- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Government
- Gender: M
- High School: New England Boarding School
- Transfer Student: N
Princeton is probably just the right size for the consummate college experience. It is a medium-sized school, but smaller than most of the other Ivies. Princeton has 4800 undergraduates and only 2000 graduate students, which means that we have all of the University's attention and resources. This smaller community allows Princeton to have almost a liberal arts college feel but with the resources and advantages of a full fledged, world renown research institution. The fact that every faculty member, no matter how big his ego or how famous, is required to teach undergraduates is something that sets Princeton apart from other schools. There is something to be said about a school that has the most loyal alumni in the United States. More than 15,000 alumni return to campus every year for Reunions, and more than 60% of all living alumni donate annually, which is the highest among any other school in the country. On a per capita basis, Princeton has the highest endowment dollar to student ratio, higher than that of Harvard or Yale.
Where else can a freshman learn creative writing with Joyce Carol Oates in a 15 person seminar? Where else can you talk to Cornel West about what's on your mind as a 19 year old? Where else can you have one on one non-fiction writing conferences with John McPhee? The professors will know your name unless you're in a large lecture course, which isn't uncommon. However, as a student, you have many opportunities to take small seminars and classes. Faculty are extremely accessible. I keep in regular contact with my journalism professor from last semester. We have already had dinners and meetings to catch up and gossip about the latest political news. He even offered me a job at a national magazine when I graduate! On another note, Princeton is a competitive place. Obviously, the infamous grade deflation policy is a main culprit. However, students are competitive with themselves, not with other students. A final note is that Princeton is a hardcore liberal arts school. There are almost no professional programs or departments. This allows students, no matter their major, to be a well-rounded and well-educated citizen.
Princeton students are very motivated and ambitious, which is why a lot of students are apathetic about the outside world. However, I can't imagine that this is too different from our peer schools. Princeton is incredibly diverse, and the University invests tons of time, effort, and money into ensuring that everyone feels welcome. Despite all of the diversity, however, people do tend to self-segregate.
The Best Things
Consummate college experience
The Worst Things
Grade deflation policy