Princeton University Admissions
Famed alumnus F. Scott Fizgerald once wrote of his alma mater in his novel This Side of Paradise (1920), “”From the first he loved Princeton — its lazy beauty, its half-grasped significance, the wild moonlight revel of the rushes, the handsome, prosperous big-game crowds, and under it all the air of struggle that pervaded his class.” His writing captures not only the beauty of the Ivy League university’s Collegiate Gothic campus, but the attitude of self-assured excellence that pervades its student body. Sure, Princeton has all of the trappings of an elite research university, including a postgraduate population of 3,200 students, but its heart and soul has always remained with its liberal arts college.
From its founding in 1746, through the time Fitzgerald attended before enlisting in World War I, to the present moment, Princeton has garnered a reputation within the Ivy League for its emphasis on undergraduate teaching and exclusive social life. Around 5,300 undergraduates call the New Jersey campus home, although many find themselves drawn to nearby New York City and Philadelphia on weekends. Faculty at the R1 research university have included novelist Toni Morrison, philosopher Peter Singer, and, via the Institute for Advanced Study, mathematician Albert Einstein.
Princeton offers its students 37 majors (termed “concentrations”) and over 50 certificate programs (the equivalent of minors). All undergraduates receive either a Bachelor of Arts degree (A.B.) or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.). The core curriculum for A.B. students requires a freshman writing seminar class and foreign language proficiency, as well as courses taken in the following categories: epistemology and cognition, ethical thought and moral values, historical analysis, literature and the arts, quantitative reasoning, laboratory science and technology, and social analysis. Students in the engineering programs fulfill requirements in mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science, as well as taking a freshman writing seminar. All students are required to research and write a senior thesis.
As the fourth oldest institution of higher education in the United States, Princeton has been forging its own path in American intellectual, cultural, and academic history for centuries. Like its Ivy counterpart UPenn, Princeton’s campus briefly served as the capital of the colonies during the Revolutionary War. For most of its history, Princeton only admitted rich white men, including during the tenure of President (of Princeton, and later, the U.S.) Woodrow Wilson, who maintained the university’s policy of socioeconomic and racial exclusion. In the second half of the twentieth century, Princeton underwent radical change, expanding its diversity on campus and becoming coeducational in 1969. In the early 1970s, the campus was a hotbed of anti-war student activism.
Today, Princeton is known for its residential colleges which house nearly all students for all four years, and the “eating club” scene, in which roughly two thirds of upperclassmen participate. These clubs are housed in intricate mansions and serve as social hubs and dining halls for members (to the extent that they even replace university meal plans). Other facets of social life include: the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, the nation’s oldest collegiate political, literary, and debate society; The Daily Princetonian, the second oldest college daily student newspaper in the United States; and the WPRB (103.3 FM) radio station, the oldest licensed college radio station in the nation. Campus culture skews more athletic, with varsity intercollegiate, club intercollegiate, and intramural teams drawing the participation of a majority of the student body. The Princeton Tigers men’s football team has won 28 national championships and is considered the world’s first modern football team in history.
For admission to the Class of 2027, Princeton received 39,644 applications, and admitted 1,782, for an acceptance rate of 4.5%. The most competitive applicants bring strong grades and specialized extracurricular commitment to the table, but the Undergraduate Admissions office points out that all applications are best evaluated “in their true context.” In other words, you are encouraged to describe who you are and to clarify the strengths and weaknesses of your application through any writing you submit. Ivy Coach knows what Princeton admissions officers like to see, and we are here to help you understand the “true context” of your application!
Princeton University Admissions Statistics
|Princeton University||Overall Accept. Rate||Regular Decision Accept. Rate||Regular Decision Apps Accepted||Regular Decision Apps Received||Early Decision / Action Accept. Rate||Percent of Class Filled by Early Apps||Early Decision / Action Apps Received||Early Decision / Action Apps Accepted||Expected Number of Students to Enroll||Total Apps Received||Total Apps Accepted|
|2018||7.3 %||5.4 %||1,225||22,787||18.5%||n/a*||3,854||714||1,308||26,641||1,939|
n/a* = not applicable since an EA policy was in place
n/a# = not applicable since an EA / ED policy was not in place