Brown Supplemental Essays 2023-2024
If you’re wondering how to get into Brown, a solid strategy begins with strong Brown supplemental essays. With most colleges and Ivy League universities going test-optional, your Brown supplemental essays are a great chance to stand out.
The Brown University supplemental essays allow you to show the admissions team who you are and what you’d bring to campus. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the Brown essay prompts and provide you with some tips on how to best craft your Brown supplemental essays.
Following our discussion of three Brown supplemental essay prompts, we will also showcase Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) program. This program allows students to combine an undergraduate and medical school education in just eight years. Applicants to this program must complete three additional specific Brown PLME essays.
If you’re wondering how to write the Brown supplemental essays, then you’re in the right place. To write strong Brown University supplemental essays, you should first make sure you understand the prompts and requirements. So, let’s look at some quick facts about the Brown University supplemental essays.
Brown Supplemental Essays- Quick Facts
- Brown University acceptance rate: 6% – Brown is a highly competitive school.
- Requirements for the Brown University supplemental essays:
- 1 half-page (200-250 word) “Why School” essay
- 1 half-page (200-250 word) essay
- 1 half-page (200-250 word) essay
- Requirements for the Brown PLME Essays:
- 3 half-page (200-250 word) essays
- Brown application info: To apply to Brown, you must complete the Common Application. You’ll submit your Brown supplemental essays via the Common App platform.
- Brown application deadline:
- #1 Brown Essay Tip for how to get into Brown: Complete the Brown University supplemental essays thoughtfully and comprehensively. Use the Brown University supplemental essays to highlight why you are a great fit for Brown. Moreover, start early—begin drafting the Brown University supplemental essays and (if applicable) the Brown PLME essays well ahead of the Brown application deadline.
Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website.
More details about Brown University
Brown University is a private institution located in Providence, RI. Founded in 1764, Brown University is one of the eight Ivy League schools.
According to U.S. News, the Brown University ranking is #13 in National Universities. Additionally, the Brown University ranking comes in at #14 in Best Value Schools and #25 in Most Innovative Schools. The Brown University ranking reflects its strong performance across a variety of indicators.
As a competitive school, the Brown supplemental essays are a vital part of the admissions process. To learn more about the Brown University acceptance rate, Brown University ranking, and Brown application deadline, check out our Brown University page.
How many essays does Brown University require?
So, how many Brown supplemental essays are required as part of the application?
The Brown application requires a total of four essays, one of which is your Common App personal statement and the other three are the Brown University supplemental essays. The Common App essay is not just a Brown essay. Rather, it will be submitted through the Common App to all of your schools. There are also three shorter Brown supplemental essays.
Essay requirements for specialty majors
Then, there are additional Brown supplemental essays for Brown University’s specialized undergraduate programs. If you are interested in applying to the PLME program, you will need to submit the three more required Brown PLME essays along with your Brown application. We will expand on the Brown PLME essays later in this guide. Like the three other required Brown University supplemental essays, the Brown PLME essays form an extremely important part of the application process.
If you are planning to apply to the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program, you will need to write one additional Brown essay. Although we will not include the additional Brown essay prompt for the Dual Degree program in this guide, the Brown supplemental essays we cover below should give you enough direction to write this Brown essay.
Understanding the Brown essay requirements
So, let’s review: most applicants will complete three Brown supplemental essays. If you apply to the PLME program, you will complete three Brown supplemental essays AND three Brown PLME essays, for a total of six Brown essays in addition to the Common App personal statement. If you are applying to the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program, you will complete one additional essay, for a total of four Brown supplemental essays, plus your Common App personal essay.
For more information about the Brown PLME essays and Brown-RISD essay, check out our essay guide for those program-specific Brown supplemental essays.
In all your worrying about the Brown University supplemental essays, did you forget about your Common App essay? We’ve got you covered. After checking out the Brown supplemental essays, check out this article. In it, you’ll find 39 essay tips from CollegeAdvisor.com’s Admissions Experts on how to write a great college essay.
