Comparing Princeton and NYU

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of the Princeton campus at day time.

Comparing Princeton and NYU

Choosing the right university is a big decision that can have a huge impact on your future. While there are countless options out there, two schools at the top of many students’ lists are Princeton and NYU.

Both prestigious universities offer excellent academics, exciting extracurricular opportunities, and a unique student experience. But how do these two schools compare when it comes to the factors that matter most to you?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be comparing the details of Princeton and NYU, and help you decide which one is the right choice for you.

Location and Campus: Comparing Princeton and NYU

One of the most obvious differences between Princeton and NYU is their location and campus. Princeton is located in a small town in New Jersey, with a picturesque, self-contained campus that’s bounded by Gothic-style stone walls. NYU, on the other hand, is situated in the heart of New York City, with a sprawling urban campus that blends seamlessly with the surrounding cityscape.

While Princeton’s campus is undeniably beautiful and serene, NYU offers unparalleled access to all that the city has to offer. If you’re looking for a collegiate experience that’s steeped in tradition and natural beauty, Princeton is the way to go. But if you crave the energy and excitement of a big city, NYU is a clear choice.

Another notable difference between the two campuses is the size. Princeton’s campus is relatively small, with a total area of about 600 acres.

In contrast, NYU’s campus is spread out across several neighborhoods in Manhattan, with a total area of over 230 acres. This means that NYU students have access to a wider range of facilities and resources, including multiple libraries, museums, and performance spaces.

View of the inside of Guggenheim Museum

However, the larger size of NYU’s campus also means that students may have to travel further between classes and activities, and may not have the same sense of community as those at Princeton.

Admission Criteria: How to Get into Princeton vs. NYU

Both Princeton and NYU are highly selective institutions that attract top-tier talent from around the world. To be admitted to either school, you’ll need to have excellent grades, test scores, and extracurricular achievements.

However, the specific admission criteria at each school differ in some important ways. Princeton places a heavy emphasis on academic achievement, with a median SAT score of 1500 and an acceptance rate of just 5.5%.

NYU, on the other hand, takes a more holistic approach to admissions, considering factors like diversity, creative potential, and leadership abilities alongside more traditional academic benchmarks.

If you’re a straight-A student with a perfect test score, your best bet may be Princeton. But if you have a more complex, multifaceted application, NYU could be the perfect fit.

Another important factor to consider when applying to Princeton or NYU is the application process itself. Princeton requires all applicants to submit standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, as well as two teacher recommendations and a personal essay.

NYU, on the other hand, allows applicants to choose whether or not to submit test scores and requires one teacher recommendation, one counselor recommendation, and a personal statement. This difference in requirements may appeal to different types of applicants, depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

It’s also worth noting that both Princeton and NYU offer a range of financial aid options to help make their education accessible to students from all backgrounds.

Princeton is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial needs for all admitted students, while NYU offers a variety of scholarships, grants, and loans to help offset the cost of attendance.

If you’re concerned about the cost of attending either school, be sure to explore their financial aid options and speak with a financial aid advisor to determine the best path forward.

Academic Programs and Majors: Which University Offers More Options?

When it comes to academics, both Princeton and NYU offer a wide range of programs and majors designed to suit a broad spectrum of academic interests and career goals.

Group of students standing outdoors cheering

Princeton is known for its strong programs in the humanities, natural sciences, and engineering, while NYU is renowned for its programs in the arts, social sciences, and business.

Both schools offer robust undergraduate research opportunities, as well as world-class faculty and cutting-edge facilities. The right choice ultimately depends on your academic interests and goals.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the sciences or engineering, Princeton could be the perfect choice. But if you’re drawn to the arts or social sciences, NYU may be the better fit.

It’s worth noting that both universities also offer a variety of interdisciplinary programs that allow students to combine multiple areas of study.

For example, Princeton’s Program in Law and Public Affairs combines coursework in law, politics, and economics, while NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program combines technology, design, and social science.

These interdisciplinary programs can provide unique opportunities for students to explore their interests and prepare for careers in emerging fields.

