How to Get Into Princeton: Essays and Strategies That Worked


learn how to get into princeton

learn how to get into princeton


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As you consider the prospect of your child attending an Ivy League or Ivy Plus school, Princeton University, one of the oldest and most prestigious of the Ivies, has probably crossed your mind.

On Princeton’s leafy campus, Gothic towers and dormitories stand alongside colonial-era Nassau Hall, where George Washington once drove out British troops, and where Congress met in 1783, briefly making it the United States’ capitol. Beyond its stately beauty and rich history, Princeton’s campus is brimming with vibrant student life: a long running athletic tradition, eating clubs—posh alternatives to dining halls—and even the oldest touring collegiate musical-comedy ensemble in the nation.

What might a student admitted to Princeton expect? They can study with National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Oates or Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith. They can take courses in economics or physics or mathematics with one of the 27 Nobel Laureates currently on faculty, or study in the unique Woodrow Wilson School, which teaches a multidisciplinary approach to public policy.

他们可以作为国际实习计划的一部分,在国外度过一个夏季,研究捷克共和国的纳米生物学或巴西亚马逊的可持续发展。他们将访问普林斯顿的校友网络 - 专业人士,在美国最受尊敬的金融机构,博物馆和最先进的实验室中担任职务。



Princeton is situated at or near the top ofIvy League rankings:

  • Forbes: 3

  • 利基:5

  • U.S. News and World Report: 1

  • Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education: 8

Where is Princeton?

Princeton is located in Princeton, New Jersey—a small town about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia and an hour and a half from New York City.


Princeton setting

Suburban. Princeton is a quiet town of historic districts and colonial-era houses and churches. As the site of a key Revolutionary War battle, and the home of presidents and signers of the Declaration of Independence, it is a town steeped in American history.

但是也有很多当地商店和餐馆。三明治商店Hoagie Haven是普林斯顿学生的最爱,帕尔默广场(Palmer Square)提供餐饮和购物选择。

Princeton student population

  • Undergraduate students: 5,267

  • 研究生和专业学生:2,946



  • Applications: 37,601

  • 接受:1,498

  • 母亲:1,345

  • 接受率:4.0%

(Suggested reading:常春藤联盟的接受率)


普林斯顿的2021–2022 cost of attendance (i.e., tuition, room, board, and fees) is $77,690.

Princeton has need-blind admissions and covers 100 percent of demonstrated need without loans. Among recent Princeton grads, 83 percent graduated with zero student debt. For those who did elect to take on loans, the average amount owed at graduation was $9,400.

62 percent of the class of 2025 received financial aid, and the average grant amount was $62,200.



  • Princeton average high school GPA: 3.92

  • 普林斯顿的平均法案得分:

    • 25th percentile: 32

    • 第75个百分位数:36

  • 普林斯顿平均基于SAT的基于证据的阅读和写作分数:

    • 25th percentile: 710

    • 第七百分点:800

  • Princeton average SAT Math score:

    • 25%:740

    • 第75个百分位数:800

  • International students: 14%

  • First-generation students: 22%

  • 在2024年的班级中,有25%是亚裔美国人,有10%是非裔美国人或黑人,而9%是西班牙裔或拉丁裔。据推测,大约37%是白人。

  • The most popular plans of study at Princeton are economics, the Woodrow Wilson School (a multidisciplinary major focused on public policy), and computer science.



Princeton academic requirements


It’s also important that your child take advantage of whatever academic opportunities they’re afforded. This means takingIBs or APs以及其他高级课程以及外语课程。大多数普林斯顿候选人也参加了视觉或表演艺术的某种形式。


  • 英语:4年(包括以书面形式练习)

  • 数学:4 years (including calculus for students interested in engineering)

  • 外语:4 years of a single foreign language

  • 实验室科学:至少两年(including physics and chemistry for students interested in engineering)

  • History:至少两年

In addition, most successful applicants have studied some amount of visual or performing arts.

