On Jan. 24, the Van Wickle Gates opened to welcome a cohort of midyear transfer students to begin their journey on College Hill, according to a Jan. 25 University press release. Forty-seven of 210 transfer applicants matriculated to Brown, Associate Provost for Enrollment Logan Powell wrote in an email to The Herald.
Last fall, the University began allowing transfer students to apply in the fall for University enrollment in spring 2023, Powell said. Previously, the University had a “traditional application timeline” for transfers with a March 1 application deadline for fall matriculation.
Powell explained that with fluctuations in the size of the student body between semesters — caused by factors like students studying abroad — “there is a small opportunity to allow new students to come into Brown with the kind of academic excellence and diverse backgrounds and perspectives that we have always championed.”
By accepting spring semester transfer students, the University could add more diversity of experience and outlook to the undergraduate student body, Powell said.
Among the 47 enrolled students, 12 are from Afghanistan. “We have a slightly different pool of applicants largely defined by the wonderful, welcome presence of those Afghan scholars,” Powell said.
With the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan in April 2021, Brown welcomed 15 displaced Afghan college students in late 2021, 12 of whom will remain at the University. “These 12 Afghan scholars have been on campus as special students and are now officially transfer students,” Powell said.
“We understand that there are different opportunities and different pathways through Brown, and when we see that opportunity, we want to take advantage of it,” Powell said. “For example, it is an opportunity for us to admit students from community colleges. It is also an opportunity to admit more student veterans.”
Amelia Jessop ’25 was studying mathematics and creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis before transferring to Brown. At WashU, Jessop was on the pre-medical track, which she described as “career-oriented,” “academically competitive” and “very pre-professional.”
Jessop told The Herald that she applied to Brown for the academic freedom it offers. “I’m most excited about being able to take random classes through the Open Curriculum,” she said.
Jessop, who is currently taking ANTH 1301: “Anthropology of Homelessness,” said that she “would never be able to do a class like that at WashU.”
“I get to volunteer at a homeless shelter once a week,” Jessop said, adding that at her former school, she was “taking five or six classes a semester, and they were all for my major or minor.”
In an email to The Herald, Powell listed economics, computer science and International and Public Affairs as the top three concentrations marked down on transfer applications.
Sam Szykowny ’25 said he is excited to take ENGN 0900: “Managerial Decision Making.” The class will familiarize him with industries like venture capital and offers “a good lens of how to start with a product or figure out a market strategy,” he said.
Szykowny is interested in both business and film but said his ability to explore film was limited at his former school, Pitzer College.
Pitzer “is a small liberal arts college, and I had so many requirements for economics,” Szykowny said. “It also didn’t have enough film classes open for students. I want to minor in film, and I didn’t even get to take a class there about film.”
This semester, Szkyowny joined Ivy Film Festival and Brown Motion Pictures, two student-run film organizations on campus.
Dane Elliot ’25 spent a semester studying in South Korea before transferring to Brown from the University of California at Los Angeles.
After exploring different academic disciplines at Brown, Elliot has decided to concentrate in East Asian Studies but is considering dropping economics, which he majored in at UCLA. Using the flexibility afforded by the open curriculum, he is also exploring other areas like applied math and computer science. “I love how flexible everything is here,” Elliot told The Herald. “Specifically, I … like how individualized education is at Brown.”
All three transfer students expressed how much they value the vibrant community and dynamic students at Brown.
“The general vibe here is calm,” Jessop said. “People are more passionate, and everyone is just okay with doing their own thing.”
“I noticed that people are very passionate about certain subjects and activities, but they don’t have any intention of showing off. Everyone seems very independent,” Szykowny said.
Elliott added that he appreciates how easy it is to connect with faculty and students at Brown. “I feel like professors really care about their students, and every student wants to help out one another,” he said.
“Brown is such a good place to experience faculty collaboration and to collaborate with other students,” he added. “I’m glad to be part of this community.”
Harry is a staff writer for The Brown Daily Herald. Harry is a sophomore from Beijing, China majoring in ceramics at RISD.