How To Get Into Princeton: Breaking Down Admissions Requirements

12/12/202320 minute read
How To Get Into Princeton: Breaking Down Admissions Requirements

While the low acceptance rates at Princeton University may seem discouraging, it's important to remain optimistic and determined to pursue your academic aspirations.

This blog will delve into Princeton's acceptance rates, admissions requirements, and more, to maximize your chances and find the best way to get into Princeton. Don't let the competition deter you; if Princeton is your dream college, this blog will guide you towards achieving that goal.


How hard is it to get into Princeton?

While Princeton is one of the toughest schools to get into, it’s not impossible! Princeton withheld its admission stats for Class of 2027, but the acceptance rate for the Class of 2026 was 5.7% and plummeted to 4.4% for the Class of 2025.

In order to get admitted, meeting the minimum requirements isn’t enough - your application has to stand out.

Princeton Overall Acceptance Rate
Class ofAccepted StudentsNumber of ApplicationsOverall Acceptance Rate
2027WithheldWithheld~5.8%
20262,16738,0195.7%
20251,64737,6014.4%
20241,82332,8365.6%
20231,89532,8045.8%
20221,94135,3705.5%
20211,89031,0566.1%
20201,89429,3036.5%
20191,90827,2907%
20181,93926,6417.3%

What is Princeton Looking for?

1. Academic Achievement

Princeton is looking for applicants with outstanding academic records. This includes high grades in rigorous courses, high scores on standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, and a record of excelling academically throughout high school.

2. Intellectual Curiosity

Princeton seeks students who are passionate about learning and have a demonstrated intellectual curiosity. This can be shown through a love of reading, participation in academic competitions or research, or a history of pursuing independent intellectual projects.

3. Leadership and Initiative

Princeton values students who have taken on leadership roles and demonstrated initiative in pursuing their interests. This can be shown through involvement in extracurriculars, volunteer work, or work experience.

4. Character and Integrity

Princeton seeks students of strong character who demonstrate integrity, honesty, and respect for others. This can be shown through community service projects, leadership positions in clubs or organizations, or written responses on the application.

5. Cultural Fit

Princeton looks for applicants who will contribute to the diversity and vibrancy of the campus community. This can be shown through experiences and activities that celebrate cultural traditions or differences.

What do you need to get into Princeton?

High School GPA

The average high school GPA of admitted students at Princeton University is approximately 4.0, indicating that the majority of successful applicants earned mostly A grades in high school. In fact, 60% of admitted students had a GPA of at least 4.0.

Princeton University recommends that high school students pursue a challenging and rigorous course of study to prepare for college-level coursework. This may include advanced and honors courses, as well as courses in key subject areas such as math, science, English, history, and foreign languages.

Recommended Courses for Princeton
CourseRecommended Units
English4
Mathematics4
Foreign Language4
Science4
Laboratory Science2
Social Studies2
Performing Arts1

Standardized Test Scores

Despite being test-optional until at least the admission cycle of 2025, high SAT and ACT scores remain a valuable addition to your application at Princeton. Scoring well on these tests can help your application stand out among the competitive pool of applicants.

For the Class of 2025, 56% of applicants submitted their SAT scores while 35% submitted their ACT scores. While Princeton does not require standardized test scores for admission, these numbers indicate that a significant portion of successful applicants still choose to submit them.

If you do choose to submit your scores, aim for a score that is competitive with the average test scores of previously admitted students, which was approximately 1500 for the SAT and 34 for the ACT.

Remember that your standardized test scores are only one factor considered in the admissions process, and the admissions committee also evaluates other aspects of your application including GPA, extracurricular activities, leadership experience, character, and cultural fit.

SAT Scores of Princeton Students
25th Percentile75th Percentile
ERBW720770
Math740800
Total14701560
ACT Scores of Harvard Students
25th Percentile75th Percentile
Math3135
English3436
Composite3335

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities are an essential aspect of your application to Princeton University. The admissions committee seeks students who have a well-rounded background and a passion for learning beyond the classroom.

Admitted students at Princeton typically have a **strong record of **involvement in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, theater, community service, or other pursuits. They may have also demonstrated leadership skills by taking leadership positions in clubs or organizations. They should have made a positive impact on their communities and demonstrated a deep commitment to their activities.

Essays

The college essay is a crucial part of the application process for students applying to Princeton University. It provides a unique opportunity to showcase your personality, writing skills and fit with the university.

While applying through the Common App, you must answer the Common App essay prompts and Princeton's supplemental essay questions. Princeton admissions officers are looking for well-written, authentic, and unique essays that reveal who the student is, what matters to them, and what makes them stand out from others.

The admissions committee looks for authentic students who can bring a diverse perspective to the campus community. Therefore, it is important to be true to oneself while writing the essay and not just write what one thinks the admissions committee wants to hear. Students should choose the essay topic that represents their personality, interests, and perspective and present their best selves truthfully.

Recommendation Letters

For Princeton admissions officers, recommendation letters are a key component of the application process that helps to provide a more holistic view of the applicant. They can help to highlight an applicant's achievements, strengths, and unique qualities, which can set them apart from other applicants. High-quality recommendation letters can also provide insight into an applicant's character, work ethic, and potential to contribute positively to the Princeton community.

How to increase your chances of getting into Princeton?

1. Apply Early

Applying early to Princeton University can significantly increase your chances of admission. Princeton tends to accept a higher percentage of students who apply early. Princeton offers both a single-choice early action program and an early decision program.

