Princeton Traditions

December 31, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Princeton Traditions

Princeton University, located in Princeton, New Jersey, is an internationally renowned private Ivy League research institution. In addition to being the fourth-oldest college or university in the United States, it is also one of the nine colonial colleges created prior to the American Revolution. All throughout the years, the university has nurtured plenty of Princeton traditions that are practiced even today.

Being a student at Princeton does not only involve pure academics; you will also find yourself enjoying its rich traditions and learning about its worthwhile history. You will also learn how to get involved in the school’s active student communities and make friends with people from many different backgrounds.

At AdmissionSight, our commitment to guiding each student through the difficulties of the admission process has remained constant throughout the years. Our dependable consulting ensures that your application will bring out the best in you. In the next parts of this article, we’ll talk about the important Princeton traditions and how they make a big difference in a college student’s life.

Are academics at Princeton hard?

To begin with, as the top national university according to the most recent rankings by U.S. News & World Report, it is natural that Princeton’s admissions process is rigorous, which also shows that its academics will involve a challenging journey for the incoming students. Are academics at Princeton hard? Princeton can be tough in terms of its academics.

Princeton building hidden by trees.

The strength of your profile is the most important factor in determining whether or not you will be accepted into Princeton, which is consistently ranked as one of the most competitive institutions in the country.

The most unique parts of a university’s curriculum are probably the junior paper and senior thesis that students have to do as part of their undergraduate education.

The purpose of the junior paper, also known as the junior project or JP, is to provide a foundation for the development of the senior thesis. Through the “JP” program, students can work on the skills and independent research they’ll need to finish their senior thesis while also getting one-on-one help from their faculty adviser.

Seniors at Princeton are expected to complete a senior thesis or project, with the exception of engineering majors. This allows students to pursue their individual areas of academic interest and grow in areas like critical thinking, perseverance, and self-directed learning.

Senior research projects are a unique chance for students to work closely with a faculty advisor on an independent research project of their choice. Nearly all seniors are expected to hand in their theses, which fosters a strong sense of camaraderie within the graduating class.

Many Princeton graduates who won the Rhodes Scholarship, which is thought to be the most prestigious and competitive scholarship program in the world, have helped make the school one of the best in the United States.

In order to experience Princeton traditions, you need to exhibit an exceptional academic and non-academic profile during the admissions process, so you must take note of the following as well:

Princeton’s GPA and SAT requirements

The average grade point average (GPA) for the class of 2025 at Princeton is 3.92, and 59.48% of the students in that class graduated high school with a perfect 4.0-grade point average (GPA). Academic excellence is very important at Princeton, and the GPA is an important way to measure it.

The SAT and ACT scores that correspond to the middle 50% of the Princeton class of 2025 are 1460–1560 and 32–35, respectively. The closer your score is to the top of the middle 50%, the more competitive of a candidate you are. While any score in the middle 50% is good, the closer you are to the top of the middle 50%, the better.

Even compared to other highly ranked and highly selective universities, Princeton places a significant focus on academic achievement in its admissions process. Since the majority of Princeton applicants are academically qualified, even those with perfect GPAs and SAT/ACT scores will not stand out.

Acceptance into a prestigious academic program such as Governor’s School will distinguish you from other Princeton hopefuls. In a supplement essay, applicants could talk about their research experience or STEM achievements to stand out.

It is true that admission to Princeton is hard. Consequently, to boost your chances of being admitted to this university, you must ensure that your admissions profile and extracurricular activities are remarkable.

List of Princeton Traditions

Students at Princeton participate in a wide range of campus customs, some of which date back decades, while others are more recent. The following is the list of Princeton traditions:


A bonfire is lit at Cannon Green behind Nassau Hall, which is the university’s primary administrative structure and also its oldest building, in the event that Princeton’s varsity football team wins games against both Harvard and Yale in the same season. The last time something like this occurred was in 2006.

Cane Spree

In the years immediately following the American Civil War, it was common for students at Princeton to use canes. The sophomores took the canes away from the freshmen because they thought the younger students did not deserve to have such a prominent status symbol. Cane Spree is a contemporary tradition that originated as a result of this practice.

