The following reviews are the views of students or alumni at this school and are unrelated to the school data and other editorial content on usnews.com. These reviews neither reflect nor impact a school's position within the Best Colleges rankings.
The open curriculum and the vibrant, varied, interesting people you meet here are definitely Brown's biggest draws. Brown is a great size, and the focus is really on undergraduate education, not grad students. Also, our President, Ruth Simmons, is THE BEST.
The best thing about Brown is that everyone is an individual and individuality is totally okay. I love that I can be interested in Ancient Greek and Biology. Socially everyone is accepted. The group of friends I have met are all distinctly unique people but we all get along really well, and these are people I might not have associated with in high school, but Brown fosters friendships like these. The school itself is just the right size. I meet new people all the time, but it's just small enough that I always see people I know, and I can always find a table of friends to sit with at lunch or dinner (most people don't go to breakfast). Thayer St. is quaint...it's not quite Harvard Square, but it's got most of the essentails and a lot of good, not too expensive places to eat (Brown Dining Services is only so-so). Everyone loves our president Ruth Simmons, in fact, she even has somewhat of a cult following at Brown. They sell t-shirts with her picture on them, and most people have one (myself included). Most importantly, everyone is happy at Brown. I can't stress this enough, I don't know a soul who's unhappy here.
Oh god... I could go on and on. I think the best thing about Brown is how much everyone is genuinely happy to be at Brown. I really don't see what could make someone unhappy at Brown... there are no rules, you can do practically anything you want, you can take any class you want (pre-requsites might as well not even exist), and if you don't get what you want, yell loud enough and you WILL get it. Makes us sound a little spoiled... hmm.. that may actually be a valid analysis. Anway, point is, the school definitely doesn't give you a reason to be unhappy. As for me, the school size is just right. There are between 5-6 thouand students, enough to ensure that you will always know someone but will never know everyone. The campus itself is big enough not to feel clausterphobic, but small enough that you can get from one end to the other in about 20 minutes. Be careful though... College Hill is a bubble in disguise, I only realized in May that I had left campus (plus Thayer St.) only a totaly of three times the entire semseter!
Brown has been noted to be the more "liberal Ivy" out of the other higher profile Ivy League schools, and I find that to be true! While there are always people with more conservative leanings, the general consensus tends to revolve around having a liberal outlook. Even with this, both outlooks exist together in harmony, seeing as the vast majority of Brown students tend to be very relaxed and tolerant when it comes to such ideas. Brown is also a nice-sized university in a large town, while paradoxically having a "bubble-like" feel. It becomes very obvious once you leave the bubble of the Brown campus, but having the mall, the train station, and other amenities and pros around you makes it difficult, not that you'd always want to leave! There are a couple other universities in the Providence area, most notably RISD (a high profile art university) which lies RIGHT next door to the Brown campus (in fact, Brown and RISD have cross-registration, where students are able to take some classes irrespective of their universitiy). There's always something to do at Brown - on the weekends, there's always a party one can attend to. On the weekdays, a myriad of lectures and movies screenings, among other activities also take place. One can never truly get bored on the Brown campus! Although Brown isn't a Harvard or a Princeton (meaning it's not as immediately recognizable), it's still very widely known and even more so respected. After getting accepted there, my favorite reactions have come from doctors (especially!) and even some store clerks. However, there's always that weird reaction once can get, asking you if Brown is in New York City (no! It's in RI!). Brown's administration is highly praised. If anything, Brown's current president, Ruth Simmons, is an icon! A vast majority of students approve of her decisions and she holds a very high popularity rating. Likewise, her administration are equally loved, but are less heard of than "Ruth" ("That's so Ruth!" is a Brown inside joke). The most frequent student complaints, however, are probably the student dorms and the cafeteria food. Personally, I'm not a picky person, but others might not particularly find the dorm buildings themselves and the food the greatest thing at Brown. Most students complain about some (not all) of the old buildings, such as Keeney, and some of the more cramped residential halls like Grad Center, but all in all, it's not as bad as they say. The rooms are ample and sufficient, and the facilities are kept clean regularly. It all depends on the people you live with, really. As for the food, don't expect five star ratings. The main cafeteria, the Sharpe Refectory, holds several different lines of food (vegetarian, meat, etc.) and there's a large variety of thing to choose from. The other one, the Verney-Woolley Dining Hall, has more of a specialized meal choice. People complain, but it can get repetitive, boring, and even bland.
