Princeton Academic Calendar

October 24, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Princeton Academic Calendar

Does Princeton Use Semesters or Quarters?

Does Princeton use semesters or quarters? Princeton University is on a semester system with classes being offered during the fall and spring terms. Princeton academic calendar lasts for 15 weeks, which is made up of 12 weeks of regularly scheduled sessions, an 8–9-day reading break, and a 7–day final exam period for each term.

The Princeton academic calendar for the fall and spring terms of 2022–2023 is provided below.

Fall Term in 2022–2023 Academic Year

Dormitory check for freshmen students August 26th
Opening ceremonies September 4th
Beginning of the Fall term classes September 6th
Mid-term examination week October 10th to 14th
Fall break October 15th to 23rd
Classes resume October 24th
Thanksgiving break November 22nd to 27th
Classes resume November 28th
Reading period December 9th to 16th
Fall term final examination December 17th to 23rd

Spring Term in 2022–2023 Academic Year

Beginning of the Spring term classes January 30th
Mid-term examination week March 6th to 10th
Spring break March 11th to 19th
Classes resume March 20th
Reading period* May 1st to 9th
Spring term final examination May 12th to 18th
Baccalaureate May 28th
Class day May 29th
Commencement day May 30th

Definition of Terms

Reading Period – Each term in Princeton academic calendar includes a window of typically 8–9 days is set aside before final exams to allow students time to finish coursework or to do additional reading and research related to their interests. Individual professors are free to continue their lectures during the reading session.

Baccalaureate – Seniors organize an informal gathering, which includes classmates and their friends. The senior class selects songs that represent their time at Princeton. Students wear their class jackets.

Class Day – Senior class members plan Class Day, which is held the day before Commencement at Princeton. In addition to speeches by graduating seniors, the ceremony recognizes class members for their accomplishments and inducts honorary class members.

How Many Classes Can You Take in a Semester at Princeton?

A.B. Program

How many classes can you take in a semester at Princeton? Apart from one term in the first or second year, when a student normally needs to take five courses to meet the requirement of 17 courses before the start of junior year. The standard course load for freshmen, sophomores, and junior students is four courses per term of the Princeton academic calendar.

All seniors must finish a minimum of six courses in their senior year, regardless of how many courses they took before entering their senior year. The most common way to do this is to take three classes every term, although students can also take four classes in one term and two in the next.

View of a young woman studying on a table.

It may be possible for students enrolled in the Program in Teacher Preparation who took an additional course in a previous year or a student taking part in the University Scholar Program to lighten their final year course load by one course.

Under exceptional circumstances, a student may be permitted to drop one course from the required course load for a term after consulting with an academic adviser, a residential college dean, or an assistant dean. The following rules must be followed, however, for each term, a minimum of three courses must be completed by all freshmen, sophomores, and junior students. Seniors are allowed to take two courses in one term as long as they finish four in the previous term and do not have any course deficiencies going into their senior year.

B.S.E. Program

In the B.S.E. degree, students typically enroll in four courses in the first year’s fall term and four or five courses in each successive term of the Princeton academic calendar, in a schedule appropriate to their unique fields of study.

A minimum of eight successfully completed courses are required to begin the sophomore year. A first-year student may, with special permission, finish at least seven courses during the academic year and one during the summer. For each term, sophomores, juniors, and seniors must successfully complete a minimum of four courses.

What is the application deadline for Princeton?

You must submit both the Common Application and the Princeton Supplement in order to apply. As a first-year applicant, you have the option of using single-choice early action or normal decision. Those wishing to transfer must do so through the transfer process. For those applying through QuestBridge application, you may visit the QuestBridge National College Match page for further details. Now, let us tackle what is the application deadline for Princeton.

Group of students looking at a laptop.

Early Single-Choice Action

The single-choice early action program at Princeton University is an optional procedure. If accepted, you have until May 1 to let us know whether you plan to matriculate. You cannot apply to an early program at any other private institution or university in the United States if you submit a single-choice early action application before November 1.

