At Brown, persistence and personal responsibility play a big role in defining your undergraduate career. Students are rewarded for learning to work within Brown’s small and intimate academic departments. In other words, it is always possible to work the system. Students always have a good chance of getting into high-level classes, even if they are outside their concentration. Many students come to Brown uncertain of their concentrations, and many switch their concentrations more than once in their undergraduate career. Brown’s academic philosophy encourages exploration into new areas of study, which can spark new interests or projects. In general, Brown believes that every student knows what’s best for him or herself.
Unlike other elite universities, Brown’s primary focus is on undergraduate students. In accordance with this goal, all Brown professors are required to teach an undergraduate class, which gives students access to some of the top academics in their field. Most students are able to make strong connections with at least a few professors who provide them with support as they develop their own interests. There are, of course, shortcomings to Brown’s system. The lack of many professional schools, like law or a business school, can make the post-Brown transition a bit jarring. In addition, for a large university, Brown can sometimes seem to have a limited number of courses available, with some departments lacking a large enough staff to support all the students. Often, you have to try for several semesters to get into a popular or limited-enrollment class. However, with persistence, anything is possible at Brown.