Princeton University (NJ)

Princeton University (NJ)


Restricted Early Action: Nov. 1, 2016

Regular Decision: Jan. 1, 2017

Common Application


Common Application Essays:    

The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so. (The application won't accept a response shorter than 250 words.)

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance,no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family. 

Supplemental Essay Questions:

  • Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (About 150 words)
  • Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held. (About 150 words)
    • Your favorite book and its author: 
    • Your favorite movie:
    • Your favorite website:
    • Two adjectives your friends would use to describe you:
    • Your favorite recording:
    • Your favorite keepsake or memento:
    • Your favorite source of inspiration:
    • Your favorite word:
    • Your favorite line from a movie or book and its title:
  • In addition to the essay you have written for the Common Application, please write an essay of about 500 words (250 – 650 words) 
    1. Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way.
    2. “One of the great challenges of our time is that the disparities we face today have more complex causes and point less straightforwardly to solutions.” - Omar Wasow, Assistant Professor, Politics; Founder, 
      This quote is taken from Professor Wasow's January 2014 speech at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at Princeton University.
    3. “Princeton in the Nation’s Service” was the title of a speech given by Woodrow Wilson on the 150th anniversary of the University. It became the unofficial Princeton motto and was expanded for the University’s 250th anniversary to “Princeton in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations.” Woodrow Wilson, Princeton Class of 1879, served on the faculty and was Princeton’s president from 1902–1910.
    4. “Culture is what presents us with the kinds of valuable things that can fill a life. And insofar as we can recognize the value in those things and make them part of our lives, our lives are meaningful.” Gideon Rosen, Stuart Professor of Philosophy, chair of the Council of the Humanities and director of the Program in Humanistic Studies, Princeton University.
    5. Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a starting point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation, title and author at the beginning of your essay.
Engineering Essay

If you are interested in pursuing a B.S.E. (Bachelor of Science in Engineering) degree, please write a 300-500 word essay describing why you are interested in studying engineering, any experiences in or exposure to engineering you have had, and how you think the program s in engineering offered at Princeton suit your particular interests.

Coalition Application

Yes (No yet available for Fall 2017 applications)

Coalition Application Essays:

  • Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it
  • Describe a time when you made a meaningful contribution to others in which the greater good was your focus. Discuss the challenges and rewards of making your contribution. 
  • Has there been a time when you’ve had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged? How did you respond? How did the challenge affect your beliefs?
  • What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
  • Submit an essay on a topic of your choice.

Universal College Application


Universal College Application Essay:

Please write and/or upload an essay (650 words or fewer) on a topic of your choice that demonstrates your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. Some ideas include writing about: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event. 

Supplement (Not yet available)

Documents Required 

  • $65 application fee or waiver
  • A completed application form
  • Princeton's writing supplement to the Common Application
  • A School Report (SR) and transcript
  • 2 teacher recommendations
  • Mid-year school report
  • Interview - Encouraged but not mandatory
  • SAT (w/h writing) or ACT (w/h writing)
  • 2 SAT Subject Tests (Recommended)
  • TOEFL, IELTS Academic, or PTE Academic

Other Information:

Address: Princeton University
               110 West College
               Princeton, NJ 08544

Phone: 609-258-3060
Fax: 609-258-6743
Application Info:

SAT/TOEFL Code: 2672

ACT Code: 2588