princeton

 University admissions guidance

What makes Princeton University so special?

Of the eight Ivy League schools, Princeton might be the "ivyest" of them all. Not only does Princeton have the most actual ivy on its campus, but Princeton seems to embody the exclusive and aristocratic feel of what it means to be in the Ivy League.

Unique to this elite school are Princeton's eating clubs.  Independent coed organizations that take the role of both dining hall and fraternity for about three-fourths of Princeton’s upperclassmen, they are housed in historic mansions throughout campus. It is one of the oldest universities in the U.S., along with Harvard, Yale and UPenn.

Princeton Quick Facts

Location: Princeton, New Jersey

Year Founded: 1746

US News Ranking: 1

Application Deadline: January 1st

Must receive SAT/ACT scores by: January 1st

2017 regular decision acceptance rate: 5.4%

Total applications received (2017): 26,498

Princeton's student life is steeped in traditions.  For example, every fall freshmen and sophomores compete in Cane Spree, where a freshman and a sophomore will grapple for control of a cane. This commemorates a time in the 1870s when sophomores, angry at the freshmen who strutted around with fancy canes, stole all of the canes from the freshmen, hitting them with their own canes in the process.

At graduation, the whole class walks through the FitzRandolph Gates—the main gates of the university - but never walk through them before that time or, according to legend, they will never make it to graduation. 

Prompts for Princeton's 2017-18 Undergrad Supplemental Essays

  • Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (Response required in about 150 words.)

  • Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held. (Response required in about 150 words.)

  • Please list the following: 
    Your favorite book and its author
    Your favorite website
    Your favorite recording
    Your favorite source of inspiration
    Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title
    Your favorite movie
    Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you
    Your favorite keepsake or memento
    Your favorite word

  • Please write an essay of about 500 words (no more than 650 words and no fewer than 250 words). Using one of the themes below as a starting point, write about a person, event or experience that helped you define one of your values or in some way changed how you approach the world:

  1. Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way.

  2. “One of the great challenges of our time is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and point less straightforwardly to solutions.”
    Omar Wasow, assistant professor of politics, Princeton University. This quote is taken from Professor Wasow’s January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University.

  3. “Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.”
    Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy and director of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, Princeton University.

  4. Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.​

Princeton's Programs Ranked

Economics Department: #1 (USNews)

Sociology Department: #1 (USNews)

History Department: #1 (USNews)

Engineering School: #17 (USNews)

English Department: #8 (USNews)

Physics Department: #1 (USNews)

Computer Science Department: #8 (USNews)

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