You probably know that Brown University is in the Ivy League, but what else do you know about it? Did you know that the John Hay Library has Abraham Lincoln’s death mask? Did you know that the SciLi (the science library) has been voted the ugliest building in Rhode Island twice, and that students joke about this library’s 14 floors because pH is measured on a 14-point scale (as you go up in floors, the books get more “basic” – haha!)? Did you know that all public transit in Rhode Island is free with a Brown student ID? (Did you know that Brown is in Rhode Island?)
You probably DO know that Brown does not have a core curriculum; that it challenges students to select a concentration but to build their own academic path during their four years in college. Advising is plentifully available for students who seek guidance – in fact one of my tour guides lamented the fact that students can actually be inundated with too many strong, smart opinions from faculty and peers.
With about 6,000 undergraduates, and about 2,000 graduate students, Brown is a medium-sized college in the middle of small-town Providence. Downtown is a five-minute walk away and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is right across the street (Brown students may take RISD classes and vice-versa).
Students talk about the learning experience at Brown as “unique and wonderful.” Discussion-based learning is the norm; over 75% of the classes have 60 or fewer students. Study abroad is encouraged as part of Brown’s Liberal Learning Goals (scroll to the end of this page to download the document.)
My tour guide Charlie was a freshman from Phoenix studying applied math. See his thoughts on his first year at Brown here:
The social life at Brown is active; there are 8 fraternities and 3 sororities. Freshmen all live and dine together in one area, making for a strong bonding experience. Over 500 student clubs help make sure that when Brown students aren’t studying, they are busy.
Admissions stats: Middle 50% SAT Critical Reading – 630-740; Math – 650-760; Writing 640-750. Keep in mind that 6,000 undergraduates means the freshman class is ~ 1,500.