How to get into Princeton – General Information
Princeton University is located in Princeton, New Jersey. It is a private Ivy League research university founded in 1746. Princeton’s entire student body is about 8,000, and the undergraduate student body includes just over 5,000 enrolled students.
What we’ll cover in this How to Get Into Princeton guide:
- Princeton GPA requirements
- Optimal Princeton SAT Scores
- Princeton application deadline
- Details on Princeton Early Action
- Princeton supplemental essays
- Preparing for a Princeton Interview
- Princeton Class of 2025 statistics, and more!
When thinking about how to get into Princeton, try to optimize every part of your application. This includes studying to ensure strong Princeton SAT scores or ACT scores, working to match the Princeton GPA requirements, choosing extracurriculars that highlight your passions, and strengthening your candidate profile. You should start strategizing well before the Princeton Early Action and regular Princeton application deadline.
Figuring out how to get into Princeton takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes Princeton graduates. Want to maximize your Princeton admissions odds? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.
How hard is it to get into Princeton?
U.S. News ranks Princeton as #1 in National Universities. According to U.S. News, Princeton University is a highly competitive school with an acceptance rate of 6%. The Princeton Early Action acceptance rate was 14.7% for the Princeton Class of 2025.
Over 37,000 students applied for the Princeton Class of 2025. Of those students, just over 1600 were accepted into the Princeton Class of 2025. Given these numbers, you should do all you can to stand out.
While there are no set Princeton GPA requirements, the average GPA for the Princeton Class of 2025 was 3.9. Additionally, the average Princeton SAT scores range from 1450-1570.
If you want to know just how to get into Princeton, understand that Ivy League admissions are extremely competitive. Each Ivy League school, Princeton included, is considered a “reach” for every student. Becoming a Princeton Tiger will take much more than just meeting the Princeton GPA requirements or Princeton SAT scores.
To maximize your chance of acceptance, start preparing your materials well before the Princeton application deadline. Study for standardized tests, choose a balanced yet rigorous course load, strive for a high GPA, and write engaging Princeton supplemental essays. Additionally, if you know that Princeton is right for you, consider applying by the Princeton Early Action deadline.
What GPA is required for Princeton?
No set GPA will guarantee you admission to Princeton. However, you should still strive to meet the average Princeton GPA requirements. The average GPA for the Princeton Class of 2025 was 3.9. As Princeton GPA requirements can change, you should try to keep your grades high.
For most students, Princeton will look at the GPA you earned at the end of your junior year. So, you should make sure you do well in your high school courses. This starts with choosing the right courses for you. Ensure that you take advantage of all the resources that your high school offers. This will give you a better chance of meeting any Princeton GPA requirements.
Beyond the data
In December 2021, Princeton decided not to release admissions data, including Princeton GPA requirements and Princeton SAT scores, for the upcoming admissions cycle. Many students feel stressed as they wonder how to get into Princeton, and Princeton understands how this data may negatively impact applicants. Instead, Princeton will publish an announcement later this year that showcases the Princeton Class of 2026, similar to these admission statistics for the Princeton Class of 2025.
Curious about how to get into Princeton with a less-than-stellar GPA? Check out our article here. You’ll find helpful tips to make your application stand out, even if you don’t meet the average Princeton GPA requirements or Princeton SAT scores.
What does the Princeton University application look like?
There are several components of a Princeton application. Every part is essential to your “how to get into Princeton” strategy. You should submit all Princeton supplemental essays and optional test scores well before the Princeton Early Action or regular Princeton application deadline. You should also make sure you respond to any request for a Princeton interview.
The Princeton Early Action application deadline is November 1st, and the Princeton application deadline for Regular Decision is January 1st.
Applicants must submit:
- The Common Application or Coalition Application
- The Princeton supplemental essays, including two 250-word responses, one 150-word response, three 50-word responses, and a graded written paper
- An official transcript
- A school report
- A counselor recommendation
- Two teacher recommendations
- A midyear report (after your first semester grades)
Make sure you collect all these materials well before the Princeton application deadline. Need some help mastering the Common App? Read our guide here.
