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Cut-throat atmosphere?

Honestly, what is the atmosphere at Brown like? I know a lot of you adore Brown from your posts and comments, but is it competitive and cut-throat? Please answer anonymously if you have to.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
Relative to what? Harvard? UChicago? Evergreen? Your local community college?

It will also depend on your concentration.

Apr. 4th, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC)
I didn't find the atmosphere at Brown to be cut-throat at all. In my experience people were intellectually curious, and serious about their studies, but not because they were trying to get ahead of their classmates. People were serious about their studies because they cared about learning things. People study together and work together a lot at Brown.

I think that the open curriculum and the grading policy really make it unlikely that people are going to be super-focused on their grades and competing with each other. Because courses are graded either ABC/no credit or Satisfactory/no credit there isn't a lot of incentive to be cut-throat with your fellow students. When I was there people didn't talk much about what grades they got in classes or on assignments. They talked about the content, or being happy or unhappy with how they did, but the specific letters and numbers weren't a frequent topic. The open curriculum means people are taking classes either because the class is in their major or because it's an elective choice that interests them, which I think helps keep the focus on the content.

I was at Brown from 1998-2002. It would be good to talk with more recent alums and current students about your question as well, but I doubt that the atmosphere has changed substantially in this regard from when I was there.
Apr. 4th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
The atmosphere at Brown is definitely not competitive and cut-throat. Maybe competitive with ourselves enough that we push ourselves to get the grades we want but not competitive with other people at all. People work together all the time and help each other out. Hope that helps!
Apr. 4th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
I came from a very competitive high school, and after tests everyone would just compare grades. At Brown, it almost feels like a faux pas to ask someone about their grades. Everyone is very accomplished and quite brilliant, but completely normal.
Apr. 4th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC)
I'm in the sciences, which is pretty difficult materials, and for the most part we all help each other out. Everyone has homework buddies, and no one is afraid to ask each other for help. I was a very competitive person in high school, but here my biggest competitor is myself (I know, so cliché).

Brown really is relaxed. If that's the kind of atmosphere you like, then it'd be a great fit.
Apr. 5th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
Absolutely not. I have never seen or heard of anyone sabotaging someone's work or withholding information in order to get a higher grade. In the humanities, it's pretty common to have collaborative assignments, and I've never had an experience studying with people that was anything but pleasant and informative. It really helps that you can't access your GPA and that taking courses S/NC is encouraged, I think.

Overall, I think that people at Brown do take a high level of pride in their work, but almost everyone knows that success does not have to occur at the expense of others. If you come to Brown prepared to do your best and willing to not compare yourself to others, you're almost certain to have a wonderful experience.
Feb. 12th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
what does S/NC mean?
pardon my ignorance, but what does S/NC refer to?
Dec. 11th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
Re: what does S/NC mean?
Satisfactory/ No Credit
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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