Princeton orange

In this activity, a freshman seeks to keep a firm grip on a cane while a sophomore makes an aggressive attempt to remove it from them. In a typical round, there are multiple matches between freshmen and sophomores, and a score is kept for each one. In recent times, the underclassmen have been victorious practically every single year.

FitzRandolph Gates

It is a custom at Princeton that students do not leave the campus through the FitzRandolph Gates until after they have graduated from the university. Tradition says that if a student leaves college before graduation day, they won’t get their diploma.

Newman’s Day

On April 24, many college students participate in an event in which they strive to consume 24 beers in one day. The remark has been credited to Paul Newman, although this may not be the case. “There are 24 hours in a day, just like there are 24 beers in a case.” Coincidence? “Not in my opinion.” This served as the impetus for the event to take place.


Reunions, which are enormous annual meetings of alumni, are one of the most important and well-known annual Princeton traditions that are commemorated. It is held over the course of four days immediately following the conclusion of spring finals and one weekend prior to the commencement exercises that take place over three consecutive days. Not only are there “big” reunions, but there are also reunions for each and every class (5th, 10th, etc.). Each year, thousands of former students and members of their families make the trip back to Princeton for the event.

During Reunions, there is a time-honored tradition of a parade through the campus known as the “P-rade,” which is comprised of alumni and their families. It is the “primary event” of the weekend, wherein the current alumni march through campus in order of their seniority to the cheers of the younger classes.

One of Princeton University's gates

During the P-Rade, one of the most common cheers is “Locomotive,” which is intended to honor a particular person, group, or class. It is customary for a recipient of a Locomotive to offer to repay the group or organization that originally provided it.

At Reunions, alumni are required to wear a “beer jacket,” which is a blazer that is specially created for each graduating class.

Arch Sings

Under one of the campus arches, numerous a cappella groups from Princeton put on concerts throughout the year (most frequently at Blair Arch and 1879 Arch). These structures are referred to as Arch Sings.

Prospect 10

Except for the Terrace Club, all of the university eating clubs can be found on Prospect Avenue. The Prospect 10 is a tour of all ten eating clubs in the area, during which participants consume a beer at each establishment. The task entails more than simply being able to consume ten beers in the span of a couple of hours; merely entering some of the most elite clubs needs some dexterity or charm on the part of the participant.

On the other hand, Princeton has a number of customs that have become extinct over the years, such as the following:

Theft of the Bell Clapper

Clapper theft involves climbing to the top of Nassau Hall and stealing the bell clapper that is used to herald the beginning of classes on the first day of each school year. It was one of the most popular Princeton traditions back in the day. The clapper has been permanently removed since it posed a safety risk.

Nude Olympics

One such event was the annual Nude Olympics, in which individuals stripped entirely or partially naked and enjoyed themselves in Holder Courtyard during the first snowfall of winter. Due to worries about sexual harassment and campus safety, the administration decided in 2000, much to the dismay of the students, not to allow this practice to take place on campus.

Does Princeton have student clubs?

Does Princeton have student clubs? No matter what your hobbies are now or what new interests you may find after you get to Princeton’s campus, there are extracurricular organizations, clubs, and centers available for you to join while you are a student there. You can choose to participate in any of these. Each of the more than 500 student organizations at their school was started by and is run by students.

Eating clubs

The Ivy Club, founded in 1879, is both the wealthiest and the oldest dining club on campus. Each residential college has a dining hall that serves the students of that particular college. The ambiance and menus of these dining halls are distinct from one another.

Upper-year students who no longer live on campus have several meal options: they can join an eating club with a shared meal plan, join a dining co-op where students dine, prepare, and cook together, or arrange their own meals. A large part of a Princeton student’s social life is spent in their residential college or eating club.

Residential colleges organize many different kinds of social events and activities for their students other than the well-known Princeton traditions, such as trips to see shows on Broadway and weekly barbecues. Eating clubs are co-ed organizations that serve as social hubs, conduct events, and invite guest lecturers. These clubs are not linked with the university but do invite guest speakers.

In addition, they offer upperclassmen a space to congregate and socialize with one another. There are a total of ten such clubs on campus. Five of them offer first-come, first-serve memberships known as “sign-ins,” and the other six use a selective method known as “bickering.”

