Frequently asked questions about international applicants
We highly recommend that international applicants for whom English is not a first language or a primary language spoken at home submit the results of an English proficiency test. At this time, we accept results for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and the Duolingo English Test. We will also accept the TOEFL IBT Home Edition. Please arrange for Brown to receive the official results. A minimum score of 105 on the TOEFL internet-based exam, a minimum score of 8.0 on the IELTS, or a minimum score of 130 on the Duolingo is expected in most cases. We do not currently accept the IELTS Indicator Examination.
Every year Brown welcomes students from around the world. In fact, about fifteen percent of our students come from abroad. We encourage you to review the information on our website that is unique to international applicants.
All applicants to Brown complete the Common Application. Although the forms are geared toward the U.S. secondary school system, they may be used to convey the specifics of any nation's educational system.
Documents or information that will be part of your application file should be written in English or be accompanied by official translations along with original documents in the original language.
Students who are attending schools outside of the United States must complete and submit the Secondary School Report form, which can be downloaded from the Common Application website.
International applicants have access to and are eligible to be considered for all of the same academic program options as domestic applicants, including the PLME and BRDD.
Due to its status as the language of instruction at Brown, all application forms must be completed in English.
If one of your teachers is more comfortable writing to us in his or her native language, please arrange to have another person (preferably a school official) send a written English translation along with the original letter.
If your school does not have a guidance counselor or college counselor, please ask a school official (such as a principal, dean, or academic advisor) to act in lieu of a guidance counselor, which primarily means that this individual should complete and submit the School Report, which is available from the Common Application. If a question on the School Report form is not applicable to your secondary school, it can be left blank. Secondary school transcripts and any exam results should also be submitted to our office by a school official or by the administering organization.
We are familiar with many of the academic credentials, exams and educational systems around the world and will research any unfamiliar systems to increase our understanding. While certain credentials may be quite different from those commonly used in the United States, we still seek students who present evidence of academic ability and a genuine interest in learning. While we tend to admit students who have achieved at the highest levels in their own systems of education, we focus on the whole person and look well beyond the numerical results achieved in examinations and exam predictions.
Brown meets the full demonstrated need of all admitted students who have applied for financial aid. However, we are currently need-aware when we review applications from international applicants. We will move to a need-blind admission process for international students applying for the class of 2029 in the 2024-2025 admission cycle. If you are an applicant to Brown for the class of 2028 and wish to be considered for financial aid at any time during your four years at Brown, you should apply at the time of your initial application to the College. Awards are not given in cash, but as credits toward the cost of tuition, fees, room and board. Financial aid covers books and some personal expenses, but does not cover vacation and summer expenses.
Since the TOEFL and the SAT have very different purposes, we do not consider either one to replace the usefulness of the other.
At Brown, international diploma or certificate exam scores/grades may serve three main purposes after a student has matriculated if official results are on file. Most commonly, students may use them to place into higher level courses. They may also be used to obtain actual course credit (which is not identical to placement or concentration credit) when needed in order to graduate, or alternatively, to qualify for one semester of advanced standing in order to meet graduation requirements.
Students may not receive placement credit, course credit or advanced standing on the basis of their results if they have taken the corresponding course at Brown. Students may consult the academic dean for pre-Brown transfer credit about their eligibility for course credit and/or advanced standing after matriculating, but may not apply before completing their first year of study at Brown.
International Baccalaureate results in certain higher level subjects, A-Level, other international diploma or certificate programs and advanced coursework completed at other colleges or universities prior to Brown may be considered for placement credit by Brown during the summer before your arrival if the Office of College Admission received your official results.
When final examination results are not available until after our admission decisions are made (e.g., British A-Levels), we rely on the predicted results as provided by your school officials and on any other academic credentials that are already available. We trust that your actual examination results will reasonably match the predicted outcomes and review the final results with care. We must reserve the right to rescind an offer of admission in the event that actual results do not meet the predictions.
Brown requires proof of completion of high school (secondary school) or its equivalent at the time of entrance. Brown first-year students will have completed 12 years of primary and secondary schooling.You should plan to sit for national examinations (such as the GCE A-levels, German Abitur, French Baccalauréat) and submit the predicted scores for those examinations as part of your credentials for admission to Brown.
Students who have completed 13 years of schooling and who have completed their external national examinations for college-level work with exceptional results may be eligible for some advanced standing or transfer credit at Brown once they become sophomores. International certifications most commonly earned by our students include the International Baccalaureate diploma or A-levels; other national "13th-year" certification programs, however, may be considered on a case-by-case basis. It should be noted that neither course credit nor enrollment credit is granted for AS or O-level exams.
We expect the following of all international students who are offered admission to Brown’s undergraduate college:
- The student should be able to understand rapid, idiomatic American English as spoken in the classroom.
- The student should be able to express thoughts quickly and clearly in both spoken and written English.
- The student should be able to read the English language with ease.
English language proficiency must be achieved before you are admitted. Brown does not offer courses in English as a Second Language for its undergraduates and does not offer provisional acceptances to students who are deficient in English.
There are no quotas of any kind for any of our applicants. We value the presence of international students in the Brown community. We do not set targets or limits, but instead respond to the number of qualified applicants we receive in a given year.
All students who are citizens of a sub-Saharan African country who apply for financial aid are automatically considered for the Advancing Africa Scholarship. This scholarship provides additional benefits for the selected candidate. For more information please contact the Office of Financial Aid.