Princeton application requirements

Here is a checklist您的孩子需要组装申请的内容。普林斯顿接受公共申请,联盟申请和普遍大学申请。

  • 常见的应用论文

  • 普林斯顿补充

  • Optional in 2021–2022:ACT or SAT测试成绩

  • Optional: IB, AP, or AICE test results

  • 2 teacherletters of recommendation

  • 1辅导员推荐

  • School report, transcript, and midyear senior year report

  • 一篇分级书面论文(“您已经写过的论文,最好是在英语或历史的主题上”)

  • TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores (“If English is not your native language and you are attending a school where English is not the language of instruction…”)

  • 可选:艺术补充,如果您的孩子在创意写作,电影,摄影,戏剧,视觉艺术等方面表现出色。


Part 3: Applying to Princeton early action vs. regular decision

Your child may apply to Princeton in one of two ways: single-choice early action and regular decision.

To apply via single-choice early action, students must submit all materials by November 1st. Once a decision has been reached, admission will either be denied, offered or deferred. If admission is deferred, your child will be reentered into the pool of regular decision applicants. Early action applicants are notified of the admissions office’s decision in mid-December.


To apply via regular decision, students must submit all materials by January 1st. Regular decision applicants are notified in mid-March.

Should my child apply to Princeton early?

提早行动是一个不错的选择如果普林斯顿大学是你的child’s top choice and their application is ready. If their grades could stand to be improved, or they need more time to strengthen test scores, we recommend waiting to apply regular decision.

(Suggested reading:早期行动与早期决定:利弊以及您的孩子应该做什么)


Part 4: 2021–2022 Princeton supplemental essays (examples included)

除了普通应用程序的个人陈述外,普林斯顿还要求申请人回答几个简短的答案和论文问题。普林斯顿的supplemental essaysgive the admissions office a more personal and comprehensive portrait of each applicant. They also provide students with an opportunity to stand out as a unique and promising candidate among other candidates who will have similarly high GPAs and test scores.

虽然我们提供了下面对普林斯顿补充论文问题做出回应的示例论文,但我们也鼓励您查看其他college essay examplesand常春藤联盟论文


  • 米歇尔对物理和天文学有狂热的兴趣。她参加了先进的物理学和其他科学课程,甚至还参加了当地社区学院的天文学课程。米歇尔也感兴趣的科学概念的实际应用也很感兴趣,她认为她可能最终决定担任工程专业。她还喜欢戏剧,尤其是音乐剧院,并希望在其中少。她从小就去了戏剧营,并上了语音课。最近,她写了一部有关物理学家的戏剧,该物理学家建造了一台时间机器,并将爱因斯坦带回现在。

  • Atif is an aspiring poet and writer. He’s attracted to Princeton because of its esteemed English department faculty. Throughout his high school years, he attended youth writing workshops and summer camps for writers, and one of his poems won a Scholastic Art and Writing Award.

  • 卡米拉想学习医学并获得全球卫生政策证书。她在波多黎各长大,父亲在那里担任家庭医学医生。在看到他在社区中产生了影响并在当地的疗养院志愿服务之后,她意识到自己想致力于帮助资源不足的社区,尤其是那些人口老龄化的社区。

  • Lucas is passionate about public service and giving back to his community. In the neighborhood where he grew up in Chicago, Lucas played an active role in his uncle’s campaign for alderman, making calls and canvassing door to door. He wants to earn a degree from the Woodrow Wilson School.


Depending on what your child hopes to study at Princeton—engineering or anything else—they’ll respond to either one of two prompts.



Here’s how Atif chose to answer:


I left Saudi Arabia not only with vivid memories but also with an itch to write. At home, I started composing short stories based on my travels as well as poems that responded to my experiences of growing up Muslim American in Texas.

去年夏天,我参加了为期两周的夏季计划爱荷华城的爱荷华州年轻作家工作室。我一生中第一次被其他诗人和讲故事的人所包围 - 来自世界各地的凯德(Kid)认真对待写作,而不仅仅是消遣。我能够磨练自己的手艺,并让出版的作家阅读我的工作,而我遇到的许多人仍然是我的朋友。

我渴望通过参加我欣赏的诗人和作家的刘易斯中心课程,例如jhumpa lahiri,Yiyun Lee和Tyehimba Jess。我也想加深对重要文学的了解,我知道在普林斯顿学习英语不仅可以让我潜入佳能,而且还会教会我思考和写作。


  • Atif hammers home his love of writing and literature in both halves of the answer, without flattening himself. By pointing to the time he spent honing his writing craft, he’s explicitly telling Princeton he’s invested in his art form. By pointing to the time he spent with his family, connecting with his culture and religious heritage, he’s pointing to his life, and his subject matter.

