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Harvard vs Brown University: A Comprehensive Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Students sitting on the bench while doing school work.

Harvard vs Brown University: A Comprehensive Analysis

Among the Ivy League universities, Harvard and Brown stand out as two of the most prestigious and renowned institutions globally. These universities attract students from across the globe, and for good reason. Harvard vs Brown University, both institutions have much to offer in terms of academic excellence, research prospects, and vibrant campus life.

In this article, we will conduct a comprehensive comparison of Harvard and Brown, highlighting both their similarities and distinctive features. By examining these esteemed universities side by side, readers will gain a comprehensive understanding of what sets them apart and what makes them exceptional choices for higher education.

Overview of Harvard University and Brown University

Harvard University was founded in 1636, making it one of the oldest universities in the United States. It has a rich history and has become synonymous with academic excellence, boasting an impressive list of notable alumni, including eight US presidents. Brown University, on the other hand, was founded in 1764 and is a relatively younger institution. It is also an Ivy League university and is known for its strong liberal arts curriculum and research opportunities.

Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is comprised of ten academic faculties, including the highly regarded Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. The university has a diverse student body, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Harvard is also known for its extensive library system, which is the largest academic library in the world.

Brown University, located in Providence, Rhode Island, is known for its open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study. The university has a strong focus on undergraduate education, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 7:1. Brown is also home to several research centers and institutes, including the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Brown Institute for Brain Science.

History and Founding of Harvard University and Brown University

Harvard University was established in 1636, about 16 years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. It was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard, who left his library and half his estate to the university when he died. Brown University, on the other hand, was initially established as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1764. It was named after Nicholas Brown, Jr., a benefactor of the university.

Harvard university building

 

Harvard University has a rich history of producing notable alumni, including eight U.S. presidents, 158 Nobel laureates, and 14 Turing Award winners. The university has also played a significant role in shaping American history, with its graduates playing key roles in the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Brown University, on the other hand, has a strong reputation for its liberal arts education and research programs. The university has produced several notable alumni, including John D. Rockefeller Jr., Ted Turner, and Emma Watson. Brown University is also known for its unique academic programs, such as the Open Curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study without any specific requirements.

Location and Campus Size: Harvard vs Brown University

Harvard University is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is just across the Charles River from Boston. The campus stretches over 209 acres and is home to over 20,000 students, both undergraduate and graduate. Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, and has an urban campus that covers 146 acres. The university has a smaller student body of just over 10,000 students.

Despite the smaller student body, Brown University has a higher student-to-faculty ratio than Harvard University, with 7:1 compared to Harvard’s 9:1. This means that Brown students have more opportunities for one-on-one interactions with their professors.

Additionally, Brown University has a unique academic program called the Open Curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study without any required courses outside of their chosen concentration.

Harvard University, on the other hand, has a long history of producing successful alumni, including eight U.S. presidents, over 150 Nobel laureates, and numerous CEOs and billionaires. The university is also home to the largest academic library system in the world, with over 20 million volumes spread across 73 libraries. Harvard’s campus is known for its historic architecture, including the iconic Widener Library and Memorial Church.

Admission Process for Harvard University and Brown University

Both universities have highly competitive admission processes, but the criteria for admission vary. Harvard University has an admission rate of around 5%, making it one of the most selective universities in the world. Brown University is less selective, with an admission rate of around 7%.

Both universities consider academic achievements, extracurricular activities, essays, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores in their admission decisions.

a student carrying his school stuff and posing for the camera

Harvard University places a strong emphasis on academic excellence and seeks students who have excelled in challenging courses. The university also values leadership, community involvement, and intellectual curiosity. In addition to academic achievements, Harvard considers personal qualities such as character, integrity, and resilience in their admission decisions.

Brown University, on the other hand, values a student’s unique perspective and seeks individuals who will contribute to the university’s diverse community. The university encourages students to explore their interests and passions through its open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study. Brown also values creativity, independent thinking, and a commitment to social justice in its admission decisions.

Demographics of the Student Body at Harvard University and Brown University

The student body at both universities is highly diverse, with students from all around the world. Harvard University has a student body of over 20,000, with around 50% of undergraduates from minority ethnic groups. Brown University has a smaller student body of just over 10,000, with around 44% of undergraduates from minority ethnic groups. Both universities pride themselves on fostering a vibrant and inclusive campus community.

In addition to ethnic diversity, both universities also have a significant number of international students. At Harvard University, international students make up around 12% of the student body, while at Brown University, they make up around 9%.

These students come from a variety of countries, adding to the cultural richness of the campus community. Both universities offer resources and support for international students to help them adjust to life in the United States and succeed academically.

