Princeton University is an Ivy League college and was one of the first universities in America. Many different organizations rank Princeton University highly for academic value, research opportunities, and community impact. In any Princeton review, college admissions experts will tell you that getting into this dream school is extremely competitive.
Wherever you are in your college research process, this guide has useful information about the application process, popular majors, financial aid, and post-graduation outcomes. In this Princeton review, rankings and student ratings are also covered to give you an idea of academics, campus life, and the overall college experience.
All About Princeton
Princeton University is an elite private research university in the United States. This Ivy League school became the fourth-oldest college in the United States in 1746. Throughout history, Princeton graduates have gone on to achieve great things. Princeton has produced 18 Nobel Prize winners, two US presidents, and three current supreme court justices.
Today, Princeton is a close-knit school, with just 5,267 undergraduate students and 2,946 graduate students. Prospective students can explore undergraduate programs in over 35 areas of study. Students interested in grad school can choose from 18 master’s programs and 42 doctoral programs.
Community service is at the core of Princeton’s motto, so faculty, students, staff, and alumni have many opportunities to take part in sponsored service programs. The Princeton community participates in different types of activities, from volunteer firefighting to tutoring kids in local schools. Each year, more than 15,000 alumni volunteer for sponsored projects.
Where Is Princeton Located?
Princeton is located in Princeton, New Jersey. Its 600-acre campus houses over 200 buildings, including college dorms, classrooms, libraries, and research laboratories. You can explore campus with an in-person tour or a virtual tour, available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Korean.
Is Princeton Accredited?
Yes, Princeton University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Princeton’s engineering programs are also accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology. These programs include electrical, chemical, mechanical, civil, and aerospace engineering.
Is Princeton Legit?
Yes, Princeton is legit. This school is recognized nationally and globally as one of the best academic and research institutions for learning. It is a member of the prestigious Ivy League, and it has an accomplished alumni network with notable graduates.
Princeton Student Reviews
Princeton University has a 4.6 out of 5.0 from student reviews on Glassdoor, and 97 percent of student reviewers would recommend Princeton to a friend. Student reviews on US News & World Report give the school an almost perfect rating.
Overall, student reviews agree that Princeton offers a close-knit community where students have the opportunity to build good working relationships with faculty. One graduate student on Glassdoor noted that Princeton is a great place for grad school because grad students get competitive financial aid packages.
College ranking platforms like US News & World Report, Times Higher Education, and The Princeton Review have ranked Princeton University highly for academics, teaching, and research impact, based on its impressive graduate performance, graduation and retention rates, social mobility, academic reputation, and student resources.
Princeton US News & World Report Ranking
According to US News & World Report, Princeton University ranks at number 16 on the 2022 list of best global universities, which is based on 13 competitive metrics. On their best national university rankings list, Princeton University is number one.
Princeton Times Higher Education Ranking
Times Higher Education (THE) bases its rankings on several core areas, which include teaching, research, citations, and industry income. THE ranked Princeton University seventh in world universities and eighth in US colleges.
Princeton Graduation Rate
The National Center for Education Statistics reports a 98 percent graduation rate for Princeton University. This extremely high rate shows that almost all of the students enrolled at Princeton University earn their degrees. This means that students at Princeton have enough support from the school to overcome most personal and intellectual challenges during their degrees.
Princeton is a very selective school, and the admissions process might seem intimidating. Fortunately, Princeton lists all admissions requirements and deadlines in a comprehensive application checklist. In this section, we’ll cover the Princeton admissions process in more detail.
Princeton Acceptance Rate
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Princeton’s admission rate is four percent. This acceptance rate shows that the school has a very selective admissions process. The acceptance rate is so low because Princeton attracts tens of thousands of high-quality students who compete for around 1,500 spots.
Will You Get Into Princeton?
You might get into Princeton if you can show the college admissions team that you have achieved academic excellence and are intellectually curious. Admissions officers also want to see that you’ve participated in different types of activities, like community service or high school internships. Unfortunately, there isn’t one key factor in college admissions that can guarantee you’ll get accepted.
How to Apply to Princeton
- Complete an online application. Use the Common Application to submit your general application. You’ll need to create an account on the Common Application website to get started.
