Princeton vs. Tulane Universities: Which Is the Best Fit for You?

July 6, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Princeton vs. Tulane Universities: Which Is the Best Fit for You?

Choosing a university can be a tough decision. There are so many things to consider, from location and climate to facilities and academic programs. In this article, we’ll thoroughly examine Princeton vs. Tulane Universities to assist you in determining the ideal match for your needs. So let’s compare and contrast these two prestigious institutions and see what they have to offer.

Location and Climate at Princeton and Tulane Universities

One of the first things to consider when choosing a university is the location and climate. Princeton University is situated in Princeton, New Jersey, which is a small town with a population of around 30,000 people. The climate in Princeton is humid subtropical, with hot summers and cold winters.

Tulane University, on the other hand, is located in New Orleans, Louisiana, a vibrant city known for its famous Mardi Gras festival. The climate in New Orleans is humid subtropical as well, but it’s much more tropical and humid compared to Princeton. So, if you prefer a quieter suburban setting with four distinct seasons, Princeton would be your choice.

But if you prefer a bustling city with a warm and humid climate, Tulane would be a better fit for you.

Another factor to consider when choosing a university based on location is the accessibility to nearby attractions. Princeton is located in close proximity to major cities such as New York City and Philadelphia, which offer a wide range of cultural and entertainment options. On the other hand, New Orleans is known for its unique culture, music, and cuisine, which can be experienced within the city itself.

Additionally, the location of a university can also impact the types of research opportunities available to students. Princeton is located near several research institutions, including the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the Institute for Advanced Study, which offer opportunities for collaboration and research.

View of Tulane University

Tulane, on the other hand, is located in a city that has a strong focus on public health research, with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine being a prominent institution in the field.

Campus Size and Facilities of Princeton and Tulane Universities

Another significant factor to consider is the campus size. Princeton University’s campus is spread over 600 acres and is known for its beautiful Gothic-style architecture. The campus feels like a small community with quaint courtyards, gardens, and pathways that connect academic buildings.

In contrast, Tulane University’s campus is spread across 110 acres and is characterized by more traditional and contemporary buildings, with stunning landscaping and plenty of green spaces.

Both universities have an extensive range of facilities to offer their students. Princeton’s campus features state-of-the-art research facilities, science labs, libraries, and museums, which are among the best in the world. Tulane University’s campus boasts an impressive athletic center, music and theater facilities, and multiple recreational spaces where students can indulge in sports, art, and outdoor activities.

Additionally, both universities have a variety of dining options available to students. Princeton University has a diverse range of dining halls, cafes, and restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines, including vegetarian and vegan options. Tulane University also has a wide range of dining options, including a food court, cafes, and restaurants that cater to different dietary needs and preferences.

Both universities prioritize providing healthy and nutritious meals to their students, ensuring that they have access to quality food throughout their academic journey.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Admission Process and Requirements

Admission requirements and processes play a crucial role in deciding which university is right for you. Both Princeton and Tulane have competitive admission processes, but they have different requirements. Princeton University is highly selective and requires excellent academic records, including high test scores, in-depth essays, and letters of recommendation.

In contrast, Tulane University considers a more holistic approach to admissions, taking into account academic records, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities. Both universities offer need-blind admissions, meaning that financial circumstances do not affect the admission decision.

It is important to note that both universities also offer early decision and early action options for applicants. Early decision is a binding agreement, meaning that if accepted, the student must attend the university. Early action is non-binding, allowing the student to apply to multiple universities and make a decision later.

However, early decision and early action deadlines are typically earlier than regular decision deadlines, so it is important to plan accordingly.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Faculty and Academics

The academic programs at Princeton and Tulane are designed to prepare students for success in different fields. Princeton is renowned for its strong liberal arts program, featuring rigorous coursework, research opportunities, and high-level academics. Additionally, Princeton is the alma mater of many prominent public leaders and intellectuals.

Back view of students in a room looking at their professors.

Tulane University, on the other hand, emphasizes research-focused and experiential learning opportunities, featuring nationally recognized programs in business, public health, law, and other fields.

Both universities have world-class faculties who are experts in their respective fields. Princeton’s faculty includes many Nobel laureates, members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and fellows of the National Academy of Sciences. Tulane University’s faculty also includes several Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellowship recipients, and Fulbright scholars.

Furthermore, both universities offer a wide range of academic departments, each with its own unique strengths and areas of expertise. Princeton has highly regarded departments in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, as well as top-ranked programs in engineering and public policy.

Tulane University, on the other hand, is known for its strong programs in environmental studies, international relations, and social work, among others.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Student Life and Extracurricular Activities

One of the most significant aspects of university life is the social and extracurricular activities that students can participate in. Princeton and Tulane have different student life experiences. Princeton’s student life revolves around the residential college system, where students live with fellow students, teachers, and staff members in close-knit communities.

Student-run activities, clubs, and organizations play a vital role in Princeton’s social scene. In contrast, Tulane’s student life is centered around New Orleans’s vibrant culture, featuring a diverse range of activities, including festivals, music, food, and art. Tulane’s student organizations include many service-oriented groups that work closely with the community.

