Princeton Acceptance Rate

May 19, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Princeton Acceptance Rate: 6.1%

Shortcut to sections offered for Princeton prospective students:

Successful Applicant Profile

  • Demographics
  • Majors
  • SAT/ACT scores

Entry Requirements

  • Tuition
  • Scholarships
  • Checklist of Application Requirements
  • Application Deadlines

What Should You Expect

  • Student life
  • Academics offered
  • Athletics offered
  • Notable Alumni

College applications are no easy task, so it should not come as a surprise that the ones to Ivy League universities would be even more demanding.

Princeton’s acceptance rate does not make things easier if your heart is set on this university. Each year, approximately, 5 students are admitted for every 100 applications. This doesn’t just make the competition tough. It makes the competition excruciatingly painful.

Luckily, the admission consultants at AdmissionSight have several tools and resources to give you a fighting chance. The Princeton acceptance rate for 2021 was just 6.1% and it hardly ever crosses 6% in any year. However, you don’t need to get daunted by Princeton’s acceptance rate as long as your scores look well and your application highlights your achievements.

Princeton is among the top colleges in the United States and has a 500 acre campus in Princeton, New Jersey. The school is highly selective and competitive.

Only the best minds are ever offered a chance to learn here. The right SAT and ACT scores are absolutely vital to getting past the first round of Princeton’s filters. The next step entails impressing the admission board beyond academics.

You need to be the top of your class and have a holistic approach to learning to be selected for Princeton. However, before you get into the numbers, have a look at the kind of students that get admitted to this university.

1. Successful Applicant Profile

In 2019, there were 32,804 applicants out of which 1,896 were offered admission. 1,343 applicants finally got enrolled at Princeton University. The university is among the oldest in the United States founded in 1746. The campus setting is suburban and has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,428.

Where are the applicants from?

Princeton University has a diverse and culturally rich campus. It has a gender distribution of 49% females and 51% males. 61% of the student body comprises permanent residents or US citizens, biracial or multiracial students, and self-identified people of color. Almost 7% of the freshman make-up is of first-generation college students.

Princeton tries very hard to offer affordable education and learning. 20% of admitted students are from low-income families and almost 60% that get admitted receive financial aid.

The students come from all 50 states of the United States in addition to Puerto Rico, Washington DC, and Guam. On an average, 11% admits are international students from 64 other countries.

The majority of international application acceptations are Asian Americans at 24%. Hispanic or Latino makes up 11% of the student body with African Americas comprising 7%.

aerial view of Princeton University

What are the more common programs?

Princeton’s acceptance rate may be one of the lowest in the country, but their student-faculty ratio is among the highest at 5:1. 74.1% classes in the university have fewer than 20 students. This allows students to fully understand their courseware and discover new interests before settling for a major.

Princeton also has one of the highest student satisfaction figures. Almost 98% of freshmen stay to complete their graduation. There are over 80 majors offered at Princeton. Most students matriculating here pursue a broad range of interests and subjects.

Some of the more popular ones are Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Public Administration and Social Service Professions, Social Sciences, Engineering, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

It is important to understand that independent work is considered vital at Princeton to graduate. All seniors are required to present a thesis if they pursue humanities as their major.

An extensive paper called a ‘junior paper’ is needed in a majority of departments. You will also be expected to take up a foreign language and complete several semesters of it.

Engineering and science students are required to spend at least two semesters on their independent research.

What is the average SAT/ACT score of admitted students Princeton?

For admitted students in 2019 who took ACT score:

  • 25th percentile score: 32
  • 75th percentile score: 35

For admitted students in 2019 who took SAT score:

  • 25th percentile score: 1430
  • 75th percentile score: 1560

A 1440 SAT score is going to place you way below average even though it is the minimum Princeton requires for considering applications. However, the university does not have any absolute SAT requirements. Princeton’s acceptance rate is among the toughest in the country and the high bar for test scores does not make getting in any easier.

In general, you need to be at the top of your class with a GPA of at least 3.9. This means straight A’s in all your classes. You also need to take up plenty of IB and AP classes to show that you are excellent with academic challenges.

It can be difficult to change your GPA if you are already a senior or a junior. However, you can ensure a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate for a lower GPA.

