Date January 25, 2023
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With spring semester underway, Brown welcomes midyear arrivals

Whether they're undergraduates transferring from other institutions, students starting master's programs or visiting scholars committing to finishing their degrees on College Hill, nearly 200 students embarked on their Brown journeys in late January.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A sunny, dry day in late January is rare, but on Tuesday, Jan. 24, the sun peeked out of gray storm clouds to shine a light on Brown University’s newest students.

Led by the Brown Band, a cohort of midyear transfer students participated in a semiannual Brown tradition as they marched through the Van Wickle Gates, which were opened inward, representing their welcome to campus and symbolically marking the start of their education on College Hill.

"This exceptional cohort of students arrives at Brown from a wide range of academic institutions, with an array of academic interests, personal experiences and impressive accomplishments,” said Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Logan Powell. “I am excited to welcome them into the Brown community, where they promise to make meaningful contributions as leaders, thinkers and innovative problem-solvers."

The University's newest arrivals include 47 midyear undergraduate transfer students, 135 graduate students and 11 non-degree-seeking visiting students. 

Brown Band and transfer students
Students who will begin their studies at Brown in January, rather than September, line up for a procession through the Van Wickle Gates as the Brown Band prepares to play them in. 

Undergraduate Sohum Sanu, a Seattle native concentrating in behavioral decision sciences, transferred from the University of California, Berkeley. Sanu said the energy and focus on College Hill is already palpable.

“Brown is a really passionate campus,” Sanu said. “I’m excited to meet people who are genuinely interested in what they’re doing and have excitement for our kind of curriculum.”

The sentiment was echoed by applied mathematics and biology concentrator Danielle Whisnant, who was drawn to the University from Georgetown in part by Brown’s innovative Open Curriculum.

“I craved academic freedom and wanted to be part of a community of people who really care,” Whisnant said.

The reasons for choosing Brown are just as varied as the institutions from which the students hail. The incoming undergraduates — who are known as the TRUE student cohort, for Transfer and Resumed Undergraduate Education — come to Brown from a broad swath of institutions, including Cornell University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Michigan, among others.

Notably, this year’s 47-member cohort includes 12 scholars from Afghanistan — most of whom had studied together at the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. In late 2021, as part of the University’s ongoing efforts to host and support displaced students, Brown welcomed 15 Afghan scholars after the Taliban seized power in their home country. Now, 12 of them are committing to finishing their degrees at Brown.

Another six students are visiting as part of the Brown-Tougaloo semester exchange, through which undergraduates from Brown and Tougaloo College, a historically black college near Jackson, Mississippi, spend a semester enrolled at the other institution’s campus. Since 1964, the Brown University-Tougaloo College Partnership has enriched both campuses through academic and cultural exchanges and research at the undergraduate and graduate level.

The spring semester also saw the arrival of new graduate students; five will pursue Ph.D. degrees, 12 will begin a residential master’s program, and 11 are visiting students. An additional 118 students began their hybrid-format master’s degree programs in public health, cybersecurity, health care leadership and technology leadership.

This year marks Brown’s first formalized spring enrollment transfer student cohort. In the past, students who wished to transfer to Brown could apply only during the spring admissions cycle. But in 2022, the University introduced its first-ever fall application for transfer students aiming for spring entry. With the exception of the Afghan and Tougaloo students, every member of the new undergraduate cohort completed their applications in the fall.

All joined returning students in the classroom when Brown's spring courses began on Wednesday, Jan. 25.