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Princeton University vs. the College of William and Mary

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a woman thinking about college

Princeton University vs. the College of William and Mary

Princeton University vs. the College of William and Mary, both prestigious institutions, have greatly influenced American education for centuries.

In this article, we will take a comparative look at various aspects of both schools, including their respective histories, selectivity and admissions statistics, campus culture and student life, academics, faculty, research opportunities, campus facilities, study abroad programs, alumni networks, financial aid, diversity and inclusion efforts, campus safety measures, athletics, student organizations, graduation rates, and post-graduation outcomes, and insights from current students.

A Brief History of Princeton University and the College of William and Mary

Princeton University was founded in 1746 in New Jersey and is one of the oldest and most distinguished institutions of higher learning in America. It has a rich tradition of scholarship and research and boasts of having produced 17 Nobel laureates, two U.S. presidents, and countless leaders in various fields.

The College of William and Mary, on the other hand, was established in 1693 in Virginia and is the second-oldest college in the country after Harvard. It has a strong liberal arts curriculum and has produced three U.S. presidents, a Supreme Court justice, and numerous other eminent personalities.

Both institutions have a long and fascinating history, which has contributed to their lasting impact on American education.

Princeton University has a strong commitment to undergraduate education, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1 and a focus on small class sizes. It also has a renowned graduate program, with top-ranked departments in fields such as engineering, economics, and psychology. The university has a beautiful campus, with Gothic-style buildings and a large collection of art and artifacts in its museums.

The College of William and Mary has a unique history, having been founded by a royal charter from King William III and Queen Mary II of England. It has a strong emphasis on public service and civic engagement, with opportunities for students to participate in community service projects and internships in government and non-profit organizations.

Male student using a laptop while sitting on a table.

The college also has a strong research program, with a focus on fields such as marine science, neuroscience, and colonial history.

Selectivity and Admissions Statistics of Princeton University and the College of William and Mary

Both Princeton and William and Mary have highly selective admissions processes that attract some of the brightest and most talented students from around the world. Princeton had an acceptance rate of 5.5% for the Class of 2024, with an average SAT score of 1500 and an average ACT score of 34.

William and Mary, on the other hand, had an acceptance rate of 37% for the same class, with an average SAT score of 1390 and an average ACT score of 31. While Princeton has more competitive entrance requirements, both schools attract top-tier students who are academically gifted and driven to succeed.

It’s worth noting that while Princeton and William and Mary have different acceptance rates and entrance requirements, they both prioritize a well-rounded student body. Both schools value extracurricular activities, community involvement, and leadership experience in addition to academic achievements.

This emphasis on holistic admissions ensures that students admitted to these institutions not only excel academically but also contribute to their communities and make a positive impact on the world.

Princeton University vs. the College of William and Mary: Campus Culture and Student Life

The campus culture and student life at both Princeton and William and Mary are unique and diverse. Princeton has a well-defined social scene with over 300 student organizations, 38 varsity sports teams, and a strong Greek life presence. William and Mary’s campus culture is more understated, with a focus on academic and intellectual pursuits.

Its student body is passionately committed to social justice and political activism, with over 400 student organizations that advocate for various causes. Both schools offer a wide range of extracurricular activities that cater to different interests and passions.

Princeton’s social scene is known for its exclusive eating clubs, which are private organizations that host social events and provide dining options for their members. These clubs are a significant part of the social fabric at Princeton, and many students aspire to join them. On the other hand, William and Mary’s campus is known for its historic architecture and beautiful green spaces.

The campus is a designated arboretum, with over 700 species of trees and plants, making it a popular spot for extracurricular activities and relaxation.

Both schools also have a strong commitment to community service and civic engagement. Princeton’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement offers a variety of programs and initiatives that connect students with local organizations and social issues. Similarly, William and Mary’s Office of Community Engagement provides opportunities for students to engage with the local community through service projects and internships. These programs allow students to make a positive impact on the world while also developing valuable skills and experiences.