Additionally, prospective members must also undergo an interview procedure. A membership fee of between $9,000 and $10,000 is required to join any eating club. As a direct result, Princeton offers additional financial aid to upperclassmen, and eating clubs also provide their members with assistance. Each club consists of around 68% of all upperclassmen, with membership ranging from 150 to 200 students.

Is there a Greek life at Princeton?

Is there a Greek life at Princeton? Even though it is neither sanctioned by the university nor affiliated with its departments, Princeton has a Greek life community, which also suggests that the university does not acknowledge its existence.

Despite the fact that Greek life is not formally recognized by the university, it is nonetheless governed by laws. This creates an unusual connection with the institution. For instance, freshmen are prohibited from interacting directly with Greek life, rush is always held in the fall of the second year. Furthermore, Greek life is not permitted to hold meetings or otherwise utilize university property. On campus, there are roughly three fraternities and ten sororities. St. Anthony Hall is another not-so-secret secret organization that is available to both men and women.

Life in a sorority tends to be less chaotic and more structured than that in a fraternity. The process of the rush is far more official and well-organized. Anybody can sign up. In terms of the real life of a sorority, there are weekly meetings, pregames, and there are also typically a few semi-formal and formal events held each year.

A lot more variety may be found in fraternity life. Rush is open, but it’s clear that it doesn’t get as much attention as other fraternities, and most brothers will join the fraternity where they already know people and have connections.

The size of the fraternities in each class ranges from five to fifteen brothers. Although the majority of students do not own property off-campus, some do. Compared to larger sororities, fraternities are typically more robust. Each fraternity boasts a personality that is more distinct from others. In contrast, genuine Greek life consists of weekly meetings, pregames, philanthropy, and a few formal parties per year.

At Princeton, eating clubs are sometimes considered more important than Greek life. Students won’t have a dull, boring life at Princeton because, along with the Princeton traditions, such clubs could add beneficial social interaction to the college lives of students at this institution.

Does Princeton have good athletics?

Does Princeton have good athletics? There are a total of 38 varsity sports available for both men and women at Princeton. They have one of the largest and most successful athletic programs in NCAA Division I. Over the past two decades, Princeton teams have won more Ivy League championships than any other school, and several Princeton teams have won national titles. Their athletic program is one of the most successful in all of NCAA Division I.

In addition to the varsity sports teams, there are 37 club sports teams at Princeton. These club sports teams are open to any student at Princeton, regardless of their level of athletic ability. The teams compete against other collegiate teams from the Northeast as well as from other parts of the country.

In addition, there is an intramural sports program that may be found on campus. This program organizes competitions on campus between residential colleges, eating clubs, independent groups, students, and members of the teaching staff. Players have access to a number of different leagues, each of which features a unique degree of competition.

How diverse is Princeton?

How diverse is Princeton? Princeton has set a goal for itself to become a truly diverse community, one in which people of different genders, races, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses have equal opportunities to succeed and develop.

aerial view of Princeton University

Over the past few years, Princeton has made significant strides, notably in terms of the diversity of its undergraduate student body. Today, the number of men and women in the population is about the same, and more and more college students are the first in their families to go to college.

Undergraduate students are generally more strongly represented by members of racial and ethnic minorities at Princeton, as well as at other selective colleges and universities, compared to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and senior administrators. Individuals who identify as Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and Native Alaskan are underrepresented in the demographics of all universities as compared to their overall numbers in the country.

Here are the diversity statistics for the Class of 2025 at Princeton:

Group Percent of Class
Asian American 20.5
International Citizens 12.6
Hispanic/Latino/a/x 11.4
Multiracial (non-Hispanic) 8.1
African American 8
American Indian < 1

Princeton traditions can surely give a lot of unforgettable memories to students. Your college life at this prestigious institution won’t be complete and full of enjoyable memories without those traditions mentioned earlier. If Princeton is your dream college and learning about its remarkable traditions has strongly convinced you to enroll, we at AdmissionSight are here to provide our quality consulting service and help you achieve your goals. Contact us to learn about our service from our trusted team.






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