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Comparing Princeton and Washington University in St. Louis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of the Princeton campus at day time.

Comparing Princeton and Washington University in St. Louis

Choosing the right university to attend can be a daunting task, especially with the multitude of options available. We will be comparing two top universities, Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis, based on their location and ranking.

Location and Campus Size

Located in Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University has a total campus size of 500 acres. The university is situated between Philadelphia and New York City, allowing students to access both cities easily.

On the other hand,  is located in the Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri. The university’s Danforth Campus is spread across 169 acres, providing ample green space for students to relax and study.

walkway lined with trees at both side at the Washington University in St. Louis

Princeton University’s campus is known for its beautiful architecture, with many buildings designed in the Gothic style. The campus also features several notable landmarks, including Nassau Hall, which was built in 1756 and served as the capital of the United States for a brief period during the Revolutionary War.

In contrast, Washington University in St. Louis has a more modern campus, with many buildings designed by renowned architects such as Fumihiko Maki and Frank Gehry. The university’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is also a notable landmark, featuring a collection of over 7,800 works of art.

Ranking and Reputation

Both universities are well-respected institutions, with Princeton University ranked as the #1 National University by U.S. News & World Report. Washington University in St. Louis is ranked #19 on the same list. Additionally, both universities have a reputation for academic excellence and strong research programs.

Princeton University is particularly known for its undergraduate program in engineering, which is consistently ranked among the top in the country.

On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis is renowned for its medical school and research in the field of medicine. Both universities have produced numerous Nobel laureates and have a strong alumni network that includes prominent figures in various fields.

Academic Programs Offered

Princeton University offers undergraduate and graduate programs spanning the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering.

Group of students smiling at the camera.

The university is well-known for its strong mathematics and science programs, as well as its Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis offers undergraduate and graduate programs across numerous disciplines, including business, engineering, arts and sciences, law, and medicine. The university is particularly well-known for its medical and biology programs.

In addition to its strong programs in mathematics and science, Princeton University also offers a renowned program in creative writing. The Lewis Center for the Arts offers courses in fiction, poetry, screenwriting, and playwriting, and hosts a number of events and readings throughout the year.

Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis is home to the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, which offers undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture, art, and design. The school is known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the arts.

Admission Requirements and Acceptance Rates

Both universities are highly selective, with low acceptance rates and rigorous admission requirements. For the Class of 2024, Princeton University had an acceptance rate of 5.55%, while Washington University in St. Louis had an acceptance rate of 14%.

Admission to both universities requires strong academic transcripts, standardized test scores, recommendation letters, and personal statements. Additionally, Princeton University requires an alumni interview.

Aside from academic qualifications, both universities also consider extracurricular activities and community involvement in their admission decisions. Princeton University values leadership and service, while Washington University in St. Louis looks for students who have made a positive impact in their communities.

It is important to note that both universities offer need-blind admission, meaning that a student’s financial need is not taken into consideration during the admission process.

However, they do have different financial aid policies and packages, so it is important to research and compare their offerings before making a decision.

Student Life and Culture

Princeton University has a vibrant student life, with over 400 student organizations available for students to join. The university also has a strong arts and culture scene, with multiple museums and theaters on campus.

a group female ballet dancers performing at a stage

Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has over 300 student organizations, as well as numerous arts and cultural events throughout the year. Both universities have a strong focus on community building and student engagement.

At Princeton University, students can also participate in a variety of sports and recreational activities. The university has a state-of-the-art fitness center, multiple sports fields and courts, and even an outdoor adventure program.

Additionally, the university hosts several intramural sports leagues, allowing students to compete against each other in a fun and friendly environment.

Washington University in St. Louis also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including community service opportunities and leadership development programs.

The university has a strong commitment to sustainability and encourages students to get involved in environmental initiatives on campus and in the surrounding community.

Overall, both universities provide a rich and diverse student life experience, with endless opportunities for personal growth and development.

Faculty and Student Ratio

Princeton University has a faculty-to-student ratio of 5:1, with over 1,300 faculty members and 5,267 undergraduate students. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a faculty to student ratio of 6:1, with over 3,300 faculty members and 7,675 undergraduate students. Both universities have a commitment to small class sizes and personalized attention for students.

