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Can I get into Brown?

cc8912cc8912 Registered User Posts: 198 Junior Member
edited March 2017 in Brown University
I am currently a junior attending a private boarding school.
-I have about a 5.4 Unweighted on a 6.0 scale (pretty much means a 4.0 UW)
-I should be in the top 10% of my grade (if GPA's were weighted, I would be even higher) and will likely earn cum laude membership
-My ACT score is a 32
-I've taken 4 AP's so far and have taken all honors classes when offered (as a junior, I am taking AP Calc AB, AP Lit, APUSH, Physics Honors, Spanish 4H, and electives). Last year, I took AP Calc A, and I plan to take the AP Physics 1 exam despite my school not offering this class.
-As a senior, I will take 4 or 5 AP's
-I have played soccer and squash for all three years but only at the JV level
-I have about 150 hours of community service
-I led a STEM Initiative in Zimbabwe, where I taught kids from under-developed schools about the sciences
-I am the founder of the peer tutoring program at my school
-I am a tour guide
-I had an internship last summer at a real estate company
-I have an internship lined up for this summer where I will work with a professor at Swarthmore in computer science, with a goal of helping disabled people (my passion is to help others – this opportunity was perfect)
-I will likely receive at least 2 of these leadership positions my senior year: prefect, academic honor committee, head tour guide, blue/white key, or table foot at formal dinner
-I am looking to study mechanical engineering

Any advice would be helpful! Thank you! Also, please let me know how applying ED would factor into my chances.

Replies to: Can I get into Brown?

  • pokedohpokedoh Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    While applying through ED you would have a higher chance of being admitted, you could be accepted or deferred into RD. Overall your profile is spectacular, but if you would wa
  • pokedohpokedoh Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Sorry it got cut off, I did not realize it! Your grades and standardized test scores are at the higher end of those admitted into Brown. You could take the ACT again to make yourself more competitive. Your EC's are amazing, and the fact that they all have a lot of awards/accomplishments certainly says something about your character. Also, you should write about your STEM initiative for your essay, so you could not only expand upon it, but show to the admissions committee that you have not only impacted their lives, but influenced yours (but not in the cheesy way). Additionally, you should take the SAT as Brown, as it is required to have both ACT and SAT scores for the ivy league. For ED, if you get deferred, make sure you send in any updates (awards, etc) that you have accomplished, as it may not be well to send in the same application twice. You could see if you would be able to get drafted into one of their teams, as many athletes are accepted ED to Brown with lower stats than you. Overall, I believe that you have a high chance of getting accepted ED, as you are competing against a small pool of people. Good luck! And hope you have a nice day!
  • PeaceOfMindPeaceOfMind Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    edited March 2017
    Brown will consider your qualifications in the context of your high school environment. They will expect far more accomplishments from a student coming from a private boarding school than an under-funded public school in an impoverished area such as Brownsville, TX. The typical family sending children to expensive boarding schools also have the financial means and connections to secure internships and fund travel abroad so it's not uncommon for such students to enjoy such experiences. I don't know your particular situation so I am not implying your parents lined up your internships and trip to Africa, just stating that such experiences are not so uncommon for private school applicants. So you should ask your counselor about how students similar to your credentials have fared at gaining admission to Brown. I used to interview on behalf of Brown as a Brown alum. As a student at Brown, I had several friends who game from Brownsville, Eagle Pass and other impoverished areas. Their credentials and extra-curriculars were far less impressive sounding than Brown student friends who came from Milton, Andover and Deerfield. But all gained admission to Brown because they were reviewed in context of their experiences and none of them seemed any less capable than the others.
  • cc8912cc8912 Registered User Posts: 198 Junior Member
    @PeaceOfMind Thank you for your thoughts. Can you explain what you think my chances will be given my environment? I have spoken to my counselor, but he isn't very helpful. Also, most of the students at my school who have gone to Brown went because of athletics.