Another significant difference between Princeton and Tulane’s student life is the availability of sports and athletic activities. Princeton has a strong athletic program, with many varsity and club sports teams that compete at a high level. The university also has excellent facilities, including a state-of-the-art gymnasium and multiple sports fields.

In contrast, Tulane’s athletic program is not as prominent, but the university offers a wide range of recreational sports and fitness classes for students to participate in.

Furthermore, the academic calendar also plays a role in shaping the student life experience at both universities. Princeton follows a traditional semester system, with two semesters per academic year, while Tulane operates on a trimester system, with three terms per year.

This difference in the academic calendar affects the timing of breaks, exams, and other academic activities, which, in turn, impacts the availability and scheduling of extracurricular activities and events.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance is another crucial factor in deciding which university to choose. Both Princeton and Tulane are private universities, and the cost of attendance can be high. Princeton’s estimated cost of attendance for the 2020-2021 school year is $75,500, including tuition, room and board, and other associated costs. Tulane’s estimated cost of attendance for the same period is $77,200.

A graduation cap and diploma on top of paper bills

However, both universities offer generous financial aid packages, scholarships, and grants to eligible students. Princeton’s financial aid program is need-based, which means that aid is awarded to students based on their families’ income and assets. Tulane University offers both need-based and merit-based scholarships and grants.

It’s essential to take into account the cost of attendance and the financial aid packages offered by each university before making a decision.

It’s also important to consider the location of the university and the cost of living in that area. For example, Princeton is located in New Jersey, which has a higher cost of living compared to Louisiana, where Tulane is located. This means that students attending Princeton may need to budget more for expenses such as housing, food, and transportation.

On the other hand, Tulane’s location in New Orleans offers a unique cultural experience, but students may need to factor in the cost of hurricane insurance and potential evacuation expenses. It’s crucial to research the cost of living in the area surrounding each university to get a better understanding of the overall expenses involved.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Scholarships and Financial Aid Options

As mentioned above, both Princeton and Tulane offer generous financial aid packages to eligible students. Princeton’s financial aid program meets the demonstrated need of all admitted students through grants, work-study, and loans. If your family earns less than $65,000 per year, your tuition and room and board will be covered entirely by grants.

Tulane also offers need-based scholarships, including their flagship program, The Promise, which covers full tuition and fees for Louisiana residents with demonstrated financial need. Tulane also offers a range of merit-based scholarships, including the Paul Tulane Award, which provides full tuition for four years to outstanding students.

In addition to need-based and merit-based scholarships, both Princeton and Tulane offer other forms of financial aid. Princeton offers a no-loan policy, meaning that students do not have to take out loans to cover their education. Instead, the university covers the cost of attendance through grants and work-study programs.

Tulane also offers work-study programs, allowing students to earn money to help cover their expenses while gaining valuable work experience.

It’s important to note that both universities have different application processes for financial aid. Princeton requires the CSS Profile and the FAFSA, while Tulane only requires the FAFSA. It’s important to research and understand the financial aid application requirements for each university you are considering, to ensure that you are able to apply for all available aid.

Career Services and Alumni Network: Which University Offers More Support?

The career services and alumni network of a university play a vital role in shaping a student’s future career prospects. Princeton and Tulane have strong career services offices that help students explore career options, find internships, and connect with employers.

Two women are doing a handshake.

Princeton’s career services office offers a range of resources and programs, including networking events, employer information sessions, and one-on-one career advice. Tulane’s career services office offers career exploration resources, industry and job search guides, and customized career counseling.

Both universities also have active and engaged alumni networks that provide mentorship, networking opportunities, and job leads to students and recent graduates. Princeton’s alumni network includes many notable figures, including former U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court justices, and business leaders. Tulane’s alumni network is also impressive, featuring prominent figures in politics, business, and the arts.

However, when it comes to international career opportunities, Princeton has a clear advantage. The university has a dedicated international internships program that offers students the chance to gain work experience in countries such as China, India, and Brazil.

The program provides funding for travel and living expenses, as well as support and guidance throughout the internship. Tulane, on the other hand, does not have a specific program for international internships, although students can still find opportunities through the career services office and alumni network.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Campus Culture and Diversity

The campus culture and diversity of a university can significantly impact a student’s academic success and social life. Princeton and Tulane have diverse student bodies, but they differ in terms of campus culture. Princeton’s campus culture is characterized by academic rigor and intellectual curiosity, featuring a broad range of academic and extracurricular opportunities.

The student body is diverse, with students from various geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Tulane’s campus culture is characterized by its unique location and vibrant spirit, featuring a range of cultural and social activities. The student body is also diverse, with students from different states, countries, and backgrounds.

However, despite the differences in campus culture, both universities prioritize diversity and inclusion. They have various student organizations and programs that celebrate and promote diversity, such as cultural clubs, diversity and inclusion offices, and events that showcase different cultures and perspectives.

