The Application Process

How and when should I begin my admission application?

You should begin reviewing Princeton's application requirements and materials after the spring of your junior year and plan on beginning your application in the summer before or during the fall of your senior year. The online Common Application and Princeton's writing supplement to the Common Application are available mid-August, as are the Universal College Application and the Princeton Supplement to the Universal College Application. Learn more about applying for admission.

When are applications due?

Nov. 1 is our submission deadline for single-choice early action. Jan. 1 is our submission deadline for regular decision. We encourage regular decision applicants to submit their portion of the application by Dec. 15, if possible. See more important application dates and deadlines.

Does Princeton offer Early Decision?

Princeton offers a single-choice early action program. It is a nonbinding program for students who have thoroughly researched  their college options and have decided that Princeton is their first choice. Students must complete their application by Nov. 1. They may not apply to an early program at any other private college or university, but they may apply early to any public institution, as long as the decision is nonbinding. Admission decisions will be made by mid-December. Admitted students will have until May 1 to respond and may choose to apply for regular decision at other institutions, enabling them to compare their admission and financial aid offers with those of other colleges and universities. 

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Princeton's need-based financial aid program is one of the strongest in the country. All applicants for admission are considered without regard to their family financial circumstances, including international students. Any student who feels his or her family resources will not cover the full cost of attendance is encouraged to apply for aid. Princeton meets the full demonstrated need of every admitted student with a combination of grant aid and a campus job. Students are not required to assume loans as part of Princeton’s financial aid package. 

How and when do I apply for financial aid?

You should apply for financial aid by Feb. 1 of the year you plan to enter college, or you may submit your application by November if you are applying for early action. To learn more, review the information and instructions for applying for aid.

Do students apply to specific academic departments or schools?

We ask you to tell us on the application which degree program you may be most interested in following: A.B. (liberal arts), B.S.E. (engineering) or undecided. We look closely at the math and science preparation of students considering engineering studies. However, students apply to the freshman class of Princeton University, not to the engineering or liberal arts programs, and are not locked into a degree program (or a specific department within that degree program) upon admission. Students in the engineering school choose a concentration (major) by the end of the first year; liberal arts students have two years to choose a concentration.

How can I let the admission staff know about my special talent in the arts?

Please send samples of your work in the arts to the admission office by Nov. 6; for early action and by Jan. 6 for regular decision, following the guidelines listed in Princeton's online Optional Arts Form. If you are unable to submit the online form, you may submit a paper Optional Arts Form. For a list of acceptable file formats and submission types, please download this PDF. To the best of our ability, we’ll have arts faculty review your submissions and advise the admission staff regarding your abilities.

How can I let the admission staff know about my special talent in athletics?

Talented student athletes interested in one of our varsity Division I programs should contact our coaches for more information about varsity athletics at Princeton. Coaches will advise the admission staff about applicants with exceptional athletic talents.

You accept either the Common Application or the Universal College Application. Is a student advantaged by using one application over the other?

We view the two applications as equivalent and treat them equally. Please feel free to submit whichever application you prefer.

Are the application fees the same for the Common Application and the Universal College Application?

Yes, the fee to apply to Princeton University is $65 using either application. We also offer a variety of fee waiver options for students through either application.

What are my payment options?

You may pay for the Common Application or Universal College Application online with a credit card. If you are having trouble paying online, you may instead send a check or money order to the Princeton University Undergraduate Admission Office.

Are the deadlines the same for both applications?

Yes, the deadlines for both applications are Nov. 1 for single-choice early action and Jan. 1 for regular decision.

Are the applications read differently by the admission office?

No, the Universal College Application and the Common Application are reviewed in the same way, using a holistic review process.

The questions on the Common Application and Universal College Application are slightly different. Does that matter?

No, the essential elements we require are covered by both applications. Applicants are not at an advantage or disadvantage based on the application they choose.

The Universal College Application and Common Application can be submitted online or as a paper copy. Which do you prefer?

Electronic submission of the Universal College Application and Common Application may be more convenient for many students. We know, however, that for some students submitting applications electronically is a hardship. We therefore give exactly the same treatment and consideration to applications, whether they are submitted electronically or by paper. In other words, there is no disadvantage to applying using the paper version of the Universal College Application or the Common Application.