8 Tips to Get Into Princeton University
Princeton University is always in the conversation when people speak of the country’s best universities, and rightfully so. With a rich history of world-class academic offerings and a proven track record of producing some of the most successful alumni, it’s no wonder Princeton is revered so highly.
As a student, you might be wondering how to get into Princeton University. Schools with an Ivy League reputation can seem untouchable at times. Although the admissions processes of these schools are certainly challenging, they’re not impossible.
At AdmissionSight, we’ve spent years learning the ins and outs of college admissions, especially at Ivy League universities. As a result, we’ve become well-versed in what these top universities are looking for from applicants. Here, we’ll take a look at Princeton University’s acceptance rate along with some helpful tips for getting accepted.
FAQs on Princeton University
What is the Princeton University acceptance rate?
The Princeton University acceptance rate typically hovers around 6%, although it varies from year to year. When compared to the admissions data of other standard universities, you’ll notice that Princeton is significantly more selective. However, when you consider that Princeton is an Ivy League school, its acceptance rate doesn’t appear as challenging. In fact, there are still some universities such as Harvard and Yale that are more selective.
How difficult is it to get into Princeton University?
As you can tell from Princeton’s acceptance rate, it’s difficult to get accepted into this world-class university. Fortunately, this college takes a comprehensive approach to its admissions process. In other words, admissions staff take a wide variety of factors into account when determining which applicants get accepted. This gives you plenty of opportunities to stick out from the competition when you’re filling out your application.
8 Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Princeton University
Now that you have a better idea of Princeton University’s admissions process, what its admission data looks like, and what it expects from applicants, it’s time to take a deeper dive into some strategies you can use to improve your chances of getting into Princeton University.
1. Start the process as early as you can.
Although you might have been able to get by in high school with procrastination, college is the time when this bad habit can sneak up from behind and negatively impact you, especially when applying to Princeton. Keep in mind that you’re not only spending time to fill out the application, there are also many documents you have to request such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and more.
Requesting these documents takes a significant amount of time. That’s why we advise applicants to get started as early as possible on the Princeton University application. If you continue pushing off the application, you increase your chances of turning in something that’s not the best reflection of your capabilities or – even worse – incomplete. If you’re wondering how to get into Princeton University, timely preparation definitely steps number one.
2. Consider applying during early admission.
Most Ivy League colleges allow students to apply during two different timelines. While the vast majority of students will opt for the standard deadline, some will decide to submit their applications beforehand. If you’re wondering how to get into Princeton early decision, you’ll be pleased to know it’s too difficult at all! The only significant difference is that you’ll have to prepare your application even earlier in order to make the deadline.
You’ll be pleased to know that Princeton’s early decision has a higher acceptance rate than its standard application deadline. Although significantly fewer students apply, a larger percentage are accepted. Be sure to pay attention to the deadlines. You don’t want to end up putting in all of the extra work just to realize you’re late for early admission. We advise students to apply early decision only if they’re confident Princeton is their first choice.
3. Speak with alumni.
Ivy League alumni have a long and rich tradition of staying connected. In fact, perhaps the best long-lasting benefit of attending one of these eight prestigious universities is the networking opportunities. Graduates of these well-known schools are known for looking out for each other well-after their senior year.
This connectivity can help students land internships, get jobs, earn promotions, and a host of other professional advantages. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait until you graduate or even attend Princeton to tap into this network. A great way to improve your chances of getting into this school is to speak with an actual alumnus.
During this meeting, you’ll be able to ask any questions you have about Princeton, the admission process, how it is to attend the school, along with some tips about how to secure a spot in the incoming class. When speaking with alumni, you’ll have a direct connection with someone who has successfully accomplished what you’re attempting.
In order to connect with alumni, you can speak directly with the university or even reach out to your own network of friends, family members, teachers, and acquaintances. You might be surprised to find out who you know who might know someone who attended Princeton.
4. Learn about what’s required.
If you’ve done any research about how to get into Princeton University, you’re most likely at least a little familiar with what’s required to attend an Ivy League university. Although this general information can give you a rough idea of what Princeton will require, you shouldn’t let this assumption make you feel too comfortable.
For instance, just because Yale requires a particular document or considers a certain activity when reviewing applications, that doesn’t mean Princeton does the same. It’s vital to get a clear idea of what this university requires from applicants specifically.
5. Collect excellent letters of recommendation.
Princeton University, along with most universities in the US, require applicants to provide letters of recommendation. These letters are designed to help admissions officers gain a better understanding of an applicant’s personal attributes, academic performance, and overall strengths.
And who better to provide this insight than people who know you personally? That’s why most students request a letter of recommendation from a teacher or high school counselor. However, just because someone knows you personally, that doesn’t mean their letter of recommendation will be sufficient.
Think back about your time throughout high school. Do any teachers, counselors, coaches, or other role models stick out amongst the others? Did any make an extra effort that made an impression on you? Asking these questions can help you determine the best writers for your letters of recommendation. It’s important to choose somebody who knows you on a personal level so that they can speak to your unique abilities. Admissions counselors will respond best to these types of letters.
6. Get great test scores and grades.
Princeton University is one of the top-rated universities in the country. As we discussed before, this prestige attracts some of the best talents from across the country. As a result, Princeton’s application process is highly competitive. In order to boost your chances of getting in, you’ll need to perform well on both standardized test scores and in your high school classes. Although Princeton has a comprehensive admissions process that takes multiple factors into account, it’s tough to understate the importance of these highly objective stats.
