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Princeton vs Occidental: Which College is Right for You?

July 4, 2023
By AdmissionSight
College Decision Day

Princeton vs Occidental: Which College is Right for You?

Choosing a college can be a stressful decision, but it’s important to consider all the factors before making a choice. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look and comparing Princeton vs Occidental, two prestigious colleges with different locations and cultures. By the end, you’ll have more information to help you make the best decision for your future education.

Campus Culture: A Comparison of Princeton and Occidental

Comparing Princeton vs Occidental, both have different campus cultures and traditions. Located in New Jersey, Princeton has a long history of academic excellence and a prestigious reputation. The campus is known for its Gothic architecture and beautiful gardens. On the other hand, Occidental, located in Los Angeles, has a more laid-back vibe with a focus on social justice and activism. The campus is known for its outdoor spaces, including a sustainable garden and an abundance of trees.

Group of students working together and talking.

Both schools have a strong emphasis on student involvement and offer a range of clubs and organizations for students to join. Princeton has over 300 student-run organizations and clubs, while Occidental has over 100. However, Princeton has a larger Greek community, with over 30% of students participating in fraternities or sororities, while Occidental has a smaller and more diverse Greek community.

Another notable difference between the two schools is their approach to sports. Princeton has a strong athletic program and is a member of the Ivy League, with a focus on traditional sports such as football, basketball, and lacrosse. Occidental, on the other hand, has a more alternative approach to sports, with a focus on non-traditional activities such as ultimate frisbee, rock climbing, and yoga. The school also has a strong emphasis on intramural sports, with many students participating in recreational leagues.

Additionally, both schools have unique traditions that are celebrated throughout the year. Princeton has a famous event called the “Princeton Preview,” where admitted students come to campus to experience life as Princeton students. Occidental has a tradition called “Convocation,” where the entire campus community gathers to celebrate the start of the academic year and welcome new students. These traditions are an important part of the campus culture and help to create a sense of community among students, faculty, and staff.

Academics: How do Princeton and Occidental Measure Up?

Comparing Princeton vs Occidental with academics, both offer a rigorous academic curriculum with a focus on critical thinking and problem-solving. Princeton is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the country, with a strong emphasis on research and innovation. The school offers over 35 academic departments, including a prestigious engineering program.

Occidental is also known for its strong academics, with a focus on interdisciplinary studies. The college offers over 40 majors and minors and has a unique program called Core, which requires students to take courses in a variety of subjects to ensure a well-rounded education.

Additionally, both Princeton and Occidental have a strong commitment to undergraduate research opportunities. Princeton offers numerous research programs and opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. Occidental also has a strong research program, with opportunities for students to conduct research in a variety of fields, including the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Student Life: What You Can Expect at Princeton and Occidental

When it comes to student life, both colleges offer a wide range of activities and events for students to participate in. Princeton has a vibrant arts community, with multiple theater and music ensembles, as well as a renowned art museum on campus. Additionally, the university has a strong athletic program, with 38 varsity sports teams.

Occidental also offers a range of activities, including a thriving theater department and multiple service organizations. The college is known for its outdoor activities, with access to nearby hiking trails and beaches. Occidental has also made a commitment to sustainability, with initiatives like a bike-sharing program and a ban on single-use plastics.

a director coaching actors for their performance

Furthermore, both Princeton and Occidental offer a variety of clubs and organizations for students to get involved in. These clubs range from academic and professional organizations to cultural and social groups. Students can also participate in community service projects and volunteer work through various organizations on campus. With so many opportunities available, students can easily find their niche and make meaningful connections with their peers.

Housing Options: A Look at Princeton and Occidental’s Dorms

Both Princeton and Occidental offer a range of housing options for students, from traditional dorms to apartment-style living. Princeton has a residential college system, which assigns students to a specific dorm based on their interests, providing a sense of community and fostering lifelong friendships. The dorms themselves are spacious and well-maintained, with a mix of single and double rooms.

Occidental’s dorms are also comfortable and modern, with a variety of styles to choose from. The college has recently invested in new housing options, including apartment-style living and a housing complex specifically for sustainability-minded students.

Additionally, both Princeton and Occidental offer on-campus housing for students during the summer months. This can be a great option for students who want to stay on campus to take summer classes, conduct research, or participate in internships. The summer housing options are typically more limited than during the academic year but still provide a comfortable and convenient living situation for students.

