Chance me: Brown ED as a privileged, complacent legacy

I originally posted this on Reddit and would like your thoughts.
I was happy with what I done throughout highschool before I came on here lol. Everyone just seems super amazing, and I haven’t gone out of my way to do to cure cancer. Compared to my friends, my activities (research and leadership) are lacking, as are my awards.Do I still have a chance?

Demographics: Female, White, SoCal, upperclass private high school

Hook: direct Brown legacy, thanks Mom

Intended Major(s): Applied Math in Econ/ Data Science

ACT: Composite 35, 10 writing

UW/W GPA and Rank: 3.9 unweighted, 4.51 weighted

Coursework: By graduation I will have taken 14 weighted classes and 10 AP tests, AP Calc AB- 5, AP World-5, APUSH- 4, AP Spanish 4, AP Physics 1- 3, Multivariable Calculus junior year (No AP test but thought to mention), senior courses: AP Comp Sci, AP Macro, AP Micro, AP Physics C, AP Stats. Also I have taken 4 Years of unweighted arts classes as that is something I am passionate about with three years in choir, now in an Ensemble Theater class.

Awards: AP Scholar w/ Distinction


Math club (all 4 years), actively participate in weekly Math Madness competitions;

Tutored online underprivileged 7th grade math students in algebra

STEM club (10-12); weekly conferences and planned discussions with STEM college students about future careers opportunities;

write and edit scientific articles to publish on STEM club website

COSMOS summer program in area similar to interest

Research project on correlation between BMI and pregnancy

Peer counselor senior year to a group of freshman to help guide high school path

Theater: name role in 7 school productions, combo of plays and musicals, consulted for makeup artistry

Certified makeup artist- took vocational class from online academy

Computer science summer program to learn basics of python for machine learning, cryptology and AI, mentored by college students

Published multiple haiku online and in print

Published articles and makeup artist in school fashion magazine

Rowing (Frosh and Soph)- won regionals in 2 events freshman year, couldn’t compete sophomore year bc of Covid

Volunteered to teach youth rowing during summer

Basketball- (11-12)- won CIF first time in school school history (11th)

Essays/LORs/Other: I think my personal essay is quite strong, it is about learning how to love myself and my body as the fat kid in an area that is focused on appearances.

My LORs are teachers that I am very close with and who each have had me for more than one year, including my multi and calc ab teacher who was also a brown alum.
My other was my soph and senior English teacher who has always been very supportive.
Also, I am getting another letter of rec from my Cosmos professor who I got along with really well.

Schools: Brown ED, UPenn, Rice University, Wash St. Louis, Carnegie Mellon, Colgate, Carleton, Wesleyan, Purdue, UVA, UCLA, UCSD, UCSB, Berkeley,

No budget since my parents have been saving for this since before I was born.

Also please be honest and give suggestions on anything to add. Much appreciated.
Thanks for reading this lol

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I think you’ve got a shot at Brown ED - not a sure thing by any means, but you’re in the running. Is one of your other schools a safety that you’d be perfectly happy to wind up at?


Based on your interest in Brown, you also may want to research any of these schools that might appeal to you: Schools Similar to Brown University — TKG. In any case, you appear fully qualified for Brown. Your application certainly will be given serious consideration there.

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Yeah, I really like all the colleges on my list. In my opinion, Purdue is a really good safety option that I would be happy to go to. However, I do not know if some of the UC’s are also safeties for me since I attended COSMOS (which is a UC program that I have been told increases chances immensely).

Purdue is your only sure thing.

I would not apply Brown ED. Based on their website (their words), it gets you an earlier answer, not a better chance.

I can see you getting into several - but I could also see you only getting into Purdue. I imagine Carleton and Colgate are next.

It’s an eclectic list. You see like you are chasing rank, not fit. Rice and WUSTL are vastly different than Colgate which is vastly different than the UCs.

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Thank you very much for the feedback.I am very much aware that Brown ED is still a long shot. However, the worst possible case is that I know that I am denied earlier rather than later so I have time to work on my other amazing schools that I would love to go to as well.

As a person that has eclectic interests, I know my list is eclectic, and I like that. There are programs and aspects of each school that I really love. So, personally, I don’t think that I am chasing rank. If I was chasing rank, I could easily apply to Harvard and Cornell because of the prestige, but their campuses do not appeal to me.

Yes, I know that Rice and Colgate are very different as I have visited both and know people personally who love it there. As someone from California, I am applying to the UCs as a great money-saving option that still provide an amazing education. My parents have told me that if I went to a UC, they would buy me a condo after graduation.

I hope this helps clarify for you. Let me know if you have any more thought or which schools you suggest adding or taking away from my list.

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Hmmm, if you go to an in-state UC, that would cost about $160k less than at an expensive private university over four years… that condo your parents are offering could be a lot more expensive than $160k, depending on where it is.

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The OP wrote that she’s a legacy, so applying ED may increase the boost of being a legacy.


Yeah, I think it was meant to be a joke, but we’ll cross that bridge if we ever get to it.

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None of the UC’s on your list are safeties. I would consider UCM and UCR safety schools maybe even UCSC based on your profile but definitely not UCSD or UCSB.

You are a very competitive and qualified applicant so you will have a few UC’s from which to choose but no guarantees.

Best of luck and hope Brown comes through for you.

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I would recommend applying to Purdue EA for it to be a true safety. Good luck!