Faculty and Teaching Quality: Examining the Professors at Princeton and NYU

One of the biggest factors that can influence your academic success is the quality of the faculty and teaching at your university. Fortunately, both Princeton and NYU are renowned for their world-class professors and rigorous academic standards.

Princeton boasts a faculty-to-student ratio of just 5:1, ensuring personalized attention and support for every student. NYU, meanwhile, has a larger and more diverse faculty, with a focus on innovative teaching techniques and interdisciplinary collaboration.

No matter which university you choose, you can expect to learn from some of the brightest minds in the world and receive a top-notch education.

Additionally, both Princeton and NYU offer opportunities for students to engage with their professors outside of the classroom. Princeton has a strong emphasis on undergraduate research, allowing students to work closely with faculty members on cutting-edge projects.

NYU, on the other hand, offers a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs that are led by professors, providing students with the chance to learn from their professors in a more informal setting.

These opportunities not only enhance the learning experience but also allow students to build meaningful relationships with their professors.

Student Life and Culture: Comparing the Social Scene at Princeton and NYU

While academics are obviously a huge part of the college experience, so too is socializing and building friendships. Both Princeton and NYU offer a vibrant and inclusive social scene, but they differ in some key ways.

Cheerful Indian asian young group of college students or friends laughing together in campus

Princeton has a strong sense of community and tradition, with a range of student organizations, clubs, and activities that cater to a variety of interests.

The “eating club” system, in which students join selective social clubs that also function as dining halls, is one of Princeton’s most distinctive features. NYU, on the other hand, is known for its diverse and eclectic student body, with a thriving arts and music scene and a reputation for activism and social justice.

If you’re looking for a tight-knit, traditional college experience, Princeton could be the way to go. But if you’re open to exploring new subcultures and ideas, NYU may be your ideal fit.

Another notable difference between the social scenes at Princeton and NYU is the location of the campuses. Princeton is located in a small town in New Jersey, which means that the social life on campus is largely self-contained.

Students tend to spend most of their time on campus, participating in activities and events organized by the university. In contrast, NYU is located in the heart of New York City, which means that students have access to a wide range of cultural and social opportunities beyond the campus.

From attending concerts and shows to exploring different neighborhoods and cuisines, NYU students have the chance to immerse themselves in the vibrant and dynamic city that surrounds them.

Financial Aid and Scholarships: What Options are Available at Princeton and NYU?

Financial aid can make all the difference in whether or not you’re able to afford a particular university. Fortunately, both Princeton and NYU offer a range of financial aid and scholarship options to help make college more affordable.

Princeton has a need-blind admissions policy, meaning that all students are considered for financial aid regardless of their ability to pay. The school offers generous grants and scholarships, as well as work-study options and low-interest loans.

NYU, meanwhile, has a range of scholarships and grants available, including a number of merit-based awards for high-achieving students. The school also offers a variety of work-study programs and low-interest loans to help students cover their expenses.

It’s important to note that the financial aid and scholarship options at both Princeton and NYU are highly competitive. Students are encouraged to apply early and thoroughly research all available options. Additionally, both schools have dedicated financial aid offices that can provide guidance and support throughout the application process.

It’s also worth mentioning that both Princeton and NYU offer additional resources to help students manage their finances while in college. This includes financial literacy programs, budgeting workshops, and access to financial advisors. These resources can be invaluable in helping students make informed decisions about their finances and plan for their future.

Graduate Outcomes: How Do Graduates of Princeton and NYU Compare in the Job Market?

One of the ultimate measures of a university’s success is how well its graduates fare in the job market. Both Princeton and NYU have strong track records of producing successful alumni in a variety of fields.

Business people discussing documents and ideas at meeting

Princeton graduates are highly sought after in fields like finance, consulting, and law, with a median starting salary of over $70,000. NYU, meanwhile, has a reputation for producing creative and entrepreneurial graduates who go on to work in industries like tech, media, and the arts.

The right choice depends on your career aspirations, but both schools are recognized as top-notch institutions that can open doors for their graduates.

