Brown Supplemental Essays 2022-2023
In this guide, we will discuss the Brown supplemental essays. We will break down each of the three Brown essay prompts to help you as you begin writing—after all, the Brown essays are a critical part of the admissions process. And, with more students applying to college than ever before, strong essays are a great way to stand out from the crowd.
In fact, your college essays are arguably the most important part of the college application process, especially since the majority of colleges and Ivy League universities are still operating as test-optional. Your essays are 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. So, the best supplemental essays will highlight aspects of your personality, background, or interests that are not otherwise seen in your application.
As part of this guide, we will examine three Brown supplemental essays examples in detail, one for each of the required Brown essay prompts. In addition to providing the Brown supplemental essays examples below, we’ll discuss why the essays worked.
After our discussion of three Brown supplemental essays examples, 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. There are three additional specific Brown PLME essays required as part of the application process, which we will discuss later in this guide.
Finally, we’ll provide 5 tips on how to write the Brown supplemental essays. We’ll also include links to additional resources from CollegeAdvisor regarding the Brown University supplemental essays.
Brown Supplemental Essays- Quick Facts
- Brown University acceptance rate: 5% – 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:
- 1 half-page (200-250 word) essay
- 1 half-page (200-250 word) essay
- 1 full-page (500 word) essay
- Brown application info: To apply to Brown, you must complete the Common Application and the Brown Member section online.
- Brown application deadline:
- November 1 for Early Decision
- January 5 for Regular Decision
- #1 Brown Essay Tip for how to get into Brown: We recommend completing ALL Brown University supplemental essays thoughtfully and comprehensively. Use the Brown University supplemental essays to highlight why you are a great fit for Brown. And, start writing well ahead of the Brown application deadline.
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?
Let’s talk more about how many Brown supplemental essays are required as part of the Brown application. The Brown application requires a total of four essays, one of which is your Common App personal statement. You’ll submit your personal statement through the Common App to all of your schools. Then, there are three shorter Brown supplemental essays specific only to Brown.
Essay requirements for specialty majors
Beyond that, there are additional essay requirements for Brown University’s specialized undergraduate programs. If you are interested in applying to the PLME program, you will need to submit the three required Brown PLME essays along with your Brown application and other Brown supplemental essays. We will expand on the Brown PLME essays later in this guide.
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 examples we cover below should provide you with enough direction to write this Brown essay.
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 below.
Before we jump in-depth into examining the Brown supplemental essays, let’s learn more about Brown University as a whole.
Brown University is a private institution located in Providence, RI. Founded in 1764, Brown University is one of the eight Ivy League schools. Brown has a total undergraduate enrollment of just 7,000 students.
The Brown University ranking is determined based on its performance across a variety of indicators. 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.
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. The average ACT score is 33 to 35.
Because the Brown University acceptance rate is so low, it’s crucial that your Brown supplemental essays stand out. Strong Brown supplemental essays can boost your chances of admission to this elite university.
Use the following Brown supplemental essays examples to guide you as you begin writing your own Brown supplemental essays. Reviewing the Brown supplemental essays examples can help you brainstorm ideas for your own responses to the Brown supplemental essays.
Now that we know more about Brown University, let’s go over the Brown supplemental essays.
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.
First Brown essay prompt:
|Brown Essay Prompt #1||Word Count||Requirement|
|Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it.||150 words||Required|
This Brown essay prompt might look easy at first glance, but 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.
Firstly, 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. Its allure is also one of the reasons the Brown University acceptance rate is so competitive.
With the Brown Open Curriculum, students at Brown can develop their own personalized course of study. We’ll expand upon the Brown Open Curriculum in the next section.
Most importantly, 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 examine a successful Brown Open Curriculum essay example later in this guide.
Second Brown essay prompt:
|Brown Essay Prompt #2||Word Count||Requirement|
|At Brown, you will learn as much from your peers outside the classroom as in academic spaces. How will you contribute to the Brown community?||200 words||Required|
This Brown essay prompt is all about community. With this Brown essay prompt, you will want to showcase what makes you a unique applicant and how you will be a great fit for the larger Brown community.