This will help the admission board at Princeton University understand that you are ready to tackle college academics. This will also give you a better chance to compete with other applicants.

Getting a high GPA and SAT/ACT score is extremely important to get your foot in the door. Princeton’s acceptance rate is notoriously low and makes the school highly selective.

Your application will more likely be rejected without consideration if you are unable to match their GPA and SAT/ACT requirements.

Always aim for the 75th percentile to be safe. This means you need a 1570 SAT or 35 ACT and a 4.0 GPA or higher to be a cut above the rest. Scores are just the beginning of the challenge. You still need to impress the board with your non-academic endeavors and accomplishments.

Snapshot of a student's grades.2. Entry Requirements

Princeton University requires a graded written paper from each of the applicants. However, it does not lay much stress on the SAT writing section.

For Princeton’s admission requirements, it is important to note that Princeton follows the score choice program, which means admission officers will only consider the highest scores from individual test sections across multiple SAT tests.

SAT subject tests are recommended even if Princeton doesn’t actually require it. This is especially true for students that are interested in applying for a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. At AdmissionSight, we always stress upon reviewing individual recommendations for application subjects.

However, before you start filling out the form take a look at what it costs to get into Princeton.

How much will it cost to attend?

Princeton’s cost of attendance may seem through the roof at $75,210, but the college does offer multiple grants and financial aid. Also, the cost of attendance includes most items you would be paying for while in college, such as tuition, room and board, textbooks, and miscellaneous expenses, among other aspects of getting through this period of your life.

Here’s a breakup of the costs:

  • Tuition: $53,890
  • Room charge: $10,480
  • Board rate: $7,340
  • Estimated miscellaneous expenses: $3,500

Travel is not included in this estimate which can be anywhere from $300 to $5,000 depending on where you are coming from. You would also be required to purchase Student Health Plan coverage if you are not covered by a family health insurance policy. This is generally for an additional $1,900.

Princeton University is diligently taking steps to making education more affordable. They are a member of the American Talent Initiative.

This group is dedicated to making college a reality for talented low- and moderate-income students. There are many other ways by which you can pay for your tuition at Princeton.

What financial aid opportunities are available?

The Princeton financial aid program is one of the best and most generous in the country as a result of its commitment to making higher education affordable for talented students.

Financial aid is provided to over 60% Princeton undergraduates. Students coming from low- and middle-income backgrounds with a family income up to $250,000 qualify for aid.

The average grant offered is greater than the tuition cost. Grants offered to lower-income students are generous enough to cover full tuition, room and board. For many families, Princeton is actually cheaper compared to many state colleges.

Lower income families are the ones earning less than $65,000 a year. The aid package in such a situation covers residential college fee, full tuition, and room and board. Financial aid is directly deducted from the university bill and the families are only required to pay the remainder on a monthly or a semester basis.

Most students graduating out of Princeton are debt-free since they are not required to borrow anything or repay anything.

This has allowed the college to triple its percentage of students from low-income backgrounds in the last decade. 82% of seniors that recently graduated had little or no debt. The average indebtedness for seniors that had to sign up for a loan is around $9,000 at graduation.

Princeton commencement exercise

What are the application requirements for Princeton?

Students can utilize the Universal College Application, Common Application, or Coalition Application to apply to Princeton University. It’s crucial to make sure that the test scores and application reaches admission officers in time to be considered.

This is a checklist of all application requirements:

  • Complete application
  • Princeton Supplement through the Common Application or Coalition Application websites
  • Application fee or apply for a fee waiver
  • Graded written paper (preferably English or History)
  • Official transcript from school counselor or school official
  • School report
  • Counselor recommendation
  • Two higher-level courses teacher recommendations
  • Mid-year school report
  • SAT or ACT test scores
  • Two SAT subject tests (recommended)

Start your application for fall 2021 and proceed through the various steps mentioned in the checklist above. Applications usually open in September.

What are timelines for Princeton application?

Princeton offers both single-choice early action and regular decision applications. Single-choice early action plan is recommended since it can help improve admission chances. However, it is only for those who are absolutely sure that Princeton is their top choice.

The Princeton acceptance rate for early action applicants is usually twice as high as compared to the ones from the regular applicant pool. By applying early you get to demonstrate your interest and appreciation of the university. The university is also known for considering legacy status in the process of application review.

