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Like most other universities, Princeton is looking for essays that show introspection, personality, insight, and thought process. Although Princeton has low acceptance rates, these essays can help you stand out in your application.
Princeton’s supplemental essay prompts remain unchanged from the previous application year.
Briefly elaborate on an activity, organization, work experience, or hobby that has been particularly meaningful to you. (Please respond in about 150 words.)
Please respond to each question in an essay of about 250 words.
Please respond to each question in 50 words or fewer. There are no right or wrong answers. Be yourself!
For this first short answer question, the key word is meaningful. This essay isn't just an opportunity to brag about an additional accomplishment (although it's ok if this essay ultimately includes one!). It's an opportunity to discuss an experience you've had outside of school that you feel gets buried by the rest of your application.
Since it specifies an "extracurricular activity," it likely wants you to write about something that appears on your Common App list of extracurriculars but does not appear elsewhere in your app. Writing an anecdote rather than a mere summary is advised.
Pro tip: It’s a good idea to choose an activity that contrasts with your intended major because it shows your diverse interests and gives your application more texture overall.
The Your Voice essays should be approached much like the original Common App essay because many of the same standards apply, including deep insight or self-reflection, grammatically correct language, and compelling language that is clear and concise.
For the first prompt, list several examples in your life where you had to assess, convince, or understand a new perspective. Pick the one that is the most nuanced and complex and where you show your flexibility and capacity for hearing others' opinions and processing them.
For the second prompt, list experiences you've had where you helped others directly or worked for an organization that helped others indirectly. Try to match one experience with a club or group that Princeton offers that has a similar message or helps a similar population.
Use your time to show the specific places you can see yourself using the skills you have acquired. If you can identify an unmet need at Princeton, see if you possess the skills to lead a new club or group which fulfills this need. Try to end on a sentence that shows the reader what you hope to accomplish at Princeton in the future.
Remember, every applicant has the same prompts.
These prompts are asking for deep reflection. The committee wants to know how you see yourself and the values you hold as a person.
As a refresher, please reference our Common App criteria (available here: Essay Criteria 2019-2020.pdf).
You can only answer these very personal questions. Here you have a chance to show your humor (if you believe you are a humorous person), your ability to know yourself, your imagination, and your dreams.
As with all the supplemental answers, try to be specific, original, and truthful. As you have few words to express all your thoughts, make sure that what you choose to put into your answer is how you want to be perceived.
This year, the prompts ask for deep thought and emotional experience. Be specific, honest, and forthcoming. There is no reason to withhold important thoughts or revelations (as long as you can fit them in the word count!). As with the common application, these essays ask that you "dig deep.
Now is the time to dig deep. Supplemental essays help Princeton admissions learn more about you and why you would be the perfect fit for their campus community. Don’t hold back. Let the real you shine through.
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