- Submit a Princeton supplement. The Princeton supplement includes a list of questions that provide insight into your personal life, work experience, and extracurricular activity involvement. You can complete this application through the Common Application.
- Pay the application fee or request a fee waiver. You have to pay a $70 application fee to complete your Princeton application. Fee waivers are available to low-income students and veterans or active US military personnel. You can request a fee waiver online or through your high school counselor.
- Request for an official transcript. A school official or school counselor should send your official high school transcript to the Princeton admissions office. While there are no minimum GPA requirements, college admissions officers may prioritize applicants with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
- Submit supporting documents. The required application documents for undergraduate enrollment include a school report, guidance counselor recommendation, two teacher recommendations, and a graded written paper from an English or history class. Graduate applicants will need to submit three letters of recommendation for graduate applications, a statement of purpose, and a CV or resume.
- Submit standardized test scores. Princeton does not require any SAT or ACT scores for applicants in the 2022-23 application cycle. Non-native English speakers will need to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores.
- Provide additional application materials (optional). Prospective students applying to music, creative writing, architecture, visual arts, and theater arts programs can submit creative portfolio content as part of their application.
- Attend an alumni interview (optional). You might get an invitation to attend an optional interview with a member of Princeton’s Alumni Schools Committee. An alumni interview is a great chance to show your full personality and learn more about your dream college. Declining an interview won’t count against your application.
|Princeton Undergraduate In-State Tuition and Fees||$56,010|
|Princeton Undergraduate Out-of-State Tuition and Fees||$56,010|
|Princeton Graduate In-State Tuition and Fees||$58,790|
|Princeton Graduate Out-of-State Tuition and Fees||$58,790|
|Princeton Books and Supplies||$1,050|
|Princeton On-Campus Room and Board||$18,180|
|Princeton Off-Campus Room and Board||N/A|
According to the NCES, the average cost of tuition and fees for four-year colleges was $16,647 in the 2019-20 academic year. Princeton tuition is more than three times as expensive as the national average. This is a very high cost, but Princeton graduates earn about double the salary of the median US graduate.
The cost of on-campus living at Princeton is also much higher than the average, at $18,180 compared to $12,128. This cost covers a dorm room, meal plan, and other residential services. You can find less expensive accommodations off-campus, but most students enjoy the experience of living on the college campus.
Cost of Living in Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton University is located in the town of Princeton, which has around 30,000 residents. It is 37 miles from Newark and 32 miles from Elizabeth, New Jersey. According to an analysis by PayScale, the cost of living in Newark and Elizabeth is 24 percent higher than the national average.
This college town is equidistant to major cities like New York City and Philadelphia, which accounts for most of the high cost of living. A closer look at the breakdown of costs in Newark shows that the cost of housing is 57 percent higher than the national average, while transportation, groceries, and utilities range from seven to nine percent higher than average.
Princeton Financial Aid
Despite the high cost of a Princeton education, financial aid makes it affordable. NCES reports that 66 percent of students receive some financial aid, mostly through grants and scholarships. A full 83 percent of students graduate without any student loan debt.
The need-based financial aid from Princeton is available for students who qualify. Undergraduate students whose families make less than $65,000 per year are eligible for a grant to cover the full cost of tuition, room, and board. Graduate students can access fellowships and assistantship stipends.
Princeton University doesn’t have any merit-based or academic scholarships, but it does give need-based grants to students from many different income brackets. In addition to these grants, undergraduate and graduate students can apply for fellowships, assistantships, travel grants, and summer funding for optional programs in their degrees.
Princeton Graduate Salaries and Outcomes
According to the US Department of Education, the average median earnings for Princeton graduates is $95,689. Based on the 2021 survey by Statista, Princeton graduates had the highest early career salary for the featured colleges in the ivy league. Entry-level workers who were Princeton graduates earned $81,800, compared to Brown graduates at $74,700.