There are major benefits to applying early:

  • Submitting an early application demonstrates a high level of interest and commitment to Princeton University. It can show the admissions committee that you are serious about attending their school.
  • Applying early means you are competing with a smaller pool of applicants. By applying early, you have the advantage of being one of the first students considered for admission.
  • If accepted through Early Decision (ED), you will receive your financial aid award earlier, giving you more time to plan and prepare for the costs of attending college.

It's important to note that applying early is a significant commitment. ED applications are binding, meaning you agree to enroll if accepted, so it's essential to only apply early if Princeton is your top choice.

2. Show Off Your Unique Perspective

You add depth and richness to your application by showcasing your unique perspective. Sharing your unique experiences and perspectives gives the admissions committee a better understanding of who you are as a person and what you can contribute to the Princeton community.

Princeton receives thousands of applications each year, and many of them have similar academic achievements and extracurricular activities. As you’re highlighting your unique perspective, you differentiate yourself from other applicants and show what makes you stand out.

Admissions officers want to see that you have a genuine interest in the subject matter and are not just trying to impress them. Showcase how you will contribute to the Princeton community. Princeton values students who can bring diverse perspectives to campus, so showcasing your unique perspective can demonstrate to the admissions officers how you will fit in

3. Submit your ACT/SAT Scores

Submitting your SAT/ACT scores to Princeton University can significantly increase your chances of admission. While Princeton is test-optional, submitting strong SAT or ACT scores can help strengthen your application, particularly if they are consistent with your academic achievements.

By submitting your SAT/ACT scores, you differentiate yourself from test-optional applicants, which is a growing trend among colleges. Submitting test scores can show your dedication to academic excellence and your willingness to go above and beyond the requirements.

If you have any weak points in your application, such as a lower GPA, submitting strong SAT/ACT scores can help to compensate for them. A strong score can show that you have the ability to succeed academically despite any previous setbacks.

4. Take Difficult Coursework

Taking challenging coursework can significantly increase your chances of getting into Princeton University. Princeton values students who challenge themselves academically and who are well-prepared for the rigor of college academics.

However, it’s important to only take difficult courses if you’re able to succeed. If you struggle through a challenging class and don’t get a good grade, it will impact your overall GPA. As a result, your lower GPA could significantly impact your chances of getting into Princeton. Ultimately, you should aim for a GPA of at least a 4.0 to increase your chances of receiving acceptance into Princeton.

Helpful resources

  • If you want to add rigorous coursework to your academic profile, consider taking some Online AP Courses at Crimson Global Academy.
  • If you’re struggling to reach a GPA of 4.0, consider taking Online Tutoring with Harvard graduates who can help you reach your maximum academic potential.
  • Enroll in a pre-college summer program to help you get a head start on your college education.
  • We also have free eBooks that can help you ace your academics in the link below.
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Is Princeton right for you?

Princeton is an excellent school with countless academic and professional resources. But, it’s not for everyone. Don’t apply to Princeton only because of its elite name or because it’s part of the Ivy League. Choose Princeton because it speaks to you like no other school and offers the courses and programs you need to succeed in your dream job.

If you think Princeton might not be the school of your dreams, you should consider another school in the Ivy League. Check out the best Ivy League schools in 2023. Still unsure where to start? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Getting into the Ivy League. Princeton admissions can tell if you’re passionate about their school or if you’re only applying because of their name.

But, after you’ve explored all your options, and your grades, extracurriculars, and career goals line up with Princeton’s mission, you should apply! But, remember, only a small percentage of applicants get into Princeton. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get accepted. Some of the world’s most brilliant and talented students do not get into this elite school.

Make sure you have a solid list of safety, target, and reach schools that fit your academic and career objectives. If you choose to apply to Princeton again, focus on improving the weaker aspects of your application, so your application is stronger than the next time!

Final Thoughts

Your reasons for choosing Princeton are as unique as the school. Maybe it’s the undergraduate opportunities, generous financial aid, or world-class teaching and research facilities. Or perhaps it’s the low student-to-faculty ratio or close-knit community. Whatever your reasons, Princeton is a first-class university and an ideal place to earn your degree.

If you’re hard-working, open-minded, and passionate about your interests, Princeton might be the perfect place for you.

What Makes Crimson Different

Frequently Asked Questions about Princeton

Is it hard to get into Princeton?

It’s tough to get into Princeton. More students are applying each year, with the school only accepting 5.7% of students for Class of 2026.

Is Princeton expensive?

Princeton University’s tuition is $57,690. Princeton is more expensive than the national average cost of tuition ($41,281).

How much does it cost to go to Princeton?

Princeton’s total cost for tuition and fees is around $79,900, but most students do not pay the full amount. Princeton offers ample financial aid based solely on need. They review each family’s financial circumstances to determine how much (if any) the family will pay out of pocket. Princeton uses grants to meet all financial aid. For more information about Princeton’s financial aid program, visit the financial aid program page.

What is the retention rate for first-year students at Princeton?

Princeton has one of the highest freshman retention rates in the US. The freshman retention rate for Princeton University is 98%, and the national first-year average retention rate is 69%.

What is the average salary for a Princeton graduate?

The US Department of Education College Scorecard reports that the average salary for a Princeton graduate after ten years of working is $113,900. This salary is 232% higher than the national median.

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