What are the Brown supplemental essay prompts?
In addition to the Common App personal statement, there are three Brown essay prompts to consider as you begin your “how to get into Brown” strategy. We will examine each of the Brown essay prompts below before we discuss how to write the Brown supplemental essays.
Here are the required Brown University supplemental essays for the 2023-24 admissions cycle:
|Brown Essay Prompts||Word Count||Requirement|
|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 pursue them at Brown.||250-word limit||Required|
|Students entering Brown often find that making their home on College Hill naturally invites reflection on where they came from. Share how an aspect of your growing up has inspired or challenged you, and what unique contributions this might allow you to make to the Brown community.||250-word limit||Required|
|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.||250-word limit||Required|
In each Brown essay, admissions should learn something new about the applicant. Successful Brown supplemental essays will share information about students that hasn’t been seen elsewhere in the application. Likewise, each response to the Brown University supplemental essays should highlight something different.
Let’s take a closer look at the Brown supplemental essays.
Brown Essay Prompt #1
The first Brown essay prompt might look easy at first glance. It asks you to address two things. First, this Brown essay prompt wants you to highlight one of your academic interests. Then, it wants you to explain how you will use the Brown Open Curriculum to your advantage as you explore your academic pursuits.
Successful Brown University supplemental essays will refer to the specific qualities that only Brown can offer its students. If you do not know much about the Brown Open Curriculum, you’ll want to start there. The Brown Open Curriculum is unique to Brown University. It’s also one of the reasons the Brown University acceptance rate is so low—Brown’s unique teaching model attracts many hopeful applicants.
With the Brown Open Curriculum, students at Brown can develop their own personalized course of study. Brown Open Curriculum essays should be unique and personal to each student. To write a strong Brown essay, you’ll want to explain how the Brown Open Curriculum will benefit you specifically in regard to your academic interest(s).
We’ll check out some tips to write a successful essay for this first prompt later in this guide. However, on your own, it may be helpful to research a Brown Open Curriculum essay example in order to see what’s worked in the past.
Brown Essay Prompt #2
This Brown essay prompt is all about learning from your experiences. These Brown supplemental essays will likely focus on your communities and circumstances. What challenges did your experiences bring? How did you overcome, learn from, or adapt to the aspect of your life that you discuss?
With this Brown essay prompt, you should also showcase what makes you unique. These Brown University supplemental essays should highlight how applicants will enrich the larger Brown community. Be specific in your response to this Brown essay prompt. Which community at Brown do you see yourself joining? Moreover, how exactly will you contribute to this community? Successful Brown supplemental essays for this prompt will allow admissions to envision the positive impact applicants will have on campus.
Brown Essay Prompt #3
This Brown essay prompt is all about self-reflection, perspective, and compassion. How do you connect to the world around you? And, specifically, what makes you happy? Finding the joy in everyday things is a large part of each person’s well-being. Successful Brown supplemental essays will show that you can find joy in the simple things as a curious observer and participant in the world around you.
Successful Brown supplemental essays will vary greatly. However, the goal of this Brown essay is the same as many other college essays: show admissions who you are and how you navigate the world.
Do the Brown essays change?
In short, yes, the Brown supplemental essays can certainly change. Like at most universities, the Brown supplemental essays are subject to change each year. That’s why it’s important to check the admissions website for the most current information on the Brown University supplemental essays.
For example, this year, the wording of the first two Brown essay prompts slightly changed from last year. However, the third Brown essay prompt changed completely. The Brown University supplemental essays have maintained a similar word count from year to year, although they have varied slightly. This year, all the Brown supplemental essays have a limit of 200-250 words.
Indeed, for any college application, always double-check the university’s admissions website so that you have the correct and updated information. Normally, the most current Brown essay prompts will be revealed in the summer before the admissions deadlines.
