When I was in the fourth grade I had two prospective ideas for my future: I would be an attorney and I would to go to Princeton. I mean I knew I was kind of smart, but I had noooooo idea how hard it actually was to get into a school such as Princeton–I thought I had it all figured out! How silly my nine-year-old-self seems now…

I bet you all have some sort of similar experience, so you can imagine how excited I was to see the school I had dreamed blindly of for so many years.

I visited Princeton in the autumn time of the year (November to be more precise), meaning that it was absolutely perfect and gorgeous.

Exhibit A:

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Princeton is such an adorable town. I sadly did not take any pictures of the area but, I promise, it is super cute. There’s a Panera right across the street from the school so that pretty much sealed the deal for me before even stepping on campus. You can walk right off campus and get food, coffee, or seemingly anything else you may want/need. Furthermore, there’s a handy-dandy train station right there, making it very easy to go to New York (2 hours) and/or Philadelphia (2 hours, 15 min.). Both cities are only about an hour away by car however.

I love New York but I think that going to college in the city would be a poor choice for me. The distance between New York and Princeton is something that really appeals to me. I love the thought of being able to go into New York relatively easily but living in a small, residential area to go to school.

The campus of Princeton is absolutely beautiful. The prestige is practically palpable in the air. Seriously! It feels like an Ivy League school. Truthfully, it was kind of intimidating for me. The man who gave us the info session was so serious and stoic that I was scared to look the wrong way! You could see his IQ points leaking from his pores.

Although the info session was more or less nerve-wracking, the tour was pretty interesting. They provided us with a lot of historical facts about the school and interesting little tidbits about traditions and myths. Although I’m sure the words were intriguing, I was mostly in awe of the beautiful campus. I was entirely entertained by just looking around for an hour. I couldn’t help but picture myself walking around campus with my books, talking to friends. Every time these images popped into my head I quickly dispelled them as nonsensical and unattainable dreams.

We all know that Princeton is next to possible to get into. To be precise, eight percent. Eight percent?!?! EIGHT PERCENT. It’s just such a sad little number, the breaker of so many dreams. I went into the visit reminding myself that I have no chance and to keep my hopes down, but it was difficult. 

Here are some basic facts about Princeton that you may or may not care about:

  • The student to faculty ratio is insane: 6:1
  • There are about 5,000 undergrads
  • Students come from all 50 states and many other countries, ensuring that diversity is a strong force
  • Approximately 300 student organizations–get involved!
  • Here’s a percentage that is relieving rather than heartbreaking: 60% of undergrads receive some form of financial aid
  • They have residential colleges! If you’ve read some of my other posts you’ll know that this is something I’m looking for in a school. They have six different colleges where kids can live, eat, hang out, and study together.
  • They accept the Common App. with a Princeton supplement
  • There’s the infamous Senior Thesis that sounds like a huge pain in the booty, but a rewarding project in the end
  • 98% of all undergrads live on campus. I’ve never heard a statistic like that before at any other school.

Something that I liked about their brochure was that they were relatively straight-forward about financial aid. They gave us a chart that showed the family income in one column and the average aid received in the next–it gave, what I thought, a good picture of what one can expect when it comes to tuition. 

I loved the school. So. Much. It’s like collegiate paradise!

Exhibit B:

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I left in a complete haze and immediately gave Princeton the title of “Dream School”–something I had never done before. However, even though I feel so strongly toward this school, I decided some months after visiting that I actually don’t want to apply.

1) I can’t get in.

2) I don’t want to go somewhere just because it’s beautiful and it’s extremely prestigious, which are pretty much the only two reasons I have.

3) I don’t want to contribute to that eight percent statistic…it makes me sick!

Okay so now that you know where I stand, let me show you why I fell so hard for Princeton while I was there.

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  2011-11-09 16.20.25

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 2011-11-09 16.41.46

 2011-11-09 16.46.39-1

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I mean come on! It’s all just too beautiful! It was, however, disappointing that we didn’t get to see a dorm, or a classroom, or any athletic facilities, or the library. Even though it was interesting, it was sadly a relatively superficial tour.

I did get the chance to talk to an alum from my high school, which I thought was super cool. It was fun to see that it actually is possible to get into somewhere like Princeton. She seemed so nice and I liked that she did not come off as intimidatingly smart or like the stereotypical Ivy League student. Normal people do have a chance! (If you’re very intelligent and can have a near perfect application.)

Here’s the shirt I bought at their store across the street from the school:



It’s not that I cheer for Princeton soccer or anything but it is fun shirt to wear at soccer practice. It’s encouraging!

Oh! Did any of you see the movie Admission? It’s a really cute film and a lot of it took place at Princeton, so if you want to see more of campus that’s a fun/great way to do it!

I would love to hear all of your thoughts about Princeton, or any other highly competitive schools, or the Ivy Leagues. If you feel strongly toward a school should you apply regardless of your logic? Share your thoughts!

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2 thoughts on “Princeton

  1. Hanger

    I am currently a senior completing my college list. I briefly glanced at Princeton and was deciding whether or not I want to apply. I love your reason for not applying there. Though I’ve never been there myself, I agree that it is pretty. But beauty and prestige are not good enough reasons to apply to a school. Those are lovely words of advise!


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