  • 他不会夸大经历或使它们听起来自命不凡。年轻的作家工作室不仅是一个学术机会,而且是结交朋友并玩得开心的机会。

  • He displays knowledge of the plentiful resources that Princeton has to offer and how they will help him accomplish his goals.

Option 2: For B.S.E degree applicants:

Please describe why you are interested in studying engineering at Princeton. Include any of your experiences in, or exposure to engineering, and how you think the programs offered at the University suit your particular interests. (Please respond in about 250 words.)



这些例子让我着迷的是,它们超越了理论并进入了实际应用领域。在工程营地,一位讲师告诉我们:“科学家需要提出疑问,工程师需要得到答案。”这总是困在我身上。在同一营地,我们建造了自己的无人机 - 从蓝图和设计阶段到看到我们的无人机呼啸声,这令人振奋。

当我参观普林斯顿,尤其是机械和航空工程实验室时,我目睹了一个令人兴奋的环境,学生们重视探索和好奇心。我特别喜欢普林斯顿火箭俱乐部(Princeton Rocketry Club)的学生为太空计划设计了工具 - 其他本科生可以与NASA顾问合作并直接为太空探索做出贡献吗?

Since I was young, I’ve been told my ideas are fantasies and that I’m a “space nerd” who watches too much sci-fi. I’m interested in pursuing a degree in engineering because I want to turn my so-called farfetched dreams and curiosities into real designs and applications.

Here’s why Michelle’s response is good:

  • 米歇尔回答了问题的每个部分 - 为什么她对工程学感兴趣,她的经历以及普林斯顿为什么非常适合她对工程的兴趣。

  • 米歇尔的写作充满了自然能量,好奇心和热情。她有时会使用口语语言(“ stoked”和“肯定”),但在大型的强子山脉和科学之谜上也以迷人的雄辩。简而言之,她听起来像个聪明的少年,不是一个试图比她的岁月更闷闷不乐的人。

  • Her “Why Princeton?” line is clear, spot-on, and believable.

  • She doesn’t summarize her resume or list her achievements. She knows her transcript and her GPA will demonstrate that she’s a serious student and uses the essay to draw a personal connection between engineering as a field and her own lifelong interests and passions.

阻止学生们经常想提醒admissions readers of their many years of research and even publications. But contrary to what you might expect, that’s a losing strategy. Tons of Princeton applicants will have 800s on the Math portion of their SATs, and may even have done complex lab research or published papers. There are other places on the application to show that off, though.

This essay is theonlychance, on the other hand, for STEM applicants to demonstrate that they understand their work’s relationship to society, and that they have a personal connection to their proposed field of study. If your child is a future engineer, remind them that this is their chance to show that they’re not just a capable science student, but a future scientific leader.

Question 2: Extracurricular activity and work experience

Briefly elaborate on an activity, organization, work experience, or hobby that has been particularly meaningful to you. (Please respond in about 150 words.)

Camila uses this opportunity to discuss her experience volunteering in a nursing home:

When I volunteered at my hometown’s only nursing home, I was assigned two of the nursing home’s residents—Hector and Sylvia—and every Sunday afternoon, I sat with each of them and kept them company.

At first, I was nervous. What could I say that would match their wisdom and experience? Soon I learned that Hector loved to play guitar. Though his arthritis made it difficult to play, he pressed his calloused fingers to the fretboard and taught me new chords. Sylvia loved gardening and showed me how to plant peppers and cherry tomatoes. I learned, through these experiences, that I wanted to continue working with the elderly—that as repositories of knowledge, they are among society’s most valuable resources. In a world where the aged population is the highest in our history and will continue to grow, vocations that take care of the elderly will only become more important.