Brown Supplemental Essays #1: Open Curriculum Essay
The first of the Brown University supplemental essays is about the Brown Open Curriculum. This Brown essay is the university’s take on the why school essay. So, a successful Brown Open Curriculum essay example will do what a successful why school essay does: answer “why Brown?” and “why you?”.
The purpose of a why school essay is to help the admissions committee understand the reasons why you want to attend this school. A strong why school essay, and why Brown essay, will incorporate specific details that relate to the school’s mission, values, opportunities, or programs.
You’ll find similar versions of this why school essay prompt in the supplemental essays for NYU, Stanford, and UPenn. In order to write your best Brown University supplemental essays, you’ll want to look at Brown supplemental essays examples. You can read more about this type of college essay in our college essay examples guide.
Let’s look at this first essay prompt:
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 pursue them at Brown.
Addressing this Brown essay prompt
As we mentioned earlier, the Brown Open Curriculum essay prompt is twofold. This Brown essay prompt asks you to elaborate on one of your academic interests along with how you will use the Brown Open Curriculum to pursue that interest.
Before you start writing the first of the Brown supplemental essays, you will want to research the Brown Open Curriculum. You can look through Brown’s website to explore more facts about the Brown Open Curriculum and its unique attributes. While you are doing your research, take notes on what aspects of this offering excite you the most.
Once you’ve learned more about the Brown Open Curriculum, you’ll want to start brainstorming. Think about how the Brown Open Curriculum can help you reach your own academic goals. To do this, you’ll first need to think about your own academic interests. Then you can tie it into the opportunities you’ll have with the Brown Open Curriculum.
Are you interested in multiple academic fields or careers? What courses are you hoping to take to further these interests? Finally, how would the flexibility of the Brown Open Curriculum help you develop your interests?
With only 250 words for the Brown Open Curriculum essay prompt, you’ll want to make every word of this Brown essay count. Get to the point quickly and provide specific examples about your academic interests and plans. Then, spend the rest of the Brown essay describing how the Brown Open Curriculum will help you pursue them.
What is Brown Open Curriculum?
The Brown Open Curriculum was first introduced in 1969. From its founding, the Brown Open Curriculum was created by faculty and students to offer undergraduates the freedom to explore and combine ideas across disciplines. The Brown Open Curriculum gives students the flexibility to choose their own courses and be “the architect of their own education.”
In other words, students are not required to complete a set of core courses for graduation. Instead, the Brown Open Curriculum allows students to create their own personalized course of study.
Most students at Brown will sample a wide range of courses in various subjects before selecting one of Brown’s 80+ academic concentrations to study in-depth. As a result, the Brown Open Curriculum produces an intellectual environment where students can explore courses in all disciplines.
The Brown Open Curriculum essay is Brown’s version of the Why School essay. That means that when approaching the Brown Open Curriculum essay, you’ll need to be specific with your examples. Additionally, you’ll need to show not only what you’d gain from the Brown Open Curriculum, but also what you’d bring to it.
Brown Supplemental Essay #2
Next, let’s move on to the second of the Brown supplemental essays.
The second of the Brown University supplemental essays is about how you see yourself within the larger community at Brown. The purpose of this type of essay is to show how you could make a positive impact on the campus community.
Therefore, a strong response to this second prompt of the Brown University supplemental essays will address how you see yourself interacting with the diverse community at Brown. You’ll find a similar version of this Brown essay prompt in the supplemental essays for Duke University.
Now, let’s revisit the second of the Brown supplemental essays prompt:
Students entering Brown often find that making their home on College Hill naturally invites reflection on where they came from. Share how an aspect of your growing up has inspired or challenged you, and what unique contributions this might allow you to make to the Brown community.
Although this Brown essay prompt is intentionally broad, there are a few ways to answer it. Think about what makes you a unique applicant. What aspects of your personality and perspective would you bring to the table at Brown? Additionally, how do you see yourself making an impact on campus?
