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Brown compared to Amherst

supportivemom1supportivemom1 Registered User Posts: 233 Junior Member
edited July 2008 in Brown University
I understand both Amherst and Brown have an "open curriculum". How do you think they compare otherwise? We're particularly interested in the social scene, the kinds of students attending, the music scene, access to professors, class sizes, amount of discussion in class vs. just listening to lectures, competitiveness v. cooperative attitutude among students, the ratio of work to socializing, and any other insights.

I have posted this question on the Amherst forum, but would like to get more input from people familiar with Brown. My son is also considering Oberlin, NYU and Macalester, so comparisons with those schools would be welcome, too. Thanks.
Post edited by supportivemom1 on

Replies to: Brown compared to Amherst

  • fireandrainfireandrain Registered User Posts: 4,737 Senior Member
    I'm a parent of a current Brown student, and while I know a lot about Brown I know very little about Amherst. I'll try to answer some of your questions, out of order:

    1. access to profs/discussion in class: Amherst is much smaller than Brown. I would imagine that it has smaller classes than Brown. A student at Brown can work out a schedule with almost all small discussion classes, avoiding large lectures. However, some of Brown's best classes are large lectures, given by some amazing profs. These are broken down into smaller discussion sections, although these are frequently run by grad students. My daughter was impressed with the TAs she had in these classes. As you move into higher level classes, the class size gets smaller and more intimate.

    My college experience was that if a class is a lecture class, it doesn't matter if it has 25 kids or 250 kids in it -- it's a lecture.

    2. competitive vs. cooperation: Brown students are not at all competitive with each other. It is a very collaborative environment. I haven't a clue what Amherst is like.

    3. ratio of work to socializing: this is very dependent on the student and what classes they take and what grades they aspire to get. My sense from my daughter is that there is a fair amount of socializing but the workload is significant enough that they have to buckle down and work too. I don't think there is a tremendous amount of partying during the week.
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