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Princeton vs. Washington and Lee University: Which Is Better?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Man at the campus

Princeton vs. Washington and Lee University: Which Is Better?

When it’s time to choose a college, it’s important to weigh all the options to find the school that’s the best fit for you. In this article, we’ll examine the similarities and differences between Princeton University vs. Washington and Lee University.

By considering factors such as history, academics, student life, and more, we’ll help you make an informed decision about which school is the right choice for you.

History and Legacy: Princeton vs. Washington and Lee University

Princeton University has a history that dates back to 1746, making it one of the oldest universities in the United States. Like W&L, Princeton began as a liberal arts college, and it has since become a world-renowned research institution.

Princeton boasts many notable alumni, including several former U.S. presidents and Nobel laureates. The school also has a thriving research program, with faculty and students engaged in cutting-edge research across a wide range of fields.

Washington and Lee University, on the other hand, was founded in 1749 and is located in Lexington, Virginia. It is a small, private liberal arts college that has a strong emphasis on undergraduate education. The university is known for its honor system, which has been in place since the 19th century and is still upheld by students today.

W&L has produced many notable alumni, including Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and U.S. senators. The university also has a strong commitment to community service, with students participating in a variety of volunteer programs both locally and globally.

Admission Rates: How Difficult is it to Get into Princeton or Washington and Lee University?

When it comes to admission rates, both Princeton and W&L are highly selective schools. According to the most recent data available, Princeton has an acceptance rate of just 5.5%, while W&L’s acceptance rate is slightly higher at 19.3%.

Of course, these numbers only tell part of the story. Admissions decisions are based on a variety of factors, including academic performance, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities. So, while it may be difficult to gain admission to either of these schools, don’t let the low acceptance rates deter you from applying if you feel that one of these schools is the right fit for you.

It’s important to note that both Princeton and W&L have holistic admissions processes, meaning that they consider the whole applicant and not just their grades and test scores. This means that even if your academic record isn’t perfect, you still have a chance of being admitted if you can demonstrate other strengths and qualities.

Additionally, both schools offer need-blind admissions, meaning that they do not consider an applicant’s ability to pay when making admissions decisions. This ensures that all qualified students, regardless of their financial situation, have an equal opportunity to attend these prestigious institutions.

Academic Programs Offered: A Detailed Comparison of Princeton vs. Washington and Lee University

Both Princeton and W&L offer a wide range of academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Princeton has a total of 36 academic departments, which offer majors ranging from anthropology to computer science to public policy. The school also has a well-regarded engineering program.

At W&L, students can choose from 39 majors, including popular options like business administration, biology, and English. The school is also known for its strong programs in music and journalism.

a smiling man with his chin rested on the books while facing the camera

Princeton is particularly well-known for its programs in the humanities, with departments in classics, philosophy, and religion consistently ranked among the top in the country. The school also offers a unique interdisciplinary program in neuroscience, which combines coursework in biology, psychology, and philosophy.

W&L, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on experiential learning, with opportunities for students to engage in research, internships, and community service. The school’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability is a standout program, offering students the chance to work with local organizations to address issues of poverty and inequality.

Faculty Quality: Who is Teaching at Princeton and Washington and Lee University?

One of the biggest draws of attending a school like Princeton or W&L is the opportunity to learn from world-class faculty members. Both schools boast a roster of distinguished professors who are leaders in their respective fields.

According to data from U.S. News & World Report, the average class size at Princeton is 5 students, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 5:1. Meanwhile, at W&L, the average class size is 15 students, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1.

Additionally, both Princeton and W&L offer opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects and other academic endeavors. At Princeton, students can participate in the Princeton Research Day, where they can showcase their research projects to the community. Similarly, at W&L, students can work with faculty members on research projects through the Johnson Opportunity Grant program, which provides funding for students to pursue independent research projects.

Student Life: Similarities and Differences between Princeton and Washington and Lee University

While the academic offerings at both Princeton and W&L are top-notch, there are some differences between the two schools when it comes to student life.

At Princeton, students have a wealth of extracurricular options to choose from, including more than 300 student-run organizations. The school also has a proud athletic tradition, with 38 varsity sports teams and a number of club and intramural sports programs.

W&L, on the other hand, is known more for its strong sense of community and traditions. There are fewer extracurricular options at W&L than at Princeton, but students still have plenty of opportunities to get involved on campus.