Successful Brown University supplemental essays will be reflective and show growth. Basically, how did your upbringing shape the way you interact, navigate, and contribute to the world around you? Of course, Brown supplemental essays will need to answer the prompt comprehensively. So, choose a moment from your upbringing that was either inspiring or challenging. Then, show how this learning will positively influence your experience at Brown.
Brown Supplemental Essays #3
The third prompt of the Brown supplemental essays is all about being a curious and passionate learner. Rather than focusing on the university like in the previous Brown University supplemental essays, the whole purpose of this essay prompt is to learn more about you. Of course, in turn, strong Brown University supplemental essays will allow admissions to gain an understanding of what you’d bring to the campus and community.
Let’s review the third of the Brown University supplemental essays:
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.
At first glance, this Brown essay prompt may seem intimidating. It’s unique and different from most college essays and the other Brown University supplemental essays. Basically, it’s not a why school essay. However, the intention of this essay is the same as the overall goal of all the Brown supplemental essays: stand out to admissions by sharing more of who you are.
Getting creative with your Brown supplemental essays
This Brown essay allows students to get creative. You could speak of the joy of brewing your first cup of coffee, or the simple routine of steeping your nighttime tea. Or, maybe it’s the interaction with the bodega owner that brightens your day, the smile from a stranger as they open the door for you, or talking with your mom while helping her make dinner. The topic for these Brown supplemental essays could be literally anything—as long as you show what brings you joy and why.
Don’t shy away from getting creative when responding to this Brown essay prompt. Successful Brown supplemental essays will hook the reader from the start and keep them engaged throughout. Of course, don’t go off on an irrelevant anecdote when writing your Brown University supplemental essays. Rather, make sure to fully and comprehensively answer the prompts for each of the Brown University supplemental essays.
What does Brown Admissions look for?
Brown Admissions, like many colleges and universities, uses a holistic approach when evaluating each application they receive. However, Brown University is an Ivy League institution. Therefore, Brown University is considered a highly selective university.
The Brown University acceptance rate is 6%. The average SAT score for admitted applicants at Brown is 1460-1570. Additionally, the average ACT score is 33 to 35. That being said, there are no official minimum requirements when it comes to GPA, and submitting standardized test scores is optional. However, as such a selective and prestigious university, Brown tends to attract exceptional applicants. This means that simply having good grades and impressive extracurriculars won’t guarantee admission: this is where impactful Brown supplemental essays can make a true difference.
Standing out in the admissions process
The admissions committee wants to see how you’ve taken advantage of the resources available at your high school and within your community. How have you fueled your intellectual curiosity throughout your adolescent years? What did you do to be an active learner and participant in your high school? What have you achieved? And, most importantly, how will you bring all those accomplishments and experiences to the Brown community? These are the types of questions admissions officers ask themselves when reviewing applications. Additionally, these are exactly the things that successful Brown supplemental essays will reveal.
Because the Brown University acceptance rate is so low, it’s crucial that your Brown supplemental essays stand out. Crafting strong Brown supplemental essays can help boost your chances of admission to this elite university.
Additional Brown Supplemental Essays
When applying to Brown, students will need to complete the Brown University supplemental essays (there are three!) as well as the Common App personal statement. However, if you’re applying to certain programs at Brown, you’ll need to complete additional Brown supplemental essays.
If you’re interested in applying to the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program, then you’ll respond to one additional Brown essay in your application, making your total number of Brown supplemental essays four. Unsurprisingly, this Brown essay focuses on the applicant’s desire and motivation for applying to the dual degree program. The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is an art and design school. So, students will want to show the intersection of their artistic experiences, curiosity, and goals with their desire to have a liberal arts education.
Additionally, students applying to PLME (Program in Liberal Medical Education) will respond to program-specific Brown supplemental essays. That means that PLME applicants will submit six Brown supplemental essays in total—three of the Brown supplemental essays required for all applicants and three Brown PLME essays. We’ll get into the PLME Brown University supplemental essays shortly, but first, let’s better understand the details of the actual program. After all, it would be quite challenging to write stellar Brown PLME essays without first understanding the program.