    And to clarify, I received the offer for the internship at Swarthmore after emailing near 70 professors asking to work with them... trust me, if my parents could have lined that up, I would have definitely asked them too. Also, the trip to Africa was indeed funded by my parents, but the work I did was real – the initiative helped real, impoverished children, and I had a real leadership role in the program. I completely understand where you are coming from, and I am certainly grateful to attend my school. I would value your thoughts on my chances given that you are a Brown alum and that you have brought up a perspective that not many other users have.
  • PeaceOfMindPeaceOfMind Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    edited March 2017
    @cc8912 With your ambition, intelligence, and talents, why focus so much on the Ivies? For the past seven years I have researched colleges and advised families in multiple countries about preparing their children for college admission in the USA. I have come to the conclusion that depending on the young person's goals, there are many superb alternatives to the Ivies. In particular, look at the SLACs such as Colby, Bowdoin, Swarthmore, Occidental, St. Olaf, and the five Claremont Colleges. Both my wife and I are Brown grads and both arrived at the conclusion that we would have grown just as much if not more at a SLAC. In fact, we would have loved to attend Pomona College over Brown. It's not even a close race in our assessment. We didn't think much about the Claremont Colleges until we did extensive research. In fact, our son now attends Pomona College and absolutely loves it. The quality of his professors, peers, advisors, mentors are nothing less than spectacular. My wife and I did enjoy several stellar professors, but the quality was very uneven at Brown. It was hit or miss. Don't fall for the aura that Brown or any other Ivy creates. We have spoken to several of the professors at Pomona College, including a department chair, and the college president. We've walked the campuses many many times and walked the neighboring areas. It is such an engaging, inclusive, challenging learning environment - more so than Brown.

    But to answer your question, if you don't explain the back story to your EC's then you miss the opportunity to reveal your character. Many students of private boarding schools have their hovering parents line up impressive sounding EC's so make sure you explain the details of your EC's. Also, more EC's is not better. Many of your EC's around tutoring and JV sports are not distinctive. Focus on a few such as your STEM initiative in Africa and make sure your essays and letters of recommendation attest to these. Focus, coherence and insightful reflection trumps fragmented litany of EC's. The number of AP classes you've taken sounds OK, but it depends on how many are offered at your school and what is the average taken by your peers. Again, context matters. Your ACT is on the low side. Brown will assume you have taken or will take professional ACT/SAT tutoring so try to get your ACT higher. In past years, Brown rejected over 83% of class valedictorians, so it's daunting. Wish you the best. Encourage you to look beyond Ivies. I truly believe the Ivies are over-rated and applicants and their families suffer such needless angst fretting about gaining admission to them. That's my view for what it's worth.
  • cc8912cc8912 Registered User Posts: 198 Junior Member
    @PeaceOfMind thank you once again for all of your advice. I really like Swarthmore, and when I have my internship there I would be excited to learn more about that type of school as well as attend one in the future. I simply asked for my chances to Brown because it helps put into context what my chances are at other schools – Brown, in my opinion, is the highest reach that I feel I will have even the slightest chance of acceptance at. Of course, I am very unsure of my chances at many schools, and I am using this site to see how valid my assumption is.

    As for your answer to my question, I will certainly go in depth about the back story of my EC's. My passions lie in STEM as well as in helping others. As such, the STEM Initiative, the internship this summer, and the peer tutoring program have and will have allowed me to combine both of those passions. This is what I hope to express in my application, and I hope to continue to strengthen these pursuits. What I don't know, though, is how impressive these things are, or how they will be perceived by a school like Brown (great? mediocre? fillers? I don't know). Also, the professor who holds a high position at Swarthmore has stated that he will be willing to write an LOR for me, so I hope he can help prove my goals and their validity.

    Congratulations to your son for attending such a great school, and I wish you the best as well!
  • PeaceOfMindPeaceOfMind Registered User Posts: 123 Junior Member
    edited March 2017
    If you're interested in Swarthmore, then look also at Haverford which is close by and a member of their consortium. Regarding your EC's what you did is less crucial than how you drew meaning from your experiences. Any experience can be experienced as drudgery, craft, or art, depending on the person. So how you make sense of your experiences and how you connect them to your past, present and future and how you connect them to you, them and us will make the difference. My Brown student friends from Brownsville and other impoverished areas have very "unimpressive" EC's such as raising their siblings because their parents were migrant farmers. But the way they drew strength, resilience and conviction from their "mundane" experiences was most impressive. So focus on profundity of insight and don't worry about how "impressive" your EC's might appear.
  • cc8912cc8912 Registered User Posts: 198 Junior Member
    @PeaceOfMind Thank you. That is great advice, and I will keep all of this in mind when I write my apps. And yes, I planned on visiting both of those schools, but my schedule has been messed up with the snow storm that hit the east coast. Have a great night!
  • pokedohpokedoh Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    While applying through ED you would have a higher chance of being admitted, you could be accepted or deferred into RD. Overall your profile is spectacular, but if you would want to be more competitive, I would suggest retaking the ACT for a higher score. Good luck!!
  • UndergradMarineUndergradMarine Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    @cc8912 Did you end up getting in?
  • ManaManaWegiManaManaWegi Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    In short, yes. Do great things in the context of your opportunities, show a genuine love for learning and understanding of Brown, and work hard. I'd type more but I'm about to fall asleep. If you want to talk to a recent admit, message me.
This discussion has been closed.