When Do Princeton’s Decisions Come Out?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Blair Hall on the Princeton University campus with students coming in.

When Do Princeton’s Decisions Come Out?

For students who have the dream of attending Princeton University, the weeks and months between the day that they send their application to the school and the day that they learn about the school’s decision can be excruciating.

After all, Princeton is one of the most prestigious and selective schools in the United States and getting a Princeton acceptance letter is a major life moment for anyone lucky enough to receive one! So, when do Princeton’s decisions come out?

As is the case with all schools in the United States, the application timeline for Princeton is pretty straightforward. However, there are also several different decision dates depending on a number of different factors.

Princeton University buildings with green lawn in front.

The most notable factors have to do with how you apply. After all, there is a different Princeton early acceptance date than a Princeton regular decision date.

But we’ll get to that stuff a little later on. At AdmissionSight, we believe that one of the most important and powerful tools any high school student can use when they are planning on applying to some of the most competitive schools in the country is knowledge.

Knowing what to expect, knowing what schools expect of their applicants, and knowing how to beat the odds of the Princeton acceptance rate is going to help any student achieve their college application goals.

And that is precisely where we come in. We’ve taken the time to break down the most important information regarding the question, “When do Princeton’s decisions come out?” That way, you will know precisely how to plan and prepare for your application year so that there are no surprises along the way.

Let’s get started!

The Princeton acceptance rate

Before we get started on breaking down all of the important information regarding Princeton’s decision date and application timeline, we thought it would be smart to quickly go over the current acceptance rate at Princeton.

As you already know quite well, Princeton is without a doubt one of the most prestigious schools in the country.

It is also one of the most competitive when it comes to the number of students that apply each year compared to the number of students that get in each year.

A woman holding a paper envelope and opening it.

When it comes to the Princeton acceptance rate from the most recent application cycle, it was incredibly competitive.

In fact, 2021 marked the lowest acceptance rate by the school in the long history of the university! Considering the fact that the school first opened its doors back in 1746, that is certainly saying something.

Last year, the acceptance rate at Princeton was just 3.98 percent. This rate was good for one of the lowest that we saw across the entire country last year.

If you want to get a sense of how hard Princeton was to get into compared to the other seven schools in the Ivy League, take a look at the table below:

Table with information about different universities.

As you can clearly see, Princeton was right up there with Harvard and Columbia as the three most difficult schools to get into in the Ivy League last year.

On top of the historically low acceptance rate at Princeton, there was one interesting aspect regarding 2020-21 for Princeton applicants.

As you can see in the table above, the school did not offer early action applications. That was a surprise for many students, as Princeton has been known to offer early action in the past. The reason for the short-lived elimination of this option was the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That was also the reason why Princeton elected to enact their (ongoing) standardized test-optional policy as well.

Early action returned at Princeton for this most recent application cycle that is currently ongoing. However, while that aspect of the Princeton application process has returned to pre-COVID standings, it is not likely that the acceptance rate will go much higher for the foreseeable future.

In fact, schools across the country have shown lowering acceptance rates for much of the last decade, and that trend has been most noticeable at the country’s most prestigious private and public institutions.

This is not meant to deter anyone from applying to Princeton. However, it is crucial that any student who has the goal of attending Princeton knows what they are facing in terms of the incredibly high level of competition.

Important 2021-22 dates to know for Princeton decisions

Now that we have that important aspect of the Princeton application process out of the way, let’s get into something that is a little more fun. That, of course, is the timeline of important dates to keep in mind if you are planning on applying to Princeton.

First, let’s break down the timeline for students who plan on applying to the school via regular decision:

Regular Decision


Jan 1

Feb. 1


  • Decision Notification

May 1

  • Candidate’s Reply Date

Now, let’s take a look at Princeton REA decision dates for students who plan on applying to Princeton via the school’s single-choice early action option:


Nov. 1

Nov. 9


  • Decision Notification

May 1

  • Candidate’s Reply Date

So, there you have it! Depending on what time of the year you are reading this, chances are good that the reply dates of students who have been notified of their acceptance are coming up quickly!

That is surely a very exciting time for any and all students that end up getting into Princeton. Without a doubt, it is also highly disappointing for students who unfortunately do not make the cut.

When it comes to applying to Princeton – or any highly competitive school for that matter – it is incredibly important to remain confident while also remaining realistic.

A  girl's hands opening an envelope with a letter inside.

That means doing whatever you can to give yourself the best chance possible of getting in while also applying to other schools that can operate as backup schools in the event that you do unfortunately not get into Princeton.

For any student that is looking to give themselves the best chance to get into Princeton as possible, there is no doubt that part of that equation is applying to the school via its single-choice early action application option.

Not only does the Princeton early acceptance date give students ample time to strategize and prepare to send in applications to their backup schools, but acceptance rates for students that apply to schools via early action or early decision options are typically quite a bit higher.

In fact, it is quite common for application rates for students that apply via early action or early decision to be twice as high than application rates for regular decision applicants.

In fact, in recent years, the Princeton acceptance rate for students that applied via early action teetered between 13.0 and 15.0 percent! So, if Princeton is your dream school, you would be very wise to apply to it via early action. However, there are some important rules to keep in mind when it comes to this option.

