Frequently asked questions about Early Decision
Since Brown is test optional for first year applicants in the 2020-21 admission cycle, test scores are not a required component of the first-year application this year. If you would like to include test scores for review in your application and are applying Early Decision, testing must be completed by October to ensure receipt of scores.
We do admit a portion of our Early Decision applicants, which means that their college application process is complete and they will enroll at Brown. In the interest of offering a final decision where possible, we also turn down Early Decision applicants who, based on our experience, would not be competitive in our Regular Decision process. For other early applicants, we defer the final decision until spring to be able to reconsider this group along with Regular Decision candidates.
Students whose Early Decision applications are deferred are well-qualified for study at Brown. A deferral should not be seen as an indication of shortcomings. Deferred applicants will be considered anew among the Regular Decision applicants. Our goal is to admit the most capable and diverse group of students with respect to their interests, backgrounds, and potential to contribute to the Brown community and beyond.
You and your family should make use of our Financial Aid Calculator before you apply Early Decision. Brown’s Financial Aid Calculator is designed to assist prospective undergraduate students and their parents in estimating a family contribution and need-based award if the student were to attend Brown.
If your financial aid package is insufficient, you should contact the Office of Financial Aid directly to ensure that your application was not missing any information which might have affected your package. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you to re-evaluate your package. If the package, after reconsideration, is truly unaffordable for your family, then you will be permitted to withdraw from your obligation to Brown.
Our pool of early applicants tends to include a very high proportion of exceptionally talented students and a higher rate of admission for Early Decision applicants reflects that phenomenon. It does not imply an automatic advantage for all early candidates. We admit Early Decision applicants only when we are confident that we would offer them admission as a Regular Decision applicant.
Yes. You should carefully consider your choices before applying for Early Decision.
Early Decision is intended for students who consider Brown their top choice. The program allows first-year applicants to apply for admission to Brown in the fall of their senior year and receive an admission decision in mid-December. Applicants and their families should be aware that admission via our Early Decision program is a binding agreement to attend Brown.
Applicants who choose to apply to Brown under Early Decision may not submit an application to another institution under another early decision plan or a single-choice early action plan. Students admitted under our Early Decision plan are expected to enroll at Brown and withdraw all pending applications—including those already submitted to regular, rolling, or (open) early action programs.
You should contact our office if you are presented with an unusual dilemma, but colleges are almost always willing to allow students the opportunity to receive notification from other schools before requiring a commitment.
Our Early Decision notification occurs by mid-December and Regular Decision applicants are notified on or near April 1st. We are not able to give advance decisions, because we are fully engaged in piecing together an entire group of admitted students rather than merely determining whether to admit an individual applicant.
You may certainly let us know if there is a significant accomplishment or a noteworthy change in your circumstances, but it is not necessary to amend your application as a matter of course. Remember that a deferral does not mean that an applicant has fallen short in terms of qualification for admission. Make sure that your counselor has the Mid-Year Report form so we can receive your fall term grades and any updates your school would like to provide.