How Hard Is It to Get into Princeton?

October 19, 2021
By AdmissionSight

How Hard Is It to Get into Princeton?

There is no doubt that college applications can be quite demanding. That fact is – certainly – even more true when it comes to applying to some of the best schools in the world. Without a doubt, some of the best schools in the world are the eight fantastic institutions that make up the Ivy League.

If you’re interested in attending an Ivy League and have your sights especially set on Princeton University, chances are good that you are wondering how hard is it to get into Princeton.

Here at AdmissionSight, we make it our number one goal to help the high schoolers that we work with get into schools like Princeton. So if you want to know about getting into Princeton, then you have absolutely come to the right place.

Let’s break down everything there is to know about getting in Princeton together so that you can approach the college application experience with confidence and knowledge to boot!

Princeton admission requirements

Just like is the case with every other college or university, Princeton has a set of admission and application requirements that all high schoolers are going to have to fulfill if they want to get into a highly prestigious school.

A front view of Princeton

Luckily, Princeton has broken down all such requirements in an easy-to-understand page on their official website.

They’ve broken these requirements down into several parts.

The first section includes everything that students need to submit to fully apply:

  • A Completed Application. Students must submit their applications online through either the Coalition Application or Common Application.
  • Princeton’s Supplement. In addition to the application provided by the Coalition Application or Common Application, all applicants must submit the Princeton Supplement. They should submit the Princeton Supplement online through the Coalition Application or Common Application websites.
  • Application Fee or Fee Waiver. Students can submit a fee waiver one of two ways: 1) Select the fee waiver option on the Coalition Application or Common Application. Their school counselor must approve their fee waiver request online or submit their fee waiver form by mail or fax. 2) Select one of the following fee waiver options on the Princeton Supplement: Princeton-specific, ACT, College Board, NACAC or Realize Their College Potential.
  • Graded Written Paper. A paper you have written, preferably in the subjects of English or history.

The second section includes everything that students need to request that their school send to Princeton on their behalf.

  • Transcript. An official transcript must be sent by a school counselor or school official.
  • School Report (SR). The SR form is available from the Common Application website. Students should ask their school counselor or other school official to complete and submit the SR form. If they are using the Coalition Application, the SR and counselor recommendations are uploaded as one item.
  • Counselor Recommendation. If a student is using the Common Application online, please note that the SR and the Counselor Recommendation are separate items. Students should be sure to ‘invite’ the school counselor or academic adviser to complete both items.
  • Two (2) Teacher Recommendations. Students should ask two teachers who have taught two higher-level courses to write letters of recommendation. Students should also make sure that the teachers teach different academic areas of study to complete and send the teacher recommendation forms, available on the Coalition Application and Common Application websites.
  • Mid-year School Report. Students should ask their school to sell mid-year grade reports from their senior year of high school. The form may be found on the Coalition Application and Common Application websites.

The final section on the page includes everything that a student will have to report in order to be considered by Princeton. This includes their SAT or ACT test scores, their SAT subject tests (if they took the SAT) as well as their TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic scores.

Moreover, students are invited to send in art supplemental material – such as physical artwork, creating writing, theater, music, dance and more – if they feel it will help their application and serve a role in their personal and academic identity. Students are also welcome to take part in interviews with alumni. However, it should be noted that

How Princeton compares to other Ivies

No matter what kind of high school student you are, chances are pretty good that you know that the Ivy League schools are considered to be some of the most impressive and competitive schools in the world. The schools that make up the Ivy League, along with Princeton, include Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell and UPenn.

But where does Princeton stand when compared to the rest of the schools? Well one of the first things that students should know is that Princeton is one part of the three-headed monster known affectionately as the “Big Three.” The other two schools in this group are Harvard and Yale.

Princeton University frontal view and trees on campus grounds

Considering the fact that Harvard and Yale are arguably the two most historic and iconic universities in the United States, Princeton’s inclusion in this group should tell you everything you need to know. Princeton is not only held in high regard because of its history, but also because of how fantastic the faculty and classes are, how hard it is to get into, its massive endowment, and much more.

Princeton was first founded in 1746 – just before the United States of America declared independence from the British empire. It’s endowment as of last year is approximately $26.6 billion, one of the biggest university endowments in the world.

Just under 5,500 undergraduate students are currently enrolled in the school, with just under 3,000 postgraduate students also studying at Princeton.

When it comes to the acceptance rate at Princeton, that number in recent years has hovered around four percent. That puts Princeton amongst the very hardest schools to get into in the entire world. If you are curious how Princeton compares to the other Ivies in this respect, take a look at the table below.

Table with information about different universities. As you can see, Princeton is right there with the hardest schools in the Ivy League. One thing to note specifically about Princeton’s class of 2025 is that the acceptance rate was actually a bit lower than it typically is. That is because the school cancelled early action for the class of 2025.

Still, even with early action, Princeton is definitely one of the hardest Ivy League schools to get into.

Average GPA and SAT/ACT scores needed to get into Princeton

There is no doubt that getting into a school like Princeton takes a lot more than just great grades and standardized test scores. However, the benchmark that a student needs to hit in those categories Is incredibly restrictive.

Remember, if you are a student who is interested in attending a school like Princeton, you are not just competing against students in your school, region or even state. You are truly competing with the top students from all over the world who have been dreaming of attending schools like Princeton for many years.

