Brown University Supplemental Essay Tips

2020-2021 Brown University Application Essay Tips

At Opus College Prep, we know that strong supplemental essays are the key to a competitive application. In this post, we will be sharing our best tips for student’s applying to Brown University for the class of 2025. If you are interested in working with a college admissions expert on your responses to these prompts, schedule a free consultation with us here. We look forward to helping you stand out!

From the Brown University website: “Brown students want to create and navigate their own intellectual journeys. They possess an intense curiosity and aspire to make an impact. Does this sound like you?”

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Brown University Prompt #1

Brown’s Open Curriculum allows students to explore broadly while also diving deeply into their academic pursuits. Tell us about an academic interest (or interests) that excites you, and how you might use the Open Curriculum to pursue it. (50 word minimum, 250 word maximum)

If you are applying to Brown, you should know about their Open Curriculum and that should be a top reason for why you are applying. If you were not aware of their Open Curriculum and were planning to apply, it’s probably time to dive into some research. Research will help you truly determine if this is the right school and academic program for you. As with all supplemental essay questions, it is imperative that your response to this prompt is specific to you. Any applicant could say they want to attend Brown because of its one-of-a-kind curriculum. That’s a boring response! Many students have starry eyes because Open Curriculum essentially means it’s a requirement-less college experience. But, there is a reason why Brown created this system. They want you to know how this system will help you get a well-rounded education that will serve your interests and future success.

  1. What is your academic interest area?
  2. Do you see your academic interest area through a few different lenses?
  3. What academic interest or skill excites you? How does it connect to broader interests?

The more detail and imagery you can provide (in less than 250 words!), the more your reader will be drawn into your response!

Prompt #2

At Brown, you will learn as much from your peers outside the classroom as in academic spaces. How will you contribute to the Brown community? (50 word minimum, 250 word maximum)

Let’s share some insider knowledge. When an admissions officer is reading your application, they are trying to find out who you will be and what role you will play in their incoming freshman class. This prompt is Brown telling you that while they love to learn about who you were in high school, they are more concerned about who you will be as a Brown student in the class of 2025. You may see similar questions on other college applications, and it is imperative to know that your response to this prompt needs to be Brown-specific. Your research of Brown will shine in your response to this question.

  1. What makes Brown the perfect school for you? If you talk about like-minded students or campus community, you’ve completely missed the mark here.
  2. Are there clubs that interest you? Professors? Specific courses only offered at Brown?
  3. Is there a dorm community that will allow you to be more of who you want to be?

Once you start thinking about these questions, remember to tie in what you will contribute to the community, too! Do you have a skill or interest that you will share? Is there a club that you not only want to join, but take to new heights with your interest and commitment? Consider all of these things as you craft your 250 word response to prompt #2!

Prompt #3

Tell us about a place or community you call home. How has it shaped your perspective? (50 word minimum, 250 word maximum)

While this prompt seems like Brown wants you to describe your living room, if Brown wanted to know where you lived and what color your couch was, they would have just asked that. Allow yourself some creativity here as you craft your response to this prompt. “Home” could be a classroom where you have felt challenged and have also felt comfortable asking for help. It could be a summer camp that has transformed who you are or a place in nature where you feel most at peace. This prompt is essentially an opportunity for you to share more about what is important to you, and how and where you find a sense of security.

We hope our insights are helpful as you tackle your application to Brown for the 2020/2021 application season! If you are interested in personalized feedback on how to tackle these responses, feel free to schedule a consultation below or email We can’t wait to help!

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