How to Transfer to Brown

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

students listening intently to a class discussion

How to Transfer to Brown

If you apply to your dream school and end up not getting in as a first-year undergraduate student, that does not necessarily mean that you have to give up your dream of attending that specific school. Every year, tens of thousands of undergraduate students end up applying to their dream schools all over again as transfer students.

So, if Brown University is your dream school, you may be curious about how to transfer to Brown.

Brown is, of course, one of the eight schools that make up the incredibly competitive and prestigious group of colleges and universities known as the Ivy League. For that reason, every application cycle, many more students that apply to Brown end up getting rejected than end up getting in.

With that being said, the kinds of students that do end up applying to schools like Brown tend to have many other great options and opportunities when it comes to schools that they do get into. Still, there are some students that have a unique passion for Brown and the kind of school that it is.

For those students, who are determined to attend Brown one way or the other, transferring can serve as a really fantastic option. Transferring can also be a fabulous option for students that enrolled at a different school, but for one reason or another end up deciding that Brown University is actually their best choice.

woman sitting on the floor while writing on her notes

This can be true for students who were offered a spot at Brown as first-year students, were rejected from Brown as a first year applicant, or didn’t even think to apply to Brown!

Still, just as the road to applying to Brown as a high school is an incredibly challenging and competitive one, so is the road to applying to Brown as a transfer student.

That is where AdmissionSight can come in and offer expertise and experience to students that are looking to apply as transfer students.

Thanks to our many years in the admissions industry, we can offer crucial information, proven guidance, and much more to students who opt to work with us as they begin their transfer application journey.

So, if you are wondering how to get into Brown as a transfer student, want to know more about the acceptance rates that transfer students at Brown face, and even want to learn about how any student can improve their chances of getting in as a transfer applicant at Brown, then you have absolutely come to the right place.

Let’s start breaking down all of the most important information that has to do with transferring to Brown together so that you can be as prepared as possible for the difficult, yet exciting journey ahead!

Brown transfer requirements

Just like is the case for first-year applicants to the undergraduate program at Brown, transfer applicants also have to make sure that they fulfill a specific list of requirements when it comes to what they have to send in to the admissions committee at Brown to be considered eligible as a transfer student.

Stressed college student looking at the laptop screen while surrounded by books.

When it comes to the eligibility requirements, Brown immediately makes it clear that students have to have completed at least one full year of college study (or an equivalent) before they plan to apply to Brown.

Students that are studying either as full-time students or as part-time students at accredited four-year or two-year programs can look for transfer admission.

Beyond that, here are the five key eligibility requirements that transfer students must meet if they want to be considered at Brown:

  • Applicants who submit transfer applications to Brown in the spring of 2022 will only be eligible to apply if they will have completed at least one year of full-time college enrollment before September 2022.
  • University rules stipulate that anyone admitted as a transfer must be enrolled full-time at Brown for at least four semesters prior to earning an undergraduate degree. For this reason we discourage transfer applications from students who will have accrued more than four semesters of college work prior to their enrollment at Brown.
  • High school students who are currently enrolled in dual-degree programs or early college programs are ineligible to apply as transfers. These students may only apply as first-year applicants.
  • Students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree at another college are ineligible to apply as transfers.
  • Applicants from British universities must have completed a year or more of their undergraduate education prior to applying. We will make exceptions to this rule for applicants from British universities that provide graded fall-semester transcripts for their students.

On top of that, there are four general factors that are most strongly considered when it comes to the eligibility of a student:

  • The student’s college transcript (curriculum and grades)
  • The student’s letters of recommendation from their college professors
  • The student’s standardized test scores (the SAT or ACT)
  • The student’s high school transcript

On top of that, because of the simple fact that Brown is one of the most selective schools in the country, the school is always looking for students who will contribute to the school from not only an academic standpoint, but also a cultural standpoint.

For that reason, Brown’s admissions officers are always looking for students that have managed to show long-term commitment to specific extracurricular activities. Of course, the assumption is that students will continue to pursue these passions once they enroll in an undergraduate program.

Students who choose to pursue their passions and interests, both inside and outside of the classroom, will indeed have the best chance at getting into Brown University or similarly competitive schools.

Brown application checklist:

Here are the things every applicant will have to send in to be considered as a Brown University transfer:

  • Application fee of $75 or a fee waiver
  • Common Application (Transfer Application)
  • Official copy of your high school transcript
  • Official copy of current college transcript
  • College Report
  • Two instructor evaluations

Students are also able to send in supplementary materials if they feel it will help argue their case to get into Brown. These materials typically deal with creative endeavors such as music, art, writing and more.

Finally, students should absolutely take advantage of the video introduction application supplement that is encouraged by not required.

While there are no interviews available to transfer applicants, students can send in a video introduction that can serve as a fantastic opportunity for students to give the admissions committee more information about who they are as students and as people!

Once students are logged into the Brown Applicant Portal, you will be given the option to submit a two-minute personal video introduction. The deadline to submit your transfer application is March 1st, the deadline to submit a video intro is March 15th.

