Brown University

Providence, RI: When I made a trip to Brown University,I had high expectations, considering its status as an Ivy League school. Butafter making the trek, I was quite dissatisfied. Brown is just not as nice asit’s made out to be.

Brown University has a storied past. It was foundedas a Methodist school in the 1700s, but was the first university open to allreligions. Originally, the school was outside Providence, but it moved to a largehill in the city in the early 1800s. The first building, Founder’s Hall, was atfirst thought to be too big for the school, but obviously that is no longer thecase. Brown was not co-ed until the 1970s, and what used to be the women’sschool, Pembroke, has become integrated into the campus.

I had a goodfirst impression of Brown; it’s a pretty campus in a good location. But, slowly,that impression changed. First, it was very difficult to find parking. This wasnot that big a deal, but it was an inconvenience. Then, the admissions office wasdifficult to find and not very welcoming, unlike several other colleges Ivisited. Since the admissions office is often the first place you see at acollege, it should make a good impression.

One bright spot of my time atBrown was the information session, which was very helpful. The speaker explainedthe lack of a core curriculum, which was intriguing. Another positive aspect wasthe requirement of only 30 classes to graduate versus the regular 32, whichprovides a little leeway. Also, students can choose which classes they want toreceive letter grades in and which they want designated as pass/fail. Getting aneducation without worrying about grades seems like a primary concern atBrown.

Although the information session was nice, the tour was a greatdisappointment. The group was large, and even though there were two guides, itwas not divided up. This made the tour feel very impersonal. We trekked aroundthe campus in a huge group, only once entering a building, which was a ratherugly dorm. The tour guides had little personality, and were not goodrepresentatives of the student body. Both the freshman and sophomore were pre-medmajors and seemed unexcited, almost apathetic. One guide sounded as if he hadmemorized the manual and had no inflection in his voice whatsoever. The campusitself was pretty, but it looked just like any other collegecampus.

Leaving Brown, I was greatly disappointed. The campus was boring.The tour guides were mundane. Nothing seemed special about the school. The onlybright spot is its curriculum. Overall, Brown University was a greatletdown.

Reviewed in 2001