Best thing about Brown has got to be the open curriculum, and the advising that comes along with it. Brown really does trust you to make decisions for yourself, but wants you to know that you're not entirely on your own. The advising is great, especially for first-year and if you would liek to change your advisor that can be easily arranged. Lots of interesting classes, as well, and youll find that students really aren't afraid to dabble in areas that they are not 100% familiar with. Another thing I'm very satisfied about Brown with is that the community is very close-knit. On your way to class, or even if you're just hanging out on the Main Green on a nice day doing reading, you'll run into tons of people you know. Campus is not too big (like a state school slash UPenn) and also not too small, like Amherst. Some complaints I have include: - More variety in food at the VDub (one of our dining halls) - Students not having card access to all of the residence halls
The best thing about Brown is the people. Most of the learning here REALLY does take place outside the classroom. The first semester I came to Brown from Turkey, I was terribly sad to leave all my good friends behind. I counted the days left to go back and see them. Soon, the situation turned completely around. I now have a huge group of friends here and I prefer spending time with them than the ones back home. The time we are all at Brown is crucial in terms of becoming adults and maturing up, and the friends you make here are so different than the ones you make in high school. I have spent sleepless nights, having enlightening discussions with friends. One thing I would immediately change would be to bring need-blind financial aid for international students. The international student body is geographically very diverse but not so economically. I have even read articles claiming that Brown is the "mating ground" for Eurotrash jet-setters. The size is just right. Big enough that there is someone new to meet every day, and small enough that it's unavoidable to run into your drunken hookup the next day in the dining hall. When I'm walking to class, oftentimes I end up being late because I know so many people. And I'm not an exception. If you make a little bit of an effort, people are so open here that they will force their friendship on you. Well, most people in back home in Turkey only know "Harvirt","Yeyl" and "Prinstin." But people are starting to know Brown and more people seem impressed when I say I go to Brown every year. In the States, most people are impressed,but some think that Brown is a joke. Especially when they hear that I'm a History of Art major, they tend to roll their eyes and say, "Oh...". I spend most my time in Buxton International House, the dorm in which I live. It's pretty awesome, we have 60 people living here -half of them internationals, half of them Americans. Though people think we're all snobs - it is the friendliest dorm on campus if you're living in it. It's like my second home here. We throw parties, chill in each other's rooms, cook dinners in the kitchen, order wings and watch the Super Bowl together...It's awesome! College Town for sure. Even though there is Thayer Street which is amazing in the Spring and Summer, and there are a few clubs downtown, the city doesn't offer much. So people spend a lot of time on campus, and house parties are pretty popular. I'd say administration is pretty open-minded and care about our thoughts. Their biggest problem is that they don't have much money to do what we ask for - Brown has a tiny endowment compared to most Ivy Leagues. Gender neutral bathrooms were quite a huge deal recently. As far as I remember, "Sex Power God", when it was on The O'Reilly Factor" was the biggest public scandal. A reporter from Fox News sneaked into the Queer Alliance party with a camera and recorded semi- naked students dancing in a University Hall. Parents and administration freaked out, naturally. There is not a lot of school "pride" but there is a lot of school "love". Students here love their school, love president Ruth Simmons and love everything the school stands for. However, the school does not try to associate itself with its elitist ivy league background. Nobody knows the Alma Mater and we don't have special handshakes, but we all LOVE LOVE LOVE our school. One experience I'll always remember is one that I can't talk about in full detail, but it involved climbing a bell-tower on top of Andrews Hall. There's also the time when I was sitting with one of my closest girlfriends on her desk, our legs hanging down the window during summer. When we noticed that one of our professors was walking down the street below, we started shouting his name and shrieking like monkeys. We were hiding behind her curtains not to be seen - and we almost fell down the windows when we heard him reply back with a monkey sound! And the time when we had a Halloween Party in my dorm. Every single person dressed up and served a special drink with their roommate. We started drinking on the first floor, and by the time we reached the top floor suite, we were all drunk and dancing like crazy. And many more that I can't even remember right now. The most student complaints are about the food in the dining halls, namely the Ratty. It's not that bad really if you learn what's good and what's not. The food is always so deceptive - it looks amazing but most the time you don't even know what you're eating!
Elif SeniorReviews provided by: Unigo