Getting a spot at Brown University, one of seven universities that make up the Ivy League, is exceptionally competitive. To earn a seat in the incoming class, students need to do more than get good grades; they stand out in each component of the application process, including the interview.
The Brown University admissions interview gives applicants an opportunity to express their interest in attending the institution, as well as showcase their personalities. Read on to learn more about what you can do to set yourself apart for all the right reasons during the interview process.
What Does Brown University Look For?
It’s essential to prepare for your interview. However, before getting started, you need to know exactly what Brown University is looking for when reviewing applicants’ profiles.
Ultimately, the university is searching for students who are curious, ambitious, and eager to make a positive impact on the world. When admissions officers review applications, they consider application components including class rank, GPA, the rigor of your high school report, standardized test scores, application essays, letters of recommendation, and interviews.
Brown University prioritizes factors like rigor of high school curriculum, GPA, and class rank, considering them very important in the admissions process. Meanwhile, it considers standardized test scores as less important. Though the interview is informational rather than evaluative, it is still a good idea to bring your A game to any interaction you have to Brown University.
The Brown Video Introduction
Brown University recently announced a new application component for the 2021-22 admissions cycle: the Brown video introduction. The supplemental section gives students the opportunity to tell Brown admissions officers more about themselves, in their own voice, beyond the information covered in their application. The video may be up to two minutes in length and there is no specific topic or format that Brown is requesting to see. Don’t worry about video quality or production effects. Instead, the institution encourages students to get creative with their words and strive to tell their own unique story.
For this upcoming admissions cycle, Brown is offering the video introduction in lieu of alumni interviews. The admissions office used interviews as a way for applicants to both get to know more about the college and share more about themselves, and the university has indicated they may continue alumni interviews in the future. If that proves true, there are several tips that students can keep in mind to set themselves up for success.
14 Brown Interview Questions You May Face
While Brown University may not be offering alumni interviews for students applying this year, it is a good idea to get familiar with Brown interview questions so you can compile the best responses possible. While you may not need these answers for an admissions interview this year, they can provide insight into yourself and the school to help you plan your video introduction and write your essays.
#1 Why Brown University?
Think of this question as an opportunity to demonstrate that you’ve done your research. Keep in mind that Brown is a private Ivy League university, so it has a stellar reputation and an impressive alumni network. Use this foundational information as a starting point, but make sure to personalize your response by mentioning some of the Brown courses that you’re interested in taking and highlighting some specific attributes that make it a best-fit option for you. If you’ve had a chance to go on-campus as part of your college visits, highlight any aspects of the campus or community that really stood out to you.
#2 Tell Me the Most Interesting Fact About You
Open-ended questions like this can be challenging, so you’ll need to understand how to ace a college interview to strategize the best response. Make sure that your answer highlights a side of you that you would like the admissions office to be aware of, even if it’s not the absolute most interesting fact.
#3 What Do You Think Is the Best Part of Brown University?
This is another chance to show the admissions office that you have done your research and that you’re an expert on Brown University. Choose to focus on a quality that relates to your interests and passions. For example, Brown has a top-tier arts program. If you’ve always been involved in creative pursuits, that might be something to mention.
#4 What Can You Bring to the Community of Students and Teachers at Brown?
During the Brown admissions interview, your interviewer will be trying to get a clear idea of the kind of impact that you’ll make on campus, which is why they might ask this question. This can be a good opportunity to highlight community service work that you are passionate about or talk about leadership roles that you’ve held.
#5 What Do You Like to Do Outside of School?
Simply getting good grades isn’t enough to earn admission; students also need to have developed interests. So, what do colleges look for in extracurricular activities? Admissions officers will affirm applicants who have pursued the same interests for several years and who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to those interests.
#6 What Is the Best Thing About Brown?
Since Brown University has so much to offer, there is no single right answer. Instead, you should reflect on what you think you’ll enjoy most about Brown, whether it’s a research opportunity or a particular professor whose work you admire. Then, work on creating a response that is built around whatever fact or opportunity genuinely excites you most.
#7 Why Did You Choose This University Over Others?
Use this question to articulate exactly what sets Brown apart from other colleges you have looked at. Since plenty of schools have sprawling campuses and a tight-knit feel, you’ll have to do your research to make sure you can pinpoint reasons that you want to go to Brown, specifically.
#8 What’s the Most Innovative Idea That You Have Implemented at School, or Work?
Part of the purpose of the Brown admissions interview is to get a sense of how you think and to imagine the impact you could make on campus. Take some time to reflect on your academic achievements so that you are prepared to answer this question. Remember that this is about innovation, not academic excellence. Did you answer a tough philosophical question or make an important discovery during an experiment? Mine your experiences and be ready to answer how you’ve implemented your innovative idea.
#9 Where Do You See Yourself in Ten Years?
It can be challenging to predict where you’ll be in the future, let alone in ten years. Fortunately, your interviewer doesn’t expect you to articulate an in-depth plan that outlines every career step you want to take. Instead, they’re just looking to get an idea of your professional ambitions, and how you plan to take advantage of your Brown education to work toward these goals.
#10 How Would You Describe Your Personality?
While academics certainly carry the most weight in the admissions process, admissions officers also want to understand who you would be on campus. They want to know what you would be like as a roommate and the on-campus clubs you’d want to join. Use this question to give them a better sense of who you are.
#11 Tell Me One Thing About Yourself You Wouldn’t Want Me to Know
Be careful with this question. Don’t disclose anything that could genuinely damage your reputation and avoid divulging any sensitive information that you don’t feel comfortable sharing. Instead, use it as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on something that you’re proud of or interested in that you haven’t gotten a chance to mention elsewhere on your college application.
#12 How Do You Think You’ll Fit Into the Culture of Brown?
This may be one of the trickiest Brown University interview questions to answer. This is where you will need to show how much you know about the university, and explain how your own personal growth and development maps onto the culture at Brown.
#13 If You Had the Opportunity to Add One More Course to Your Program, What Would It Be?
One way to answer this question is by reviewing Brown’s course catalog. Read through various classes and descriptions and see what piques your interest. Then, when your interviewer asks you this question, you can be ready to describe a course that isn’t already being offered. Make sure to choose something that you are interested in and that would fit in with your other interests.
#14 Do You Have Any Questions?
When your interviewer asks if you have any questions, you should always say yes. Asking your own questions demonstrates that you’re engaged in the interview and that you’re eager to learn even more about Brown. To avoid brainstorming on the spot, write down a list of 5-10 good questions before your conversation so that you’re ready when that question comes. Examples include:
- How would you describe Brown’s culture?
- What’s one thing you think many incoming freshmen don’t know about Brown?
- Why did you choose Brown?
How Do I Prepare for a Brown Interview?
If you are lucky enough to schedule a Brown admissions interview, you’ll need to start preparing for the big day. Students should review their resumes and the questions above to prepare answers that map their passions and interests into strong, focused interview answers.
Now that you know what questions you should expect to be asked during your Brown University interview, it may be a good idea to get familiar with the do’s and don’ts of college admission interviews. Check out IvyWise’s ultimate guide to be fully prepared for your Brown University interview.