Timeline for Early Single-Choice Action Application

Common Application and Princeton Supplement available Mid-August
Deadline for Common Application and Princeton Supplement November 1st
Deadline for graded written paper November 1st
Deadline for the school report, school counselor letter, and transcript November 1st
Teacher Evaluation Form 1 and 2 are due November 1st
TOEFL, IELTS Academic, or PTE Academic Test completion (if applicable) November 1st
Deadline for optional arts supplement November 7th
Princeton financial aid application deadline November 9th
Single-choice early action decision notification Mid-December
Reply date for the candidate May 1st

Regular Decision

Students admitted through ordinary decision have until May 1 to inform us of their decision to matriculate, just as those who are admitted through single-choice early action.

Timeline for Regular Decision Application

Common Application and Princeton Supplement available Mid-August
Deadline for Common Application and Princeton Supplement January 1st
Deadline for graded written paper January 1st
Deadline for school report, school counselor letter and transcript January 1st
Teacher Evaluation Form 1 and 2 due January 1st
TOEFL, IELTS Academic or PTE Academic Test completion (if applicable) January 1st
Deadline for optional arts supplement January 9th
Princeton financial aid application deadline February 1st
Regular decision notification April 1st
Reply date for candidate May 1st

The single-choice early action program at Princeton University is nonbinding. You cannot apply for early admission to any other private colleges or universities but you can note the following conditions:

  • As long as the judgment is nonbinding, you are permitted to apply early to any public institution or service school.
  • If the judgment is nonbinding, you may submit an early application to any international institution.
  • You may submit your application to any college or institution with a non-obligatory rolling admissions procedure.

There are three possible outcomes for your admissions decision if you apply early action, Princeton could either:

  • Make an admission offer;
  • Send an admission denial;
  • Or postpone making a final decision on the application and revisit it during the nonbinding rolling admission.

There are three possible outcomes for your admission decision if you apply for the regular decision. You will either:

  • Receive admissions offer;
  • Receive admissions denial;
  • Be offered a spot on the waitlist.

When you are admitted, you will be informed of any financial aid awards if you have been accepted and have submitted the Princeton Financial Aid Application. This will allow you to compare your admission and financial aid offers with those from other institutions to which you have been admitted.

What Are the Big Social Events At Princeton?

There are always events happening on campus throughout the Princeton academic calendar. You can view the entire list of calendars, whether you want to go to academic, artistic, or sports activities in their website.

Students standing while holding their school materials.

What are the big social events at Princeton? While some events might have been canceled due to the pandemic or the changing times, check out some popular traditions at Princeton that Princetonians have created and treasured a very rich body of traditions for more than 260 years.

  • Arch Sings: One or more of Princeton’s thirteen undergraduate a cappella groups perform free late-night concerts in one of the campus’ larger arches. Blair Arch or the Class of 1879 Arch are the venues used the most.
  • Cane Spree: A fall athletic competition between freshmen and sophomores.
  • Bonfire: A ceremonial bonfire on Cannon Green behind Nassau Hall held only if Princeton defeats both Harvard and Yale in football.
  • Class Jackets (Beer Jackets): Each graduating class designs and wears at their multiple-of-five reunions—5th, 10th, etc.—featuring their class year. The school colors and tiger motifs almost always predominate in the artwork.
  • Communiversity: An annual street fair that features entertainment, arts and crafts, and other events to promote communication between the university and the people of Princeton.
  • FitzRandolph Gate: As a representation of their departure from college and entrance into the working world, the new graduates process out of Princeton through the university’s main gate at the conclusion of the graduation ceremony. Anyone who departs campus through FitzRandolph Gate before their own graduation day will not graduate, according to custom (though entering through the gate is fine).
  • Reunions: Depending on the schedule set in the Princeton academic calendar, an annual reunion will be held on the weekend before graduation.
  • P-rade: A traditional procession of alumni and their families who process by class year.
  • The Phantom of Fine Hall: Before 1993, there was a tradition known as “The Phantom of Fine Hall,” which told the story of a mysterious, shadowy person that would haunt the Mathematics department’s building and write difficult equations on blackboards. Although the Nash equilibrium finding in game theory was invented by John Forbes Nash in the 1950s and was featured in Rebecca Goldstein’s 1980 book The Mind-Body Problem about Princeton graduate student life, the legend self-deconstructed in the 1990s.