For the Princeton Class of 2025, submitting SAT and ACT test scores was optional. Princeton will continue its test-optional policy for the 2021-2022 application cycle. SAT Subject tests, AP scores, and other test results are also optional.
Princeton University does accept supplemental materials, including an arts supplement. The arts supplement can include materials related to architecture, creative writing, dance, music, theater, or visual arts. Princeton Early Action applicants must submit the optional arts supplement by November 5th for the Princeton Early Action application deadline and by January 7th for the Regular Decision Princeton application deadline.
Applicants must also submit the Princeton supplemental essays as well as a graded high school paper. Check out our essay guide for tips on writing your Princeton supplemental essays as you prepare your “how to get into Princeton” strategy.
The Princeton interview is optional. However, we recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity. We’ll expand on the Princeton interview process later in this guide.
What extracurriculars does Princeton like?
Want to understand how to get into Princeton? Start by identifying your talents, interests, and passions.
Your extracurricular activities play a major role in your candidate profile. The “candidate profile” is a 1-2 sentence description of who you are, what you do, and why colleges should admit you. Your candidate profile is what sets you apart from the rest of the crowd and is a crucial part of your “how to get into Princeton” plan.
Princeton does not prefer one type of extracurricular over another. Instead, Princeton looks for sustained commitment to your extracurricular interests.
Focus on quality
So, what does this mean, exactly? Whether you have one talent or have done many activities, Princeton wants to know that you are dedicated to everything you do. It is more about the quality of your extracurriculars, rather than the quantity. Be sure to highlight how your extracurriculars make you unique.
Princeton also takes special note of any leadership roles you’ve earned. Don’t be shy when it comes to showcasing your extracurriculars—Princeton wants to know about any talents or accomplishments you might bring to their campus. This can also serve as a great conversation starter for your Princeton interview.
Although there is no clear formula for how to get into Princeton, cultivating your candidate profile is a great start. Start by identifying your passions. Then, find extracurriculars that align with those interests. If you spend time bolstering your candidate profile well before the Princeton application deadline, you’ll end up with a strong application.
What is the acceptance rate for Princeton?
The Princeton acceptance rate is another key thing to consider in your “how to get into Princeton” approach. The acceptance rate for the Princeton Class of 2025 was 6%. For Princeton Early Action applicants, the acceptance rate was 14.7%.
So, how are acceptance rates calculated? The Princeton acceptance rate is calculated based on a ratio: the total number of applicants to the number of accepted students. The Princeton acceptance rate is influenced by a variety of factors, including standardized test scores.
Like many schools, Princeton announced a test-optional policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. This test-optional policy will continue through the 2021-2022 application cycle. However, you should still take standardized tests if you can do so. The average Princeton SAT scores for the Princeton Class of 2025 ranged from 1450-1570, and the average ACT score for the Princeton Class of 2025 ranged from 32-35.
In order to match the average Princeton SAT scores, start preparing for the test far before the Princeton application deadline. If you know that Princeton is your top choice, you will want to start studying well in advance of the Princeton Early Action deadline. Plan to take your first standardized test during your junior year. This gives you time to retake the tests if necessary to meet the average Princeton SAT scores.
Want to learn more about how acceptance rates affect the admissions process? Read our blog article here.
Do all applicants to Princeton University get interviews?
As you strategize about how to get into Princeton, you might wonder about the Princeton interview process. Although Princeton offers optional alumni interviews to prospective students, there is no guarantee that every applicant will receive an interview.
The Princeton interview is a 30 to a 45-minute informal conversation with a member of the Princeton Alumni School Committee. Every Princeton interview for the 2021-2022 application cycle will be virtual.
If you do not receive an invitation for a Princeton interview, don’t worry. Your application will not be penalized if no alumni can provide you with a Princeton interview. Even though your Princeton interview will not make or break your application, a strong Princeton interview can help you stand out.