One of the unique aspects of student life at W&L is the Honor System, which has been in place since 1905. Under this system, students are trusted to uphold a code of conduct that includes not lying, cheating, or stealing. This creates a culture of trust and respect on campus, and students take the Honor System very seriously. Additionally, W&L has a strong Greek life presence, with over 80% of students participating in fraternities or sororities.

Princeton vs. Washington and Lee University: Housing Options

Both Princeton and W&L offer a variety of housing options for students. At Princeton, first-year students are typically housed in one of the school’s residential colleges. After the first year, students can choose from a mix of dorms, apartments, and other off-campus housing options.

Group of student working on a table.

W&L has a similar housing setup, with first-year students usually living in traditional dorms. After the first year, students can choose from various housing options, including fraternity and sorority houses, theme houses, and more.

It’s important to note that each housing option has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. For example, living in a dorm can provide a sense of community and easy access to campus resources but may also lack privacy and personal space.

On the other hand, living in an apartment can offer more independence and privacy but may require more responsibility and financial planning. Fraternities and sororities can provide a tight-knit community and social opportunities but may also have strict rules and expectations.

It’s important for students to carefully consider their priorities and preferences when choosing a housing option.

Extracurricular Activities: What Can You Do for Fun on Campus?

As we mentioned earlier, both Princeton and W&L offer a wide range of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in. These can range from academic clubs and professional organizations to social and cultural groups.

At Princeton, for example, students can participate in the Princeton Debate Panel, join the school’s Model United Nations team, or become a member of the student-run TigerTV station.

At W&L, students can participate in the Outing Club, which organizes outdoor adventures like hiking and camping. The school also has a vibrant Greek life scene, with a number of fraternities and sororities to choose from.

Aside from these activities, both schools also offer a variety of sports teams for students to join. Princeton has a strong athletic program, with teams in sports like football, basketball, and soccer. W&L also has a competitive athletic program, with teams in sports like lacrosse, tennis, and swimming.

Additionally, both schools have a number of student-run publications for those interested in journalism or writing. Princeton has The Daily Princetonian, the school’s daily newspaper, as well as Nassau Literary Review, a literary magazine. W&L has The Ring-tum Phi, the school’s weekly newspaper, and Shenandoah, a literary journal.

Athletics Department Comparison- How Do Princeton Tigers Compare to the W&L Generals?

3 male standing adjacent to each other while the person in the middle is writing on the glass board while the rest of them pays attention

When it comes to athletics, both Princeton and W&L have a lot to offer. Princeton has a proud athletic tradition, with 38 varsity sports teams and a number of club and intramural sports programs. The school’s most popular sports include football, basketball, and lacrosse.

W&L also has a strong athletic program, with 24 varsity sports teams. The school’s most popular sports include football, soccer, cross country, and basketball.

Despite having fewer varsity sports teams, W&L has a strong presence in Division III athletics, consistently ranking in the top 20% of schools in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings. The school also has a strong commitment to sportsmanship and ethical conduct, with many of its teams receiving recognition for their behavior on and off the field.

Princeton, on the other hand, has a long history of producing successful professional athletes, including several Olympic gold medalists. The school’s athletic facilities are also top-notch, with the recently renovated Jadwin Gymnasium and the state-of-the-art Roberts Stadium.

Princeton vs. Washington and Lee University: Career Opportunities

One of the biggest concerns for college students is landing a job after graduation. Both Princeton and W&L have strong career services programs that can help students find internships and other professional opportunities.

According to data from Princeton’s Career Services office, 68% of Princeton senior students participate in at least one internship while in college. Meanwhile, at W&L, the Career and Professional Development office offers a range of internship programs, including faculty-led programs and internships with top employers in various fields.

Additionally, W&L’s Career and Professional Development office also provides students with resources for networking and job searching, including resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and career fairs. The office also offers career counseling and guidance to help students explore their interests and career paths.

Alumni Networks: Who Has the Stronger Alumni Association – Princeton or W&L?

Strong alumni networks can be an invaluable resource for recent graduates as they start their careers. Both Princeton and W&L have alumni associations that are highly active and engaged.

According to data from Princeton’s Office of Development, there are more than 90,000 Princeton alumni worldwide. The school’s alumni association provides a range of opportunities for graduates to stay connected with each other and with the school.