The former Phantom shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and is now a respected member of the University community. At the time, he was also a ghost in the computing center where, thanks to handlers in the math department, he was a sacred monster with a guest account.

What is It Like Being at Princeton?

The 28th American President and past president of Princeton is a notable alumnus for whom the school is named. Its 600 acres in suburban Princeton, New Jersey, roughly an hour from Philadelphia and an hour and a half from New York City, are enjoyed by students.

The highly regarded Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs offers undergraduate through doctoral degrees in various academic programs. The most sought-after undergraduate majors are computer engineering, operations research, history, econometrics and quantitative economics, and public policy analysis.

Most classes, around 75, have less than 20 students, and many of them are taught in small, interactive groups at tables in a seminar format. General and introductory courses are given in a lecture format.

The Princeton Tigers, as the school’s students and mascot are known, are extremely devoted to their alma mater, and many come back to campus for an annual reunion in May. As is true of many American universities, graduating from Princeton grants you a lifetime membership to a highly exclusive club.

Now, you might wonder “What is it like being at Princeton?” The lovely campus experiences all four seasons, including a vibrant fall and a chilly, snowy winter. Modern technology is present throughout the structures, and many residential colleges also offer welcoming common areas and dining halls.

Campus Life

Princeton University has over 300 student groups, including ones in dance, media, film, music, intramural sports, politics and government, debate, religion, and more. These organizations can help students discover new interests or develop existing ones.

Eating clubs are one of the features that set campus life at Princeton apart. These 13 exclusive clubs are Princeton’s equivalent of Greek Life; they go beyond simple off-campus houses where students gather for meals. Additionally, they set the tone for the Thursday and Saturday social scene. Each member may invite two guests to events on weekends at this location, which is just off campus on “the street”.

Princeton building hidden by trees.

Not all students are members, nor is it necessary for them to be, but if you choose to join one, it will certainly have a significant impact on your social life.

Throughout the year in the Princeton academic calendar, dozens of activities are held on campus for the benefit of the students. Every fall, Opening Exercises signalizes the beginning of a new academic year, while Reunions concludes it. Reunions have been known to draw 20,000 visitors to the campus!


Housing is an option for all undergraduate students, and the majority decides to complete their four years on campus. Over 70% of recent graduates decide to do the same. This experience, together with a focus on individual study, is crucial for personal development.


Students can join the Princeton Tigers if they are sports enthusiasts or athletes. In the Ivy League, Princeton is an NCAA Division I institution. There is an activity to suit all student’s interests thanks to the school’s more than 38 varsity teams for men and women. Track and field, outdoor sports, softball, and rowing are the most practiced sports on campus.


Princeton provides students with a wealth of resources, including the Princeton University Library, for further learning. The collection, which has eleven million artifacts, really contains an autographed copy of The Great Gatsby by former student F. Scott Fitzgerald. The campus art museum is accessible to visitors, families, and students.


Make sure to learn about Princeton’s history when you are out and about in the city of New Jersey. Despite its tiny size, Princeton has a lot to offer visitors, including several restaurants, independently owned shops, a top-notch art museum, and more. However, if you do become bored, you are equally close to both NYC and Philadelphia, so you can get there by either NJ Transit or Amtrak.

Young woman holding her books while walking.

Princeton, New Jersey, is a college town, as one might anticipate. It also houses Princeton Theological Seminary, Westminster Choir College, and Mercer Community College in addition to Princeton University. As a result, the population fluctuates with the academic year.

At Princeton, adjusting to daily life is simple. The institution places a high emphasis on campus life and experience since it is centered around the students and the community that results from that. Princeton’s considerable emphasis on school culture ensures that students will feel content with their stay.

The Princeton academic calendar could give you a glimpse of what you will experience at this university. If you need assistance with your Princeton application, feel free to seek advice from AdmissionSight. We, at AdmissionSight, have guided students for over 10 years now with the tough admissions process to top universities in the country. Book an initial consultation now.

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