The Ivy Coach Daily

July 18, 2017

2017-2018 Princeton Admissions Prompts

Princeton Essays, Princeton Admissions Essays, Princeton University Admissions Essay Prompts
Noticeably absent from the 2017-2018 Princeton admissions essay prompts is any reference to Woodrow Wilson.

The 2017-2018 Princeton admissions prompts have been released by the university. Interestingly, Princeton’s essays for this admissions cycle make no reference to one Woodrow Wilson. As regular readers of our college admissions blog know well, Princeton has been removing many references to the former United States president from the university after so many of its students, faculty, and alumni brought to light that Princeton was honoring a man who exhibited clear racism.

So what’s been removed from Princeton’s admissions essay prompts? The nation’s service essay, one that read, “’Princeton in the Nations Service’ was the title of a speech given by Woodrow Wilson on the 150th anniversary of the University. It became the unofficial Princeton motto and was expanded in 2016 to ’Princeton in the nations service and the service of humanity.’ – Woodrow Wilson, Princeton Class of 1879, served on the faculty and was Princetons president from 1902–1910.”

Woodrow Wilson no longer makes an appearance in Princeton University’s essays for admission. No surprise there.

The 2017-2018 Princeton essays read as follows: (1) Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (Response required in about 150 words.) (2) 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.) (3) A Few Details – 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

And then there’s a fourth, long prompt that read as follows: “In addition to the essay you have written for the Common Application or the Universal College Application, 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. Please do not repeat, in full or in part, the essay you wrote for the Common Application or Universal College Application.

  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 and co-founder of 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.”

Engineering applicants will also be required to respond to a 300-500 word essay prompt “describing why you are interested in studying engineering, any experiences in or exposure to engineering you have had and how you think the programs in engineering offered at Princeton suit your particular interests.”

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