For Students Looking for Schools Like Brown

This site suggests Skidmore, Wesleyan, Hamilton, Amherst, Carnegie Mellon, Oberlin, Pomona and URochester:

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How is Carnegie Mellon a school like Brown ?

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And where’s Vassar?

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Afaik, Carnegie Mellon is nothing like Brown, and I think Hamilton is a stretch. Would def agree with Amherst and Rochester tho.

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Most kids I know who liked Brown also liked Tufts. Culturally very similar… Agree that CMU is nothing like Brown.

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Exactly my thought as I read this.

“Open curriculum…free-spirited, liberal arts-focused, creative intellectual student’s Disneyland” - I must have missed CMUs version of this. Maybe I didn’t hang out at CFA enough.

The BXA program that seems to serve as the basis of this match granted 58 degrees last year, less than 4% of the University total

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It’s in Poughkeepsie, NY.

(sorry, couldn’t resist)

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Students also may want to consider Grinnell, Smith and Connecticut College.

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Amherst and Brown have a similarity with the open curriculum, but not all that similar in other aspects

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IMO each student would first have to identify what in particular he/she likes about Brown.

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I have one at Brown and had one at Wesleyan. I’d always heard, and still read, that there is a lot of cross-over in the application pools and that the schools attract the same kind of kid. We knew a kid at Wes that was a Brown x-fer.

When we were visiting College Hill a couple years ago, we saw a family staring at us and obviously talking to each other as they’d see us in various spots on campus. Finally we really crossed paths and it turned out they were noticing my Wes hat. They had a kid graduate from Wes in my Ds class whose younger sister had chosen Brown, just as mine had. Two families, two Wes girls and two Brunonians.

So, we agree. Wes.

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Are you a CMU alum?

I hadn’t heard about the BXA approach at CMU until I read about it here. As I read about it, I’m finding it really interesting. Thanks for posting this.

BXA apparently is an umbrella for 4 different programs. It is designed to foster innovation by enabling students to bring together disciplines from different colleges within the university. Not a dual degree or double major, it has its own seminars for students entering the program to facilitate their development in this unique intercollegiate approach. I haven’t heard of a program like this at any other university. Has anyone else? Maybe I’m missing it elsewhere?

I have a friend who is brilliant and has her degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Her husband is a physicist who has his own company. Today she earns her living as a fiddler and helps out her husband part time with his company. I wonder if she would have benefitted from a program like this?

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Posters weren’t very positive about the BXA program on this thread from few years ago: questions about the BXA program at CMU - #7 by cyanidism

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Nothing wrong with being a fiddler.

Nope. And especially not when you’re a really good one.

Nor did I mean to imply that there is anything wrong with being a fiddler. My point was to give an example of someone who has both sides of her brain engaged at a really high level. It seems to me that this is the point of this BXA program at CMU. People like her are rare. I think that CMU is recognizing this and has developed a way for students with these kinds of gifts to learn to apply them in unique and different ways, perhaps leading to innovations which wouldn’t emerge otherwise.

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How is Carnegie Mellon a school like Brown ?

I would have asked the same question.

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Didn’t Ms. Koppelman explain that in the link?

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“Though Carnegie Mellon doesn’t have a technically open curriculum, what it does do is maximize opportunities for and encourage students to study and collaborate across interests and academic departments. In fact, it has multiple interdisciplinary programs that allow students with multiple interests to pursue them simultaneously as opposed to choosing just one academic area to silo oneself within. The BXA Intercollege degree program encompasses the Bachelor of Humanities and Arts, the Bachelor of Science and Arts, and the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts programs.”

Kind of like saying if you like planes you might like helicopters. They both kind of wind up doing the same thing in terms of getting you from one place to the other with little recognition of how different the actual experience might be.

Open curriculum vs interdisciplinary programs seems like it should serve more as a way to describe the schools differences then similarities.

Lastly, what tends to draw some kids to Brown is the irony that the thing most Brown kids have in common is their uniqueness. It’s a quirky place whose students are hard to define. They do tend to have very strong academic credentials, be politically and or socially active with eclectic academic interests and a willingness to work collaboratively. The school allows and encourages kids to either cast a broad academic net or dig extremely deeply into a specific area of interest. The students not the OC defines what constitutes Brown culturally.

The OC is merely one element that attracts those students and defining “peer” schools narrowly by their “proximity” to having an open curriculum probably does a disservice to both schools and the students reading the article in my opinion.

First of all, the BXA program at CMU is not an interdisciplinary program. It says that right in the excerpt that you quoted. It’s an intercollege program, which is a very unique thing.

Second, I have read all of the “schools like . . .” posts on the Koppelman blog. I don’t see them as an attempt to define “peer schools”, which is not a particularly useful exercise in the first place. These articles were designed to offer alternatives for her clients to the Ivies, which have become increasingly impossible to attain. As an experienced college counselor and Ivy alum herself, I’m sure that she’s well aware of the differences between Brown and CMU. As I read that post, what I hear her saying is that if you’re looking for a backup to Brown, you might find some of what attracted your interest there if you look at CMU. I find that an extremely useful service to students because CMU is probably the last place a Brown applicant is likely to look.

She acknowledges in her post right off the bat that “. . . Carnegie-Mellon doesn’t have a technically open curriculum . . .” She then goes on to say that “. . . what it does do is maximize opportunities and encourage students to study and collaborate across interests and academic departments . . . programs that allow students with multiple interests to pursue them simultaneously as opposed to choosing just one academic area to silo oneself within.”

In reading that, I thought what she was saying was very clear. She wasn’t at all saying that CMU is a “mini-Brown” as is commonly heard about a place like Wesleyan. Frankly until I read her post and was prompted by it to go to the CMU website, I had no idea that CMU offered something as unique as BXA. So right there the post was useful to me. I’m old enough to remember when Carnegie Tech and Mellon Institute were separate entities. I knew about there prowess in engineering and that they had a great drama school. But I didn’t know that they had innovated a way to bring together a marriage of the right brain and the left brain in such a unique way. That was very helpful to me. I imagine that it is helpful to others as well. I gave a specific example in an earlier post of someone I know who would have benefitted from that.

I have no idea why highlighting this opportunity on a blog post “. . . does a disservice to both schools and students reading the article . . .” What the heck is the disservice? It’s just a blog post. Hopefully anyone reading it will look for themselves and decide if that’s what s/he is looking for.

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