Crafting Your Brown Application Essay: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring College Students

June 22, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Crafting Your Brown Application Essay: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring College Students

The college application process can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to writing the application essay. One such essay that often leaves students scratching their heads is the Brown University application essay. Today, we aim to demystify the Brown application essay, providing you with all the information you need to craft a compelling narrative that stands out from the crowd.

What are the specific requirements for the Brown application essay?

What are the particular requirements for the essay portion of the Brown application? The first step to writing a successful application essay is understanding its specific requirements. Brown University, like many other Ivy League schools, uses the Common Application. In addition to the main Common App essay, Brown requires applicants to write several supplemental essays.

The supplemental essays are your opportunity to show Brown why you are a perfect fit for their community. These prompts change slightly from year to year, but they generally revolve around your academic interests, why you’ve chosen Brown, and how you envision your time at the university.

Female student waiting in a room.

Remember, each essay should be unique and reflect your personal experiences, aspirations, and personality. The admissions committee wants to get to know you beyond your grades and test scores.

What topics are recommended for the Brown application essay?

What are the best topics for the Brown application essay? Choosing the right topic for your Brown application essay is crucial. It should be something you are passionate about, as this passion will shine through in your writing. These are the topics that can serve as a good starting point:

Why Brown?

For the “Why Brown?” essay, you should focus on specific aspects of Brown University that appeal to you. This could be:

  1. Academic Programs: If there’s a specific academic program at Brown that you’re interested in, this is a great place to mention it. Discuss why this program appeals to you and how it aligns with your academic goals.
  2. Open Curriculum: Brown’s open curriculum is a unique feature that allows students to explore a wide range of subjects. If this appeals to you, discuss why and how you plan to take advantage of it.
  3. Campus Culture: If there’s something about the culture or community at Brown that you find appealing, discuss it here. This could be the collaborative environment, the focus on social justice, or the vibrant arts scene, for example.
  4. Clubs and Organizations: If there are specific clubs, sports teams, or organizations at Brown that you’re interested in, mention them. Discuss why you’re interested and how you plan to contribute.

Why Your Chosen Concentration?

For the essay about your academic interests, delve into why you are passionate about your chosen field of study. This could include:

  1. Personal Experiences: Discuss any personal experiences that have led you to this interest. This could be a class you took, a book you read, a personal event, or a role model who inspired you.
  2. Future Goals: Discuss how your chosen concentration aligns with your future goals. This could be career-related, but it could also be about broader life goals or values.
  3. Brown’s Offerings: Tie your interest back to what Brown offers. Discuss specific courses, professors, or opportunities at Brown that will help you pursue your interest.

Community Essay

For the community essay, consider discussing:

  1. Your Contributions: Discuss communities you’ve been a part of in the past and how you’ve contributed to them. This could be your school, neighborhood, club, sports team, or a religious or cultural group, for example.
  2. Your Future at Brown: Discuss how you plan to engage with the Brown community. This could be through specific clubs or organizations, service or leadership roles, or informal interactions with your peers.

The best topic for your essay is one that allows you to tell a compelling story and showcase who you are. Be authentic, be specific, and let your passion shine through.

What is the word limit for the Brown application essay?

How long should the Brown application essay be? The word limit for the Brown application essay varies depending on the prompt. The main Common App essay has a word limit of 650 words. The supplemental essays typically have a word limit of 250 words each.

Group of students attending an online class.

While it can be tempting to use every word available, remember that quality is more important than quantity. Every word in your essay should serve a purpose. If you can convey your message in fewer words, don’t feel the need to fill up the space just because you can.

What are some successful Brown application essay examples?

What are some examples of successful Brown application essays? While it’s important to write an essay that’s uniquely yours, looking at successful examples can inspire and show you what works. Here are a few examples of successful Brown application essays:

Essay on the Open Curriculum

One successful applicant wrote about their love for learning and how Brown’s open curriculum would allow them to explore a wide range of subjects. They tied this into their goal of becoming a well-rounded individual and a lifelong learner.

Essay on Community

Another successful essay focused on the applicant’s desire to contribute to the Brown community. They wrote about their experiences with community service and how they planned to continue this at Brown.

Essay on Academic Interests

A successful essay on academic interests detailed the applicant’s passion for environmental science, tying in personal experiences and future goals. They also discussed specific courses and programs at Brown that would allow them to delve deeper into this field.

What are the evaluation criteria for the Brown application essay?

What are the standards for evaluating the Brown application essay?  Understanding these criteria can help guide your writing process and increase your chances of crafting a successful essay.


The admissions committee will first look at whether your essay answers the prompt. They want to see that you’ve understood the question and provided a thoughtful, comprehensive response. They’re also looking for insight into who you are as a person, your goals, and your fit with Brown University. They want to see that you’ve done your research and understand what makes Brown unique.

Two students talking in a table.


A well-structured essay is easier to read and makes a stronger impression. Your essay should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Each paragraph should have a clear main idea and should contribute to your overall argument or narrative.

Voice and Tone

Your essay should reflect your unique voice and personality. The admissions committee wants to get to know you, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. The tone should be appropriate for a college application essay—it should be formal enough to show that you take your application seriously, but not so formal that it loses your personal touch.

Grammar and Mechanics

Your essay should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. This shows that you’ve taken the time to proofread your work and that you care about making a good impression. It also makes your essay easier to read. In addition, your essay should be well-written and should use a variety of sentence structures and vocabulary to keep the reader engaged.

Creativity and Originality

The admissions committee reads thousands of essays, so an essay that stands out can make a big difference. This doesn’t mean you have to write about something outlandish or shocking—often, the most effective essays are those that take a common topic and approach it uniquely. The admissions committee is looking for a fresh perspective and a compelling narrative.


The more specific your essay, the more compelling it will be. Rather than making broad statements about your interests or goals, provide specific examples from your life. Instead of saying that you’re interested in Brown’s open curriculum, for example, discuss a specific course you’d like to take or a specific academic path you’d like to explore.

In conclusion, crafting a compelling Brown application essay is a crucial step in your journey toward higher education. With the right approach that AdmissionSight can guide you with, you can effectively convey your unique story, aspirations, and fit for Brown University. Remember, your essay is more than just words on a page—it’s your opportunity to shine and make your dream of attending Brown a reality. Contact us so that we can help you better!


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