As Princeton explains:

“Princeton University’s single-choice early action program is a nonbinding process,” the school explains on its site. “If admitted, you have until May 1 to notify us about your decision to matriculate.

If you apply single-choice early action, also known as restrictive early action, on Nov. 1, you may not apply to an early program at any other private college or university.  However, please note the following:

  • “You may apply early to any public institution or service academy, as long as the decision is nonbinding.
  • “You may apply early to any international institution, as long as the decision is nonbinding.
  • “You may apply early to any college or university with a nonbinding rolling admission process.

“If you apply early action, there are three possible outcomes for your admission decision. We will either:

  • “Offer admission.
  • “Deny admission.
  • “Or, defer a final decision on the application and review it again in the regular decision process.

“We will provide an admission decision in mid-December.”

You are likely now getting a better understanding of why students should only apply this way if they know that Princeton is their top choice.

Quite simply, the choice can restrict a student’s options when it comes to other ways in which they are able to apply to other schools that are at the top of their list.

It is also important to keep in mind that while the early action acceptance rate is higher than Princeton’s overall acceptance rate, it does not mean that students with less impressive grade point averages, test scores or lackluster letters of recommendation, extracurricular or personal essays will improve their chances of getting in simply because they apply via early action.

Students that get in via early action must be just as – if not more – impressive than the typical Princeton applicant!

One final thing to keep in mind about applying to Princeton as an early action applicant is that there is one more potential outcome aside from either getting in or getting rejected.

The other outcome is that you are put on the school’s waitlist. Essentially, the waitlist operates as a way for the admissions officers at the school to give your application another look when students start sending in their regular decision applications.

If you are put on the waitlist after applying to Princeton via early action, you are surely wondering when the Princeton waitlist decisions come out.

If you are put on the waitlist, you will find out by the time all early action responses are due by, so in mid-December. However, it is important to know that you may not hear about the final decision regarding your application for months, with some students who are put on the waitlist at other schools not finding out until just a few weeks before the beginning of the fall semester.

On top of that, it is also important to know that students who are put on the waitlist at Princeton typically do not end up getting in. In fact, there are many years in which the school has not accepted a single student from their waitlist.

However, if you are put on the waitlist and are still determined to get into the school, there are several things that you can do to try to improve your chances of getting in:

  • Get a sense of your chances of admission by contacting the admissions office immediately to find out if the school ranks its waitlist
  • Write a letter to the admissions office in order to express your continued determination to get accepted as well as offer any additional information to help your case
  • Maintain excellent grades and – if possible – improve your GPA
  • Stay involved in your extracurriculars and let Princeton know if you achieve any honors or awards from them
  • Request another (or first) interview with a Princeton alumni
  • Take pride in the fact that you were impressive enough to be put on the waitlist so that Princeton can take an additional look at your application
  • Reconsider your options and consider accepting an offer from another school that accepted you

Tips for successfully applying to top universities

When it comes to improving your chances of getting into Princeton – or any great college or university of that matter – one of the most important things to have is a plan.

In fact, one of the major reasons why students end up contacting AdmissionSight to work with our fantastic admissions consultants is because we can offer a proven plan that helps students manage stress, manage their time, and succeed!

Two female college students talking after lecture in the school corridor.

However, even if you are a high school student who plans on going it alone, we want you to know some of the most important tips that you can utilize to improve your chances of getting into your top target school.

Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind:

  • Know your deadlines: Start all of your applications early enough so that you can complete all of them by their respective deadlines. Make sure that if you do plan on applying to any schools via binding or non-binding early action/decision that you start those first.
  • Read the instructions: While many schools have very similar application instructions, many have slight but important differences. Make sure to go through every application fully before you begin it to ensure you can complete it correctly.
  • Offer all of the requested information: Leaving fields blank in a college application should not be considered an option because it will look like you were not paying attention. Make sure you can fill out an application entirely before sending it in.
  • Proofread: Simple as that! Go through your application and proofread your application. This includes your personal essays as well as the application itself to look for any silly mistakes.
  • Be honest: Do not inflate facts about your life, your extracurriculars, your awards, and achievements, or anything. Admissions officers are known to verify information that students provide, and if you are caught in a lie you can essentially kiss that acceptance letter goodbye!
  • Choose your letters of recommendation wisely: Make sure to choose the teachers who know you best and who have seen how special you can be in and outside of the classroom. Beyond that, be sure to give them ample time to write the best letters possible.
  • Craft unique and impressive essays: Do not simply write the first thing that comes to mind. This is a crucial aspect of your application and deserves a lot of time and effort.
  • Request copies of your transcript: Let your counselor’s office know about your application to make sure that your official transcript shows up on time.
  • Confirm that your application has arrived: After you send in your application, contact the school and make sure that they have received your application. This is not only wise to avoid a mishap, but also shows a high level of maturity on your end.

Get more advice on Princeton admissions

The truth is that getting into Princeton has never been harder than it is right now.

That is just one of the reasons why so many high school students are turning to admissions consultants like AdmissionSight to help them improve their chances of getting into their dream schools as much as possible.

If you are interested in learning more about how admissions consultants work and how one could help you improve your chances of getting into Princeton, contact us today to set up a free consultation.



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