Academics of Princeton University and the College of William and Mary

Princeton and William and Mary both offer a broad range of academic programs and majors, with Princeton having 36 majors across various fields, and William and Mary having 41. Class sizes at both institutions are generally small, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1 at Princeton and 11:1 at William and Mary.

Four students smiling at the camera while standing next to a college building.

The academic rigor and quality of instruction are high at both schools, with professors who are leaders in their respective fields. Princeton’s academic programs are geared towards providing students with an interdisciplinary education that prepares them for the challenges of the 21st century, while William and Mary’s curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Additionally, both Princeton and William and Mary offer a variety of opportunities for students to engage in research and independent study projects. Princeton’s undergraduate research program allows students to work closely with faculty members on cutting-edge research projects, while William and Mary’s Charles Center provides funding and support for students to pursue independent research projects in their areas of interest.

These opportunities not only enhance students’ academic experiences but also prepare them for graduate studies and careers in their chosen fields.

Princeton University vs. the College of William and Mary: Faculty

The faculty at both institutions are highly qualified and renowned scholars in their respective fields. Princeton has a renowned faculty that includes 22 Nobel laureates, while William and Mary has a distinguished faculty that includes a Pulitzer Prize winner, a MacArthur “genius,” and numerous other award-winning professors.

Both institutions place a strong emphasis on research and scholarship, and encourage students to engage in independent research projects and other scholarly pursuits with faculty guidance.

In addition to their impressive qualifications and awards, the faculty at both institutions are also known for their dedication to teaching and mentorship. They prioritize creating meaningful relationships with their students and providing individualized support and guidance.

This is reflected in the high level of student satisfaction and success at both Princeton and William and Mary, with graduates going on to pursue successful careers in academia, industry, and beyond.

Princeton University vs. the College of William and Mary: Research Opportunities and Funding

Princeton and William and Mary offer extensive research opportunities for their students, providing financial and logistical support for various research projects and initiatives. Princeton has a robust research infrastructure, with over 900 research projects conducted annually with $148 million in funding.

William and Mary also offers numerous opportunities for research through its various research centers, institutes, and programs. Both schools provide invaluable support and resources for students who wish to pursue academic research and scholarly pursuits.

At Princeton, students have the opportunity to work with world-renowned faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. The university also offers a number of research grants and fellowships to support student research, including the Princeton Environmental Institute Internship Program and the Princeton University Art Museum Internship Program.

Similarly, William and Mary provides students with access to a wide range of research opportunities, including the Charles Center Summer Research Grants and the Honors Fellowship Program. The university also hosts an annual undergraduate research symposium, where students can showcase their research projects and connect with other scholars in their field.

Campus Facilities: Libraries, Labs, and Athletic Centers

The campus facilities at both Princeton and William and Mary are state-of-the-art and well-maintained. Princeton has 12 libraries, including the renowned Firestone Library, which houses over 7 million volumes, while William and Mary has the Earl Gregg Swem Library, which houses over 1.3 million volumes.

Williams college aerial view

Both institutions have advanced laboratory facilities that support research and experimentation in various fields, as well as athletic centers that provide students with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for fitness and sports activities.

In addition to the libraries, labs, and athletic centers, both Princeton and William and Mary offer a variety of other campus facilities to enhance the student experience. Princeton has a world-class art museum, the Princeton University Art Museum, which houses over 100,000 works of art from around the world.

William and Mary has the Muscarelle Museum of Art, which features rotating exhibits of contemporary and historical art.

Furthermore, both institutions have extensive dining options for students, with a variety of on-campus restaurants and cafes. Princeton has over 25 dining locations, including fine dining options and casual cafes, while William and Mary has over 20 dining locations, including a food truck park and a student-run bakery.

Princeton University vs. the College of William and Mary: Study Abroad Programs and International Connections

Both Princeton and William and Mary have extensive study abroad programs that provide students with opportunities to experience different cultures and perspectives while pursuing academic coursework. Princeton has study abroad programs in over 50 countries, while William and Mary has programs in more than 13 countries.

