Actually went to visit it over the spring break....but it wasn't a tour since it was over the weekend. I loved the environment...thinking of applying here ED but my guidance counselor hasn't been much help...can I PM you by any chance? I have a few questions since you went to Mepham
Jason, I heart you. Nachos tonight? For serious, I make a good queso.
I want to add one more thing about the open curriculum. I think you're right in stating that the avoidance of subjects is usually the last thing on people's mind. Most brown students I've met really like to learn things. They are downright ****ed they can't take all the classes they want, in all the many disciplines they want. It is about exploration. But it also is about making your education what you want it to be. This is true I think for a minority of students, and me in paticular. When I came to Brown, the exploration aspect was the first thing on my mind. I was a neuroscience and art major with interests in basically everything. But do to a variety of circumstances my interests are mainly in the arts now. Instead of having to transfer to an art school, I can make brown an art school because I get to take whatever I want. If I want to take 2 art classes and 1 "academic" class a semester (I take 3 a semester), I can! If I wanted to take all 3 art classes, well, darn it, I could do that too. Brown allows you to make your education whatever you want it to be. I think that is invaluable.
Jason! just realized you gave D and I our science tour this past wednesday, actually this was the first tour she had done. We stayed after and you were kind enough to show us things on the regular tour. You have now set the standard for what a tour should be. 3 schools after Brown and it was all downhill after that. I doubt any tour will live up to yours. Brown is indeed very lucky to have you! I am sure we will be back with many questions.
4Giggles, I remember staying after, and I'm glad my tour went that well.
I only hope other people feel the same way after my tour, after all, that's my job. Good luck to your daughter on the college search/admissions process! If you ever have any questions, don't hesitate to ask...
I think your post is extremely helpful to prospective students who want to explore Brown. It is even more beneficial in that it is coming from a current student, not a brochure. You have put a lot of time into composing that explanation and it should give a good picture to anyone who is trying to learn more about Brown's curriculum and approach. This is clearly more advantageous than a bunch of "what are my chances to get into Brown" posts! I appreciate the effort you put into creating this thread and in other posts as well. You clearly love attending Brown and wish to share your knowledge and enthusiasm for the school with prospective students and/or parents who read CC. I did not know you were on the Task Force. I also never knew you were a male! I had assumed you were a female all this time and so I also learned something new.
I chose to feature this thread in the Brown forum as it is very useful and a good resource for those who visit this forum in the coming few months.
Thanks for helping newbies considering Brown. Best wishes as you start a new year at school.
Okay I will fess up and say that at 18 avoidance was on my mind.
I was pretty uninterested in taking more math/science after AP everything in HS, but I was extremely interested in sampling ALL the humanities and arts that I hadn't yet had a crack at-- religious studies, semiotics, comp lit, urban studies, international relations, philosophy, art history, etc-- things were not offered in my HS.
So I guess for me it was a bit of both, explore and avoid. I surely liked getting to pick based on my inner voice, loves, and desires.
24 years out: I completely agree that it is not what one avoids but what one encounters that defines the open curriculum. Further, I would say this is so EVEN if you skip out on math, or languages, or whatever.
Here is what you'll encounter at Brown: passion, joy, excitement, bliss, kindreds, energy, inspiration. This sets the tone for the sort of life and career you will want after Brown. You will want to be deeply interested, excited, and in love with what you do. Nothing else will really feel right. You will keep going until you have that blissful feeling of total engagement.
You will also have a four year head start on running your own life and finding out what makes you tick, so you will be ahead of the game. And probably, by following your passions, you will have wound up at a high level of something or other.
I believe this is a common experience of all Brown students: the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you look at the course catalog and realize you'll only get to take ~32 of those incredible classes before it's time to go-- and the resultant determination to choose well and carefully.
I will also fess up that I NEVER took a science class at Brown. After sampling the humanities smorgasbord, I concentrated in English Literature and became a writer (mostly because writing is always new; you can always learn about a new thing and write about it).
Then a funny thing happened to me about a year ago. I got interested in a scientific subject and when there were no books on it for me to study, I decided I wanted to write a book about it.
I had some basic catching up to do, clearly. So I bought and borrowed about 50 text books and proceeded to teach myself 101-level Endocrinology, Neuropsych, Evolutionary Anthropology, Human Sexuality and a smattering of basic Bio, all stuff that danced around my topic.
I got so into it that I began corresponding with a researcher I'd run across (his email was appended to a journal article in PubMed), asking him a bunch of my unanswered questions. He turned out to be a BIG cheese in his field (little did I know). He was astounded that I was self-taught, once that came out, because I was asking such sophisticated questions.
Anyhow, one of my questions so intrigued him-- because it had never been studied before from the angle I suggested-- that now he and I are doing a study on it together. SO-- now I am a science person (!), which is really hilarious given my science-avoidant background.
My point is that in ~32 classes, there is NO WAY to deliver an education with no gaps. But gaps can always be filled later. All you have to know is how to learn.
Brown does a phenomenal job of serving passionate, self-directed learners, because Brown makes it FUN and EASY to dive headlong into things that interest you. So far, diving headlong into the things that interest me has been a very satisfying way to live my life.