University News

Brown admits record-low 8.6 percent

Class of 2018 is most diverse in U. history

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, March 31, 2014

Updated at 1:34 a.m. on March 31, 2014.


The University extended offers of admission to 8.6 percent of applicants to the class of 2018, marking the lowest percentage of admitted students in University history, said Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73.

From a pool of 30,432 applicants, the second-largest in University history, there were 2,619 students admitted to the class of 2018, representing all 50 states and 89 nations, according to data provided by the Office of Admission. The office expects the class to end up with around 1,560 students, Miller said.

Applicants were able to log onto Brown’s website Thursday at 5 p.m. EST to check their admission decision.

These admits will join the 583 students who were admitted to the class in December during the early admission cycle.

Overall, 100 students were admitted to the Program in Liberal Medical Education, and 16 students were admitted to the Brown/Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree Program, according to the data provided by the Admission Office.

“This was the single most challenging year to be admitted to Brown in our history,” Miller said.

The pool of admitted students reached a record-high level of ethnic diversity, with 46 percent of students identifying as students of color. Twenty percent of admits identify as Asian, 13 percent as black or African-American, 13 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 2 percent as American Indian or Alaska Native and 1 percent as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Miller said.

A record 18 percent of admitted students are first-generation college students.

Sixty-seven percent applied for financial aid, Miller said.

Sixty-three percent of admitted students attended public high schools, while 30 percent attended private and 7 percent attended parochial.

The sciences were popular among admits, with 37 percent listing areas in the physical sciences as their top academic interest, according to the Admission Office data. Twenty-five percent noted concentrations in the social sciences, 20 percent in the life and medical sciences and 13 percent in the humanities. Five percent of admitted students said they were undecided.

Engineering was the most popular intended concentration for admits, with 332 students listing it as their top choice. Biology, computer science, biochemistry and molecular biology and undecided rounded out the top five. The popularity of science concentrations “reflects a national trend,” Miller said, adding that “a lot of the top students across the country are focusing on sciences … more than they did certainly a decade or so ago.”

The most common home state for admitted students was California, with 396 admits. New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey are home to 298, 205 and 143 admits, respectively. Florida and Texas tied for the fifth spot with 94 students each, according to the Admission Office data.

In total, 394 international students were admitted. China, India, Canada and the United Kingdom were the top four foreign nations for international accepted students with 42, 31, 28 and 28 students admitted, respectively.

Miller did not disclose how many students were offered spots on the waitlist, but he said admission officers “expect maybe 400 or so to stay on the waitlist.” These students will learn if they have been offered a position by “mid-May at the earliest,” he said. No students on the waitlist for the class of 2017 were offered admission, but the number has been as high as 75 within the past five years, he added.

The other Ivy League schools also released their admission decisions Thursday.

Columbia admitted 6.94 percent, Cornell admitted 14 percent, Dartmouth admitted 11.5 percent, Harvard admitted 5.9 percent, Penn admitted 10.0 percent, Princeton admitted 7.28 percent and Yale admitted 6.26 percent.

The Ivies all have fairly consistent admission rates compared to last year, said Michele Hernandez, a college consultant and former assistant director of admissions at Dartmouth.

Many admitted students said they were shocked to learn they had been accepted.

Rachel Steppe of Woodstock, Ga., said she checked her decision online during a track practice. “I still can’t believe it. I just feel super fortunate to be included,” she said.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to get it,” said Hailey Winstead of Southport, N.C. She said she screamed in excitement and started singing “I’m the Man” by Aloe Blacc upon reading her acceptance after several minutes of refreshing the website.

Beatriz Garza of Mission, Texas, said she became interested in Brown after talking with current students. “The open curriculum can give me the chance to explore everything I’m interested in,” she added.

Admitted students are invited to A Day on College Hill, which takes place April 22 to 24. They have until May 1 to make enrollment decisions.


  1. Why does ADOCH have to take place during Bulldog Days?? I’m stuck in a bad situation. Yale and Brown are the two schools I am deciding between, and I really wanted to go to both admitted student events.

    • Marc de Sade says:

      Because they are sadistic, and you will get more of this whichever college you choose.

    • Obviously, go to the school you’re leaning towards, unless you just want to have fun, in which case, go to ADOCH.

      • Is there a lot of partying/drinking during ADOCH? Or does the campus kind of dry up for the three days the profro are there?

    • Go to Brown! says:

      You mean, “Why does Bulldog Days have to take place during Adoch??”
      If you’re leaning towards Yale, you should definitely see Brown just to get some perspective and make sure. This really is a wonderful place 🙂

  2. Penn reports their number as 9.9%, not 10%. Some poor applicants probably got trimmed at the last minute to squeeze it down under 10….

  3. johnlonergan says:

    A key number to look at is that 41% who were accepted to Brown chose to go elsewhere. This is better than last year’s 43%, but far worse than Harvard or Stanford.

    It’s great that a number of non-US students were accepted. Given that 87% of the applications came from the US, which represents just 4% of the world’s population, I wonder if the US represents 87% of the best and the brightest from around the world? Rather than congratulate ourselves that so many were not accepted, we should be kicking ourselves that so many millions were not even assessed.

    It’s dangerously reassuring to think that a less than 10% acceptance rate represents a place that people are dying to get into. Rather than look at the 30,000 or so who applied, how about extending Brown’s relationship with potential students to one which begins when the students begin in high school? How about making the admissions process a relationship that builds over years–for both students and the U?

    I would not ask someone to marry me after the first date, even if she gave me her SAT’s and high school grades. Not even if she gave me a couple of essays. When I proposed to my wife, it was after having established a solid relationship. Admissions to the U should be no different.

    • High schoolers, perhaps, should focus on high school and all demands of their early teen years without the added stress of needing to do their bit to form relationships with colleges years before they apply. It’s OK if yields are under 50%. Your college is not your spouse.

      • exhausted grad says:

        Agreed. I went to a top, super-high-pressure high school, and I wanted nothing more at the end of the day to go outside or hang out with my friends or do something for FUN rather than because it would impressive a college. Unfortunately, college pressures made it important to study constantly. We were worried about college in ninth grade, and no one was talking to us then. More outreach is NOT necessary.

        • Exactly. Bear in mind that high school freshman wouldn’t just have to “get to know” Brown, but a whole host of other schools as well, because admissions is a dicey game. Ivy-level colleges are usually going to say “no” in the end, over 90% of the time. This clearly is added pressure on 13 and 14 year olds; we can’t say that the power relationship between a high school freshman and a potential college is anything but a one-way street, no matter how we frame the interaction.

          Should highly competitive high schools involve themselves actively in the lives of kids in junior high, to “get to know” them? What about 6th graders?

          The admissions processes are already long enough, and involved enough, to solve the problems they are trying to solve. Let’s not amp them up any further, please.

      • johnlonergan says:

        God forbid that Brown form a relationship with students before they apply to college. Did you take AP courses? Did Brown work with your teachers to support/teach those AP courses?

        Admissions should be a process of “getting to know you” on both the student’s and the U’s side over a long period of time. It need not be the highly stressed “will I get into Brown?” Rather, it can be getting to know one another and, by the time the applications are sent in, a better feeling of where you stand (both for Admissions and for the student).

        Back to the first date analogy–it’s tough to know (and very stressful sometimes) where you stand after the first date. After dating for years, you’ve got a much better idea.

        • Hopefully students will have done thorough research on colleges by the time they decide where to go.

          But also, I think it’s common that most high school students aim to pursue higher education in their native countries. It is also difficult to gain admission if you apply internationally while seeking aid.

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