What’s good about Camila’s response:

  • 她将自己限制在一个有意义的追求中。她不仅提供了课外活动的洗衣清单。

  • 它具有一种叙事感,具有开始,中间和终点,以及最后的见识。卡米拉(Camila)在她在疗养院的志愿者经验中可以学到一个教训,这就是为什么它被她陷入困境的原因。她表明,她学到的知识使她目前对公共卫生的兴趣。

  • 她的回应是个人的and specific. The key words in the question areelaborateand有意义。Thatelaboration应该以良好写作的形式出现,而不是信息。是什么使卡米拉在这里写得很好?这是具体的,包括令人难忘和精心挑剔的图像 - 我们会记得她从赫克托(Hector)那里学习的吉他和弦,并用西尔维亚(Sylvia)种植蔬菜。


Questions 3–4: Your voice



Here’s Camila’s answer:


但是几个会议,我的队友不再符合lowing through on their tasks. I felt frustrated, so I took some time to analyze the situation and determine what I could do. I realized I hadn’t given enough space for my team members to contribute to the brainstorming process. They lacked motivation because they were pursuing my vision, not a collaboration of our ideas.

I apologized to the group and asked each member to share their suggestions. Once we incorporated everyone’s input, motivation increased and we worked effectively as a team. The resulting activities were infinitely better than what I had originally imagined.

Through this experience, I learned how important it is for every team member to have a voice—not only to increase motivation but also because each person brings a unique perspective to the table. While I’m outgoing and love to jump into action, some people are quiet and more considered, and they offer something that isn’t first-nature to me. It’s important to me now to help foster a collaborative environment where everyone can share input and engage in the process.

What has Camila done well?

  • This essay is effective because it shows a bit of vulnerability. Camila admits that she made a mistake, but also demonstrates how she recognized her error and made it right. This displays levels of self-awareness and humility, as well as an ability to grow.

  • Camila also shows that while she is a capable leader, she values collaboration and the interplay of differing perspectives.


Here’s how Lucas responded:

What does it take to make a difference? This is the question I asked myself as I campaigned door to door for my uncle Ray’s alderman election. Some people had no idea an election was happening. Others wanted to know what my uncle stood for, and even though it was hard to think on my feet, eventually, I could run through the issues with ease. A safer ward. A ward with more green spaces. Equal investment across all neighborhoods in the ward. An elected civilian police accountability council. These were the cornerstones of my uncle’s campaign.




  • He begins with a hook—a rhetorical question that entices us to keep reading—and puts himself in scene. His relationship to service and civic engagement is not just hypothetical. He has direct life experience, and rather than giving us a generic summary of that experience, he makes himself a character of sorts, and we’re immersed along with him. Lucas uses the tools of narrative writing to his advantage: characters, images, and scenes. These make his rhetorical question specific, and particular, and therefore memorable.

  • 卢卡斯通过专注于经验来采取正确的方法,然后他可以讲一个故事。故事不可或缺的是一定的变化感。在论文开始时,他不知道自己如何影响变革。到本文结尾,他对需要的东西有了更好的了解,正是这种新的理解将引导他进入未来。

  • 卢卡斯(Lucas)设法讲述了一个个人故事,并说明了招生人员希望看到的内部变化和成长。


For the final three questions, Princeton writes: “Please respond to each question in 50 words or fewer. There are no right or wrong answers. Be yourself!”


Question 5: What is a new skill you would like to learn in college?

Atif writes:

I would learn Persian. I love language learning, having grown up around Arabic, English, and Spanish. I’ve since studied Chinese and hope to become fluent. But I haven’t turned to Persian, and I’m aching to. Some of my favorite poets are Persian and I’d love to translate them someday.



Listening to musical soundtracks when I’m hanging out in my room or helping out around the house makes me happy. I love new shows like Hamilton, and I’m also a huge fan of classics like Les Miserables and Rent. Listening to them helps keep me in touch with my creativity.

Question 7: What song represents the soundtrack of your life at this moment?

Here’s Lucas’s answer:

Lately, I’ve had Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” on repeat, and I even learned to play it on the guitar. To me, it’s a song about searching for joy and meaning. As I’m getting ready to leave my hometown for college, it makes me excited me for the journey ahead.


很容易看出为什么这么多天才学生组their sights on Princeton. With its world-renowned faculty, regal campus, and vast network of alumni, attending Princeton can be a life-changing experience. By focusing on the passionate intellectual pursuits and community commitments that make applicants stand out from an otherwise well-qualified field, your child can present a strong case for admission.

关于the Author

Dr. Shirag Shemmassian是Shemmassian学术咨询公司金宝搏官网的创始人,也是世界上最重要的大学入学专家之一。在将近20年的时间里,他和他的团队一直帮助成千上万的学生使用他的独家方法进入哈佛,斯坦福大学和麻省理工学院等顶级课程。