Deadlines for freshmen starting fall 2021

Single-choice Early Action Candidates

  • Application deadline – November 1st, 2020
  • SAT/ACT test – Last month to take ACT and SAT is November. Test results should be sent directly to Princeton for consideration.
  • Financial aid – November 9th, 2020

Regular Decision Candidates

  • Application deadline – January 1st, 2021
  • SAT/ACT test – Last month to take ACT and SAT is December. Test results should be sent directly to Princeton for consideration.
  • Financial aid – February 1st, 2021

Decision notification

Single-choice early action candidates are usually notified of the admission review board’s decision by December 12th. Regular decision candidates are typically notified by March 26th. Applicants from both pools will be required to send their replies to the university by May 1st, 2021.

3. What to Expect

Princeton has a 500-acre campus consisting of stone towers and Gothic arches that is frequently listed as the most beautiful campus in the United States. The university is home to numerous tree-lined walks and flower gardens. The campus sits right on the edge of Lake Carnegie.

The oldest building of the campus called the Nassau Hall was completed as early as 1756. The rest of the campus developed slowly but steadily to become a marvelous culmination of various architectural styles including Romanesque Revival, High Victorian Gothic, and Collegiate Gothic.

One of Princeton University's gates

What do students think of life at Princeton?

All freshmen are required to live on-campus. They reside in one of the six residential college dorms that is equivalent to communal living. Students study, eat, and socialize here. 66% of students claim Greek life to not be at the center of the social scene. 71% students on campus say that varsity sporting events are well-attended. However, they are not a very large part of life on campus.

A year ago, a freshman student posted a testimony about Princeton on a college-ranking site Niche expressing that:

“Princeton is a great school. Quite challenging but definitely worth the investment! The party scene can be quite boring at times but you should be doing your work anyways. The professors know you by name and aren’t looking to kill you with work. Also, there is a real undergraduate focus at the university.”

There are over 300 different student organizations at Princeton covering a wide range of creative and performing arts, academic interests, cultural and racial initiatives, government and political interests, and gender and sexuality affinity groups, among various media and publications.

The three most popular Princeton student groups are:

  • Mas Flow, which a community of students that celebrate Latin culture through dance performances
  • The Alexander Hamilton Society, which is dedicated to promoting robust debate on issues in economic, foreign, and national security policy
  • Nassau Weekly, which provides news, literary publications, and humor to all students for free

You can get more information about campus life and the admissions process by calling the undergraduate admission office at 609-258-3060 or sending an email to

What academics are offered?

Princeton University’s academic year begins September 9th and ends by May 27th. Freshmen follow a fall and spring semester schedule. You would be required to enroll in at least three courses per semester. You should have completed 17 courses by the end of sophomore year.

Princeton has a foreign language requirement with various distributional requirements each year. This is especially true for areas like Literature and the Arts, Historical Analysis, and Quantitative Reasoning.

Some of the more popular majors include Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Public and International Affairs, Neuroscience, and Electrical Engineering.

What athletic options are available?

Princeton is part of the NCAA Division I Ivy League. It competes in 38 intercollegiate sports including baseball, cross country, football, hockey, lacrosse, squash, and golf.

Princeton orange

Who are some famous Princeton alumni?

Princeton has some of the world’s notable personas as its alumni. It includes a rich mix of patrons from US Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, US Senators and Representatives, cabinet secretaries, and Nobel Prize winners to military leaders, business tycoons, and media figures.

Few particularly well-known alumni include:

  • Former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, novelist and author of The Great Gatsby
  • Founder of, Jeff Bezos
  • Editor-in-chief of The New Yorker, David Remnick
  • Vice President Aaron Burr
  • US Presidents James Madison and Woodrow Wilson (who was also Princeton’s president and the President who pushed America into foreign entanglements with the League of Nations)
  • Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke
  • Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz
  • Actors Jimmy Stewart and Brooke Shields

These are just a few of Princeton graduates who took the world by storm. All set to see your name on the list? Get started on the application preparations.

Princeton has a highly competitive and selective admission pool with some of the lowest acceptance rates. However, their holistic admission process offers every talented student a fighting chance.

Your test scores are not enough. You need a capable admission counselor from AdmissionSight to help you with your essay and other aspects of the application.


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