Here is what Brown itself has to say about the value of these video introductions:

  • The video introduction gives you an opportunity to tell us more about yourself, in your voice, beyond the information you provided in your application.
  • Sharing a two-minute personal video is a helpful way to show us who you are.
  • Possible topics may include your academic interests, your connection to a family member or individual who has influenced you, your experience with the community that you are from or anything else that you would like to tell us about yourself.
  • Your video should begin with a short clip of you in front of the camera saying, “Hi, my name is [insert name] from [name of college].”
  • After that, what you choose to say and how you choose to say it is up to you. Simple and unrehearsed is fine, and you are welcome to be creative.
  • We recommend you dress casually as you would for a school day or school event.

A note on standardized tests

As you may have seen from the list above, the SAT or ACT is listed as a requirement. However, currently the SAT and ACT are not requirements for students who wish to apply to Brown as either first-year or transfer students. That is, unsurprisingly, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is what Brown University has to say about its current approach to the standardized test section of the application process:

“Brown has extended our test optional policy for all first-year, transfer and Resumed Undergraduate Education applicants in the 2022-2023 admission cycle,” the school announced.

“Students who do not submit SAT or ACT scores should be assured that they will not be disadvantaged in our admission process.

While standardized testing has long been a component of our holistic admission process and can be informative, it has always been only one part of a much larger and more important story about an individual applicant. We remain committed to a thoughtful and thorough holistic review process.”

With that in mind, it is important for students that want to apply to Brown to know that the school does make it clear that if a student does send in an SAT or ACT school, the admissions committee will consider it.

So, while a lack of an SAT or ACT score will not necessarily hurt a student’s chances of getting into Brown, there is still clear proof that a great SAT or ACT score will still help a student get into Brown.

Brown’s transfer acceptance rate

The answer to the question, “Can you transfer to Brown?” is of course yes. However, it is important to know that statistically, transfer students did have a much harder time getting into Brown than first-year applicants did in the 2020-21 application cycle.

A male college student standing while holding a tablet and carrying a bag.

In that application cycle, the overall acceptance rate at Brown University was 8.3 percent, 32,724 students total applied and 2,722 students were accepted. As for the students that applied to Brown as transfer students, approximately 4.0 percent of those students ended up getting in.

So, you can easily see that first-year applicants still have a statistically easier time getting in. However, it is important to keep in mind that far fewer students do apply as transfers. This makes a lower acceptance rate more likely. It also serves as an opportunity.

As the admission committee will have to look at fewer applications, applying as a transfer may give your application the opportunity to stand out from the crowd even better!

Can you transfer to Brown from a community college?

If you are currently studying at a community college, or plan to start at the onset of the next semester, you may be wondering how to transfer to Brown from a community college.

In fact, you may be wondering if it is even possible to apply to Brown as a transfer student from a community college.

Well, the short answer is absolutely yes! In fact, several hundred students have transferred from community colleges to Ivy League schools in just the last few years alone.

Behind Cornell, which is known as the Ivy League school to accept the highest number of community college transfers, Brown and Penn are the next two schools that accept the most transfers coming directly from community colleges.

But what is the reason for this, and is there anything that we can take from what community college transfers might offer Ivy League schools compared to transfer applicants from prestigious private schools or impressive public schools?

There are some simple, yet really important considerations to keep in mind. If you are wondering can you transfer from community college to Brown, take a look at these considerations below:

  • Community college transfers offer something new: One of the most important things that Ivy League schools have begun to focus on in recent years is adding diversity to their graduating classes. This does not refer only to diversity in terms of race, ethnicity and religion. It also refers to diversity in terms of family history, socioeconomic status and much more. The simple truth is students at community colleges are more diverse than your typical college or university. While a community college education used to be something that people may feel ashamed of, it is not anything of that sort anymore. In fact, being proud of your community college status while applying to Ivy League schools could help you greatly.
  • Success at community colleges help predict success in the Ivy League: While some students who are applying to Brown from a community college may be worried that their credentials will not compete with the credentials of students who are applying to transfer from more prestigious or well-known four-year programs. As it so happens, students coming from community colleges have proven to be well equipped to succeed at Ivy League schools. In fact, a study from 2019 found that students who transferred from community college to schools like Ivy League graduated at higher rates than those transferring from other four-year institutions.
  • There’s an actual reason to transfer from community college to an Ivy League: One key factor that admissions officers at Ivy League schools look for when they are reviewing transfer applicants is something known as a “defined academic need.” This essentially refers to a clear and objective reason why a student would benefit from attending a school like Brown aside from that student simply wanting to enroll at a more prestigious school. This is a huge advantage because community colleges simply do not offer the kind of diversity of courses or resources that four-year programs do. So that is your “defined academic need,” and it is absolutely something that you will want to discuss when it comes to filling out your personal essays as part of your application.
  • Your application is compared to a smaller pool of applicants: One of the prime reasons why getting into an Ivy League school like Brown is so hard is because your application is pitted against so many applications from a massive number of deserving students. Transferring, however, may be a bit easier for some students because the transfer application deadline for Brown falls later in the calendar than the typical application for first-year students. This later deadline essentially means that your application is only going to be compared to other transfer applicants as opposed to the entire applicant pool. Because the transfer applicant pool is smaller, you may get a better chance to stand out and impress the admissions officers at Brown.

Get more help in coordinating your Brown University transfer

Brown University is one of the most prestigious and competitive schools in the United States, and getting in either as a first-year student or as a transfer is an incredible accomplishment. It may seem like an impossible task, but it certainly is possible!

If you are looking for ways to improve your chances of getting into Brown as either a first-year or transfer applicant, contact AdmissionSight today to schedule a free consultation.


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