Additionally, be specific in your response to this Brown essay prompt. Which community at Brown do you see yourself joining? How exactly will you contribute to this community?
We’ll also provide an example of this Brown essay in our Brown supplemental essays examples section below.
Third Brown essay prompt:
|Brown Essay Prompt #3||Word Count||Requirement|
|Tell us about a place or community you call home. How has it shaped your perspective?||150 words||Required|
This Brown essay prompt is also about community. More specifically, it’s about a place or community that you belong to. You’ll want to include details on how this unique environment shaped you into who you are today.
We’ll show you how to write a successful response to this Brown essay in our Brown supplemental essays examples section later in this guide.
Now, let’s learn more about the first topic of the Brown supplemental essays—the Brown Open Curriculum.
What is Brown Open Curriculum?
First introduced in 1969, the Brown Open Curriculum was created by faculty and students as a way for undergraduates to have the freedom to explore and combine ideas across disciplines. It 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 are wholly engaged as they explore courses in all types of disciplines.
Basically, the Brown Open Curriculum essay is Brown’s version of the Why School essay. We’ll talk more about this type of essay below, as well as how you should approach this Brown essay.
Brown Supplemental Essays #1: Open Curriculum Essay
As we’ve discussed, the first of the Brown University supplemental essays is about Brown’s Open Curriculum. This Brown essay is their take on the “why this college” essay. So, you’ll use many of the same techniques you’ve used for “why this college” essays in your response to this prompt.
The purpose of a Why School essay is to help the admissions committee understand the reasons you want to attend this school. Additionally, a strong Why School essay will incorporate specific details that reference the school’s mission, values, opportunities, or programs.
You’ll find similar versions of the “Why This College” essay prompt in the supplemental essays for NYU, Stanford, and UPenn. You can read more about this type of college essay in our college essays guide.
Before we look at the Brown Open Curriculum essay example, let’s review the prompt:
Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it (150 words).
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, this Brown essay prompt is twofold. It 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 and learn more information about the Brown Open Curriculum. You can look through Brown’s website to explore more facts about this unique program. While you are doing your research, take notes on what aspects of the Open Curriculum excite you the most.
Once you’ve learned more about the 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 need to think about your own academic interests.
Interested in more than one field
Are you interested in multiple academic fields or careers? What courses are you hoping to take to further these interests? How would the flexibility of the Brown Open Curriculum help you learn more about your interests?
With only 150 words for this Brown essay prompt, you’ll want to make sure that every word counts. Get to the point quickly and provide specific examples about your academic interests and plans. Then spend the rest of the essay describing how the Open Curriculum will help you pursue them.
Now we’ll look at the first of our Brown supplemental essays examples – the Brown Open Curriculum essay example. Following each of the Brown supplemental essays examples, we will provide an explanation as to why the essay worked.
Brown Open Curriculum Essay Example
Brown Supplemental Essay Examples #1
To many, mathematics is little more than calculating how much flour Mrs. Smith needs to bake her famous apple pie. I felt this same way until I got to calculus. There, I was examining the fundamentals of change, infinity, and nothingness daily.
During one discussion with my teacher, he expressed his belief that the Fibonacci sequence was a proportion of divine handiwork. I’d never considered any application of mathematics outside of hard sciences. As I sat at my kitchen table that night calculating the instantaneous velocity at time t, I understood that mathematics, despite a well-defined set of laws, contains the philosophical ambiguity I find so stimulating.
Though finding the volume of a sphere may not fit the traditional idea of aesthetics, it serves the same purpose — as a study of structure and order. This intersection between mathematics and philosophy is one I hope to continue to explore.
Why this Brown essay worked
This Brown Open Curriculum essay example is successful for several reasons. First, the author of this Brown Open Curriculum essay example states their academic interests right away – mathematics and philosophy.
In doing so, the author of this Brown Open Curriculum essay example is also able to describe how their thoughts on each subject have evolved as a result of studying them. This demonstrates a genuine passion for their academic interests, which will help the admissions committee understand more about who they are as an applicant.
