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Admitted students from Class of 2026 discuss acceptances

Students reflect on anxiety, excitement, say COVID-19 had little impact

The University released its Regular Decision application results March 31 at 7 p.m., admitting 1,651 students for a total of 2,546 students to the Class of 2026, The Herald previously reported.

Admitted students came from across the world, with intended concentrations ranging from computer science, biology and environmental studies to English, philosophy and political science. 

Six admitted applicants spoke to The Herald, describing feelings of anxiety, excitement and shock at their acceptances. 

Katya Scott, from Havertown, Pennsylvania, said she was “nervous” about opening her letter. While she felt “pretty confident” in her writing samples and extracurriculars, her standardized testing scores made her unsure of her chances.


“Brown has always been a dream school,” she said, “so sending (my application) in, I didn’t feel that confident.”

Scott recalled “crying tears of joy” after opening her decision and calling her mother, who “started crying too.” After realizing “how big of an accomplishment” her acceptance was, Scott felt a sense of pride, as if “all of (her) years of hard work in high school (were) finally coming together.”

Bernardo Jimenez, from Bethpage, New York, was similarly surprised by his acceptance because he “pushed off a lot of essays” and “didn’t feel that great” about the application. Upon opening his acceptance letter, Jimenez recalled doing a “double-take” before rushing to tell his mother about the news.

Angela Lian, from the Philadelphia area in Pennsylvania, wrote in an email to The Herald that she “just stared in disbelief for a solid ten seconds before screaming” when she received her acceptance.

“I prepared myself for rejection and pictured getting rejected in my head,” she explained. 

Arissa Campbell, from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, said she “felt really good about” being admitted because she had spent so much time on the application process and was “cautiously optimistic” while “still kind of nervous.”

Applicants were asked to answer two new supplementary essay prompts this year. One asked about a time when the applicant was challenged by a differing perspective, and the other asked applicants to discuss something that brings them joy. 

Matteo Papadopoulos, from Birmingham, Michigan, wrote in an email to The Herald that his essay on perspective was about what he considered “to be the difference between music and noise.” Papadopoulos used this essay as a way of “reconciling” the “classical and experimental” sides of himself. His essay on joy discussed how his experiences living in Greece inspired his passion for urban planning.

Gabriel Burstyn, from Skokie, Illinois, wrote about learning by “asking difficult questions” and “being the opposer in classroom discussions.”

Scott said she wrote about a conversation she had with a friend concerning the Black Lives Matter movement. 


“Her dad is a police officer, so she had a totally different perspective on it,” she said. “I’m African American, so I have my own feelings about it that aren’t gonna change. … We’re still friends, but it made me realize why people have the opinions they do.”

Campbell wrote about how she likes to do “countdowns for things” in her essay on what brings her joy, while Lian focused on her love for fashion. 

Reflecting on their feelings after being accepted, the students mentioned being relieved at the end of the college application process and excited about their university prospects.

Papadopoulos wrote that he “was prepared for a rejection but hoping for a miracle” and that the minutes after opening his letter “were entirely a blur.” After processing the news, he experienced “the weird feeling of being done with the whole college (application) process.”

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Lian added she had to “restrain” herself from “skipping everywhere instead of walking.”

Speaking on what drew him to the University, Burstyn “thought the campus was beautiful” and said he “started to fall in love” with Brown more because of “the choices” available to him through the Open Curriculum. Campbell, Scott and Jimenez shared similar sentiments about the opportunities for academic freedom at Brown.

“One of the things that excites me about Brown is seeing all of the diversity and different people,” Scott mentioned. “I’m used to being the only person of color in my higher-level classes and I’m just excited to meet other people like me.”

Papadopoulos wrote that he liked the “open curriculum, close student-instructor relationships (and) flexibility (in) academic exploration.” In terms of the broader Providence community, Papadopoulous was drawn to the city’s “strong queer community (and) arts culture.”

For Lian, Brown has been her “dream school since sophomore year.”

Many of the admitted students said that financial aid was their primary concern when it came to deciding on which institution to attend. 

Most of the schools Scott was deciding between were strong academically, so making a decision to enroll was “now a matter of money.”

The University’s financial aid offer to Jimenez “wasn’t all that great (and) a little sobering,” he said. “I gotta see the money (from) everywhere.”

None of the interviewed admitted students felt that the COVID-19 pandemic had any significant impact on their application process, though Scott said “it kind of helped in a way because everyone was in the same boat.”

COVID-19 mainly changed “how prepared” Campbell felt about entering college, as the pandemic shifted her into online learning during her junior year. 

Of the students who have committed, many said they were excited to meet new people and explore the campus.

“I’m just looking forward to being there,” Campbell said. “I’m just in a whirlwind of excitement.”

Jack Tajmajer

Jack Tajmajer is a Metro editor who oversees the Beyond Brown beat. He is a Senior from Bethany, Connecticut and Bethlehem, New Hampshire studying Political Science and Economics. His mother operates an alpaca farm and he tried a blueberry for the first time at age 17.


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