A survey by Princeton’s Center for Career Development found that 88.1 percent of the undergraduate class of 2020 achieved their post-graduation goals by the end of 2020. Of 1,200 graduates, 65.6 percent accepted a job offer and 20.3 percent secured admission to graduate or professional school.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Princeton Notable Alumni
There are over 95,000 Princeton alumni living in 155 countries. Several Princeton alumni have even become Nobel Prize winners or the president of the United States. Some of the notable Princeton alumni include:
- Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
- Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States
- Woodrow Wilson, 28th US President
- Scott F. Fitzgerald, American Novelist
- James Madison, 4th US President
- Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice
- Brooke Shields, actor
Princeton Campus Life
Princeton University offers students an opportunity to immerse themselves in a bustling social scene, enlightening campus environment, and several different college counseling services. Off-campus, the town of Princeton, NJ has many restaurants, cafes, and other businesses for students to explore.
Students can enrich their college experience by participating in over 300 student organizations and over 400 international internship opportunities. Religious students can find a spiritual home with religious leaders from nine major world religions. Student athletes can play on one of 37 varsity intercollegiate teams or 36 sports club teams.
According to the US News report, the most popular majors at Princeton are engineering, social sciences, computer and information sciences, and biological and biomedical sciences. It holds a top-five graduate program ranking for its mathematics, physics, sociology, political science, history, English, and economics programs.
Students at Princeton can earn a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or doctoral degree in one of 36 academic departments. Princeton has a total of 2,946 graduate students and 5,267 undergraduate students. With a five-to-one student-to-faculty ratio, Princeton students get plenty of individual support from faculty and teaching staff.
Princeton Colleges and Departments
|School or Department Name||Available Program Examples|
|Bendheim Center for Finance||Undergraduate Certificate in Finance, Master in Finance|
|Graduate School||PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities, PhD in Social Policy, PhD in Materials Science|
|School of Architecture||Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, Professional Master of Architecture, Post Professional Graduate Program in Architecture, PhD in History and Theory of Architecture|
|School of Engineering and Applied Science||Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Aerospace Engineering, Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science, Master of Science in Engineering in Chemical Engineering, Master of Engineering in Biological Engineering, PhD in Environmental Engineering|
|School of Public and International Affairs||Bachelor of Arts in Public and International Affairs, Master in Public Affairs, Master in Public Policy, PhD in Public Affairs|
|Undergraduate College||Bachelor of Arts in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Bachelor of Arts in Geosciences, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology|
One of the key factors that makes Princeton an excellent college is the faculty. There are 1,289 full-time, part-time, and visiting faculty at Princeton, who are leaders in their field. Twenty-seven professors have won the Nobel Prize, and 76 percent of the faculty are tenured professors.
Professors at Princeton aren’t just focused on their own research, they also strive to provide an excellent education to both undergraduate and graduate students. Princeton students report great classroom experiences with their professors. The average Princeton professor rating from Rate My Professor reviews is 4.04 out of five.
Popular Princeton Majors
Some of the most popular Princeton majors include computer science, economics, public policy, molecular biology, and operations research and financial engineering. Most students have until the spring of their sophomore year to declare their college major, but engineering students have to choose their major in the spring of their freshman year.
Princeton Computer Science Major
You can major in computer science through a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree program. You’ll cover core topics in computer system design, theoretical computer science, algorithms, and applications, and you’ll also have the freedom to customize your curriculum by choosing different electives.
Princeton Computer Science Jobs
- Computer Systems Manager. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average computer systems manager earns $159,010 per year. With a computer science bachelor’s degree from Princeton, you’ll learn to manage computer systems and IT teams for an organization.
- Computer Network Architect. Businesses and other organizations hire computer network architects to design and manage communication networks in order to share data securely and efficiently. A computer network architect’s average salary is $120,520 per year.
- Software Developer. As a software developer, you’ll write source code, design architectural frameworks, and build computer programs and software applications that simplify human tasks. The job outlook for software developers predicts a job growth rate of 22 percent in the next decade, which is much faster than most jobs.
Princeton Economics Major
The undergraduate economics major at Princeton is a research-focused degree. Students complete two major research projects, in addition to core courses and electives in different sub-fields of economics. Princeton economics graduates can land some of the best jobs for economics majors or they can continue their education with an economics graduate degree.