Additionally, this Brown Open Curriculum essay example clearly states how they will use the Brown Open Curriculum to explore the intersection between their academic interests. By doing this, the author of this Brown Open Curriculum essay example shows the reader that they have a strong understanding of what they want to study when they arrive at Brown.
Use this essay example as a guide
When it’s time for you to write your own response to this Brown essay prompt, use this Brown Open Curriculum essay example to guide you. You can write about your intellectual interests, educational goals, and/or what you intend to study at Brown in your own Brown essay.
Additionally, be sure to show how you will take advantage of the flexibility that the Brown Open Curriculum provides, just like the author of this Brown Open Curriculum essay example did. Bonus points if you can include the name of a specific course or professor that you are excited to learn more about.
Brown Essay #2
The second prompt of the Brown University supplemental essays is about how you see yourself making an impact on the larger community at Brown. In fact, the purpose of this type of essay is to show how you could make a positive impact on the campus community.
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 prompt in the supplemental essays for Duke University.
Before we look at our second Brown supplemental essays examples, let’s revisit the prompt:
At Brown, you will learn as much from your peers outside the classroom as in academic spaces. How will you contribute to the Brown community? (200 words)
Although this 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 can you bring to the table when you join the Brown community? How do you see yourself making an impact on campus?
Keep these questions in mind as we examine the following Brown supplemental essays examples.
Brown Supplemental Essays Examples
Here is the second sample of our Brown supplemental essays examples:
Brown Supplemental Essays Examples #2
The summer of 2013, I participated in a Brown Leadership Institute course on Identity, Diversity, and Leadership that challenged me to consider my social values and individual identity. After those two weeks, I felt more motivated than ever to make a change in my society. I believe Brown is a place for students who, like me, are passionate about leading initiatives that can make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Brown is the place where all the aspects of my personality would thrive. In addition to stellar academic programs, its emphasis on free inquiry and global engagement really speak to me. It is vital for me to attend college where both academic rigor and openness to the world are widely promoted. In addition, the Swearer Center for Public Service is an amazing resource. Service has always been important to me, and I would like to continue in this path throughout college. Brown students and faculty are motivated, active, and inspiring in the ways that inspire me. At Brown, I would grow both academically and socially in an international and open-minded environment. It would be an honor to spend the next four years in such an incredible college.
Why this Brown essay worked
Like the first of our Brown supplemental essays examples, this response works for several reasons. First, the author lets the reader know what they are passionate about right away. Additionally, they are able to connect that passion to the larger community at Brown.
This response also describes specific features of the Brown community, including its values, that appeal to the author. This is important because it shows the admissions committee how this person’s goals and values align with Brown’s values. In doing so, the author confirms that they would be a great fit for the campus community at Brown.
Further, this author demonstrates their commitment to Brown by mentioning a particular resource that they have already engaged with – the Identity, Diversity, and Leadership course – and one that they hope to engage with in the future – the Swearer Center for Public Service. By mentioning a course at Brown that they have already taken (and how it relates to their identity and goals) the author shows their dedication to growth and being a part of the Brown community.
Specific examples are key
Additionally, mentioning a program/community specific to Brown that they are interested in joining shows that the author has done their research! Finally, this response takes it a step further by describing how being within the Brown community motivates them and will lead to both academic and self-growth.
As you approach your own Brown University supplemental essays, reference this successful example. For this prompt, think about your own experiences. How have you already made an impact on others? How do you see yourself making an impact at Brown?
Again, try to be as authentic in your Brown University supplemental essays as possible. Don’t try to force a connection to the Brown mission or values if there isn’t one. Instead, think about how you will make connections outside of the classroom in the interactions you have with peers and other organizations at Brown.
Brown Supplemental Essays #3
The third prompt of the Brown supplemental essays is also community-oriented. However, unlike the Brown University supplemental essays before it, the purpose of this essay prompt is to learn more about you.
