Given the worldwide impact of novel coronavirus, we want to address some questions prospective Brown students and their families may have as they begin thinking about applying to college. We know this period has been one of great disruption and difficulty for communities around the world. Our goal is to support prospective Brown students and their families as they begin the application process while simultaneously navigating the challenges of a global health crisis.
Brown will extend our test-optional policy to first-year applicants in the 2021-2022 admission cycle. We hope that applicants will have the opportunity to take the SAT or ACT and submit test scores as part of the admission process this year. The SAT or ACT, when submitted, will continue to be considered in the context of all the other information we have about a candidate. As with every aspect of the admission process, this policy will be evaluated again before the 2022-2023 application cycle begins. More updates and information on standardized testing can be found here.
Changes to High School Curricula and Grading Policies
We also recognize that as many high schools moved to virtual learning, curricula and grading policies also changed. We understand the challenges and constraints that students have been working under since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate that not all students will have experienced remote learning in the same way, and we assure you that your application will be reviewed fairly and thoughtfully with full awareness that many events were far beyond your control, including the grading policy of your school.
Many schools changed grading policies during the spring of 2020 and some offered students a choice of letter grade or a pass/fail grading system. Our advice at the time was to remain safe and to take care of yourself, your family and your community, and this continues to be the philosophy we encourage. We will review the results of that term in the context of your entire high school record, with no preference for the choice of pass/fail or letter grades. You may be reassured to know that for many years Brown undergraduates have had the choice of letter grades or Satisfactory/No Credit for each of their classes.
For prospective applicants to the Class of 2026, please know that there will be space on our application for you to share additional information about how COVID-19 and any other natural disasters or community disruptions may have impacted your life, your academic coursework and your extracurricular activities. Students should not feel compelled to complete this section if they have not experienced serious or long-lasting negative impacts related to COVID-19. Many students appropriately leave this optional section blank.
Extracurricular Activities and More
Please be assured that Brown's Office of College Admission understands that your extracurriculars, sports, internships, volunteer work and other pursuits have been disrupted. We will consider the many elements impacting and shaping your experiences as a result of COVID-19. We review every applicant's file holistically and in context. We want to see what you have accomplished with the resources and opportunities available to you in high school, as well as evaluate your potential to thrive within the unique offerings of Brown University.
Brown does not track demonstrated interest, and students who have been unable to visit campus will face no disadvantage in the admissions process. We know by the very fact that you apply that you are seriously interested in Brown. And while our campus currently remains closed to visitors, we encourage you to connect with admission officers and current students and experience Brown through our virtual events.