These initiatives create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, regardless of their background, and help them feel a sense of belonging on campus.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Research Opportunities

Princeton and Tulane offer excellent research opportunities for students in different fields. Princeton’s research facilities and resources are ranked among the best in the world, with extensive funding and support for various disciplines. Many Princeton students participate in undergraduate research, working closely with faculty members and graduate students to conduct cutting-edge research.

A woman working in a laboratory.

Tulane also offers many research opportunities, focusing on fields such as health sciences, environmental studies, and social sciences. Tulane students can participate in research projects that address real-world problems, creating impactful solutions to global challenges.

However, while Princeton may have more resources overall, Tulane’s research opportunities are more accessible to undergraduate students. At Princeton, research opportunities may be limited to upperclassmen or those with higher GPAs, while Tulane encourages all students to get involved in research from their first year.

This allows Tulane students to gain valuable research experience earlier in their academic careers, which can be beneficial for graduate school applications or future careers in research.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Sports Programs and Athletics Facilities

Sports programs and athletics facilities are an essential aspect of university life for many students. Both Princeton and Tulane have impressive sports programs and state-of-the-art athletics facilities. Princeton’s varsity teams compete in the Ivy League conference and have a long history of athletic success.

The university has an extensive range of athletic facilities, including several gyms, a pool, and a golf course. Tulane’s varsity teams compete in the American Athletic Conference and have also achieved considerable success. The university’s athletics facilities include a newly renovated football stadium, a basketball arena, a baseball field, and a new tennis facility.

Despite the similarities between Princeton and Tulane’s sports programs and athletics facilities, there are some notable differences. For example, Princeton places a strong emphasis on individual sports, such as fencing and squash, and has a dedicated facility for these sports. In contrast, Tulane focuses more on team sports, such as football and basketball, and has larger facilities for these sports.

Another difference between the two universities is the level of community involvement in sports. Princeton has a strong tradition of alumni support for its sports programs, with many former athletes and fans attending games and events. Tulane, on the other hand, has a more local focus, with many New Orleans residents attending games and supporting the university’s teams.

Princeton vs. Tulane: Student Housing Options

Student housing options are also an essential consideration when choosing a university. Both Princeton and Tulane Universities offer on-campus housing options for their students. Princeton’s on-campus housing includes dormitories, apartments, and suites, providing students with comfortable living arrangements.

The residential college system at Princeton fosters a close-knit community, where students can connect with faculty members and staff members. Tulane’s on-campus housing includes traditional residence halls, apartment-style living, and themed living communities. The university’s housing options offer an opportunity for students to create a sense of community and engage in residence life activities.

However, off-campus housing options are also important to consider. Princeton has limited off-campus housing options, with most students living on-campus. This can be a disadvantage for students who prefer to live off-campus or who want more independence. On the other hand, Tulane has a variety of off-campus housing options, including apartments and houses, giving students more flexibility and independence in their living arrangements.

Another factor to consider is the cost of housing. Princeton’s on-campus housing can be expensive, with some dormitories costing over $10,000 per year. However, the university does offer financial aid and scholarships to help students cover the cost of housing. Tulane’s on-campus housing is also expensive, with some residence halls costing over $12,000 per year.


Like Princeton, Tulane offers financial aid and scholarships to help students cover the cost of housing.

Study Abroad Opportunities: Which University Offers More International Exposure?

Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for students, exposing them to different cultures and perspectives. Both Princeton and Tulane offer a range of study abroad programs that allow students to study in different countries and regions.

Two student ready for their trp abroad.

Princeton’s Office of International Programs offers many study abroad programs, allowing students to explore different academic disciplines and cultural experiences. Tulane’s Center for Global Education also offers a wide range of study abroad programs, including internships, research opportunities, and service-learning trips.

However, it is important to note that the level of international exposure offered by each university may differ. Princeton’s study abroad programs tend to focus more on traditional academic disciplines, such as history and literature, while Tulane’s programs often emphasize experiential learning and community engagement.

Additionally, Tulane has a strong focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, offering many programs in those regions, while Princeton has a more global approach with programs in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Ultimately, it is up to the individual student to research and choose the program that best fits their academic and personal goals.

Conclusion: Making Your Decision Between Princeton and Tulane University

So, which university is the best fit for you? Princeton or Tulane Universities? It ultimately depends on your academic and personal goals, as well as your preferred campus culture and location. Princeton University offers a rigorous academic program in a small suburban setting, ideal for students who want a tight-knit community and scholarly excellence.

In contrast, Tulane University offers a more hands-on and experiential learning environment in a vibrant city known for its culture and spirit, ideal for students who want to explore different interests outside the classroom. Consider all the factors outlined in this article before deciding which university to attend, and choose wisely to ensure a fulfilling and successful university experience.

It’s important to note that both Princeton and Tulane have strong alumni networks that can provide valuable connections and opportunities after graduation. Princeton’s alumni network is known for its influence in politics, finance, and academia, while Tulane’s alumni network is known for its connections in the entertainment industry and entrepreneurship.

Keep this in mind when making your decision, as your university’s alumni network can play a significant role in your future career success.


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