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How to Respond to the Brown Supplemental Essay Prompts
Brown University is a private Ivy League research university located in Providence, Rhode Island. Brown is an extremely selective and prestigious university with an acceptance rate of around 8%. In order to apply, students must complete four Brown supplemental essays.
Before answering the Brown supplemental essays, figure out if Brown is the right fit for you! Spend some time assessing whether Brown is “the place” to spend the next four years. Once you’ve decided that Brown is right for you, it’s time to dig into Brown’s supplemental essay questions. Our guide to answering Brown University supplemental essay questions will help you get started!
Before answering the essay questions
All Brown University applicants have to respond to three 200-250 word Brown supplemental essays. 250 words is not a lot. Therefore, it is best to be direct and concise with your responses! To ensure you do not drag on, brainstorm! This will allow you to plan out responses carefully to fit your personality into your response without it being too long.
If your response ends up being too long, try to get rid of filler or transition words. Give your essay to someone you trust to read it over to help get fresh eyes to eliminate words as well!
Essay question #1
“Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue them while also embracing topics with which you are unfamiliar. (200-250 words)”
Through your research you should have discovered that Brown has something called an Open Curriculum. Essentially, there are not the stereotypical core classes that need to be completed at Brown but rather a more flexible and personalized curriculum. There is no set core class list that you must take. Meaning, if you don’t enjoy reading English literature, you may not have to take an English Lit class.
Therefore, your response should show that you know this and are excited about it! This is one of the factors that makes Brown stand out from other schools.
Be sure to discuss what specifically you are excited to study using the open curriculum. Brown puts a lot of emphasis on their students choosing their own academic paths. Therefore, you need to specify how this freedom will allow you to prosper in your future goals.
Think about what you plan on majoring in. How will this open curriculum allow you to gain knowledge on this topic? You need to demonstrate how invested in furthering your education you are.
Questions to consider
- What do you want to major in?
- Why are you excited to attend a school that has an open curriculum?
- Why is learning new things important to you?
Essay question #2
“Brown’s culture fosters a community in which students challenge the ideas of others and have their ideas challenged in return, promoting a deeper and clearer understanding of the complex issues confronting society. This active engagement in dialogue is as present outside the classroom as it is in academic spaces. Tell us about a time you were challenged by a perspective that differed from your own. How did you respond? (200-250 words)”
Brown wants to accept students who constantly challenge themselves and their beliefs. Brown wants to see that you are comfortable with your ideas being challenged while attending their university.
Select a topic or a time in which you were challenged by a different perspective. You can choose to tackle a larger issue or a smaller issue. For example, a large issue could be gun control or gender equality. A smaller issue could be choosing to create a recycling club at your local high school. No matter which type of topic you choose – be sure that you were challenged by an alternative perspective during this event.
In order to impress admissions officers at Brown, make sure you are being true to yourself. Show that you are open-minded and alright with listening to the ideas of others even if they differ from your own.
Questions to consider
- How have you been challenged in the past?
- Have you ever changed your mind on a topic? Why or why not?
- What is a topic you are passionate about?
Essay question #3
“Brown students care deeply about their work and the world around them. Students find contentment, satisfaction, and meaning in daily interactions and major discoveries. Whether big or small, mundane or spectacular, tell us about something that brings you joy. (200-250 words)”
This essay question is all about you! When you were reading this prompt, what was the first thing you thought of?
This prompt is very broad which gives you creative freedom in your writing. You can choose to write about an important person in your life, how volunteering at your local shelter brings you so much happiness or how baking homemade cakes to brighten your friends’ days is your favorite thing to do. The opportunities are literally endless.
Even though there are a lot of options of what you could write about, be sure to stay true to you. Brown wants to learn all about you and your personality. Therefore, make sure you are being unique and true to yourself throughout your response.
Questions to consider
- What makes you happy?
- Who inspires you?
- What clubs or extracurricular activities are you involved in? Which do you enjoy the most?
Next steps after applying to Brown University
Now that your Brown supplemental essays are submitted, the hard part is over. After you submit your fine-tuned application with stellar supplemental essays, there are still a few things you can do to optimize your chances. Continue to show demonstrated interest in Brown University so they know you are committed and prioritizing their school (even if you have a few other top choices.)
This can be done by:
- following their social media accounts
- reaching out to admissions officers
- scheduling an in-person or virtual tour
- reading up on what you want to get involved in on campus
Essentially, showing interest and staying connected will allow you to get that extra foot in the door and make your name known. Exploring your interest in Brown will also help solidify if it is the best university for you.
As a student working on college applications and finishing up high school, you are no doubt busy. Our concise guides on how many schools to apply to and how to find safety, reach, and match schools will help you use your time more wisely.
With so many test optional colleges, you might be wondering whether to send test scores to test-optional schools. Luckily, we’ve got a guide for that as well. Create a college comparison spreadsheet when those acceptances start rolling in to help make your final college choice.
Don’t forget to use our free scholarship search tool to help fund your education. Good luck!