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Yale vs. Princeton: Which Ivy League Is Best For You?

13 MAY 2022

Many high school students dream of studying at an Ivy League institution such as Yale or Princeton — and for good reasons! There is no denying that Ivy League universities are renowned for their beautiful campuses, distinguished faculty, diverse communities, extensive resources, and ample job opportunities for graduates.


Yale vs Princeton Overview

According to the QS World University Rankings, Yale and Princeton University are among the top-ranked Ivy League schools. Each Ivy League university offers distinctive academic and extracurricular offerings. But what makes each university unique, and how do you decide which one is right for you? What is Yale known for, and is Princeton better than Yale?

Let’s look at some of the differences between Yale and Princeton, so read on to find out more!

Yale University

Yale is a highly regarded, medium-sized, private liberal arts university that offers undergraduate and graduate study. Yale consists of 14 schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and 12 professional schools. Although Yale became a university in 1701, it didn’t receive its name until 1718 when merchant Elihu Yale donated 417 books, cloth goods, and a portrait of King George to the New Haven college.

Did you know? Yale’s first-year students enjoy a formal holiday banquet reminiscent of a Hogwarts feast every year.

Princeton University

Princeton is a private, medium-sized, 4-year university that offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and the great majority of its undergraduate population live on its 600-acre suburban campus. Founded in 1746, Princeton is the fourth-oldest college in the US. Originally located in Elizabeth, then Newark, the college moved to the famous Nassau Hall in Princeton in 1756.

Did you know? Princeton alumni hold a reunion every year — and 26,000 alumni, family, and friends attend reunions each year!

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Yale vs Princeton Compared
YalePrinceton
LocationNew Haven, ConnecticutPrinceton, New Jersey
QS World University Ranking 20221420
Class of 2026 Acceptance Rate4.4%~4.0%
Median GPA3.7-4.03.7-4.0
Median SAT/ACT ScoresSAT: 1460-1570 ACT: 32-35SAT: 1460-1580 ACT: 32-35
Tuition$62,250 USD$57,410 USD
Median starting salary for graduates$68,472 USD$69,000 USD

A Day In The Life: Yale Student

Location

Yale and Princeton University are both located in New England, in the Northeast region of the United States. For many international students, seeing the fall foliage of New England for the first time is a memorable experience. But which university has a better location? It all depends on your personal preference. Read on to find out how the two compare!

Yale vs Princeton: Location
YalePrinceton
SettingUrbanSuburban
CityNew Haven, Connecticut. Although located in a small city, Yale is considered one of the world's most beautiful college campuses and is big enough that students don’t feel the need to leave. In the case that they do, New York City is just a 90-minute drive away.Princeton is considered a quiet college town in New Jersey where students are fully integrated into the community. The relatively small town is perfect for students looking for a campus in an idyllic city that is accessible by walking, biking — or through the Tiger Transit, the university’s transportation service.
WeatherSince Yale and Princeton are located in New England, you can expect all four seasons, from summers averaging 84°F to winters as cold as 25°F.
Size/Student Body
YalePrinceton
Student-Faculty Ratio6:14:1
Total student population12,06012,060
Undergraduate size4,6645,267
Percentage of international students21%23%

A Day in the Life: Princeton Student

Academics

Below are some of the most popular majors at Yale and Princeton!

Most popular majors at Yale

  1. Social Sciences
  2. Biology
  3. History
  4. Computer & Information Science 
  5. Engineering
  6. Mathematics

Most popular majors at Princeton

  1. Social Sciences
  2. Engineering
  3. Computer & Information Science
  4. Molecular Biology
  5. Public Administration and Social Services
  6. HIstory

Tuition

Most elite universities in the United States charge high tuition rates, but Ivy League schools and other top schools offer generous financial aid packages (more about that later). Undergraduate tuition rates at Princeton and Yale for 2022-2023 are $57,410 and $62,250, respectively. After considering additional fees, accommodation, travel, and personal expenses, the annual cost to attend Princeton or Yale is around $79,540 - $80,700.