Athletics: A Comparison of Sports Programs at Princeton and Occidental

Princeton has a strong athletic program, with a storied history of success in multiple sports. The university is a member of the Ivy League and offers 38 varsity sports teams, including football, basketball, and swimming. Princeton has won multiple national championships and Olympic medals in various sports.

Occidental also has a successful athletic program, with multiple conference championships in sports like soccer and track and field. The college is a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Additionally, Occidental offers a range of intramural sports and fitness classes for students.

Despite the differences in the size and prestige of the two institutions, both Princeton and Occidental share a commitment to providing their student-athletes with top-notch facilities and resources. Princeton boasts state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including a 50-meter pool, a 6,000-seat football stadium, and a 2,500-seat basketball arena. Occidental’s athletic facilities are also impressive, with a newly renovated track and field complex, a soccer stadium, and a fitness center equipped with the latest exercise equipment.

Another key difference between the two programs is the level of emphasis placed on academics. While both institutions prioritize academic excellence, Princeton’s rigorous academic standards are well-known, and student-athletes are held to the same high standards as their non-athlete peers. Occidental also places a strong emphasis on academics, but the college’s smaller size and more intimate learning environment may be better suited for student-athletes who are looking for a more personalized academic experience.

Location, Location, Location: Choosing Between New Jersey and California

Choosing between Princeton and Occidental involves considering the location of the schools. Princeton is located in New Jersey, a short train ride away from New York City, providing access to the city’s cultural offerings and job opportunities. However, the weather can be harsh in the winter months, with snow and ice making it difficult to navigate campus.

Occidental, located in Los Angeles, offers a completely different climate and lifestyle. Students have access to the beaches, mountains, and entertainment industry of Southern California. However, the cost of living in Los Angeles can be higher than in New Jersey, and traffic can be a challenge.

Another factor to consider when choosing between New Jersey and California is the cultural and social environment. New Jersey is known for its diverse population and rich history, with many opportunities to explore different cultures and traditions. On the other hand, California is known for its laid-back, progressive culture, with a focus on health and wellness. Students at Occidental may have more opportunities to engage in outdoor activities and explore alternative lifestyles, while students at Princeton may have more access to traditional cultural institutions and events.

Cost of Attendance: Which College Offers the Best Value?

Comparing Princeton vs Occidental in the cost of attending can be a factor in making a decision. Princeton is a private institution, with tuition and fees averaging around $54,000 per year. However, the college has a generous financial aid program, meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted students.

Occidental is also a private institution, with tuition and fees averaging around $54,000 per year. The college also has a strong commitment to financial aid, with 90% of students receiving some form of aid.

When considering the cost of attendance, it’s important to also take into account the cost of living in the surrounding area. Princeton is located in Princeton, New Jersey, which has a higher cost of living compared to Occidental’s location in Los Angeles, California. This means that students attending Princeton may need to budget more for housing, food, and other expenses.

Another factor to consider is the potential return on investment. While both Princeton and Occidental are highly respected institutions, Princeton has consistently ranked higher in national college rankings and has a strong reputation in certain fields such as engineering and finance. This may lead to better job opportunities and higher salaries for graduates, which could make the higher cost of attendance worth it in the long run.

Admissions Process: What You Need to Know Before Applying to Princeton or Occidental

The admissions process for both colleges can be competitive, with acceptance rates hovering around 6-7%. Princeton evaluates applicants based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and personal essays. The college also requires standardized test scores, including the SAT or ACT.

Occidental also evaluates applicants based on academic achievement and extracurricular activities but places a strong emphasis on demonstrated interest and personal character. The college also offers a test-optional admissions policy.

Female student talking to a male interviewer.

It is important to note that when comparing Princeton vs Occidental, both have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider the whole applicant and not just their academic achievements. This includes factors such as socioeconomic background, race, and ethnicity. Both colleges also offer need-based financial aid to help make their education accessible to students from all backgrounds.

Additionally, both colleges have unique programs and opportunities for their students. Princeton offers a renowned undergraduate research program, where students can work alongside faculty members on cutting-edge research projects. Occidental, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on community engagement and social justice, with opportunities for students to get involved in local activism and service projects.

Faculty Profiles: Learning from Experts at Princeton and Occidental

Both Princeton and Occidental have renowned faculty members, with a range of expertise and experience. Princeton professors are known for their research and scholarly contributions, with multiple Nobel laureates among the faculty. The university has a low student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring personalized attention and mentorship for students.

