Brown University presents applicants with prompts to three supplemental essay questions. Here are some tips at how you can answer each one:

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)

The goal of this question is for an admissions officer to better understand your academic interests and gauge your fit within Brown’s various departments. What specific academic offerings interest you at Brown? Maybe it is a specific program, subject area or class. Describe why or how you became interested in this subject matter, and how do you hope to further explore it at Brown? Brown, in particular, has a very unique academic curriculum and works well for a specific type of student. You’ll want to make sure that it will be a good fit for you academically and, if so, tell them why with your response.

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 University seeks students who are academically curious and open-minded. The admissions committee would like to know more about you and your views on any issue that is meaningful to you, whether it is academic, political or social. In addition, you’ll need to share an opposing view – one that challenged you. The key is to share what you learned from others’ perspectives. How did you respond – as the question asks – but also, how did you change or grow as a result of having your views challenged?

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)

Although this is a short essay response, you can provide a lot of interesting information about you to the admissions officers! Don’t overthink your response – you want to be genuine, because the university truly wants to know more about you as an applicant, and more so, what sorts of contributions you might make to the university community. Note that your response doesn’t have to be an activity per se. Of course you can talk about joy from yoga or baseball or theater, but you can also talk about being a big sister or brother, or walking your dog daily. The important thing to remember is that you’ll need to describe why this “something” brings you joy, and what you get out of it, and perhaps what you’ve learned from this experience or activity. You can even extrapolate by describing how you’ll continue this activity at Brown, if applicable.

About the author
Kyle Cortley

Kyle received a BS from Vanderbilt University and a certificate in college advising from Columbia University. Kyle has more than five years of admissions experience, including at the State University of New York as well as Rice University, where she was an Assistant Director of Admissions and oversaw the BS/MD program with Baylor College of Medicine. Kyle manages a caseload of clients as well as a team of AcceptU counselors. She is an IECA Associate Member.

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