What is Brown PLME?
Brown PLME is an eight-year program that combines a student’s undergraduate education with a medical school education. This program is unique to Brown University, and it is the only combined baccalaureate-MD program in the Ivy League.
The PLME program is ideal for students who want a broad liberal arts education and who are committed to pursuing a future career in the medical field. Students who are accepted into the Brown PLME program can choose to pursue an AB or ScB degree in the sciences, or an AB degree in the humanities, social sciences, or behavioral sciences.
Once PLME students complete their undergraduate program, they move directly to Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.
How to apply to Brown PLME?
If you are interested in applying to the PLME program, you will need to apply to both Brown and the PLME program at the same time using the same online application. This means that you must complete the three required Brown University supplemental essays in addition to the Brown PLME essays. Also, you must adhere to the same Brown application deadline for Early Decision (November 1) or Regular Decision (January 3).
There are three additional Brown University supplemental essays that you will need to write if you are interested in applying to Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education or PLME program. All three of the Brown PLME essays are required for admission.
Please visit the Brown PLME website for more information on how to apply.
What are the Brown PLME essays?
If you are interested in Brown’s PLME program, you will need to write the Brown PLME essays as part of your Brown application. So, you should start familiarizing yourself with the prompts.
Here are the prompts for the Brown PLME essays:
|Brown PLME Essay Prompts||Word Count||Requirement|
|Committing to a future career as a physician while in high school requires careful consideration and self-reflection. Explain your personal motivation to pursue a career in medicine.||250 words||Required|
|Healthcare is constantly changing as it is affected by racial and social inequities, economics, politics, technology, and more. Imagine that you are a physician and describe one way in which you would seek to make a positive impact in today’s healthcare environment.||250 words||Required|
|How do you envision the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) helping you to meet your academic, personal, and professional goals as a person and as a physician of the future?||250 words||Required|
How To Write The Brown PLME Essays
The Brown PLME program is a huge commitment. If accepted, you’ll be spending the next eight years completing your undergraduate courses and preparing for medical school.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you show your desire and commitment to becoming a physician in each of your Brown PLME essays.
Let’s review the first of the Brown PLME essays:
Committing to a future career as a physician while in high school requires careful consideration and self-reflection. Explain your personal motivation to pursue a career in medicine.
If you have ever volunteered within the healthcare space, received a certification, or participated in healthcare research, then this Brown PLME essay is the perfect place to showcase your experiences.
Additionally, this prompt asks you to highlight two things: your values and experiences. So, successful Brown PLME essays will be sure that the essay reflects both and not one over the other.
Next, let’s revisit the second PLME essay prompt:
Healthcare is constantly changing as it is affected by racial and social inequities, economics, politics, technology, and more. Imagine that you are a physician and describe one way in which you would seek to make a positive impact in today’s healthcare environment.
Like the other Brown University supplemental essays, this prompt is broad. You can approach it by demonstrating your understanding of the profession. This could be through your own personal experiences or through the lens of one of your activities. You could also describe how your own beliefs and goals align with the profession.
Either way, you’ll need to reflect on what being a doctor means to you before you start writing.
Brown PLME Essays #3
How do you envision the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) helping you to meet your academic, personal, and professional goals as a person and as a physician of the future?
As you approach this prompt, think about your personal interests and goals. Once you have a list of what you hope to achieve, think about how they might connect to medicine.
Like the other Brown University supplemental essays, you’ll want to get specific in your response. Mention courses, professors, or programs by name. Think about how your values and goals align with the flexibility that the PLME program offers. Additionally, applicants can incorporate what they like about the Brown campus culture and community within these Brown supplemental essays.