Occidental also has an accomplished faculty, with professors who are active in research and community engagement. The college has a commitment to small class sizes, encouraging dialogue and collaboration between students and faculty.

Princeton’s faculty includes experts in a wide range of fields, from astrophysics to political science. Students have the opportunity to learn from these experts through research opportunities, independent study projects, and one-on-one mentorship. Additionally, many Princeton professors are also involved in public service and advocacy, bringing their expertise to bear on important social issues.

Occidental’s faculty is similarly diverse, with professors who specialize in everything from environmental studies to creative writing. The college’s commitment to interdisciplinary learning means that students can take classes across departments and explore a variety of academic interests. Many Occidental professors also work closely with students on research projects, providing valuable hands-on experience and mentorship.

Research Opportunities: What Undergraduates Can Expect at Princeton and Occidental

Both Princeton and Occidental offer undergraduate research opportunities, allowing students to work alongside faculty members on projects and experiments. Princeton has a strong emphasis on research, with multiple research centers and resources available to students. The college also offers funding opportunities for research projects.

Occidental also encourages undergraduate research, with funding available for summer research projects. The college’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies can provide unique research opportunities for students.

Additionally, both Princeton and Occidental have partnerships with local research institutions, providing students with access to cutting-edge research and technology. Princeton has collaborations with nearby institutions such as the Institute for Advanced Study and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Occidental has partnerships with institutions such as the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. These partnerships offer students the chance to work on research projects that have real-world applications and impact.

Extracurricular Activities: Getting Involved on Campus at Princeton and Occidental

Both colleges offer a range of extracurricular activities for students to participate in. Princeton has a strong arts community, with multiple performance groups and a prestigious art museum on campus. The college also has a range of sports teams and intramural sports options, as well as a large Greek community.

Occidental also offers a range of extracurricular activities, including a theater department and a focus on service opportunities. The college has a bike-sharing program and a commitment to sustainability, with multiple on-campus gardens and green spaces.

Additionally, both Princeton and Occidental have a variety of student-run clubs and organizations that cater to a wide range of interests. These clubs include academic organizations, cultural groups, political clubs, and more. Joining a club or organization is a great way for students to meet like-minded individuals and get involved in activities that they are passionate about.

Study Abroad Programs: Opportunities for International Experience at Princeton and Occidental

When it comes to Princeton vs Occidental, both offer study abroad programs for students to gain international experience and broaden their horizons. Princeton has partnerships with over 50 countries and offers study abroad programs in a range of subjects. The college also offers funding opportunities for study abroad programs.

Occidental also has multiple study abroad programs, including partnerships with universities in Ecuador and South Africa. The college offers funding and scholarship opportunities for international travel.

Additionally, both Princeton and Occidental have programs that allow students to participate in service projects and internships abroad. These programs provide students with the opportunity to gain practical experience in their field of study while also making a positive impact in the local community. Students can also earn academic credit for their participation in these programs.

Career Services: Preparing for Life After College at Princeton and Occidental

Comparing Princeton vs Occidental, both offer career services to help students prepare for life after college. Princeton has a dedicated career services department, offering job fairs, resume workshops, and career counseling. The college also has a strong alumni network, providing connections and mentorship opportunities.

Occidental also has career services, with resources like job fairs, resume reviews, and internship opportunities. The college also offers a unique program called Oxy Externships, which provides students with job shadowing opportunities with alumni in various industries.

Additionally, both Princeton and Occidental have partnerships with various companies and organizations, providing students with access to exclusive job and internship opportunities. These partnerships also offer students the chance to network with professionals in their desired fields and gain valuable industry insights.

Conclusion

Choosing Princeton vs Occidental ultimately depends on your personal preferences and goals. Both colleges offer a range of academic and extracurricular opportunities, with unique campus cultures and locations. It’s important to consider all the factors, including cost, location, and academic programs, before making a decision. With this information, we hope you’ll be able to make the best choice for your future education.

Two students talking to each other in a table.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that both Princeton and Occidental have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable connections and opportunities after graduation. It may be helpful to research the alumni networks of both colleges and consider how they align with your career goals. Ultimately, the decision between these two excellent institutions should be based on a thorough evaluation of all the factors that matter most to you.

Want to learn more about getting into your dream school? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.

 

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