During the Princeton interview, you can ask any questions you might have about life at Princeton. Your interviewer will not be able to view your Princeton supplemental essays, test scores, or application. Don’t spend your interview focusing on your grades or scores— instead, discuss what is important to you and highlight how you are a good fit for the Princeton campus.
So, what should you talk about in your Princeton interview? According to these helpful tips, Princeton wants to know more about the following:
- Personal achievements (both inside the classroom and out)
- Leadership activities
- Special skills
- Extracurricular involvements
The Princeton interview is designed to assess what you care about, what kind of student you are, and how you have made a difference in your school or community. Above all, make sure you showcase how you would enrich the Princeton community.
For more details on the Princeton interview process, visit its website.
How do I write the Princeton University application essays?
In addition to the main essay prompt found in the 2021-2022 Common App, the Princeton application requires six Princeton supplemental essays and a graded written paper from any core academic class. However, don’t let the number of Princeton supplemental essays stop you from applying! Three of the Princeton supplemental essays have word limits ranging from 150-250 words. The last three Princeton supplemental essays are very short—50 words or less.
Be sure to craft authentic, thoughtful responses to the Princeton supplemental essays. Since the acceptance rate was 6% for the Princeton Class of 2025, we suggest starting drafting your Princeton supplemental essays well before the Princeton application deadline.
Additionally, be sure to include as many details as possible in your Princeton supplemental essays. Research what resources are available to a Princeton student and discuss those resources in your Princeton supplemental essays. Perhaps there is a particular class, professor, or campus activity that you would like to engage with at Princeton. Anchor your responses to the Princeton supplemental essays with these examples. The more detailed you are in your Princeton supplemental essays, the more likely it is that your readers will connect with you.
The Princeton supplemental essays are designed to assess who you are beyond your transcript and test scores. So, use the Princeton supplemental essays to show what makes you unique. Be sure to also include how you will enrich the Princeton campus community in your Princeton supplemental essays.
Graded written paper
Finally, your Princeton application must also include the graded written paper component of the Princeton supplemental essays. This paper must have been written during high school. It should preferably be one to two pages in length and from an English, Social Studies, or History course. You will submit the graded written paper with the rest of your Princeton supplemental essays in the Common App or Coalition App.
For more tips on how to write the Princeton supplemental essays, read our Princeton essay guide.
How does Princeton review applications?
When considering how to get into Princeton, many students are only concerned about the Princeton SAT scores or the Princeton GPA requirements. Although these are important factors in the application process, there are other aspects that you need to consider for your “how to get into Princeton” approach.
Like many other schools, Princeton uses a holistic application review process. Here are some key components that Princeton considers as they review applications:
- Rigor of academic program
- School performance
- Recommendation letters
- School and community involvement
Once the Princeton Early Action and regular Princeton application deadline have passed, Princeton begins the holistic review process. Princeton does not have a particular formula for scoring applicants. Instead, each application is reviewed individually in order to determine a student’s strengths, talents, character, background, and perspective.
There is no one profile of an ideal Princeton applicant. Rather, according to their website, Princeton hopes to find students that share the following qualities:
- A deep interest in learning
- Devotion to both academic and non-academic pursuits
- Liveliness of mind
- Independent thought
The most important factors in Princeton’s admission decision are whether a prospective student demonstrates intellectual engagement and academic prowess. Students in the Princeton Class of 2025 exemplified the qualities listed above. As they build each incoming class, Princeton strives to find students that show a unique combination of strengths.
Contributing to the community
It will take much more than just the Princeton GPA requirements and Princeton SAT scores to perfect your “how to get into Princeton” strategy. As they review applications, admissions officers will also consider how each student might contribute to the Princeton community at large. Additionally, Princeton does give students a small amount of preference if their mother, father, stepmother, or stepfather attended Princeton.
Students in the Princeton Class of 2025 were chosen based on their distinctive academic achievements and extracurricular talents. Both factors are crucial parts of your candidate profile. Be sure to spend time crafting your unique candidate profile well in advance of the Princeton application deadline, as this will help with your “how to get into Princeton” strategy.
