Brown University

22 Brown Essays That Worked

Updated for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle.

About Brown

Brown University is a storied Ivy League university based in Providence, Rhode Island with a reputation for cutting-edge scholarship and groundbreaking academic programs. Founded in 1764, Brown is one of the nation's oldest colleges and places a premium on studying subjects from several disciplines. Students at this progressive school are encouraged to think beyond the box and pursue academic rigor and breadth. As such, unlike other schools, Brown has an Open Curriculum, which empowers students to choose the courses they want, rather than having to fulfill general education requirements. This tight-knight, politically active campus is a great fit for free thinkers and free spirits hoping to make the world a better place.

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Providence, RI

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Real Essays from Brown Admits

Prompt: Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about any academic interests that excite you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue them while also embracing topics with which you are unfamiliar.

As far back as I can remember, I have had a deep-rooted interest in history. Captivated by each story, I watch every documentary on King Henry VIII, read every book on the Cambodian Genocide, and listen to the stories of my family's struggle during the Nicaraguan Proxy Wars. My passion for history intertwines with my love for International Affairs. While exteriorly different, international affairs have been the leading causes of several historical events. To this day, the history and legacy of World War II have continued the United Nations purpose in maintaining global peace. The United Nations saved my family in the Nicaraguan Proxy War, and as such, history upholds peace in intersection with international affairs. The Engaged Scholars Program at Brown takes on this approach. Providing me with the hands-on experience to serve humanitarian efforts and public service, the program takes history onto theoretical and analytical levels of community engagement. Furthermore, I could discover new passions and interests at Brown, such as Greek Mythology, by contributing to the Brown Classical Journal. While also studying at the Brown Center for Language Studies to learn the mother tongue of my Aztec ancestors: Nahuatl. My passions are a necessity rather than an option. While studying at the Brown Open Curriculum, I can be free to become a changemaker in my education in serving the world. To have the possibility of studying multiple pursuits while continuing International Affairs, I see that my place fits Brown as a member of its diverse community.

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Essay by Indiana Vargas

Freshman at Harvard majoring in Government and History

Prompt: Brown students care deeply about their work and the world around them. Students find contentment, satisfaction, and meaning in daily interactions and major discoveries. Whether big or small, mundane or spectacular, tell us about something that brings you joy.

Coffee — a highly caffeinated drink that smells like sweet heaven and surprisingly does not keep me awake — brings me joy. My love for coffee stemmed from 115 hours, approximately 4 days and 19 hours, of a show made up of witty banter and pop culture references, which made up for the areas of my life that I lacked: Gilmore Girls . However, 115 hours of a show about a mother- daughter duo navigating through life in a quirky small town didn’t magically mend the broken fragments of my family or erase the ache that settled in my chest. Instead, the show gave me a dad   — Lorelai Gilmore. 

Yes, a fictional character couldn’t teach me how to ride a bike or how to swim, how to tie my shoelaces, or how to throw a ball, but Lorelai taught me morals and life lessons that have stayed with me long after the credits rolled. She taught me how to have the courage to follow my dreams and pursue my passions, even when the path seemed uncertain. When my mom was too busy, Lorelai offered me a seat at Luke’s Diner with a cup of coffee to laugh with her and feel at home. However, Lorelai could only exist for 115 hours, and then she’d be gone. So whenever I have my cups of coffee throughout the day, I’m reminded of Lorelai and how she taught me something more valuable than my dad ever could — how to reach for the stars.

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Essay by Anastasia P.

Pre-Law Track Freshman @ Harvard University

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