Yeah, I am applying to any EA opportunity, so both Purdue and UVA.

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Thank you so much for the help. I was unsure of how to classify UCs for me because the acceptance rate is so variable and how they do not accept test scores, so I really appreciate the advice.

I’m not a Brown expert and I know at some schools legacy matters only in ED - but on the Brown website, it does not state that.

Put it another way - if the OP mentions the UCs solely as a money saving purpose and knowing that applying ED to Brown does not provide an edge, why would one apply to Brown? Again, while they acknowledge legacy they don’t say it’s only for ED so I’ll assume it’s not.

I’d ask mom and dad - if Brown is $325K and a UC is - someone said $160K - where would you rather me go. If the answer is UC, then ED to Brown should be out.

If it’s still Brown and you want to know earlier, then go ahead. ED simply takes away flexibility in this case I believe.

For me, the money saving aspect for the UCs is an added bonus as I mentioned in the OP that I am extremely fortunate to not have a budget. Also, Brown is my number one choice which is why I am applying ED.


Congratulations on your considerable achievements to date and your parents commitment to funding your college fund in a manner that gives you flexibility. Please note that a lot of Brown first hand “expertise” may be off line given it is parents weekend.

A quick google search and you discover…

“According to the university, a typical class includes 10-12% of students who can be classified as “legacies” meaning that they have an immediate relative (usually a parent) who attended the school. Those with Brown lineage will enjoy an advantage in the admissions process.”

This bump is likely a function of a number of factors but your goal should be to leverage your personal chances. Have you discussed with your Mom what Is unique about Brown’s culture and community, what about you makes Brown a perfect fit, how an OC will translate into achieving your ambitions, etc? Given your Mom’s legacy experience you should not just have a statistical advantage but a practical one. Make your application stand out, you have access to insight that others will lack.

You appear to be approaching your college process thoughtfully and methodically such that you have a realistic sense of outcomes and have built in flexibility to deal with various scenarios. You seem like a strong candidate for Brown.

One of CCs greatest strengths is peoples desire to be helpful but unfortunately that is often compromised by responders superimposing their own experiences and biases. Take us all with a grain of salt and take note of those who paid attention to detail in their responses and most importantly rely on the informed advice of your parents and guidance counselor.

Good luck!!


You have some wonderful accomplishments. Don’t feel ashamed to take advantage of your legacy status. And if you get in, then good for you. The colleges place value on various things, and legacy happens to be one of them.

The recent Harvard litigation revealed that legacy status is a big boost – nearly 7 fold higher odds compared to non-legacies. The only factors which provide a better boost are: recruited athlete, being of a certain race and being on dean’s interest list. Not sure how much value Brown places value on legacy, but its probably within similar scope as the Harvard data.

This is a reminder to not be complacent, and get working on your backup applications. Hopefully ED will work out for you. If not have a good plan in place for ED2 and the RD round. Good luck.


You have an excellent chance at Brown with your profile/stats. But it is a super reach school for everyone. You obviously know about Brown thru your mom and you seem to love Brown so you are going into ED eyes wide open.

What is going to get you in or rejected now are your essays. These insights need to show Brown you’re the person they want to be part of the class of 2026 community.

Brown doesn’t track interests but you applying ED is def demonstrated interest. If your parents can afford Brown, I would hands down go to Brown if you get in. The experience I’ve seen thru my son and his friends and roommate won’t be matched by UCs despite how amazing UCs schools are! My son is in a class with 5-6 students for an English class. He normally would not prefer English class but he’s enjoying this class. There’s no rat race to try to get into the right class or get shut out. They get two weeks to attend as many classes as they want to see if they’re classes they would want to take. And then they do final registration. You won’t get that perk at a UC. You’re paying for it, but if your family can swing the cost, it’s worth it.


My daughter is a freshman at a UC and in a class with 5 or 6 others and is loving it.

The OP has not yet been accepted to Brown so I would not cloud her vision with a choice she cannot yet make. If she is accepted ED she will not have to think of any other university. Good luck again OP!

  • Where possible in the application, organize your EC’s around the AM/Econ/DS theme, vs say a simple chronological listing. Make it easy for someone to connect the dots between what you’ve been up to and what you want to accomplish.

  • From the Brown Admissions website: “In particular, we will note when an applicant has a parent who has graduated from Brown. While such a relationship may be a consideration when it comes to choosing among equally strong candidates, it does not ensure admission.” That’s putting it mildly. In my limited experience, Brown is equally happy to deny admission to the unhooked, the legacy, the double legacy, and offspring whose parental circumstances might be presumed to be provide an advantage of one sort or another. They seem to want whomever they want in assembling a synergistic class. While legacy admits are significantly higher than the aggregate admit number (though lower than some peers), I would argue with some data behind it that a lot of this is correlation vs causality.

  • I liked really the summer session I did at UCSB ahead of Brown, and my brother liked his four years at UCSB. One possibility, if you did go to say UCSB having been denied at Brown, would be to transfer to Brown as a Junior. That’s an even a longer shot than being admitted from HS, and only works because you don’t have to worry about financial aid (typically “limited” for transfers), but thought I’d mention it. More than likely, however, you go to whatever school you go to and very soon have no thoughts of moving elsewhere. As friendships and faculty relationships form, those other colleges you fancied in HS become very much in the rearview mirror.