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 spring has been one of great disruption and difficulty for communities around the world. Our goal is to support prospective Brown students and their families during this unprecedented time as they begin the application process while simultaneously navigating the challenges of a global health crisis.
As COVID-19 continues to impact students and families around the world, it has become clear that adjustments needed to be made to our policy regarding standardized testing this year. With the recent announcement that there will not be an at-home SAT offered this fall, and the ability to register for in-person testing significantly limited, we know that students are facing particularly great challenges in regions that have already been disproportionately affected by the global pandemic. While we cannot change the realities of these unprecedented circumstances, we can change our admission policy to address the challenges with which we are confronted. For first-year applicants in the 2020-21 admission cycle, Brown is now test optional. This change is for the 2020-21 academic year only. More updates and information on standardized testing can be found here.
Changes to High School Curricula and Grading Policies
We also recognize that as classes moved to virtual learning for many high schools this spring and possibly this fall, curricula and grading policies will change. We understand the challenges and constraints that students have been working under since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. We appreciate that all students will not 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 have changed grading policies and some have offered their students a choice of letter grade or a pass/fail grading system. Our advice continues to be to remain safe and to take care of yourself, your family and your community. We will review the results of the spring 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 2025, please know that there will be space on our application for you to share additional information about how COVID-19 (and other natural disasters) may have impacted your life, your academic coursework and your extracurricular activities.
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 this spring 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 is currently closed to visitors, we encourage you to connect with Admission Officers and current students and experience Brown through our virtual campus tour.
In previous years, we have offered alumni interviews as a way for applicants to get to know Brown while also sharing more about themselves conversationally beyond the information provided in an application. However, as we strive to ensure that all applicants have equitable access to all components of our application process, alumni interviews will not be offered for the 2020-21 admission cycle. As with all aspects of the admission process each year, this change will be evaluated before the 2021-22 application cycle begins. Check our website for additional information about the option to submit a 2-minute video portfolio.