Guide for Applying to Brown

This guide contains tips and information for all applicants to streamline the process of applying to Brown. We hope you will enjoy the application journey, and we look forward to reading more about you.

Submitting Your Application: Step-by-Step
Applications are submitted online via the Common Application.  The online system will guide you through the process of providing the supporting credentials appropriate to your status as a first-year or transfer applicant.

Step 1) Begin by registering on the Common Application website if you haven’t already done so. Upon registering you will need to add Brown University to your list of colleges from within the College Search tab.

Step 2) Complete the Common Application by the deadline. Please keep the following in mind when completing your application:

  • Intention to Apply for Aid: Brown’s financial aid is based solely on need. We do not offer merit-based scholarships.
  • Select and answer one of the following questions for security purposes: Who sat behind you in your favorite class last year? Who is your favorite teacher in your junior year? What is the first number of your locker combination? What is the last word in the title of your favorite book? or What non-social media website do you visit most frequently?
  • Complete the Writing Supplement questions:
    • Why are you drawn to the area(s) of study you indicated in our Member Section, earlier in this application? If you are “undecided” or not sure which Brown concentrations match your interests, consider describing more generally the academic topics or modes of thought that engage you currently. (150 word limit)
    • Tell us where you have lived - and for how long - since you were born; whether you've always lived in the same place, or perhaps in a variety of places. (100 word limit)
    • We all exist within communities or groups of various sizes, origins, and purposes; pick one and tell us why it is important to you, and how it has shaped you. (150 word limit)
    • Why Brown? (200 word limit)
  • Complete the Science/Engineering statements if you have indicated an interest in Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geology, Mathematics or Physics. 
    • For students interested in Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics or Physics Because you have expressed an interest in Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics or Physics, we would like to know a bit more about you. Please limit your total response to 500 words. 
      1. Many applicants to college are unsure about eventual majors. What factors led you to your interest? What experiences beyond school work have broadened your interest? (Feel free to elaborate on one of your previous responses.) 
      2. What concept in your anticipated major were you most proud of mastering? 
      3. Briefly describe the course(s) you have taken relating to your chosen field.
    • For students interested in Engineering (Limit your total response to the following 3 questions to 500 words.)
      1. Many applicants to college are unsure about eventual majors. What factors led you to your interest in Engineering? (Feel free to elaborate on one of your earlier responses.) 
      2. What experiences beyond school work have broadened your interest?
      3. Brown offers ABET accredited programs in Biomedical, Chemical and Biochemical, Computer, Electrical, Materials, and Mechanical Engineering. Aerospace, Environmental, and Structural Engineering can also be pursued within the six core ABET accredited disciplines. Other options include: Sc.B. Civil/Environmental Engineering, Sc.B. Engineering /Physics, A.B. Engineering. (Students entering with the Class of 2017 and beyond who seek to specialize in civil or structural engineering will also have available a new structural mechanics track within the accredited mechanical engineering that will accommodate their interests.) Since there is a common core curriculum within Engineering, students need not select a specific area until their junior year. We are curious to know, however, if any particular program within Engineering presently appeals to you. If so, please discuss that choice.

  • Complete special programs statements only if you are applying to the 8 year Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) or the five year Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program (BRDD).
    • For students applying to The Program in Liberal Medical Education (Both questions are required; please limit your response to each question to 500 words.) 
      1. Most high school seniors are unsure about eventual career choices. What experiences have led you to consider medicine as your future profession? Please describe specifically why you have chosen to apply to the Program in Liberal Medical Education in pursuit of your career in medicine. Also, be sure to indicate your rationale on how the PLME is a “good fit” for your personal, academic, and future professional goals. (Please limit your response to this question to 500 words.) 
      2. Since the Program in Liberal Medical Education espouses a broad-based liberal education, please describe your fields of interest in both the sciences and the liberal arts. Be specific about what courses and aspects of the program will be woven into a potential educational plan. (Please limit your response to this question to 500 words.)
    • For students applying to the Brown-RISD Five Year Dual Degree Program
      In choosing to apply for the Brown-RISD A.B./B.F.A. dual degree program, your interests and future plans will be influenced and enhanced by the courses offered by both colleges. We are curious as to why you have chosen to apply for this specific dual degree program; please tell us your reasons for selecting it, and what you envision as its impact on your education and career. (500 word limit)

Step 3) Request recommenders. Depending upon your status as a first year or transfer student you will be presented with either online or paper methods of inviting appropriate school officials and teachers to supply records and recommendations. We suggest that you begin the process early to give them plenty of time to respond before the deadline.

Step 4) All applicants must submit a non-refundable $75 application fee or submit a fee waiver.  If the fee will present a financial hardship for you and your family, you may be eligible for a waiver of the application fee. Ask your guidance counselor to submit a Fee Waiver Request (Brown accepts the NACAC, College Board, and Expanding College Opportunities Fee Waiver request forms). 

Step 5) Arrange to have official test results sent to Brown before the deadline - please consult the First-Year Applicant page to see which tests we accept.

Tips for completing The Common Application

  • The Common Application recommends using the following browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer Version 10, and Safari.
  • When completing the essay and short answer portion of the online application, files cannot exceed 500 KB in size and should be in .doc, .docx, .wpd, .rtf, .xls, .pdf, or .txt format. Mac users must save the file with the appropriate three-letter extension.
  • Please do not attempt to upload a document that is password protected or that contains macros.
  • Give your recommenders plenty of time to complete and submit their forms. Be sure to fill in your parts of those forms. As a courtesy, provide stamped, addressed envelopes for recommenders who are submitting forms on paper.
  • Observe all deadlines faithfully. Avoid submitting your application at the last minute.
  • Make copies of every portion of your application. Ask your recommenders to keep copies of their forms and letters. This will make it easier for you to provide duplicates in the event that the original item becomes lost.

Getting Help
For technical or logistical difficulties while completing the online application, please refer to the Common Questions or the Help resources on the Common Application website.

If you have questions about the content of our application and are unable to find answers within this guide, please call us at 401-863-2378 during our regular office hours, or email us at at any time.

For questions about financial aid please refer to the Financial Aid website.

Keeping Track of Your Application
To allow you to follow the progress of your application, we offer a secure and private Application Summary page where you can:

  • Track the status of your application
  • Check whether all required documents and test scores have been received
  • Update your contact information
  • Check the admission decision on your application

Applicants to Brown are neither required nor expected to provide additional materials as part of the admission process, but the opportunity to do so is available to any candidate. You may use the Application Summary Page if you have updates or additional materials that you would like to share with Brown. Examples include a resume, poetry or a brief writing sample, abstract of scientific research or an independent research project, and any additional information that you were unable to include in your Common Application. A few things to note:

  • Please do not submit files over 1000 KB. 
  • If you are accomplished in music or visual art and wish to include these types of supplements, please review our guidelines and submit those materials via SlideRoom.
  • Although the Common Application website will state that your Writing Supplement has not been exported, we will have it on file for review in a .pdf format.
  • Early and Regular Decision applicants will receive their account activation email beginning in early November.