Visiting Brown University
It’s easy to fall in love with Brown University. Set in gorgeous College Hill right above Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), it’s walking distance to charming shops and restaurants in downtown Providence. The campus is defined with boundaries while still being a part of the city. The proximity to RISD gives an unparalleled creative partnership that no other Ivy League can boast of.
Then there is the student-led vibe which led to Brown’s Open Curriculum. Who wouldn’t want an Open Curriculum? It means that there are no academic subject requirements, instead, there is an emphasis on being in class because you want to be there. That seems the best way to learn and explore. It’s the polar opposite of Columbia’s Core Curriculum.
My big takeaways from the Brown University tour and presentation:
- Open curriculum means no core curriculum. There is a real emphasis on students wanting to be in the classes they take.
- Student activism and leadership. Students get a large say in administrative decisions as evidenced by Open Curriculum which was a student-led initiative.
- 2 types of grading mean less emphasis on grades and more on engagement and actual learning. There is ABC and No Credit OR Satisfactory and No Credit.
- Writing portion of the SAT test is NOT Required for Brown!
- 2 Unique programs at Brown. The RISD/Brown co-degree is a five-year degree. You apply separately to Brown and RISD, get accepted to both, and then apply to a joint program that accepts 25 students (I think that is what they said).
- 8-year Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) – accepts 65 students and guarantees admission to Brown’s medical school, allowing for a liberal arts education.
- Brown’s open curriculum is the exact opposite of Columbia’s Core Curriculum.
- A lot of opportunities for research at Brown for undergraduates because there are only 2000 graduate students so professors rely on undergraduates for help with research. This includes liberal arts research as well as STEM.
- It’s hard not to love what Brown University offers. It’s a place to pursue one’s interests, both academic and extracurricular. Clubs are open to both RISD and Brown students. There is a donut club that explores the highest per capita donut shops in Providence. Providence also provides an urban foodie and creative backdrop to the school. Other colleges nearby enhance this foodie/creative vibe including Johnson and Wales University nearby and, of course, RISD next door.
- The student tour guides exude friendliness and deep interests without a competitive vibe.
- New for 2018! SAT/ACT test-optional!
p.s. If you are visiting Brown University or Rhode Island School of Design (or Providence College or Johnson and Wales) and you want a foodie experience for the best casual restaurant, try Al Forno nearby. It’s not within walking distance, but you can take an Uber or drive. If you can, make a reservation (though you will need a party of 6 or more for that). Without a reservation, expect to wait 1.5 hours or more, even if you arrive at 5 pm on a weekday. It’s that good!
p.s. Related posts:
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.