It’s not likely that you, my reader, are building a fusion prototype, but if you do have some kind of project or relatable set of activities, driven by a clear central interest, use that for your essay. notice how even the common book becomes an object of passion and interest, both of which will make your essay stand out. notice that this paragraph also offers another idea for a hook and intro, on a seemingly mundane topic made dramatic by a personal passion for it. For Brown, you definitely need to do more, so it’s back to that Open Curriculum for a bit more research–no footnotes needed.
You could simply like books, for example, as I do, and talk about books as a kind of wormhole; each time you open a good book, you are opening a door into a new universe, a parallel dimension of an alternate mind . Walking into Moe’s Books in Berkeley, for example, and sampling the shelves is like a combination of time and space travel . Returning to our fusion reactor essay, I suggested that the author dial back his enthusiasm and his claims a bit–there are plenty of folks doing fusion projects at home (again, not kidding about that) and some are pretty nutty, so I suggested that my client recognize that he was engaging in an experiment that was about personal development more than it was about realistically achieving cold fusion, and after looking at some of the stuff my client wanted to include, I had him delete a reference to a (very) eccentric fellow who had offered some advice; in the end, this applicant described how he became interested in this project (carbon-free energy=saving the planet) and he used only one specific reference, to that Berkeley prof who offered him some feedback on his experimental “reactor.” Ultimately, this essay worked in the sense that this applicant was admitted to UT Austin and Purdue. Here is another link (no video testimonials, this time) for Brown’s Open Curriculum, giving some background on it: Background on the Open Curriculum.
Brown Essay for Prompt 1–Structure and Getting Started I would recommend an essay structure that starts with your academic interest(s), then concludes with specific aspects of Brown and its Open Curriculum–though the essay does not need to be evenly divided between the two.
The next thing to consider would be what definitely piques your interest, and with only 250 words, you want either a single subject that is a passion (and that should probably be related to your application –the area of interest or passion that sets you apart and that hopefully also ties in with your prospective major), or you want two or three things that you can quickly define and tie together easily–the key is to create a “box” of clearly related ideas and activities, not to create a laundry-list of things you do.
Select the "Regular Decision" option on the Common Application (not "Early Decision").
Choose the "Quest Bridge" option under fee waiver when you complete the Common Application.
(I am using the subject a former client used, but I am not using his language; the examples are mine, meant to show a couple of ways to use a more expository opener that does not waste words with much scene-setting but that still allows a nice hook) Notice how both descriptions do set the scene and provide a hook, and notice how the subject does a lot of work for you: the project itself sets up a focus on science and engineering, which can be developed through quick references to classes, to research done and contacts made in the course of constructing the reactor prototype–in the case of this essay, the student had done enough sincere work that he got the attention of a Berkeley nuclear engineering professor, who gave him some advice that he could cite.
So he used the process of building this device as a way to pull in things he’d done that were not activities per se, but that could be used here to show his academic/intellectual curiosity. But I would suggest that it would be a good idea to do some research on courses and profs at Stanford as well; name-dropping a program/class of interest (or two) at Stanford is always a good way to support that Demonstrated Interest, by showing that you know who, what and therefore why you are applying.
Brown University prompts for 2019-2020 are off and running as of July.
For those of you wanting to do an East Coast/West Coast Split, you will be pleased to find that you will be able to modify a Stanford essay a bit and use it on your Brown application (or vice-versa) and you will also find that This post will focus primarily on Brown’s Prompt 1; I will look at Prompts 2 and 3 in later posts, and also compmare the Brown prompts to other college admissions prompts–finding ways to reuse ideas is a key concept if you are doing ten or more applications.