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Brown University

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I was obsessed with Brown as a juniorQuite BrightPolitical Science
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.

1st Year Female -- Class 2014
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Useful Schoolwork: B
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I found everyone to be extremely open andQuite BrightNeuroscience/Cognitive Science
I found everyone to be extremely open and friendly the first year, especially the first sememster. At some point through the second semester people were forming solid groups and reluctant to increase their social circle, maybe due to the sophomore housing/lottery. Adding another person to your friend circle might complicate how to arrange housing during your sophomore year, especially considering that your housing number would be awful, since sophomores have last pick. Anyhow, I went into the sophomore year lottery by myself and got a horrid number and was placed in Barbour, an apartment with three other people who were friends. Their fourth friend went abroad and they thought they'd have an extra bed and barely tolerated my presence. They were birkenstock wearing people and seemed to not like my nerdy/premed ways, but had we been freshman, they would have been nice to me. Something drastic changes from first to second year: people become hardened, much less tolerant and not willing to expand their social circle; they made no attempt to make me feel welcome (I felt really bad for being an interloper). Anyhow, I didn't like being in their apartment either, so I begged reslife to give me something else, and they said, if I could find something else on my own, they'd give it to me. So I found an empty room in the grad center, got the signatures of the other suite mates and got the room--yippee! Or sortof. When staying at the grad center, make sure you don't have too many walls in your room exposed to the outside. I had three walls and perhaps (can't remember) my floor might have been exposed also. So, in comparison to my other suitemates, my room was freezing and needed a portable space heater. What a terribly designed place! Anyhow, a good advice is to form lots of good friends your first year because you won't be making many more after that, unless you join a frat or other special interest housing. The freshman bonding is strong and carries long after college. Friends made after didn't seem to have lasting power. It's as if friends made freshman year are like family, you can be annoying and they'll still put up with you. Friends made after first year won't put up with your antics.

I stuck to the Pembroke side for housing during the remaining two years because it seemed safer over there and I felt more comfortable walking around at night by myself. Students got jumped closer to the freshman quad side -- not mugged, just beaten up for fun, but not too beaten up :)

I think that an emotionally mature and more sophisticated student could maximize the opportunities at Brown. I noticed that all professors were so available that it seemed such a waste that most students didn't use them better, to sponsor independent lab research, etc. Academically, you can literally make it whatever you wish, but for science-bent students who lag in emotional/worldly maturity, Brown seemed rather intimidating, especially in the liberal arts courses where a lot of the liberal arts students were extremely, extremely well-spoken and confident. I wouldn't discourage anyone from attending, though. But without that emotional maturity and strong self-awareness of what you want and where you want to go, it's hard to take the advantages (lots of facilities and access to professors) that Brown offers.

4th Year Female -- Class 1996
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Social Life: C
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This school's amazing, for the right person.Economics
This school's amazing, for the right person. If you want to be a go-getter, you can; if you want to be a stoned hippie man slacking off, you can. With both of those in mind, some people make the most out of Brown, others don't, but either way, we all come out with an experience, and I can't think of a better place to have an Ivy-League experience while still enjoying the benefits of being a college student with little to no direction.
Male -- Class 2000
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