Brown and UPenn Visit Report

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Brown University, Rhode Island

Distinctives – arts and academic equal interests – focus on undergrads – liberal medical program –

  • 7th oldest uni, est. 1776. Ivy League. Location – Providence, Rhode Island – between Boston and New York. On hill – East side. Residntial college. Advantages of city without distraction.
  • The « Ocean » state – sailing etc.
  • Classes – 6.4k undergrads, 1.6k grads. 17 or fewer students in many classes.
  • Campus – archaeological digs !
  • Open curriculum – 1st year – core curriculum (typical liberal arts approach). All are chosen courses, however. Active understanding and learning – genuine interest encouraged.
  • 4 courses each semester. 2K courses offered each year ! A lot of variety.
  • Guidance is given during the choosing process. End of 2nd year you dcclare a Major. 80 pre-set « concentrations ». 25 % of students « double-concentrate » – doable.
  • Advisors provided for whatever you choose to do – e.g. Sport, thesis etc – Enable you to do what you wish to.
  • Faculty know that students keen to learn. Focus is on the undergraduates.
  • Research is happening in all disciplines.
  • Rhode Island School of Design – can take courses there. Ie Dual Degree Program – 5 year program.
  • Liberal Medical Education – non-accelerated – know they want to be doctors but want to do other things as well – not just hot-housed biomed choices…
  • Division 1 athletic program. 4Th largest in country. New swimming facility.
  • 350 student groups.
  • Study abroad – anywhere allowed. You can create your own programme.
  • Required residence on campus 1st 3 years. 9 dining halls. Loads of restaurants in Providence. Art museums.
  • V international presence.
  • SATs – holistic admissions.
  • Need-blind and all scholarships are need-based. Not just tuition fees – all costs included.
  • 4 year courses

University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia

Maxine Mendoza

  • Urban school. 5Th largest city in US. Balance of campus and city.
  • Founded 1740 by Benjamin Franklin – his ideas continue to shape the spirit of the uni.
  • His philosophy – focus on one core academic field. But also flexibility – interdisciplinarity. 1St US ambassador to France
  • Founded 1st hospital in the US.
  • « Great end of all learning is service to society » Learning with a purpose !
  • Wide range of backgrounds welcome.
  • For international students, commitment to support.
  • 111 different countries represented.
  • West Philadelphia – v accessible and walkable. No need for public transport – everything on campus. Good sense of community. Over the river and you will be in downtown Philadelphia.
  • 10k undergrads, same number grads.
  • Regular access to faculty members.
  • 11 different college houses. Freshmen arrive 1 week before other students. You can practise languages on corridors in the houses.
  • 4 undergrad schools – College Arts Sciences, Business, Engineering, Nursing. Not separate campuses – but majority of your courses taken within these schools. Majority enter Coll Art Sci. Majors in sciences, humanities, interdisciplinary courses such as Bio-Neuroscience. PPE department.
  • 1.6k combinations ! 70 % of classes have fewer than 25 students.
  • Business – Economics, Applied Econ
  • Lots of interdisciplinarity possible
  • Possible to do 2 undergrad school at same time.
  • Primarily a research university. You can get involved! 4 hospitals on campus.
  • Lifelong access to Penn career services. 93 % of grads employed or in grad school within 6 months after graduation.
  • SATs – seek to view through cultural lens


  • Assessment of applications – holistic.