- Class: Alum
- Major: Government
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
Like any outstanding organization, Princeton's greatest strength is its people. Admission does a fantastic job of composing a talented cohort of diversely gifted students, but the magic really happens once they arrive on campus and spend four years working, learning, and living with one another. It sounds hard to believe, but Princetonians' loyalty to the University and one another rages early and lasts a lifetime. Illuminating examples: - Princeton clothing is always acceptable attire - An overwhelming majority of students would rather stay on campus than go abroad for a semester (perhaps misguidedly...) - Over one hundred alumni from the class of 1964 registered for their 45th reunion 16 months in advance of the celebration The quality of human capital at Princeton doesn't stop with the student body, though. In fact, I would argue the caliber of Princeton faculty and administration is second to none. Each of them, most importantly, is dedicated to the undergraduate experience. And for this institutional focus to resonate at a research university is truly exceptional.
I am so grateful that Princeton pushed me to work as hard as I did. I'd like to think that I developed irreversible time management skills, transferable to any field of study or profession. That being said, the pressure I felt to excel in my classes was self-inflicted and self-managed. I really wouldn't say Princeton is a competitive place; I know that others would disagree, but I considered the ethos to be productive and constructive, not divisive or cutthroat. Yes, there is no doubt an abundance of high-achieving students; Princeton's academic resources are just too compelling to pass up! In terms of professor accessibility, I cannot imagine a more undergraduate-friendly faculty. I connected with several long-standing professors, within and beyond my department, and they have all taken an interest in my growth/development outside the classroom. Course offerings are stellar. The flipside, though, is that academic advising is not one of Princeton's strong suits, and freshmen can have a tough time navigating the (admittedly overwhelming, at first glance) course catalog. I never had trouble getting in to a course. If the class is officially "closed," an email of expressed interest to the professor usually gets the job done. One small note: there are tons of great hidey-holes to study on campus. Finding a few and making them your own is highly recommended.
Low-income students would be most likely to feel out of place at Princeton, not completely because all students are from wealthy families (although many visibly are) but because the University itself is brimming with resources. The generous endowment enables a plethora of opportunities that verges on an embarrassment of riches. At the risk of citing causation in place of correlation, a notably high percentage of Princeton students flock to the finance sector after graduating. Does Princeton breed this culture? Perhaps. More likely, the trend is a result of targeted recruiting by aggressive firms, a pack mentality, and the prospect of financial security at an early age. I don't think the pipeline will be this crowded indefinitely, but it has become a widely-acknowledged Tiger track. It's tough to decipher Princeton's political persuasion as a collective body. I would say most students are moderate, with a politically correct/non-confrontational slant. There are exceptions to that generalization, and most lie at the extremes of the political spectrum.
The Best Things
That it's not over when you graduate.
The Worst Things
Students tend not to say hi/make eye contact on campus with other students they don't know.