U. admits record low 8.3 percent of applicants to Class of 2021

Fourteen percent of Class of 2021 identify as first generation, 47 percent as students of color, 64 percent to apply for financial aid

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Updated April 2 at 10:28 p.m.

The University admitted 2,027 students to the class of 2021 through regular decision Thursday, said Dean of Admission Logan Powell.

The regular decision acceptance rate was 6.5 percent, setting a record-low 8.3 percent acceptance rate for the class of 2021. The previous record of 8.5 percent was set for the class of 2019. The students accepted regular decision join the 695 students accepted through early decision. Of those deferred from early decision, 5.4 percent were admitted regular decision. Approximately 1,000 students were placed on the active waitlist. All admitted students were selected from a record-high pool of 32,724 applications, according to Powell.

The admitted students come from all 50 states and 77 countries, with 12 percent of admitted students coming from outside of the United States.

Fourteen percent of the admitted students are first generation students, a slightly higher percentage than last year, Powell said. Forty-seven percent of admitted students self-identify as students of color, the same percentage admitted for the class of 2020. Additionally, sixty-two percent of admitted students come from public high schools, an increase from last year, according to Powell.

The University also admitted a slightly higher percentage of students who indicated they would apply for financial aid — 64 percent of students compared to 61 percent last year.

The University has worked on strengthening financial aid awards for middle income students in hopes “that by strengthening those financial aid awards to all families who demonstrate financial need, Brown will be as affordable or more affordable than any of their other options,” Powell said.

“Overall we’re absolutely thrilled with the talent and wide range of perspectives represented in this admitted student group,” Powell said. “They continue to be enormously talented (and) they continue to be increasingly diverse.”

In addition to the diversity of the class, Powell emphasized that the class of 2021, “academically, by all objective measures, is as strong as any in Brown history.”

Powell said that the admits “demonstrated strong interest in Brown, they connected with their alumni interviewers, they’re incredibly academically talented, and those students we think will yield at a very good rate.”

“Brown cares about my success and my undergraduate life,” Setty said. “They care about … seeing what I can contribute.”

After admitted students make their college decision by May 1, additional students may be admitted off the waitlist to reach the University’s  goal of 1,665 students in the class of 2021, Powell said.

The University also admitted 95 students admitted through Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education and 21 students admitted through the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program.

Some of the newly admitted students felt shock and disbelief mixed in with gratitude upon receiving their decision letters.

“It was kind of hard to believe for a while,” said Melissa Machado of Miami. “(When) it started sinking in, I was like, ‘Wow, this really happened.’”

“I’ve been dreaming about attending Brown for years,” said Aakash Setty of Vernon Hills, Illinois, who was accepted through PLME. Setty is excited to attend Brown because “its freedom, its opportunities and all of the options it provides its students,” he said.

Brown’s program for admitted students, A Day on College Hill, begins April 18.

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  1. What’s not said is that most Ivy League schools have experienced more applicants, and, as a result, the admission stats are lower.
    Once again, Brown is behind other Ivy League schools in this spurious measure of ‘exclusivity’.
    Once again, Brown’s antiquated approach to admissions can be compared to asking a person on the first date to marry–no use of social media, ways to develop relationships over years, or ways to differentiate Brown from other schools who are behind the times.
    Hey, Brown, have you heard of online education, social media and outreach? Time to move from the 19th to the 21st Century.

    • Ken Miller says:


      Did you happen to notice that Brown led the nation in terms of the number of highly-competitive Fulbright Awards won by its students this year? That hardly conforms to the image you routinely present of a university in decline. Looks like our students are actually out-competing those from the very institutions you would have us emulate!

      • The poor earnings record of Brown grads, combined with their general lack of achievement in for- and non-profit areas, points to Brown students not receiving value for their (high) tuition and time spent in Providence, as compared with not just Ivy League schools, but also Arizona State, Stanford, Northeastern and MIT.
        You may point to Fulbright scholarships as some indication of competitiveness. I point to the 40% of students admitted to Brown who choose to go elsewhere. Harvard vs Brown? Harvard! Princeton vs Brown? Princeton! Stanford vs Brown? No contest–Stanford!
        Brown continues to offer a 19th Century education experience in a 21st Century environment–and continues in its failure to offer value for time and/or money as compared not just to Ivy League schools, but also to many “inferior” schools, such as U of Texas or Arizona State (did you know that you can get a free BA at Ariz. State just by working at Starbucks?)

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