For that reason, it’s important for every student interested in going to Princeton to know what kind of grades and test scores they are going to want to aim for if they want to improve their chances of getting in.

Female student writing on her notebook

For a grand point average, the average weighted GPA for students that get in is 3.9. And that does not just mean that students who are getting into Princeton are nearly earning straight A’s throughout their time in high school. Students who want to improve their chances of getting into Princeton need to make sure that they are able to prove that they challenged themselves throughout high school as well.

This means taking as many AP and Honors courses as possible. In fact, many students also look to enroll in courses at their local community college or four-year school in high school to prove that they are ready for the rigors and pressures that come with undertaking a Princeton curriculum.

When it comes to the two standardized tests – the ACT and SAT – the scores needed to feel good about getting into Princeton are incredibly high. For the SAT, the average score for students getting in is a remarkably high 1505 out of the perfect 1600 score. The demands from students who want to take the ACT is no different, as the average score is 34 out of 36.

From all of these numbers that we have just broken down, it should be abundantly clear that getting into Princeton is no joke. It is truly one of the hardest schools to get into in the entire world, and students who are committed to achieving that feat should be planning for the demands involved many years ahead of when they actually send in their application.

Here at AdmissionSight, we often work with students in the very early days of their high school journeys. In fact, we even offer consultation for students who have yet to even begin their high school years. No matter where you are in your high school career, there are some very important things that you can take in order to improve your chances of getting into Princeton.

Let’s go into it all down together.

How to improve your chances of getting in Princeton

Here are some of the most impactful things that you can do during your high school years and on your college application to improve your chances of getting into Princeton and other Ivy League schools

Craft incredible supplemental essays

That you know the scores and grades that the average student who is accepted into Harvard earns, you may feel confident about your ability to get into the school. After all, if you have gotten those types of grades and test scores, then you should be in the clear, right? Wrong!

The simple truth is that those grades and test scores should be seen more as pre-requisites rather than key to a lock. The fact that those are the average grades and test scores means that students need to earn at least those numbers if they want to feel good about their chances. Beyond that, there are many more things that you can do to improve your chances of getting in.

Female student studying hard in the library

One such thing is to write fantastic supplemental essays on your application. Truly, the personal statement and supplemental essays connected to college applications are the best ways to let admissions officers get to know the real you. That is, get to know the person beyond the scores and grades. Write great essays to let admissions officers know who you are, what you are passionate about, and what you want to accomplish at Princeton and beyond.

Commit to fabulous extracurriculars

Another really fantastic thing that you can do to improve your chances of getting into any great university is to invest in really fantastic extracurriculars during your high school years.

Years ago, it was actually recommended that students get involved in as many out-of-the-classroom projects that they were capable of getting involved in. Now, the advised approach to extracurriculars is quite different.

These days, students are instead advised to simply commit to a somewhat small number of things that they want to do with their free time. Typically, the number sits between three and five teams, groups, clubs, etc.

What matters most when it comes to getting into great schools these days is that students use their extracurricular activities to explore and prove their passions as well as exert themselves as leaders in their chosen communities.

Universities of all kinds know that the students they are admitting have deep interests and passions that they use to guide them in their pursuit of goals.

They also love to know that students can be impactful and positive members of their communities. Getting deeply involved in extracurriculars is a great way to prove to schools like Princeton that you can do all that and more.

Start the application process early

While we previously mentioned that Princeton did cancel early action for the 2025 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little doubt that it will soon return. That is just one of the many reasons why students benefit from starting their applications early.

Not only do students who start the process early get the opportunity to apply early action, but they also get the chance to make sure that the application itself is the highest quality that it can be. Starting early will give you the time that you need to make sure that you have all the documents, all of the letters of recommendation, and more.

It will also give you as much time as possible to work on your essays. Having the time to edit and improve your essays for a while before you have to send them in will give you the chance to make sure that they are as good as they possibly can be!

Get a sense of the school and community

Schools that have such a powerful sense of community and history – like Princeton – love to know that the students applying to those schools value that. In fact, it is a good idea for students applying to Princeton to take some time during their essays to discuss what the opportunity to be a part of the Princeton community would mean to them.

There are some great ways to get a sense of the school and the community built around it, too. One of the very best ways is to enroll in a summer program at Princeton during your high school years.

Princeton has a lot of fantastic summer programs for students of many different kinds of focuses. From laboratory learning programs, to the journalism program, to sports camps, students have ample opportunity to form a relationship with the school well before they apply.

On top of that, another really fantastic way for students to get to know a little bit more about the school is to speak with an alumni before the application process begins. While you may not think that you have anyone in your direct network who went to Princeton, you’d be surprised!

Beyond that, if you do not know anyone who has graduated from Princeton, reaching out to the school itself and asking to be connected with an alumni so that you can learn more about the school has worked for many students in the past.

We’ll teach you how to get into Princeton

Those are just a few of the tips that students can use to improve their chances of getting into Princeton. Here at AdmissionSight, we make it our number one goal to help the students that we work with get into the school of their dreams. That’s why we’re so proud of our 75-percent success rate when it comes to our students getting into Ivy League or top-10 schools.

If you are curious about what we can do to help you get into the school of your dreams, contact us today for your free consultation.



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