Academic Programs Offered at Harvard University and Brown University

Both universities are renowned for their academic offerings. Harvard University has over 50 academic departments and offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. Some of the most popular areas of study at Harvard include biomedical sciences, engineering, economics, and social sciences. Brown University, on the other hand, has a strong focus on the liberal arts and offers over 80 undergraduate concentrations, as well as graduate and professional degree programs.

two college students looking happy and reading through a book inside a library

In addition to their traditional academic programs, both Harvard and Brown also offer a variety of interdisciplinary programs and research opportunities. Harvard has several research centers and institutes, including the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Brown University has a unique program called the Open Curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study and take classes across different departments. Both universities also have strong international programs, with opportunities for study abroad and global research.

Faculty Profiles at Harvard University and Brown University

Both universities have a faculty that is highly respected in their respective fields. Harvard has over 2,000 faculty members, over 50 of whom are Nobel laureates. Brown University has over 700 full-time faculty members, many of whom are also world-renowned in their fields. Both universities place great emphasis on research and encourage faculty members to conduct cutting-edge research in their respective areas of expertise.

In addition to their impressive faculty, both Harvard and Brown universities offer a diverse range of academic programs and opportunities for students to engage in research alongside their professors. Harvard has a long-standing commitment to interdisciplinary studies, with programs such as the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Brown University, on the other hand, is known for its open curriculum, which allows students to design their own course of study and explore a wide range of academic interests. Both universities also offer numerous resources and support for faculty and students to pursue their research and academic goals.

Research Opportunities at Harvard University and Brown University

Both universities are known for their strong research programs. Harvard University has an annual research budget of over $1 billion and boasts more than 140 research centers and institutes.

Brown University also has an impressive research enterprise, with its faculty members regularly publishing in top-tier journals. Students at both universities have numerous research opportunities, with many participating in faculty-led research projects.

Two friends walking in the campus.

Additionally, both Harvard and Brown universities offer undergraduate research programs that allow students to conduct their own independent research projects under the guidance of faculty mentors. These programs provide students with valuable hands-on experience in their field of study and can lead to opportunities for publication and presentation at academic conferences.

Furthermore, both universities have strong partnerships with industry leaders and government agencies, providing students with access to cutting-edge research and internship opportunities.

Campus Life: Harvard vs Brown University

Both universities have a vibrant campus life, with a range of extracurricular activities and events that cater to a diverse array of interests. Harvard University has over 450 student organizations, covering interests such as politics, sports, arts, and culture. Brown University also has a vibrant campus life, with over 300 student organizations, including drama, music, cultural, and political groups.

In addition to the numerous student organizations, both universities also offer a variety of sports teams and facilities for students to stay active and healthy. Harvard University has over 40 varsity sports teams, as well as numerous club and intramural sports. Brown University also has a strong athletic program, with 34 varsity sports teams and a variety of club and intramural sports available to students.

Furthermore, both universities have a strong commitment to community service and social justice. Harvard University has a Center for Public Interest Careers, which helps students find internships and jobs in the public sector. Brown University has a Swearer Center for Public Service, which offers a variety of community service opportunities and programs for students to get involved in social justice issues.

Student Housing Options at Harvard University and Brown University

Both universities offer a range of housing options for students, from traditional dormitories to specialized living communities. Harvard has over 12 residential houses, each with its own unique personality and student-led activities. Brown also has a range of residential options, including traditional dormitories, suites, and apartment-style living.

Two students keeping their dorm room clean.

Additionally, both universities offer resources and support for students seeking off-campus housing options. Harvard has a database of off-campus housing listings and provides guidance on navigating the rental market in the Boston area. Brown offers a similar service through their Off-Campus Housing Office, which provides resources for finding roommates, understanding leases, and connecting with local landlords.

Extracurricular Activities: Harvard vs Brown University

Both universities offer a wide array of extracurricular activities, including club sports, performing arts groups, and community service organizations. Harvard University boasts a large number of campus traditions, including the famed Harvard-Yale rivalry and the Hasty Pudding Club’s annual parade. Brown University is known for its vibrant arts community, with numerous bands, orchestras, and theater groups.

In addition to the traditional extracurricular activities, both Harvard and Brown offer unique opportunities for students to explore their interests. Harvard has a student-run radio station, WHRB, which broadcasts a variety of music and talk shows. Brown has a student-run coffee shop, The Blue Room, which serves fair trade coffee and hosts open mic nights.

Both universities also have strong entrepreneurship programs, with resources and support available for students interested in starting their own businesses. Harvard’s Innovation Lab provides workspace, mentorship, and funding for student entrepreneurs, while Brown’s Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship offers workshops, networking events, and a startup accelerator program.

Athletic Programs Offered at Harvard University and Brown University

Both universities have a strong tradition of athletics, with a range of varsity and club sports available to students. Harvard University has a storied history in intercollegiate athletics and boasts an impressive number of Olympians and professional athletes among its alumni. Brown University also has a strong athletic program, with a range of sports available, including lacrosse, soccer, and basketball.

