’s is 5%. Brown University requires standardized test results, while Colby is offering a test-optional policy.

Another difference between the two universities is their approach to interviews. Brown University offers optional interviews for applicants, while Colby University does not conduct interviews as part of its admissions process. Additionally, Brown University has a higher percentage of international students in its student body, with 15% of its undergraduate population coming from outside the United States, compared to Colby’s 8%.

It is also worth noting that both universities have unique application processes. Brown University offers an Early Decision option, which is binding for students who are accepted. Colby University, on the other hand, offers an Early Decision 2 option, which is non-binding and allows students to apply to other schools. Both universities also have different application deadlines and requirements, so it is important for applicants to carefully review each school’s application process before applying.

Cost of Attendance: Comparing Tuition, Room, Board, and Fees

The cost of attending either university is quite expensive. Brown University’s tuition, room, and board cost close to $84,828 per year, while Colby University’s close to $83,720 per year. Colby offers much common need-based aid but may not have as many full-ride merit-based scholarships.

student searching scholarship site using her laptop

It is important to note that the cost of attendance at both universities may vary depending on the program of study and the student’s individual circumstances. For example, some programs may require additional fees or materials, and students may need to purchase their own textbooks or equipment.

Additionally, both universities offer various payment plans and financial aid options to help students manage the cost of attendance. Students should research and compare these options carefully to determine which university may be the best fit for their financial situation.

Alumni Network: How the Two Universities Support Their Graduates

Both universities have loyal and engaged alumni networks. Brown’s alumni network comprises approximately 100,000, while Colby’s is around 3,000. Brown’s CareerLAB offers numerous resources to alumni, including webinars, career fairs, and online job listings. Colby has 10% of its alumni working for education and offers a job shadowing program and career center.

In addition to career resources, both universities also offer various opportunities for alumni to stay connected with their alma mater. Brown has a program called “BrownConnect,” which provides alumni with access to internships, research opportunities, and networking events. Colby has a similar program called “ColbyConnect,” which offers alumni access to career services, events, and volunteer opportunities.

Furthermore, both universities have active alumni associations that organize events and activities for alumni to connect with each other. Brown’s Alumni Association hosts events such as reunions, regional gatherings, and cultural events. Colby’s Alumni Association also hosts similar events, as well as career panels and networking events.

Campus Life: Comparing the Social Atmospheres for Both Universities

Colby University has diversified social clubs such as the Waterville Community Partnership, which offers students the opportunity to work with locals. Brown University’s frat parties, dormitories, culture, and more make it social, though. Both universities have student government associations and opportunities for community service, volunteer work, and leadership projects.

However, Colby University also has a strong emphasis on outdoor activities, with its location in the heart of Maine’s beautiful natural landscape. Students can participate in hiking, skiing, and other outdoor sports through the Colby Outing Club. Brown University, on the other hand, has a thriving arts scene, with numerous student-run theater productions, music groups, and art exhibitions throughout the year.

Another notable difference between the two universities is their approach to dining. Colby University has a strong focus on sustainability and locally sourced food, with many of its dining options featuring ingredients from nearby farms. Brown University, on the other hand, has a more diverse range of dining options, including a popular food truck scene and a variety of international cuisine options.

Career Services: A Comparative Analysis of Job Placement Programs for Graduates from Colby and Brown

Brown’s CareerLAB provides a plethora of services to students such as interviews, career advising, internship placements, and networking opportunities. Colby has a Career Center that offers resume reviews, job fairs, and a skills program for students. While Brown has a more significant department, Colby claims to have a higher rate of graduates in the workforce six months post-graduation.

Career Opportunities

However, it is important to note that the industries and job markets in which Colby and Brown graduates seek employment may differ. Brown graduates may be more likely to pursue careers in highly competitive fields such as finance and consulting, while Colby graduates may be more inclined to work in non-profit organizations or government agencies. Therefore, the job placement rates may not be directly comparable between the two institutions.

Research Opportunities: Differences in the Research Opportunities Available

Both Colby and Brown universities emphasize research in their curriculum. Brown’s Alpert Medical School is in partnership with seven hospitals in the state, and Colby University has facilities such as the Colby College Museum of Art and the Center for the Arts and Humanities. Brown offers research programs such as the UTRA Brown University program, supported by generous stipends, among others. Colby offers similar research programs.

However, there are some differences in the research opportunities available at Colby and Brown universities. Brown University has a larger research budget and more research facilities, which allows for a wider range of research projects to be conducted. Additionally, Brown has a higher number of faculty members who are actively engaged in research, providing more opportunities for students to work alongside experienced researchers. On the other hand, Colby University has a smaller student-to-faculty ratio, which allows for more personalized attention and guidance from faculty members during the research process.

Faculty: The Differences in Teaching Styles, Experience, and Expertise at Both Universities

Both universities take pride in the expertise and experience of their faculty members. Brown University’s faculty includes 21 Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, while Colby University’s faculty includes academics with a proven track record in their field. Brown University’s faculty tends to focus much on independent research, while Colby University’s faculty tends to focus more on student interaction and education.

Despite the differences in teaching styles, both universities have a strong commitment to providing their students with a high-quality education. At Colby University, faculty members are encouraged to engage in interdisciplinary research and teaching, which allows students to explore a wide range of topics and perspectives. Brown University, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on experiential learning, with many faculty members incorporating hands-on projects and fieldwork into their courses.

Another key difference between the two universities is the size of their faculty. Brown University has a larger faculty than Colby University, which allows for a greater diversity of expertise and research interests. However, Colby University’s smaller faculty size allows for more personalized attention and mentorship opportunities for students. Ultimately, both universities offer unique and valuable experiences for students seeking a rigorous and engaging academic environment.

Study Abroad Programs: Comparing the International Opportunities Offered at Colby vs. Brown

Brown offers students over 300 international programs in over 70 countries, with programs such as the State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship program. Colby programs are smaller, and with the help of experienced faculty in their fields, students can get fieldwork experience in places like Africa, and the Middle East, even while satisfying graduation requirements.

Additionally, both Colby and Brown offer opportunities for students to participate in cultural immersion programs, where they can live with host families and fully immerse themselves in the local culture. Brown’s programs tend to be more structured, with set schedules and activities, while Colby’s programs offer more flexibility and independence for students to explore on their own. Ultimately, the choice between Colby and Brown’s study abroad programs will depend on the individual student’s goals and preferences.

Rankings: Where Do Colby and Brown Universities Stand in National Rankings?

Brown University is consistently ranked by major publications as a top-20 national university, with accolades from the U.S. News and World Report, among others. Colby University is also highly ranked in the same publications, consistently ranking among the top 20 national liberal arts colleges. Brown University and Colby University are similarly ranked in terms of quality and academic prestige.

In conclusion, both Colby University and Brown University offer excellent academic opportunities. Brown University has more extensive opportunities for fields such as Business, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship a broader range of international programs, and a more diverse student body. In contrast, Colby University offers a close-knit liberal arts college community with more individual attention from faculty, lower admission rates, and higher rates of graduates in the workforce. Ultimately, it is essential to research both universities and their unique curricular programs and feel out the social and cultural atmospheres of each before making a decision.

One unique aspect of Brown University is its Open Curriculum, which allows students to design their own academic path without any required courses outside of their chosen concentration. This approach to education fosters creativity and independence in students and has been a defining feature of Brown University for decades.

On the other hand, Colby University has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmentalism, with a focus on sustainability in its curriculum and campus operations. The college has been recognized for its efforts in sustainability, including being named one of the greenest colleges in the country by the Princeton Review.


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