Brown University Admissions Statistics

Learn About Brown and the GPA, SAT, and ACT Scores You'll Need to Get In

Brown University
Brown University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Brown University is one of the most selective universities in the country, and in 2017, the school had a mere 8 percent acceptance rate. Applicants will need grades and standardized test scores that are well above average to be admitted. It's also important to realize that grades and SAT/ACT scores alone won't win you admission. The university has holistic admissions, and successful applicants will show deep and meaningful extracurricular involvement, write strong essays, and receive glowing letters of recommendation.

Why Brown University?

  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Campus Features: Founded in 1764, Brown's historic campus occupies 143 acres on Providence's College Hill. Boston is an easy train ride away, and the Rhode Island School of Art and Design adjoins the campus.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 7:1
  • Athletics: The Brown Bears compete at the NCAA Division I level.
  • Highlights: A member of the prestigious Ivy League, Brown is one of the most selective universities in the country and it typically ranks highly among the top national universities.

Brown University Admissions Statistics 2017-18

For the class entering the university in the 2017-18 academic year, Brown University had an 8 percent acceptance rate. Below are SAT scores and ACT scores for admitted students organized by score percentile.

SAT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 705 780
Math 700 790
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

If you compare SAT scores for the Ivy League, you'll see that Brown is typical: you're going to need a combined score around 1400 or higher to be competitive.

ACT Score Percentiles
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 32 35
Math 29 35
Composite 31 35

An average ACT composite score is 21, so applicants need to be significantly above average to have a decent chance of admission.

Brown GPA, SAT and ACT Graph

Brown University GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission
Brown University GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Admission.

Graph courtesy of Cappex. 

The GPA, SAT score, and ACT score information was self-reported by actual Brown University applicants. Grades are unweighted. You can see the real-time graph and calculate your own chances of getting into Brown with a free account at Cappex.

Discussion of Brown's Admissions Standards

As a member of the Ivy League, Brown University is one of the country's most selective colleges. In the graph above, the blue and green represent accepted students. You can see that the great majority of students who got into Brown University have a nearly perfect 4.0 GPA, an ACT composite score above 26, and a combined SAT score (ERW+M) of above 1250. Your chances of being admitted will be far greater with standardized test scores well above these lower ranges, and the great majority of successful applicants had an ACT composite score above 30 and a combined SAT above 1400.

Hidden beneath the blue and green in the upper right corner of the graph is a lot of red (see graph below), so even students with a 4.0 and extremely high standardized test scores get rejected from Brown. It's one of the reasons all students should consider Brown a reach school, even if your scores are on target for admission.

At the same time, don't give up hope if you don't have a 4.0 and a 1600 on the SAT. As the graph shows, some students were accepted with test scores and grades below the norm. Brown University, like all members of the Ivy League, has holistic admissions, so the admissions officers are evaluating students based on more than numerical data. Meaningful extracurricular activities and strong application essays (both the Common Application essay and the many Brown supplemental essays) are extremely important pieces of the application equation. Also, keep in mind that high grades aren't the only factor on the academic front. Brown wants to see that students have challenged themselves with AP, IB, and Honors courses. To be competitive for Ivy League admissions, you need to take the most challenging courses available to you. Brown also makes an effort to conduct alumni interviews with all applicants.

If you have artistic talents, Brown University encourages you to show off your work. You can use SlideRoom (via the Common Application) or submit Vimeo, YouTube, or SoundCloud links to your materials. Brown will look at up to 15 images of visual art and up to 15 minutes of recorded work. Students interested in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies do not need to audition or submit portfolios, but strong supplemental materials can obviously flesh out and strengthen an application.

Brown University GPA, SAT and ACT Data for Rejected Students

Brown University GPA, SAT and ACT Admissions Data for Rejected Students
Brown University GPA, SAT and ACT Admissions Data for Rejected Students.

 Graph courtesy of Cappex.

The reality of a university with a 8% acceptance rate is that many, many excellent students receive rejection letters. The graph above shows GPA, SAT and ACT data for students who were rejected and waitlisted, and you can see that lots of applicants with 4.0 averages and high standardized test scores were not admitted to Brown University.

Why Does Brown Reject Strong Students?

In one way or another, all successful applicants to Brown shine in multiple ways. They are leaders, artists, innovators, and exceptional students. The university works to enroll an interesting, talented, and diverse class. Unfortunately, many worthy applicants do not get in. The reasons can be many: a lack of perceived passion for one's chosen area of study, a lack of leadership experience, SAT or ACT scores that aren't quite as high as similarly qualified candidates, an interview that fell flat, or something more in the applicant's control such as application mistakes. On a certain level, however, there is quite a bit of serendipity in the process and some good applicants will strike the fancy of the admissions staff while others might fail to stand out from the crowd. This is the reason why Brown should never be considered a match or safety school. It is a reach school, even for highly accomplished applicants.

More Brown University Information

The information below provides a snapshot of some of the academic and financial features of Brown University to help you in your college search.

Enrollment (2017)

  • Total Enrollment: 10,095 (6,988 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 46% Male / 54% Female
  • 95% Full-time

Costs (2017 - 18)

  • Tuition and Fees: $53,419
  • Books: $1,571 (why so much?)
  • Room and Board: $14,020
  • Other Expenses: $2,040
  • Total Cost: $71,050

Brown Financial Aid (2016 - 17)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 58%
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 41%
    • Loans: 23%
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $42,455
    • Loans: $7,794

Academic Programs

  • Most Popular Majors: Biology, Economics, Engineering, English, Entrepreneurship, History, Human Biology, International Relations, Neuroscience, Political Science
  • What major is right for you? Sign up to take the free "My Careers and Majors Quiz" at Cappex.

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 98%
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 84%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 96%

Intercollegiate Athletic Programs

  • Men's Sports: Football, Track, and Field, Lacrosse, Rowing, Squash, Water Polo, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Wrestling, Baseball, Fencing
  • Women's Sports: Equestrian, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Basketball, Field Hockey, Fencing, Volleyball, Water Polo, Tennis, Softball, Squash

Like Brown University? Then Check Out These Other Top Universities

Students who apply to Brown University tend to apply to other top schools as well. Be sure to check out some of the other Ivy League schools such as Dartmouth CollegeYale University, and Princeton University

Other non-Ivy schools that might be of interest include Georgetown UniversityWashington University in St. LouisDuke University, and Stanford University. All are highly selective comprehensive research universities.

Make sure your college list includes schools that are less selective than these top-tier schools. Even if you're an impressive student, you'll want to apply to some match and safety schools to guarantee that you get some acceptance letters.

Data Source: Graphs from Cappex; other data from the National Center for Educational Statistics​