At Princeton University, the small class sizes and personalized attention for students are not limited to undergraduate students. The university also has a graduate program with a low student to faculty ratio, allowing for close mentorship and research opportunities for graduate students.

Washington University in St. Louis also offers a wide range of research opportunities for undergraduate students. The university has over 90 research centers and institutes, providing students with hands-on experience in their fields of study.

Additionally, the university has a strong commitment to community service, with over 80% of students participating in community service projects during their time at the university.

Class Sizes and Teaching Methodologies

Both Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis emphasize small class sizes and interactive teaching methodologies. At Princeton University, the majority of classes have fewer than 20 students, while Washington University in St. Louis has an average class size of 22 students. Both universities use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, small group discussions, and practical laboratory sessions.

Students talking to their professor.

Small class sizes allow for more personalized attention from professors and greater opportunities for students to participate in class discussions and activities.

At Princeton University, students have the option to participate in precepts, which are small group discussions led by graduate students or senior undergraduates. These precepts provide students with the opportunity to delve deeper into course material and engage in critical thinking exercises.

Washington University in St. Louis also offers a variety of interactive teaching methodologies, including problem-based learning and team-based learning.

In problem-based learning, students work in small groups to solve real-world problems related to course material. In team-based learning, students work in teams to complete assignments and projects, which helps to develop their collaboration and communication skills.

Research Facilities and Resources Available

As top research universities, both Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis have numerous research facilities and resources available to students.

At Princeton University, these include the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

At Washington University in St. Louis, research facilities include the McDonnell Genome Institute, the Institute for Public Health, and the Center for Social Development.

In addition to these research facilities, Princeton University also offers students access to the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, the Princeton Environmental Institute, and the Princeton Center for Complex Materials.

These resources provide students with opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research in fields such as neuroscience, environmental science, and materials science.

Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis also offers students access to the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, the Institute for School Partnership, and the Center for the Study of Aging. These resources allow students to engage in research related to genomics, education, and aging, among other areas.

Career Opportunities and Alumni Network

Both universities have strong career centers and robust alumni networks, providing students with numerous job and internship opportunities.

Princeton University boasts an impressive list of alumni, including former U.S. Presidents and numerous Nobel laureates. Washington University in St. Louis also has a notable list of alumni, including several Pulitzer Prize-winning writers and a former NASA astronaut.

Princeton University’s career center offers a wide range of services to help students prepare for their future careers. These services include resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and career fairs.

The university’s alumni network is also highly active, with many alumni returning to campus to speak with current students about their career paths and offer advice.

Washington University in St. Louis has a similarly strong career center, which offers career counseling, job search assistance, and networking events.

The university’s alumni network is also highly engaged, with many alumni serving as mentors to current students and offering internships and job opportunities. In addition, the university has a program called the “Bear Network,” which connects students with alumni in their desired career fields.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Offerings

Both universities have a strong commitment to financial aid and offer numerous scholarships and grants to eligible students. For example, Princeton University’s no-loan financial aid policy ensures that students do not have to take out loans to pay for their education.

Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a need-based assistance program that offers scholarships and grants to students with financial need.

In addition to scholarships and grants, both universities also offer work-study programs to help students cover the cost of their education. These programs provide students with part-time jobs on campus, allowing them to earn money while gaining valuable work experience.

Furthermore, both universities have dedicated financial aid offices that are available to assist students and their families throughout the financial aid process.

These offices can provide guidance on filling out financial aid applications, understanding financial aid packages, and exploring alternative funding options.

Athletics Programs Offered

Princeton University has a strong athletics program, offering 37 varsity sports teams, as well as intramural and club sports. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a variety of athletics programs available, including 19 varsity sports teams. Both universities have excellent facilities for athletics, including state-of-the-art gyms and fitness centers.

Princeton University’s athletics program has a long history of success, with many of its teams consistently ranking among the top in the country.

The university also has a strong commitment to student-athlete well-being, providing resources such as sports medicine and academic support to ensure that athletes can excel both on and off the field.

Washington University in St. Louis has a unique approach to athletics, with a focus on promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for all students.

In addition to traditional sports teams, the university offers a variety of fitness classes and recreational activities, such as yoga and rock climbing. This emphasis on overall wellness has helped to create a vibrant and inclusive athletics community on campus.

