Secondary School Credentials

Does Princeton require particular high school courses?

We don't prescribe a particular high school curriculum, but we do have suggestions for a course of study that will provide solid preparation for a challenging undergraduate program. Students who intend to pursue the B.S.E. must complete a year of calculus and high school physics prior to enrolling at Princeton. Chemistry is also recommended. Learn more about academic preparation for study at Princeton.

Is there an advantage to taking honors, advanced, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses — even if it might be tougher to earn high grades?

Yes. We consider it a promising sign when students challenge themselves with advanced courses in high school. We understand that not all secondary schools offer the same range of advanced courses, but our strongest candidates have taken full advantage of the academic opportunities available to them in their high schools.

How does Princeton regard Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and other such course work? Is course credit given on the basis of test results?

We encourage students to stretch themselves with advanced courses, and we don't favor one program over another. We use the results on these tests as guides for placement in Princeton courses and advanced standing (that is, accelerating progress toward degree completion). Learn more about advanced placement credits at Princeton.

How does Princeton regard college courses taken during high school? Do college credits transfer to Princeton?

Taking college courses while you are a high school student indicates to us that you seek out academic challenges, but we do not expect students to have taken college courses before they apply. Applicants who have taken college courses are most often at high schools not offering many advanced courses such as advanced placement or International Baccalaureate.

Princeton does not offer credit toward degree requirements for college or university courses taken before you enroll. However, you can take SAT Subject Tests, AP exams or placement exams offered by some academic departments at Princeton to demonstrate your knowledge in a subject, which may permit you to skip the introductory-level course in that area. Learn more about our advanced placement policy.

Are the courses I take in my last year of high school important in the admission process?

Yes. You should maintain a full academic course load for your senior year of high school. You will need to ask your school to send us your grades for the first semester or trimester of your senior year, along with the Mid Year Report form. If you are admitted, we will ask for your final grades at the end of the school year.

Does it make a difference to Princeton whether I attend a public school or private school?

No. We consider how well you have used the resources available to you, regardless of where you attend school. A few students in each incoming class have been home schooled.