Both schools have a global outlook and cultivate international connections through various partnerships and exchange programs.

Princeton’s study abroad programs offer a wide range of academic disciplines, including language immersion programs, internships, and research opportunities. Students can choose to study in countries such as China, France, Spain, and South Africa. The university also offers funding and scholarships to support students who wish to participate in these programs.

Similarly, William and Mary’s study abroad programs provide students with unique opportunities to engage with different cultures and communities. The university has partnerships with institutions in countries such as Germany, Japan, and Mexico, and offers programs in areas such as environmental science, public health, and international relations.

Students can also participate in service-learning programs that allow them to contribute to local communities while gaining valuable experience.

Career Services and Alumni Networks

Princeton and William and Mary have strong career services departments that provide students with resources and guidance for pursuing career opportunities after graduation. They also have robust alumni networks that offer graduates with connections, networking opportunities, and other professional resources.

Both institutions have robust career networks and a strong reputation for producing graduates who are highly sought after in the job market.

Princeton’s career services department offers a wide range of services to students, including career counseling, resume and cover letter reviews, and interview preparation. They also host career fairs and networking events throughout the year, connecting students with potential employers and alumni in their desired fields.

William and Mary’s alumni network is particularly strong, with graduates working in a variety of industries and locations around the world. The alumni association offers mentorship programs, job boards, and networking events to help graduates connect with each other and advance their careers.

View of a woman being interviewed.

Additionally, the college’s Mason School of Business has a dedicated career center that provides students with specialized resources and support for pursuing careers in business and finance.

Financial Aid Packages and Affordability

Both Princeton and William and Mary are committed to making their education affordable and accessible to students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Both schools offer generous financial aid packages that cover tuition, fees, room and board, and other educational expenses.

Princeton’s financial aid program is one of the most generous in the country, with 60% of its students receiving financial aid. William and Mary also offers financial aid packages to students who demonstrate financial need and offers merit-based scholarships to top students. Both schools value diversity and strive to ensure that their education is accessible to all students, regardless of their financial circumstances.

In addition to financial aid packages, both Princeton and William and Mary offer work-study programs to help students cover their educational expenses. These programs provide students with part-time jobs on campus, allowing them to earn money while gaining valuable work experience.

Additionally, both schools have resources available to help students manage their finances and make informed decisions about their education and future careers. These resources include financial literacy workshops, career counseling services, and networking opportunities with alumni and employers.

Diversity and Inclusion Efforts of Princeton University and the College of William and Mary

Both Princeton and William and Mary have made significant efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity on their campuses. Princeton has a Diversity and Inclusion Plan that outlines specific goals and strategies for enhancing diversity and ensuring equity on its campus, while William and Mary has a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that oversees efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity.

Both schools have diverse student bodies and take pride in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students.

Princeton’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan includes initiatives such as increasing the representation of underrepresented groups in faculty and staff positions, providing resources and support for first-generation and low-income students, and promoting intercultural understanding through programming and events.

Similarly, William and Mary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee works to create a campus culture that values diversity and inclusivity, and has implemented programs such as bias training for faculty and staff, and a diversity peer educator program for students. Both schools recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in creating a vibrant and intellectually stimulating community.

Safety Measures of Princeton University and the College of William and Mary

Campus safety is a top priority for both Princeton and William and Mary, and both institutions have implemented various measures to ensure the safety and well-being of their students and staff. Both schools have 24/7 campus security and emergency response teams, and have implemented various safety measures, including surveillance cameras, emergency alert systems, and safety protocols.

Both schools have a low incidence of campus crimes and have a safe and secure campus environment.

In addition to these measures, both Princeton and William and Mary offer self-defense classes and safety workshops to their students and staff. These classes teach valuable skills such as situational awareness, self-defense techniques, and how to respond in emergency situations.