Community Outreach and Service Initiatives

Both universities emphasize community outreach and service initiatives, with numerous programs in place to give back to the local community.

View of hands placed on top of each other.

For example, Princeton University has a Center for Civic Engagement that offers volunteer opportunities for students, and a community-based learning program that connects students with local organizations. Washington University in St. Louis has a Center for Social Responsibility and Community that offers similar programs and initiatives.

Additionally, both universities have partnerships with local schools and educational organizations to provide resources and support. Princeton University partners with the Princeton Public Schools to offer tutoring and mentoring programs for local students, while Washington University in St. Louis partners with the St. Louis Public Schools to provide teacher training and curriculum development.

Furthermore, both universities have sustainability initiatives in place to reduce their environmental impact and promote sustainable practices.

Princeton University has a Sustainability Plan that outlines goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing renewable energy use, while Washington University in St. Louis has a Green Action Plan that includes initiatives such as composting and energy-efficient building design.

Study Abroad Opportunities for Students

Both universities have comprehensive study abroad programs, providing students with the opportunity to study in different countries and experience different cultures.

Princeton University offers a variety of study abroad programs, including summer programs and semester-long programs in locations such as Spain, Italy, and Japan. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a robust study abroad program, offering opportunities in over 100 countries.

Additionally, both universities offer financial aid and scholarships to help students cover the costs of studying abroad. Princeton University has a dedicated office for study abroad programs, where students can receive guidance and support throughout the application process.

Washington University in St. Louis also has a team of advisors who work with students to help them choose the best study abroad program for their academic and personal goals.

Campus Diversity and Inclusivity Measures

Both universities have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusivity, with numerous programs and initiatives in place to promote these values.

Princeton University has a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative that offers training and resources for faculty, staff, and students. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a multitude of diversity initiatives, including a multicultural student organization and a diversity and inclusion task force.

Additionally, both universities have implemented measures to ensure that their campus environments are welcoming and inclusive for all students.

Princeton University has established a Bias Education and Response Team, which provides support and resources for students who have experienced bias incidents.

Washington University in St. Louis has a Safe Zones program, which trains faculty and staff to be allies for LGBTQ+ students and provides safe spaces for these students on campus.

Technology Advancements on Campus

Both universities have state-of-the-art technology facilities and resources, including high-speed Wi-Fi, advanced research software, and various electronic resources for students and faculty.

Princeton University’s Office of Information Technology provides students and faculty with tech support, while Washington University in St. Louis has a similarly equipped technology center.

In addition to these resources, both universities have implemented innovative technology advancements on campus. Princeton University has recently introduced a virtual reality lab, allowing students and faculty to explore and experiment with cutting-edge technology.

Washington University in St. Louis has also implemented a new system for online course delivery, providing students with a more flexible and accessible learning experience.

Furthermore, both universities are committed to sustainability and have incorporated technology to reduce their environmental impact. Princeton University has implemented a smart lighting system, which uses sensors to adjust lighting levels based on occupancy and natural light. Washington University in St. Louis has installed solar panels on several buildings, providing a renewable energy source for the campus.

Environmental Sustainability Efforts on Campus

Both universities have a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, with numerous initiatives and programs in place to promote eco-friendliness.

two female students holding a garbage bag while picking up garbage

Princeton University has an Office of Sustainability that oversees sustainable projects and initiatives on campus. Similarly, Washington University in St. Louis has a Green Action Plan that outlines the university’s sustainability goals and initiatives.

Princeton University has implemented a number of sustainable practices on campus, including a composting program, a bike-sharing program, and a green purchasing policy.

The university also has a LEED-certified building, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, which serves as a hub for research and education on sustainable energy solutions.

Washington University in St. Louis has also taken significant steps towards sustainability, including the installation of solar panels on campus buildings, the implementation of a campus-wide recycling program, and the use of geothermal energy for heating and cooling.

The university also has a student-led organization, the Green Ambassadors, which promotes sustainability initiatives and awareness on campus.

Conclusion

As you can see, both Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis have much to offer in terms of academic programs, research facilities, and student life. By carefully considering the factors outlined in this article, you can determine which university is the best fit for your needs and goals.

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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