Meanwhile, W&L’s alumni network is similarly robust. The school has more than 26,000 alumni worldwide, with active chapters in cities across the United States.

However, when it comes to the strength of its alumni associations, Princeton has a slight edge over W&L. Princeton’s alumni association has been consistently ranked as one of the best in the country, with a high level of engagement and participation from its members.

The association offers various programs and events, including career networking opportunities, mentorship programs, and social events.

W&L’s alumni association is also highly active and provides similar opportunities for its members. However, it has not received the same recognition and accolades as Princeton’s alumni association.

Tuition Fees & Financial Aid Comparison between Princeton & Washington and Lee University

It’s important to consider the costs of attending either Princeton or W&L when making your decision. As of the 2021-2022 academic year, Princeton’s tuition and fees total $54,780, while W&L’s tuition and fees come in at $53,760.

a female student reading a college decline letter

Both schools offer financial aid to eligible students. At Princeton, more than 60% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid, with an average aid package of more than $55,000 per year. Meanwhile, W&L offers need-based financial aid to all students who qualify.

It’s worth noting that the cost of attendance at both schools extends beyond just tuition and fees. Students should also consider the cost of room and board, textbooks, and other expenses. At Princeton, the estimated total cost of attendance for the 2021-2022 academic year is $78,540, while at W&L, it is $72,940.

Additionally, both schools offer various scholarship opportunities to students. Princeton offers merit-based scholarships, such as the prestigious Robertson Scholarship, which covers full tuition, room, and board for four years.

W&L offers a range of merit-based scholarships, including the Johnson Scholarship, which covers full tuition, room, and board for four years, as well as other scholarships for academic achievement, leadership, and community service.

Princeton vs. Washington and Lee University: Student Body Diversity

Finally, it’s important to consider the diversity of the student body at both Princeton and W&L. At Princeton, 52% of students identify as students of color, and the school is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community.

At W&L, the school has made efforts in recent years to improve diversity and inclusion on campus. As of the most recent data available, 16% of students at W&L identify as students of color.

It’s worth noting that diversity goes beyond just racial and ethnic identity. At Princeton, there is also a significant representation of students from low-income backgrounds, with 22% of students receiving Pell Grants. This socioeconomic diversity adds to the richness of the student body and creates a more inclusive environment.

On the other hand, W&L has a strong tradition of attracting students from the southern United States, with over 60% of students hailing from southern states. This regional diversity brings a unique perspective to campus and contributes to the school’s culture and identity.

Campus Safety Comparison between Princeton & Washington and Lee University

A female student using a laptop.

Both Princeton and W&L are committed to ensuring the safety of their students on campus. Both schools have their own campus police departments, and they work closely with local law enforcement to keep the surrounding community safe as well.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, there were no reported incidents of violent crime at either Princeton or W&L in 2019. Both schools also have robust safety measures in place, including emergency alert systems and 24/7 security patrols.

However, there are some differences in the safety measures taken by the two universities. Princeton has a larger campus and therefore has more security personnel patrolling the area. They also have a system in place where students can request a security escort if they feel unsafe walking alone at night. W&L, on the other hand, has a smaller campus and relies more heavily on its emergency alert system to notify students of any potential dangers.

It’s important to note that while both schools have a strong commitment to campus safety, incidents can still occur. In 2018, there was a report of a sexual assault at Princeton, and in 2017, there was a report of a robbery at W&L. Both universities have taken steps to address these incidents and improve their safety measures, but it’s important for students to remain vigilant and take precautions to ensure their own safety.

Conclusion

So, there you have it – a detailed comparison of Princeton University and Washington and Lee University. Both schools offer an excellent education and a range of opportunities for students to grow and develop both academically and personally. Ultimately, the decision of which school to attend will depend on your individual goals, interests, and needs. By weighing all the factors we’ve discussed here, you can make an informed decision about which school is the best fit for you.

It’s important to note that while both Princeton University and Washington and Lee University have their similarities and differences, there are many other great universities out there to consider as well. It’s always a good idea to do your research, visit campuses, and talk to current students and alumni to get a better sense of what each school has to offer. Remember, the college decision process can be overwhelming, but with careful consideration and an open mind, you can find the perfect fit for your academic and personal goals.

 

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