In 2012, Brown University welcomed its 19th President, Dr. Christina H. Paxson, who is committed to upholding the University’s historic commitment to diversity, intellectual freedom, and cultivating students who make a difference in the world.
Brown University is a leading Ivy League institution with a distinctive undergraduate program, a world-class faculty, and a tradition of innovative and rigorous multidisciplinary study. Students at Brown are distinguished by their academic excellence, self-direction, and collaborative style of learning. Widely known for the excellence of its undergraduate programs, research opportunities, and public service, Brown is an internationally recognized research university whose students and faculty are globally engaged in programs of academic exchange and service learning.
The Brown curriculum
Brown is the only Ivy League institution where undergraduates are the architects of their own education. It has been called a “perfect university for self-motivated and confident students who desire a top-flight education on their own terms.” Brown’s curriculum acknowledges what has long been true: that it is the student who must finally make something of the educational experience that the University offers. Brown students have the freedom and responsibility for directing their own education and are encouraged to pursue a range of courses across the disciplines beyond the requirements needed to complete a selected concentration. Brown students are excited by the prospect of exploring familiar and unfamiliar academic terrain, thereby testing their own intellectual limits.
A strong academic advising program is crucial for the success of a flexible curriculum. Because students are responsible for their decisions, the University offers highly personalized advice and guidance to help students make informed choices. Each freshman is provided with an academic advisor as well as a Meiklejohn (peer academic) advisor. Many first-year students participate in the Curricular Advising Program, where each participant’s academic advisor is also an instructor in one of his or her first-year courses, ensuring a more natural advising partnership. Specifically for our students of color, the ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, and Native American) Mentoring Program creates a support network between first-year students and faculty and staff to identify academic and/or personal goals for the upcoming year. The program fosters relationships that benefit students of color through ongoing guidance, companionship, and encouragement.
Our multicultural community
One in three students at Brown is a person of color. Of our 6,400 undergraduates, about 25% are Asian American, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or multiracial, and about 22% of Brown professors are also persons of color. Moreover, Brown strives to create not only a diverse community but also an integrated community where students welcome and celebrate their differences.
At the heart of the community for students of color is a multicultural center designed to serve the interests and meet the needs of all students of color as well as promote racial and ethnic pluralism on campus. In addition to housing various student organizations, the center hosts cultural and informational events open to all students. The diversity of our student body is illustrated by the variety of extracurricular organizations dedicated to the multicultural community. One look at the sampling of organizations founded by or serving students of color reflects a diverse community with myriad talents, passions, and affinities.
Admission to Brown is highly selective. Applicant assessment is based on academic performance, teacher and counselor recommendations, extracurricular activities, talents and interests, a personal statement, and standardized testing scores. All applicants are reviewed in the context of the opportunities available to them. The admission committee strives to admit a class of curious and independent scholars who will bring to campus a wide variety of experiences and perspectives.
Expanded financial aid
We know that families are concerned about their ability to finance the cost of college, particularly in these economically uncertain times. So in addition to continuing our need-blind admission policy for all first-year applicants who are U.S. citizens, Brown remains fully committed to meeting the demonstrated need of every admitted student. In 2013–2014 over 3,600 undergraduates received approximately $99 million in financial assistance from a variety of University and outside resources.
In 2008 the University announced a series of financial aid initiatives intended to make a Brown education even more accessible to talented students from all economic backgrounds. Under those initiatives, students from families with annual incomes of less than $100,000 may graduate without debt, and if their parents’ income is less than $60,000, they will be expected to pay $0 of their income. At the same time, loan expectations have been sharply reduced for aided students from families making more than $100,000.
A message from Dr. Christina H. Paxson, Brown’s 19th president
“American universities are admired around the world for their research, their inventiveness, their universal accessibility, and their success at preparing generation after generation for what Brown calls ‘lives of usefulness and reputation.’ Few schools offer anything like Brown’s curriculum, which combines academic rigor with an astonishing level of flexibility and invites students to be active partners in planning their course of study. Widely known for the excellence of its undergraduate programs, research opportunities, and public service, Brown is an internationally recognized research university whose students and faculty are globally engaged in programs of academic exchange and service learning. I invite you to come see for yourself what makes Brown Brown.”
Sample of Culturally Affiliated Groups
• African Students Association
• Asian American Students Association
• Brown Asian Sisters Empowered
• Brown Muslim Students Association
• Brown Organization of Multiracial and Biracial Students
• Brown Taiwanese Society
• Cape Verdean Students Association
• Chinese Students Association
• La Federación de Estudiantes Puertorriqueños
• Filipino Alliance
• La Fuerza Latina
• Fusion Dance Company
• Hong Kong Students Association
• Japanese Cultural Association
• Korean American Students Association
• Latin American Students Association
• Minority Association of Pre-health Students
• El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan
• National Society of Black Engineers
• Native Americans at Brown
• Organization of United African Peoples
• Pakistani Society at Brown
• Shades of Brown
• South Asian Students Association
• Students of Caribbean Ancestry
• Thai Students Association
• Vietnamese Students Association
“Participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change with Brown’s Climate and Development Lab team led to summer work in Germany at the Bonn Climate Change Conference . . . and affirmed my commitment to making a difference for the millions of people whose lives are devastated by the effects of climate change.”
— Olivia Santiago ’16
“In my first year, I never imagined to have the opportunity to work on two amazing research experiences in the geosciences, something I never had the opportunity to do back home. Brown gives you the tools and the freedom to enrich your personal academic experience as much as possible, which no other university can provide. It introduces you to the rigor and excitement of discoveries and research, and provides all the support and counseling needed to prepare to find your place in the field where you can intellectually thrive.”
— Erika Lopez Garcia ’14
“Brown students continue to surprise and inspire me daily. Each person brings forward an interesting perspective, actively seeking to learn more about the world through interactions with one another, spreading this culture of curiosity and intellect that’s really tangible on College Hill. Having access to such a wide array of passionate people leads to the conversations that really make a college experience exceptional! They are some of the most valuable resources on campus.”
— Jonathan Cruz ’14