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Princeton University: What You Need to Know

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Whether you feel prepared and confident in your application or your knees are shaking at the very thought of submitting anything to this larger-than-life school, CEA is here to give you all the context you need to understand Princeton’s history, deadlines, and requirements. 

The Basics:

Originally known simply as the College of New Jersey, Princeton was founded in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1767. It is among the top 10 oldest universities in the U.S. and currently has an undergraduate student body of over 5,200 and a graduate student body of nearly 3,000. Both current students and alumni have received countless awards and honors, including but not limited to: Nobel Peace Prizes, Pulitzers, and Fields Medals. Perhaps your name could also make it onto this impressive list one day?

The Requirements: 

1.) A graded written paper, with special emphasis on papers written for English or history classes.

2.) Your midyear school report. It’s important to note that this is a separate form from your school transcript! This allows Princeton’s admissions team to see what your academic progress looks like during the first half of your senior year in high school.

3.) One school counselor recommendation and two teacher recommendations.

4.) At least one set of standardized test scores, from either the SAT or ACT. Additionally, Princeton recommends, but does not require, two SAT subject tests to be submitted. 

The Deadlines:

November 1: Single-Choice Early Action

-This is another way of saying “Restrictive Early Action,” which means that applying to Princeton in this manner will prevent you from applying EA to any other schools. Unlike Early Decision, however, if you are accepted through a Single-Choice application, it is in no way a binding decision! While you will know whether or not you’ve been accepted much earlier than Regular Decision applicants, you can still choose to attend a different institution if you so desire. Princeton doesn’t ask for confirmation of attendance until the spring, which means you will have time to compare financial aid packages.

January 1: Regular Decision

-What you see is what you get! If you want to be considered for a spot in Princeton’s upcoming class, all of your application materials must be submitted to the school by this date.

The Essays: 

Princeton requires two short answers, one list-format answer, and one long-form essay from all applicants. For more information on exactly what these essays look like and how you can start to think about answering them, check out our other handy guide here: Princeton University Supplemental Essay Guide.

The Application:

You can apply to Princeton though the Common App, the Coalition App, or the Universal College Application (UCA).

The Competition:

As it stands, Princeton’s current admission rate is a staggeringly low 5.8%, despite receiving over 35,000 applications during the 2017-18 season. For those admitted, the average SAT and ACT scores ranged from 1440 to 1570 and 32 to 35, respectively. The average GPA for the incoming class was equally high, with most students coming in at an unweighted 3.75 or above.

Think you have what it takes to become a Princeton Tiger? Then get started on your application now!

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