2022/23 Tuition & Fees
PrincetonYale
Tuition$57,410$62,250
Room (Housing) and Board (Meal Plan)$10,960 $7,670$10,500 $7,950
Total estimated cost of attendance (including miscellaneous expenses) $79,540 $80,700

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Attending a top university can cost a lot. While the figures mentioned above may seem out of reach for many, don’t let the price deter you from achieving your goals. There are financial aid opportunities at Princeton and Yale!

Yale admits students irrespective of their ability to pay and promises to meet 100% of demonstrated financial needs — this includes international students. Current families of students at Yale who make less than $75,000 pay nothing!

Similarly, Princeton offers aid based on family financial needs and doesn't apply income cutoffs when determining whether to award aid. Princeton covers tuition, room, and board for students from families earning less than $65,000 per year!
If you'd like to learn more, check out this free resource, How Financial Aid Works & How To Apply For Financial Aid from Crimson's admissions experts.

Extracurriculars

Princeton boasts hundreds of eclectic student activities at the university. Whether you’re looking to perform slam poetry, make chocolate, tutor elementary school children, join a cappella group, write for a literary publication, or learn about beekeeping, Princeton supports over 500 student organizations created and run by students.

Yale also offers a rich experience that reaches far beyond the classroom. Numerous campus organizations are active on campus, including nearly 100 athletic teams, over 50 performance groups, and 60 cultural associations.

Whatever your extracurricular interests are, there will be a club that suits you. You can even create your own student organization at either school if one doesn’t exist. Both universities support and encourage carving your own path.

Application

Both Yale and Princeton are highly competitive academic universities, and candidates must meet minimum GPA requirements. While grades and accolades are important at these top universities, both universities consider each applicant holistically, beyond academics.

If you want your application to stand out at Yale, you have to bring it to life! Every part of your application should be a window into your character. Admissions committees are more likely to admit you if they can envision you on campus, participating in student clubs and organizations, and taking advantage of their extensive resources.

Check out our blog, How To Get Into Yale, to learn more about what Yale looks for in its students.

To stand out in the Princeton admissions process, you have to tell your story, show what’s unique about you, and write in a way that reflects your unique voice. As an applicant, you must demonstrate your achievements in and out of the classroom and show that you will bring this energy to the campus and seize academic and non-academic opportunities. Princeton’s goal for admissions is to create a unique learning community that brings together a diverse mix of highly motivated, intellectually gifted students from different backgrounds. Check out Princeton’s application checklist to learn more about what Princeton looks for in potential students.

If you want to learn how to boost your overall application to top universities and make sure your application stands out, download our free eBook on How to Crush Your US College Application!

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Yale or Princeton: Which University is Right for you?

You are guaranteed a quality education no matter which Ivy League university you attend. Remember to prioritize academics when narrowing down your university options – examine course descriptions carefully AND consider attending open days at each university to get a feel for the school. Additionally, you might consider reaching out to alumni from Yale or Princeton to talk more about admissions and the school.

Which is Easier to get into?

The admissions processes at Yale and Princeton are incredibly competitive, as you are probably aware. Princeton may be considered easier by a small margin based on the estimated acceptance rates for Yale and Princeton’s Class of 2026. Still, it depends on the course you’re applying for and whether your profile shows you are a good fit for those universities.

Whether you choose to apply to Princeton, Yale, or both, you need to be a top student and submit a holistic application that highlights why you deserve a place at the universities. You can use our US University Admissions Calculator to determine your chances of attending Yale or Princeton based on your current grades!

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How Peyton got into Princeton University

To learn more about the other Ivys and what it takes to gain acceptance, check out our Ultimate Guide to Getting into Ivy League Schools. If you still have questions about which universities to apply to, please contact us! We can connect you with one of our academic advisors who can assist you with the admissions process.

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