These scores give admissions officers a better idea of how applicants perform academically. They’re also used to determine how you’ll perform in a collegiate environment. The best way to secure a high GPA is to take weighted classes such as advanced placement courses.
However, you want to make sure that the classes aren’t too difficult that your grades would start to slip. For the ACT and SAT, you can take preparatory classes to better prepare. You’re even allowed to take these standardized tests more than once in order to ensure you have the best score possible.
7. Don’t worry too much about the admission data.
If you want to know how to get into Princeton, you’re going to be looking at admission data. While this information can give you a better idea of what admissions officers are looking for, you shouldn’t get too caught up in this data. If you focus on it too much, you can end up feeling discouraged.
Perfect test scores, high GPAs, and low acceptance rates are enough to make even the most talented students second-guess their acceptance into Princeton. When it comes to the admission data, you should learn what you can from them and then not let them bother you.
8. Write excellent supplemental essays.
Princeton University requires all applicants to fill out a series of supplemental essays. These prompts cover a wide array of topics and change from year to year. While the standard application covers test scores, GPAs, high school courses, and extracurricular activities, these supplemental essays are more personal.
They’re designed to give students a chance to reveal more about their personal goals, strengths, and interests while, at the same time, helping admissions officers get a clearer picture of each student. After all, the standard application isn’t very revealing.
In order to greatly increase your chances of getting into Princeton, you can work with a dedicated admissions counselor to nail your supplemental essays. AdmissionSight offers personalized editing services and guidance to help you perfect your responses. You’ll have a better understanding of what the prompts are asking, what admissions officers at Princeton are looking for, and how you can best tailor your responses.
How I got into Princeton
While offering strategies for getting into Princeton is helpful, sometimes it’s just nice to hear directly from someone who has successfully gotten accepted to the university. We browsed the internet to find a first-person account of a Princeton applicant. Here’s what we found:
“Generally, the way you get into Princeton is based on five primary things:
- Academics: First and foremost, Princeton is a top-tier university. They will not admit someone who they think won’t do well academically. This means you should have a strong track record of doing well in class and on standardized exams. It is very important that you consistently during high school excel in your classes. The higher your GPA, combined with taking the most challenging courses during high school, will be important.
Doing well on standardized tests is also key. It is constant across schools. Whether you go to an elite private school or a normal public school, standardized tests are a way for the admissions committee to compare. If you get a very high GPA and low test scores, it will inform the admissions committee that your school may not be very rigorous. So, try to do well on the SAT/ACT (and SAT 2).
- Passion: Whether you are interested in poetry, sports, music, or whatever, you need to have passion. There are tens of thousands of applicants to Princeton. They could literally fill their class with people who have perfect SAT scores. The way to stand out from here is to have some sort of passion. You should present this by being in clubs, doing extracurriculars, sports, etc. Try to find something early and stick with it.
If you spend 8 years playing an instrument, it will reflect better than playing one for 2 years. If you have the opportunity and gifts to excel at something (tournaments, publishing articles, making an app, etc.), even better.
Try to push yourself throughout high school to find your passions and excel. The admissions committee knows that you are young and still trying to find yourself, but you should have an idea of what you want to do with the experiences and background to show it.
- Personality: Go out and experience things in life. You do not need to be the cookie-cutter applicant to get into Princeton. When I was in high school I worked at McDonald’s and Walmart. I met people and spoke with them. I tried to make a movie and submitted it to the competition (and lost miserably!). But all of these experiences shaped me.
I was able to tie in my personal experiences in school, at my job, through my hardships, to paint a more complete picture of myself. These experiences will shine through in your essays and interviews. If you only focus on “stereotypical activities” and don’t actually live your life, this will be obvious in your application. Now, as I mentioned, not everyone is wealthy and can travel the world, volunteer in different countries, etc. That’s fine – Princeton understands that not everyone is wealthy.
People have different experiences and circumstances. It is important that you can show Princeton that you are excelling given your circumstances. I once interviewed a woman who was homeless throughout high school, whose parents passed away when she was younger. She didn’t have the same opportunities as a trust fund kid. But her life experiences were very inspiring, and she was accepted with a full scholarship.
- Patience: Spend time writing your essays. Try to get your voice to shine through. Start early on all aspects (essays, exams, etc.) and plan. That first (or tenth) draft of your essay may still need work. Give yourself time to read and reflect. Make sure your voice shines through. Avoid cliches. Read your essays multiple times, then wait a week to give yourself a fresh perspective.
- Luck: Don’t take it personally. Maybe your admissions officer didn’t like your essay. Maybe Princeton really needed a tuba player that year. You might be the right (or wrong) person for Princeton that year. It doesn’t reflect poorly on you, but it’s true.” – Chris Shuck B.S.E. Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University
We can help you figure out how to get into Princeton University
AdmissionSight has years of experience helping students from across the country get into the university of their dreams. Whether you’re looking to Princeton, Harvard, Yale, or any other Ivy League school, we’re a perfect resource.
Our highly specialized team lives and breathes college admissions. We know the admissions processes of these universities inside and out. Both parents and students often feel alone when it comes to applying to the Ivies. That’s the issue our services are designed to address.
Whether you want help choosing the best summer program, determining what high school courses you should take, or even pre-high school consultation, AdmissionSight has you covered. All of our services are personalized to make sure we’re taking your future goals, academic interests, and personal strengths. Feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation to learn more about what we offer and how you can benefit from it.