Princeton is my dream school, pure and simple. It is an amazing school with a ton of history, stellar academics, and it is only a thirty minute train ride to NYC. The Princeton University Campus Tour is really helpful.
I’m sure most of you are aware of Princeton University; it is an Ivy League school after all, but I’m here to share some things I learned while touring the school that you might not know.
I’m sure you can google the basic facts on the school’s founding and educational history, but here are some things I found cool.
– Alexander Hamilton was not only there during the Revolution, but he fired a cannon three times at a British-occupied building in the middle of campus. One of the cannon balls hit its target and flew right through a portrait of King George. It has since been replaced with a portrait of George Washington.
– Albert Einstein helped to tutor students in math, though he was not actually part of the university’s faculty. Princeton was one of the locations where the research for the Manhattan Project was done. Einstein was working on the atomic bomb, but in his free time, he was helping students.
There are some pretty cool things about the culture of Princeton that I had no idea about.
– The upperclassmen are all total foodies. Students are required to use a school meal plan their freshman year, but after that, they can transfer to a dining club. These are student organized clubs that serve food and offer events as well as study halls. Some of these require auditions to get into, while others are open admission. I just thought this was wild. I had never heard of something like that.
– DO NOT WALK THROUGH THE GATE. Seriously, they think it is cursed. You can only walk through it twice, once on your first day, and once on your last. If you go through the gate any other time, you will not graduate from Princeton. Take JFK for example. He walked through the gate and ended up sick, so he had to transfer to Harvard (horrible right).
– Ivy league kids have an intense school rivalry. Princeton will make a huge bonfire if they beat both Harvard and Yale during the same football season. I also noticed our tour guides make a couple of jabs at other Ivy League schools throughout the tour which I thought was kind of funny.
Now we get to the stressful part.
– Applications can be filled out on common app or through the school website. You must have at least two teacher recommendations as well as test scores, personal essays, and your high school transcript. It is also recommended to take two SAT subject tests.
– You may send an optional portfolio, such as a recording of you dancing or playing an instrument or maybe a file of some art work. These will not hurt your application; if they do not impress the judges, they will simply leave that as a neutral rating.
– You may also be invited to an interview with a Princeton alumni. These are not required and not always available, but they can give Princeton more insight into the type of person you are. So if you are offered one, go for it.
– No test score or GPA will eliminate you from consideration, and they look at these within the context of your school and opportunity, but the average ACT score is in the 30’s and the average SAT is in the 1500’s.
This is the fun part! I found out so many cool things about the programs at Princeton.
– The class sizes are often small. Most classes are in the twenties. Any classes that are larger than that are given a separate time for small group meetings in order to discuss materials learned with a TA and with peers.
– That being said, all courses are taught by professors, not by TAs, which I think is awesome.
– One downside is that you cannot double major at Princeton, but you can have as many minors as you can fit into your schedule.
– Princeton has a goal of globalization, so you will be required to be fluent in a foreign language by the time you graduate. They also have tons of study abroad programs, which I think is super cool.
– Finally, the Senior Thesis. This is a integral part of the Princeton education. Every student will write a thesis and conduct research in their major. This project is a monumental task, but it allows students to work one-on-one with professors and specialists in their field. This also causes every Princeton student to contribute to their field before they even graduate. And all of these are stored in Princeton databases, so every student leaves a mark on the school.
I hope you learned some awesome stuff about Princeton. I loved it there, and I’m sure many of you would too! Best of luck in your college search.