How to get into Princeton University

Located in New Jersey, Princeton is an Ivy League private university, established in 1746 – which makes it the fourth oldest university in the USA.

It has been ranked No.1 for best undergraduate teaching quality every year since 2015, and produced alumni such as Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, and Alan Turing, two US presidents and 74 Nobel laureates. Princeton’s current student population is 8,419 and it is ranked 17th in the world (QS,2024) and  fourth  in the USA. Unsurprisingly, its admission rate is around 5.8 percent, so getting a place is no mean achievement. The average GPA for accepted students was 3.9 per cent and over, and while Princeton continues to be test-optional in 2024, the university normally expects SAT scores of 1530 and over, and an ACT score above 33. It is clearly highly competitive, and it is never too early to start preparing your application and drafting possible responses to the essay prompts which form part of the admissions process – described below.  Remember that Princeton is need-blind and your ability to pay its fees plays no part in the selection process. If you secure a place, Princeton will cover all your expenses through a grant – not a loan – and is known for being generous in providing financial help. 

How to get into Princeton University - academic requirements and documentation?

When to apply: You have two options:

  • Single choice early action. You need to put in your application by 1 November and will hear back by 15 December. This is only a good idea if Princeton is your first choice and does not offer any tangible advantages.
  • Regular decision. The deadline is 1 January, and you will get a response by 31 March.

How to get into Princeton University - Princeton University - General requirements

Princeton expects applicants to have a solid foundation in a range of subjects.

Contact Elab for information on entry requirements and the documents you will need to upload.

How to get into Princeton University - the Princeton Supplement

Ivy League schools allow you to apply through the Common App or the Coalition Application, but whichever route you decide to take, you will also be required to fill in the Princeton Supplement, online, since it forms a key part of your application. The Supplement is made up of four essays and three short answers, which vary in length and provide additional information about your character, interests, beliefs, your passions, and personality. The essay word length ranges from 150-250 for the four main essays and a mere 50 words for the  three short answers. Taken together with the dry facts, scores and projected exam results, the provided in the Supplement enables admissions staff to take a holistic view of each candidate. This is your opportunity to show your true colours, talents, and possibilities, so do not leave the essays to the last minute or treat them as an unpleasant but necessary task. They are the spotlights, and you are the main character on the Princeton stage, so step up and amaze your admissions audience and show them that you deserve to be offered a place.

How to get into Princeton - Be prepared to work hard

Princeton is a highly rigorous academic environment and, as an undergraduate, you will be expected to fulfil the general education distribution requirements before you can graduate. Princeton believes that learning is an integration of many disciplines and thus BA undergraduates have to take 31 courses and engineering students must complete 36.

How to get into Princeton University - Princeton BA undergraduate courses

  • Literature and arts
  • Science and engineering
  • Social analysis
  • Culture
  • Epistemology and cognition
  • Ethical thought and moral values
  • Historical analysis
  • Quantitative and computational reasoning
  • AND one foreign language, two papers based on independent work and a senior thesis.
  • Every student also has to do a writing seminar in their first year.

As you can see, Princeton’s reputation for academic excellence is firmly based on extremely demanding work. You will choose your BA major at the end of the second year, whereas BSE students decide on their major at the end of the first year.The majority of classes are very small and contain 20 or fewer students. Note that Princeton does NOT have a school of medicine, law, education, or business. In addition, it only offers Master’s degrees in Architecture, Engineering, Finance and Public Policy. The majority of its postgraduates are working on their doctoral theses.

How to get into Princeton - A summary

  • Princeton University offers world class education in a campus setting which has often been called the most stunning in the world.Collegiate Gothic architecture and a residential college system, relatively small student numbers and a huge endowment, which pays for the libraries, sculptures, labs, and facilities that distinguish Princeton from other Ivy League universities, make it an enviable destination for any student. Princeton leaves its mark. Alumni gather every year for a reunion which can number 20,000-30,000 participants and give generously to their alma mater. The artificial Lake Carnegie, set up to tempt Princetonians away from playing football and start rowing, continues to attract athletes, while 500 organizations stand in the wings, ready to offer you leisure activities as broad as your imagination. Princeton is the epitome of academic quality and achievement and if you intend to apply for a place, start getting ready to submit your application well in advance. Elab is here to offer guidance, suggestions, and help, and to provide you with any practical information you may need. We have a team of US specialists, dedicated to showing you how to get into Princeton – and other Ivy League Universities – and collaborating with you to ensure that you maximise your chances of being offered a place on the course of your dreams at Princeton University. Call or email us and we will start the ball rolling and suggest programs or workshops which can meet your individual needs, and thus ensure that you are well prepared, confident, and ready to submit your application to Princeton University. 
  • Introduction
  • Diagnostics
  • Personal Profile Map
  • Research
  • University Report
  • Final application choices
  • Application process plan
  • Mentor Program
  • Exam and Interview prep
  • Document completion
  • Application portal setup
  • Submission
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-departure procedures
  • Finances
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