I was obsessed with Brown as a junior and senior in high school, and read every review on this website (and others) possible, so now is my chance to be finally give back to all of the freaked-out applicants.
I thought my life was over when I was deferred from Brown ED; I ended up getting in RD in April, thankfully, but I want to make it known that if you apply to the right schools for you, it doesn't really matter where you end up. I would've been happy at any of my schools. Of course, it's nice to be at Brown especially, in the Ivy League, with all of the resources and prestige that comes with it. But the "prestige-factor" only gives so much. Though that was a major factor in where I applied to college, now that I've "made it," it really has no effect on my daily life as a college kid. Bottom line: you live and breathe where you are at college, so it's most important that you are comfortable living, learning and making friends there. Prestige is SO not worth it if you'll be unhappy. (Not to say I'm not happy--I'll get to Brown in a second.)
It was hard to get my bearins at Brown my first semester. Everyone there is BRILLIANT, but what you don't realize is that everyone feels like they're not good enough, when in reality, we all were accepted and are equally deserving to be there. My classes this year were on the whole, fantastic. Challenging, yes, but I got to know my profs (GO TO OFFICE HOURS) and made great connections. I had unusually small classes for a first-year because I took more seminars than is typical, but I had 3 lecture classes between 100-150 (which isn't too bad for Brown), plus there is always section with a TA.
The students here, as I said, are incredibly brilliant, but also incredibly humble and kind. I've never "clicked" with people so easily. You have the chance to meet people from all over the world and from all different backgrounds. It's wonderful.
The one thing I will say that Brown needs to improve upon is it's advising system. Because of the open curriculum, advising is all that more important. However, the advising system is a crap-shoot. Your faculty advisor is either helpful or doesn't care. Your student advisor will most likely be the one to guide you the most. The good news is that if you don't click with your faculty advisor, you have your student advisor, plus there are open hours at the Dean's Office for everyone. AND, upperclassmen/faculty you befriend are always willing to help with class choices, clubs, social life, etc. Though I think Brown is the most like a liberal arts college out of all the Ivy League schools, it is still a mid-size research university. If a small, liberals art college suits your learning style better, I strongly recommend you choose one. Doing well where you are is more important than the name (and there are plenty of big-name liberal arts colleges). I sometimes feel as though a small college would have been a better fit for me, but I'm still happy with my choice.