In addition to varsity and club sports, both Harvard and Brown offer a variety of intramural sports for students who want to participate in a more casual setting. These sports range from traditional team sports like basketball and soccer to more unique options like quidditch and inner tube water polo.

Sports equipments placed on the floor.

Harvard and Brown also prioritize the health and wellness of their student-athletes. Both universities have state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including fitness centers, swimming pools, and indoor and outdoor tracks. Additionally, each university has a team of athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals who work with student-athletes to prevent and treat injuries.

Career Services for Students: Harvard vs Brown University

Both universities offer extensive career services, supporting students in their pursuit of internships, jobs, and graduate school. Harvard has a dedicated Office of Career Services, providing students with career counseling, job search advice, and access to exclusive job listings. Brown University also has a comprehensive career services center, providing students with internship and job search support, as well as graduate school application advising.

In addition to career services, both Harvard and Brown offer a variety of resources to help students explore their interests and develop their skills. Harvard has a wide range of student organizations and clubs, as well as research opportunities and community service programs.

Brown offers similar opportunities, with a focus on interdisciplinary studies and experiential learning. Both universities also have strong alumni networks, providing students with valuable connections and mentorship opportunities.

Alumni Networks at Harvard University and Brown University

Both universities boast a strong network of alumni, who are highly engaged with their alma maters. Harvard University alumni are well-represented in several areas, including politics, business, and entertainment. Brown University alumni are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and have founded numerous successful companies, including Warby Parker and DECIEM.

Additionally, both universities offer various resources and opportunities for alumni to stay connected and involved. Harvard University has a global alumni network, with over 200 alumni clubs and shared interest groups around the world. Brown University has a robust alumni mentorship program, where alumni can connect with current students and recent graduates to offer guidance and support in their career paths.

Tuition Costs: Harvard vs Brown University

Attending either university requires a significant financial investment. Harvard University tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year is $54,002 for undergraduate students and $49,214 for graduate students.

Brown University tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year is $60,696 for undergraduate students and $56,880 for graduate students. Both universities have extensive financial aid programs to help students cover the cost of tuition, including scholarships and grants.

An empty college application form attached with US dollar bills

However, it is important to note that tuition costs are not the only expenses associated with attending these prestigious universities. Students must also consider the cost of room and board, textbooks, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses. These additional costs can add up quickly and significantly impact a student’s overall financial burden.

Furthermore, it is important to consider the potential return on investment when deciding whether to attend Harvard or Brown. Both universities have a strong reputation and alumni network, which can lead to greater career opportunities and earning potential.

However, it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the financial costs and determine if attending one of these universities is the best decision for your individual circumstances.

Financial Aid Options: Harvard vs Brown University

Both universities offer extensive financial aid programs to help students cover the cost of tuition. Harvard University has a robust financial aid program, with over 60% of undergraduates receiving some form of aid. Brown University is also committed to making its education affordable and has a similar financial aid program to Harvard, with over 60% of undergraduates receiving need-based aid.

In addition to need-based aid, both universities also offer merit-based scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement or talent in a particular area. Harvard University offers a range of merit-based scholarships, including the Harvard College Scholarship, which covers the full cost of tuition and provides additional funding for other expenses.

Brown University also offers a variety of merit-based scholarships, such as the Presidential Scholars Program, which provides full tuition and a stipend for research or travel.

Graduate Program Options: Harvard vs Brown University

Both universities offer a range of graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral programs. Harvard University offers over 80 graduate programs across various fields, including law, education, and medicine. Brown University also has a strong graduate program, offering over 60 master’s and doctoral programs.

Three students talking to a teacher.

Additionally, both universities offer joint degree programs, allowing students to earn degrees from both institutions simultaneously. These programs include a joint JD/MBA program offered by Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, as well as a joint MD/Ph.D. program offered by Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School and Graduate School.

Conclusion

Overall, both Harvard University and Brown University are excellent universities, offering students a world-class education and unique campus experiences. While there are differences between these two institutions, they share a common commitment to academic excellence, research, and inclusivity. Choosing between these two universities ultimately depends on a student’s personal interests and goals, but either option will provide a challenging and rewarding academic experience to students.

It is worth noting that Harvard University has a larger student body and a more competitive admissions process, with an acceptance rate of only 4.9%. Brown University, on the other hand, has a smaller student body and a more holistic admissions process, taking into account factors beyond just academic achievements.

Additionally, both universities have a strong focus on extracurricular activities and community service. Harvard University has over 400 student organizations, while Brown University has over 300. Both universities also have a strong commitment to sustainability and have implemented various initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and promote environmental awareness.

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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