Check out our overview of the PLME program and essay guide to learn more about the Brown University supplemental essays for this specialized undergraduate program. Like with writing all of the Brown University supplemental essays, looking at other Brown supplemental essays examples could help to inspire your writing process for the PLME program.
How to write the Brown supplemental essays
5 Tips for the Brown Essays
1. Start early
Start working on your Brown University supplemental essays long before the Brown application deadline. This will give you plenty of time to research the Brown Open Curriculum, brainstorm ideas, write, edit, and revise your essays so that they complement your application. Ideally, you’ll want to have someone else look over your essays, too. This will allow you to gain some feedback on not only grammar and mechanics but also on style and tone. However, be careful with how you implement your feedback. After all, you want the essay to still sound like you.
2. Be genuine
It will be easy to tell if you are recycling your essays from other applications to use in these Brown University supplemental essays. Be authentic and genuine, and you’ll be sure to stand out from the crowd. While using Brown supplemental essays examples for inspiration can help you get started, you shouldn’t try to mimic them. Tell your own unique story through the Brown supplemental essays. Students often make the mistake of writing what they think admissions committees want to hear. However, they’ll see right through that facade. It may sound corny, but just be you in your essays!
3. Highlight specific resources/programs/opportunities at Brown
Brown offers exceptional resources and programs to their students. Mention a few by name in your essays to show that you are excited about attending Brown—and you’ve done your research. You could potentially do this in all the prompts, however, be sure to do so when writing the Brown Open Curriculum essay. Basically, your essays for Brown shouldn’t read as though they could be applicable to just any college. Rather, they should read as though they are solely for Brown.
4. Show what makes you unique
The Brown University ranking is competitive for a reason. Show what makes you a unique applicant and why you would be a great fit for the Brown community. Reflect on impactful moments of your life, but stay away from overly generic and cliche topics. Using these pivotal moments and experiences is a great way to write unique essays. After all, no other applicant has lived exactly the same experiences that you have.
5. Choose your topic carefully
Make sure that each of your responses to the Brown University supplemental essays highlight different facets of your background, interests, and personality. Each of your essays should build upon your entire candidate profile. The essays are an opportunity to highlight your unique skills, traits, or experiences that allow admissions some insight into you and your life. This way, they will be able to envision you on the campus as a real person, not just another applicant in their expansive pool of qualified candidates. Think carefully and thoughtfully about what you want to shine a spotlight on in these essays. Then, make sure they enhance your application as a whole.
Additional Resources from CollegeAdvisor
Are you still wondering how to get into Brown? Or how to write the Brown supplemental essays? CollegeAdvisor can help. We have an extensive library of articles on our website about college essays. These include guidance on how to write the Brown supplemental essays and Brown University essays examples that worked. Additionally, check out some Ivy League essay examples to better understand what it takes to get into some of the most selective universities in the nation.
It can be helpful for you to review our past essay guides to get more ideas about how to write your own Brown supplemental essays. You can read our Brown University supplemental essays guide from the 2022-2023 college admissions session here. You can also check out our 2021-2022 guide on the Brown supplemental essays here.
Or, maybe you want to learn more about life at Brown before you write your Brown supplemental essays. You can watch our Brown virtual college tour webinar to get ideas on how to write the why school essay within the Brown University supplemental essays. You can also learn more about the campus itself from former alumni in our webinar and panel series.
Finally, if you have already written your Brown supplemental essays and gained acceptance to the university, check out how to make the most of your first year at Brown.
Brown Supplemental Essays- Final Thoughts
Overall, think of your supplemental essays as an opportunity for the admissions committee to learn more about who you are, what is important to you, and how you will fit into the larger campus community. Show just how you’ll take advantage of the unique Brown Open Curriculum. Use anecdotes, research, and moments of personal growth to really enhance each Brown essay.
The best supplemental essays will highlight aspects of your personality, background, or interests that are not otherwise seen in the rest of your application. Good luck!
This article was written by Sarah Kaminski. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.