Brown University: Acceptance Rate and Admission Statistics

Brown University
Brown University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Brown University is one of the most selective universities in the country with a mere 8 percent acceptance rate. As the data presented here makes clear, you will need grades and standardized test scores that are well above average to be admitted.

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.

Acceptance Rate

For students who entered Brown University in the 2018-19 academic year, the school had an acceptance rate of 7.7%. This means that for every 100 applicants, just 8 students were admitted while 92 received rejection letters. Brown is one of the country's most selective universities.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 35,437
Percent Admitted 7.7%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled 60.8%

SAT Scores and Requirements

All students applying to Brown University must submit either SAT scores or ACT scores. For the class entering the university in the 2018-19 academic year, 63% submitted SAT scores.

Brown University SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 700 760
Math 720 790
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. In relation to national SAT score data, scores for the great majority of Brown students are in the top 7% of all test-takers. The middle 50% of students who enrolled at Brown scored between 700 and 760 on the evidence-based reading and writing part of the exam. This tells us that 25% of students scored a 700 or lower, and the upper 25% of students scored a 760 or higher. Math scores were slightly higher. The middle 50% ranged from 720 to 790, so 25% had a 720 or lower, and the top 25% scored either 790s or 800s.

Requirements

Brown University does not require the optional SAT essay, not does the school require SAT Subject Tests. That said, Brown does recommend students take two SAT Subject Tests, and the SAT essay may be used for advising purposes. Brown accepts College Board's Score Choice, and the university will super-score the SAT if you took the exam more than once.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Brown requires scores from either the SAT or ACT, but the university does not care which exam you choose. The ACT is a bit less popular than the SAT—49% of applicants submitted ACT scores.

Brown ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 34 36
Math 30 35
Composite 32 35

Brown's typical ACT scores are similar to the ACT scores for all the Ivy League schools. You're going to need a score in the 30s to be competitive. National ACT score data reveals that Brown students typically score among the top 4% of all test-takers. For students who entered Brown University in the 2018-19 academic year, the middle 50% of students had composite scores between 32 and 35. This tells us that the top 25% of admitted applicants had scores of 35 or 36, and the bottom 25% had scores of 32 or lower.

Requirements

Brown university does not require the ACT with Writing, nor does the school require students who take the ACT to also submit SAT subject tests. If you took the ACT more than once, Brown will consider your highest scores for each section of the exam. However, the university will not calculate a composite super-score from those numbers.

GPA

Brown University does not publish GPA data for admitted students, but high grades in challenging courses will be the most important piece of a successful application. As the self-reported GPA data below reveals, nearly all admitted students had grades in the "A" range, and a 4.0 is not at all unusual. 96% of students who entered Brown in the 2018-19 academic year were ranked in the top 10% of their graduating high school class.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/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. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

As a member of the Ivy League, Brown University is extremely selective. In the graph above, there is a lot of red (rejected students) hidden behind the blue and green (accepted students).. 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. 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 with your application 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.

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.

Sources: Graph courtesy of Cappex; all other data from the Brown Common Data Set, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the Brown University Office of Undergraduate Admissions.