However, it’s important to note that the job market is constantly evolving, and universities must adapt to keep up with the changing demands of employers.

Both Princeton and NYU have taken steps to ensure that their graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s job market.

For example, Princeton has recently expanded its offerings in computer science and data science, recognizing the growing importance of these fields in many industries. NYU, on the other hand, has invested heavily in its entrepreneurship programs, providing students with the resources and mentorship needed to start their own businesses.

Another factor to consider when comparing graduate outcomes is the geographic location of each university. While both Princeton and NYU are located in the Northeastern United States, they are in very different environments.

Princeton is situated in a small town in New Jersey, while NYU is located in the heart of New York City. This can have a significant impact on the types of job opportunities available to graduates.

For example, NYU graduates may have easier access to internships and entry-level positions in industries like media and finance, while Princeton graduates may have more opportunities in nearby cities like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Research Opportunities: Exploring Princeton’s vs NYU’s Research Programs

Undergraduate research is an incredibly valuable experience that can help you make connections with faculty, build your skills, and contribute to cutting-edge research in your field.

Both Princeton and NYU offer a range of opportunities for students to engage in research and explore their academic interests. Princeton is particularly strong in the natural sciences and engineering, with state-of-the-art labs and facilities that allow students to work closely with faculty and make meaningful contributions to ongoing research projects.

NYU is known for its interdisciplinary research programs, inviting students from diverse majors to collaborate and innovate in fields like sustainability, human rights, and global health. No matter which school you choose, you’ll have ample opportunities to get involved in research and make a meaningful impact.

Princeton’s research programs are not limited to the natural sciences and engineering. The university also has a strong focus on social sciences and humanities research, with faculty members conducting groundbreaking research in fields like psychology, sociology, and history.

Students interested in these fields can work with faculty members on research projects, attend conferences and seminars, and even publish their own research papers.

NYU’s research programs are not limited to interdisciplinary fields. The university also has a strong focus on traditional academic disciplines, with faculty members conducting cutting-edge research in fields like mathematics, physics, and literature.

Students interested in these fields can work with faculty members on research projects, attend conferences and seminars, and even publish their own research papers.

Extracurricular Activities: What Can You Do Outside of Class at Princeton vs NYU?

College isn’t just about academics – it’s also a time for exploration and discovery. Both Princeton and NYU offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and clubs to help students pursue their interests and build relationships.

College students walking together outdoors. Group of young people in college campus.

Princeton has over 300 student organizations, ranging from service groups and cultural clubs to athletic teams and debate societies. The school is also known for its traditions, such as the annual P-rade and the “Big Three” events in the freshmen year.

NYU, meanwhile, has a similarly diverse range of clubs and organizations, focused on everything from art and theater to politics and activism.

The city itself offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure, from dining and nightlife to museums and cultural festivals. Choosing the right school ultimately depends on what you want to get out of your extracurricular experiences.

Athletics Programs: Which University Has a Better Sports Program?

If you’re passionate about sports or just enjoy staying active, choosing a university with a strong athletics program can be a major factor in your decision.

Both Princeton and NYU have competitive and accomplished sports teams, but they differ in some important ways. Princeton is known for its strong tradition of athletics, with a range of Division I sports teams that compete at a national level.

The school also offers a range of club sports and intramural leagues for students who want to get involved in a less competitive environment.

NYU, meanwhile, has a more varied and eclectic approach to athletics, with a range of varsity, club, and intramural teams that span a broad range of interests and skill levels.

The school is known for its fitness classes and wellness programs as well, designed to keep students healthy and engaged in a variety of physical activities.


Choosing between Princeton and NYU is a complex and multi-faceted decision that depends on a variety of factors. By considering the details mentioned earlier you can make an informed decision that sets you up for success.

Both Princeton and NYU are excellent universities with a lot to offer, so take the time to explore your options and decide which school is the perfect fit for you.

Segue to AdmissionSight

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Don’t let your future hinge on uncertainty. Reach out to AdmissionSight today to arrange a complimentary consultation and embark on the journey toward realizing your dreams. With our expert mentorship and steadfast support, the sky’s the limit.

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