A Note to Parents and Guardians
Pre-College Programs at Brown University
Attending a summer academic program at a college or university is a significant event for a young student—and no less so for their parents. We are mindful that in addition to the vicarious excitement and exhilaration they share with their children, many parents also share their anxieties—and have concerns of their own as well. We hope that this web site communicates not only the excitement of our programs but also addresses your concerns. And we are always happy to talk to parents and guardians to answer any questions that may not find an answer on our pages.
Are Brown Pre-College Programs the Right Fit?
Brown’s Pre-College Summer programs are unique opportunities for bright, motivated, responsible young people to experience university level life and learning on campus or in a location-based environment. The students who attend have demonstrated not only exceptional intellectual ability but also possess a degree of maturity, self-motivation, and a seriousness of purpose in their chosen course of study. Designed to reflect the broad curriculum of Brown University, our programs are first and foremost academic programs, in contrast, for example, to summer camps. The course of study undertaken by a student is a significant consideration, and it should be one that simultaneously plays to their strengths and to a deep and motivating interest in a subject area. We aim to bring together in classes students who share a common intellectual passion — and to invite them into a community of learners where they will find an exceptionally diverse array of intellectual passions among their peers as well.
We do our best to create opportunities for students to experience the joys of deep intellectual engagement and substantive learning, and look to the students to take advantage of them. Our instructors are passionate about their subject matter, work hard to impart this passion to their students, and also demand much of them. In addition to these formal learning experiences, we provide structured and unstructured opportunities for students to engage with each other in meaningful, if informal, ways. Indeed, we encourage students to look at these activities as a way to engage in familiar and fun activities and also as a way to try new things—to attend a talk on a subject they have yet to learn, to meet peers from around the world, to explore a world of possibilities – both known and unknown. This takes a certain degree of courage, but our experience has been that the rewards of such risk taking are great.
WATCH: Our Residential Life Staff talks about the important roles they play in the student experience. »
Maturity and Independence
This combination of rigorous classroom academics and the varied opportunities outside of class offer students experiences in which they can grow intellectually, personally and socially. Our programs prepare pre-college students for the challenges of college life, indeed, of life itself! Students and their parents have often said that the best part of the summer program was the personal growth that occurred in the student. When students successfully complete a Brown Pre-College program, they typically emerge with renewed confidence in their academic, social and personal capacities and are better prepared to make a successful adjustment to college life.
Balancing all these responsibilities and opportunities is a wonderful challenge for students to have, but a challenge nonetheless. Students will learn quickly how—and how necessary it is—to balance their academic responsibilities with responsible living in a community of like-minded students. They do so with the help of a team of carefully selected and trained Residence Directors (RDs) and Resident Assistants (RAs), who also alongside the students either in the residence halls or on location. These skilled and caring live-in professionals—many whom are Brown undergraduates—help students learn how to balance the competing demands of an exceptionally rich and rewarding academic and social life. In addition, they serve as a resource for everything from guiding students to resources around campus, or on location, or in aiding them in negotiating roommate conflicts. Our primary goal is to create a safe atmosphere which supports student success, and the residential staff's emphasis on community-building and individual responsibility encourages students to develop the necessary skills and capacities in a way that is as enjoyable as it is rewarding.
Our Residential Life Staff Talks About Their Role in the Student Experience
Contacting Your Student
We know that you will want to be in touch with your child—and they with you—and we encourage you to talk to your son or daughter about when and how, and how much to be in touch. It frequently happens that within hours of parents’ departure, the students are so immersed in the experience that their sense of time—of when they last spoke to their parents—is very different from their parents’ sense. Except in emergency situations staff cannot generally honor requests to track down a student; hence, our request that parents and students arrange regular times and ways to be in touch so that students can exercise an appropriate degree of responsible independence and parents can receive the degree of reassurances they need that all is well.
Please read over our Policies page, which, in addition to outlining policies specific to academic and residence life, financial policies and matters of health and safety, also provides substantial additional information. Students and their families are expected to review them together and to sign the Code of Conduct section of the acceptance forms.
We look forward to welcoming you to Providence, our home city, and to our beautiful state, Rhode Island. Please read over our Exploring Providence page to learn more about local hotels and attractions in the area.
Emergency Contact: Brown Department of Public Safety: (401) 863-3322
Non-Emergency Contact: Pre-College Programs Office: (401) 863-7900
We are looking forward to having your child participate in one of our many exceptional programs, and thank you for allowing us that privilege!