Want more information about how to get into Princeton? Please visit the Princeton website for additional FAQs regarding the application review process.
Will Princeton look at my social media accounts?
As you think about how to get into Princeton, students often worry about how social media content might affect the admissions process. Rest assured; it is not likely that Princeton admissions officers will have the time or energy to do a deep dive into your social media presence as they review your application.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should post offensive or derogatory content on your social media. While these kinds of posts may not directly affect your admissions odds, there are plenty of other situations in which your social media accounts may be checked. It is common practice for potential employers to look at your social media accounts when you apply for a job or internship.
Above all, we recommend using social media responsibly. Although it isn’t likely that Princeton will check your Instagram or TikTok accounts, there’s always a chance.
Is Princeton University the school for me?
As you research how to get into Princeton, make sure you think about whether Princeton is the right place for you. Yes, Princeton is ranked #1 in National Universities, and holding a degree from an Ivy League university like Princeton can undoubtedly open doors for you in the future. However, this doesn’t mean that Princeton is for everyone.
Princeton is a research university with a “profound commitment” to the liberal arts. As shown by the high Princeton GPA requirements and Princeton SAT scores, academics at Princeton are top-notch.
Declaring a major
Students declare their concentrations by the end of their sophomore year. Princeton also does not offer double majors or dual-degree programs. Princeton does require all students to take classes from certain areas, and all first-year students must enroll in a writing seminar. Also, every Princeton senior must write a thesis or conduct an independent research project before graduation.
As far as campus life, all freshmen and sophomore students are required to live on campus at Princeton. First-year students are randomly assigned to a residential college, and roommate assignments are also random. Princeton has six residential colleges where students live and learn through special academic and social programs. The goal of the residential colleges is to “create a strong sense of community, collaboration and mutual respect, and to support individual initiative and personal growth.”
Here are some other factors to consider. For the Princeton Class of 2025, approximately 75 percent of classes had fewer than 20 students. As for financial aid, all financial aid awards are need-based, meaning that Princeton does not offer scholarships based on academic merit or athletic ability.
As you are thinking about how to get into Princeton, ask yourself the following:
- Is Princeton the type of school I want to attend?
- Does Princeton offer programs that interest me?
- How can Princeton help me achieve my future goals?
As you answer these questions, consider how this self-reflection can help you craft stronger Princeton supplemental essays and make for a stronger Princeton interview.
If you decide that Princeton is for you, you can either apply through Princeton Early Action or Regular Decision. Princeton Early Action admissions are non-binding, meaning that you can still explore other options. Either way, be sure to submit your materials well before the Princeton application deadline.
To learn more about whether Princeton is right for you, visit the Undergraduate Student Blog.
Additional tips to get into Princeton
1. Build your candidate profile
As you construct your “how to get into Princeton” approach, keep in mind that Princeton wants to admit students who show intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, and a sustained commitment to their extracurriculars. Pursue your interests and find experiences that will strengthen your candidate profile well before the Princeton application deadline.
2. Write compelling Princeton supplemental essays
The Princeton supplemental essays are your opportunity to show the admissions team who you are beyond your transcript and test scores. Be thoughtful, honest, and authentic as you build your responses. Be sure to highlight your unique achievements and future goals – Princeton wants to know what kind of student you are and how you will contribute to campus life.
3. Submit your application early
Don’t wait – prepare your materials well in advance of the Princeton application deadline. You want to build the strongest application possible, so give yourself plenty of time to do so. Be proactive about completing your Princeton supplemental essays and Princeton interview. Remember, 14.7% of students in the Princeton Class of 2025 were accepted in the Princeton Early Action application cycle. Complete your research on how to get into Princeton and submit your application!
Don’t let the Princeton GPA requirements or Princeton SAT scores stop you from applying. Although there is no guarantee you will be admitted to Princeton, following the tips in our “How to Get Into Princeton” guide will help you craft the strongest application you can. Good luck!
This guide was written by Claire Babbs, UT Austin ’12. If you want to know how to get into Princeton, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes Princeton graduates. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.