Let’s review the Brown University supplemental essays #3 prompt before we breakdown a successful example:
Tell us about a place or community you call home. How has it shaped your perspective? (150 words)
At first glance, this prompt seems straightforward. However, there are two parts to this essay prompt that you must address.
First, you’ll want to describe a place or community that you are involved in. You could take this prompt literally and describe how your hometown has shaped you. Or if you want to move in a more creative direction, you could use this Brown essay to describe a specific place or group of people that give you that feeling of being “home.”
Second, you’ll want to describe how this place or group of people shaped your perspective. How did this “home” contribute to your personality? Values? Beliefs? How did this lead you to want to know how to get into Brown?
You’ll find a similar version of this Brown essay prompt in the supplemental essays for the University of Michigan or MIT.
Brown Supplemental Essays Examples
Here’s the last example of the Brown University supplemental essays:
Brown Supplemental Essays Examples #3
I don’t feel that I necessarily belong to one specific place due to my international background. However, I feel I belong the most to a specific group of people: my immediate and extended family. My parents and my older sister are an inspiration to me, and I look to them for guidance and advice. My grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins are also a very important part of my life. Like us, an American-Lebanese- Colombian family living in Madrid, my extended family all have very international backgrounds and have lived all around the world. I have American-Lebanese-Austrian cousins living in London and American-Lebanese-Belgian cousins living in Hong Kong. Even though we all have lived very different lives, we have something in common – the feeling of being citizens of the world, immersed in a plethora of distinct cultures, yet being part of one close-knit family.
Like the Brown University supplemental essays above, this response works because it is authentic. The author identifies what feels like “home” to them. In this case, home is equated to a group of people.
Instead of just describing their place within this group of people, the author shifts the focus to explain how their perspective has been shaped because of this group. They also highlight what makes them a unique applicant – “distinct cultures,” “citizen of the world,” with an “international background.”
When you are writing your response to this prompt, make sure you incorporate how this community has shaped your perspective.
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 that 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 5).
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. What values and experiences have led you to believe that becoming a doctor in medicine is the right fit for you?||250 words||Required|
|Most people describe a career as a physician/doctor as a “profession,” beyond a job. Describe for us what “professionalism” and “the profession of a physician/doctor” mean to you.||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?||500 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.
So, it’s imperative that you show your desire and commitment to becoming a physician in each of your responses to Brown PLME essays.
Brown PLME Essays #1
Committing to a future career as a physician while in high school requires careful consideration and self-reflection. What values and experiences have led you to believe that becoming a doctor in medicine is the right fit for you? (250 words)
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 is asking you to highlight two things: your values and experiences. Be sure that your essay reflects both and not one over the other.
Brown PLME Essays #2
Most people describe a career as a physician/doctor as a “profession,” beyond a job. Describe for us what “professionalism” and “the profession of a physician/doctor” mean to you. (250 words)
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? (500 words)
At 500 words, this is the longest of the Brown University supplemental essays. 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.
Additionally, like the other Brown University supplemental essays, you’ll want to get specific in your response. So, try to mention courses, professors, or programs by name. Think about how your values and goals align with the flexibility that the PLME program offers. You can also incorporate what you like about the Brown campus culture and community within your response.
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.
How to write the Brown supplemental essays
5 Tips for the Brown Essays
1. Start early
Start working on your Brown University supplemental essays way in advance of the Brown application deadline. This will give you plenty of time to edit and revise your essays so that they are the perfect complement to your application!
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.
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.
4. Show what makes you unique
The Brown University ranking is incredibly competitive for a reason. Show what makes you a unique applicant and why you would be a great fit for the Brown community.
5. Enhance your candidate profile
Make sure that each of your responses to the Brown University supplemental essays are showing different facets of your background, interests, and personality. Each of your essays should build upon your entire candidate profile.
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, including how to write the Brown supplemental essays and Brown University essays examples that worked.
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 2021-2022 college admissions session here. You can also check out our 2020-2021 guide on the Brown supplemental essays here.
Brown University webinars & virtual tours
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 of the Brown University supplemental essays. Or you can 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.
This article was written by Claire Babbs. 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.