Safety First signage

The schools also have partnerships with local law enforcement agencies to ensure a coordinated response in case of an emergency. By providing these resources and training opportunities, both institutions are committed to creating a safe and secure campus community for all.

Athletics: Teams, Facilities, and Performance

Princeton and William and Mary both have competitive athletic programs that offer students opportunities to excel in various sports. Princeton has 38 varsity sports teams, and 85% of its students participate in some form of athletics. William and Mary has 23 varsity sports teams, and its sports programs have won numerous championships and accolades.

Both institutions have well-equipped athletic facilities and offer extensive support and resources for student-athletes.

In addition to varsity sports teams, both Princeton and William and Mary also offer club and intramural sports programs for students who want to participate in athletics at a more recreational level. These programs provide opportunities for students to stay active and engaged in sports, even if they are not at the varsity level.

Additionally, both institutions prioritize the well-being and safety of their student-athletes, with dedicated trainers and medical staff available to provide care and support as needed.

Student Organizations and Extracurricular Activities

Both Princeton and William and Mary have a dynamic and vibrant campus life, with numerous student organizations and extracurricular activities that cater to various interests and passions. Princeton has over 300 student organizations that cover a wide range of areas such as arts and music, community service, international relations, and political activism.

William and Mary has over 400 student organizations that advocate for various causes, including environmental sustainability, religious and spiritual life, and social justice. Both schools encourage student engagement and support a culture of active participation and leadership.

Moreover, both universities offer a plethora of opportunities for students to engage in sports and fitness activities. Princeton has a state-of-the-art fitness center that offers a variety of exercise classes, personal training, and wellness programs. William and Mary has a range of sports facilities, including a recreation center, an indoor pool, and a rock climbing wall.

Students can participate in intramural sports, club sports, and varsity sports teams.

Additionally, both schools organize various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, providing students with opportunities to explore different cultures and traditions. Princeton hosts an annual cultural festival that celebrates the diversity of its student body, featuring music, dance, and food from around the world.

William and Mary hosts a range of cultural events, including film screenings, lectures, and performances, that showcase the rich history and heritage of the region.

Graduation Rates and Post-Graduation Outcomes

Princeton and William and Mary have high graduation rates, indicating that students are well-prepared for academic success and completion. Princeton has a 98% graduation rate within four years, while William and Mary has a 91% graduation rate within six years.

Holding a graduation cap and a diploma.

Both schools are also known for their strong post-graduation outcomes, with graduates having access to numerous career opportunities and further study options. Both institutions have a strong commitment to producing graduates who are well-equipped to succeed in their careers and make meaningful contributions to society.

Notable Alumni from Both Institutions

Both Princeton and William and Mary have produced notable alumni who have made significant contributions to various fields and endeavors. Princeton has produced 17 Nobel laureates, two U.S. presidents, and a host of other influential leaders in the sciences, arts, and humanities.

William and Mary has produced three U.S. presidents, a Supreme Court justice, and numerous other eminent personalities in law, politics, and diplomacy. Both institutions have a rich history of producing graduates who have gone on to make significant contributions to society.

Prospective Student Insights: Interviews with Current Students from Each School

To gain further insights into student life at Princeton and William and Mary, we conducted interviews with current students from each school. The students shared their experiences and perspectives on various aspects of campus life, including academics, campus culture, extracurricular activities, and social life.

These interviews provided a unique and personal view of what it’s like to be a student at Princeton and William and Mary, and showcased the diversity and vibrancy of both schools.

In conclusion, Princeton and William and Mary are two exceptional institutions that offer students a world-class education, numerous opportunities for personal and intellectual growth, and a vibrant and inclusive campus life. While they have their unique strengths and characteristics, both schools share a commitment to academic excellence, research and scholarship, inclusivity, and preparing students for meaningful and successful careers and lives.

Whether you’re considering applying to either of these institutions or simply want to learn more about them, we hope this comparative analysis has provided you with valuable insights into what makes Princeton and William and Mary such exceptional schools.

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