Princeton Economics Jobs
- Actuary. Actuaries use statistical models to analyze and minimize financial risks. After earning an economics bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to pass several certification exams to become an actuary.
- Financial Analyst. Financial risk analysts assess potential financial risks to help businesses or individuals make informed financial decisions. The average annual salary for a financial analyst is $81,410.
- Economics Researcher. Economic researchers get to spend their careers studying complex economic trends and writing reports that provide solutions to economic problems. For this role, you’ll need a master’s or PhD in Economics.
Princeton Molecular Biology Major
Molecular biology majors at Princeton complete coursework in cell and molecular biology, as well as physics, organic chemistry, and quantitative statistics. There are options to earn interdisciplinary certificates and take part in a study abroad program, and students can opt to do an independent laboratory research project in their senior year.
Princeton Molecular Biology Jobs
- Microbiologist. Microbiologists earn an average of $79,260 annually, studying single-celled organisms. These scientists work in a wide variety of settings, from farm fields to cancer research laboratories.
- Bioengineer. If you want to solve medical science problems with engineering practices, then bioengineering is a great career path. Bioengineers work on projects like constructing artificial organs or designing medical equipment.
- Biochemist. Biochemists are laboratory scientists who study the biological and chemical processes in living organisms. Many biochemists work on developing medications.
Princeton Public Policy Major
The undergraduate major in public policy is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a multidisciplinary liberal arts degree program. You’ll take classes in statistics, economics, history, politics, and sociology. Most students in this program take public service internships to get work experience and learn more about different public policy career paths.
Princeton Public Policy Jobs
- Policy Analyst. A policy analyst conducts political research and reviews public policies to propose solutions to political and social issues or to help guide legal and political decisions.
- Lawyer. Many public policy majors continue on to law school and become lawyers. Lawyers earn an average salary of $127,990 per year.
- Campaign Manager. As a political campaign manager, you will design, implement, and oversee electoral campaigns to ensure your candidate achieves their political ambitions.
Princeton Operations Research and Financial Engineering
This major is a new program, preparing students for today’s data-driven world. After taking core courses in statistics, probability, and optimization, students explore applications in finance, operations research, e-commerce, transportation, and machine learning. This bachelor’s degree is a great fit for students who like finding patterns and are interested in business.
Princeton Operations Research and Financial Engineering Jobs
- Operations Research Engineer. In this profession, you’ll use statistical models to review the efforts of the different departments in an organization to solve technical problems in business operations and processes.
- Financial Engineer. Financial engineers use models to solve complex financial and investment problems.
- Financial Advisor. A financial advisor can earn an average salary of $94,170 a year. Financial advisors provide expert advice to individuals and businesses to manage their assets.
Is Princeton Worth It?
Yes, Princeton is worth it because it provides many opportunities for you to excel in your future career path. This ivy league school has consistently produced distinguished alumni who care about the success of current students. As a student, you’ll have the chance to learn from expert instructors and work with industry leaders across fields.
After you graduate from Princeton, you can expect a boost in your job search from the quality of your college education and Princeton’s reputation. You’ll be able to achieve your career goals and find career satisfaction through high-level positions with great salaries.
Princeton Review FAQ
Princeton is best known for its impressive academic programs and college majors, world-class professors, and accomplished and supportive alumni network. It’s common knowledge that Princeton has a selective college admissions process, but admitted students will find a school with high student engagement, community service projects, and research opportunities.
Yes, based on the 2022 national universities ranking by US News & World Report, Princeton is better than Harvard in research and community impact. However, if you look at the international rankings from Times Higher Education, Harvard is the leader of the Ivy league squad because of its all-around success in teaching, research, and community leadership.
The type of students who go to Princeton University are students with a high level of intellectual curiosity and a passion for making a difference. The college admissions team also looks for students who participate in community service opportunities. Otherwise, students from all backgrounds go to Princeton.
Yes, it is hard to get into Princeton. Princeton has an acceptance rate under 10 percent, making it one of the most competitive colleges in the country. Even with an outstanding academic record, you might not get in. There just aren’t enough spots for all of the qualified applicants. If it’s your dream college, you can improve your chances by reading expert advice on college admissions tips and following college prep tips.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.