When high school seniors with powerful transcripts begin to look at top notch schools, many begin with the Ivy League. It’s history , tradition and academic reputation are considered great guarantees for a very productive college career. Too often, looking at the Ivy League translates into checking out the top tier – Harvard, Yale and Princeton – while other Ivy choices may be quickly dismissed . For students who are legitimate Ivy League candidates and for those who have the Ivy League on their “reach” list , Brown University could turn out to be the answer to your Ivy League dream.
Providence, RI , A Great College Town
Make sure that if you begin to take a look at Brown University you do so up close and personal. There is no way that a catalog can give you a full appreciation of what choosing Brown University could mean to you without visiting the city of Providence and spending time on and about campus.
While even a generation ago, going to school in Providence might not have excited too many college bound students, today the city of Providence is attractive and alive. After more than a decade of rebuilding and refurbishing , downtown Providence now has the look of a modern city. There are new cultural areas with wonderful live performances and Providence Place, a huge indoor shopping area with all your favorite stores under one roof. There are even open places along the river that have been turned into parks where you can spend some quiet time or just go for a stroll. Providence is very much alive and well and now makes a wonderful backdrop for four years of education.
Going to school in Providence also means going to school in a college city. Besides the student population of Brown, Providence also is called home by students at the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Rhode Island and Providence College . There is no lack for young companionship in Providence. Each fall the city welcomes close to 20, 000 college students back as school year residents. The city itself is small enough that you are bound to meet and get to know students from other colleges during your stay at Brown.
Brown’s Academic Freedom
Even among Ivy League schools Brown has the reputation for being a bit of an academic rebel. It is one of the very few schools that does not demand a core curriculum be taken by all its students. Instead students are encouraged to choose courses from within their field or fields of interest. Grading is also very liberalized with many courses being offered on a pass /fail basis.
The result is that students quickly recognize that they will get exactly the kind of education that they map out for themselves and they will get as much out of their education as they put into it. What Brown students can depend on in their academic pursuits is that they will have a heavy workload, good professors and excellent research opportunities. Further because of the 1:11 ration of professor to students Brown University offers, it is likely that students will get to know their classmates and their professors and that education will be a very cooperative venture.
This kind of open academic life may not appeal to all, but for many it is like the promised land. The chance to study in your field with other top students and teachers, isn’t that what every real student dreams of?
Brown is Liberal
Though the great American song writer, Cole Porter, attended Yale and Harvard, he might have loved modern day Brown where some say “Anything Goes”. While Brown is not nearly as wildly liberal as media hype might indicate, there is no arguing with its basically liberal orientation. What this means is that there is a great deal of acceptance of diverse cultures, religions and ideas. On campus there are many organizations that act as support or information groups for students of unique interests or orientations.
Politically the school has a liberal bent as well. Student of strong conservative backgrounds might find the on campus politics a bit too liberal for their tastes. The student body definitely seems to lean to the left. For some students this is a political turn on, while it might send others running in the opposite direction. If you are a student who just wants a chance to be who you are without a lot of fuss, Brown might be the right Ivy for you.
No wasted hoopla
Brown for all its liberalism is a strong academic school . It doesn’t seem to waste much time, effort or institutional dollars on high profile sports teams. Brown may be competitive in the Ivy League but the student body seldom seems to get very excited about it. If you are choosing Brown then you should know that you aren’t choosing a school like Duke or Boston College or Georgetown where there are solid academics but also where tremendous attention is given to inter collegiate athletics. Brown is about an education, everything else just falls into place after that.
There are plenty of on campus activities for your free time and athletic facilities to engage in pick up games of just about anything. Just don’t come to Brown looking for exciting sports programs, you’ll be disappointed.
Brown is in the Ivy League
There are only a few schools that are part of the Ivy League and Brown University is one of the them. If you find yourself choosing Brown University you know you are choosing an Ivy League education . That means you can expect a great library and research facilities, well known and well published professors, meaningful financial aid, lots of help with post graduate planning and perhaps best of all other young people with whom to share your four year academic journey who are well read and well motivated.
Choosing a college is a huge decision that will impact not just four years, but the rest of your life. Choosing Brown University might provide exactly the impact you have been hoping for. Only your own thorough investigation of Brown will help you to decide.