We look for students with intellectual curiosity, who have pursued and achieved academic excellence. We also look for students with strong personal and extracurricular accomplishments.

As you prepare your application, help us to appreciate your talents, academic accomplishments and personal achievements. We'll ask for your transcript and recommendations, and we will want to know more than just the statistics in your file. Tell us your story. Show us what’s special about you. Tell us how you would seize the academic and nonacademic opportunities at Princeton and contribute to the Princeton community. Above all, please write in a style that reflects your own voice.


We expect applicants to have taken courses in the following, if possible: English, mathematics, foreign language, laboratory science and history. (Full details are given on the Before You Apply page.) In addition, we look for applicants who have challenged themselves with honors, advanced placement (AP) and dual-enrollment courses available to them. We evaluate International Baccalaureate (IB), A-Levels or another diploma within the context of the program’s curriculum.


We ask applicants to write essays and short answers as part of the application. This is your opportunity to display your best writing as well as your ability to convey ideas in your own voice. Please review our Princeton-specific Questions.

While you may want to have a parent, school counselor or teacher proofread your essays, it is extremely important that the essays be your own work. Intellectual integrity is a fundamental principle at Princeton. When you complete your application, you are asked to sign a statement certifying that all the information on the application, including the essays, is your own work. Princeton may withdraw the application or revoke the admission of any student whose essays have been written by another source, including essays found on the internet.

Our Advice

Instead of worrying about meeting a specific set of criteria, try to create an application that will help us see your achievements — inside the classroom and out — in their true context, so we can understand your potential to take advantage of the resources at Princeton and the kind of contribution you would make to the Princeton community. Show us what kind of student you are. Show us that you have taken advantage of what your high school has to offer and how you have achieved and contributed in your own particular context.

We look for students who make a difference in their schools and communities, so tell us about your leadership activities, interests, special skills and other extracurricular involvements. Tell us if you’ve had a job or a responsibility in your home. Most Princeton students were academic standouts in high school. Most of them also invested their energy and talents in significant ways outside the classroom. We want to know what you care about, what commitments you have made and what you’ve done to act on those commitments.

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Uncover Princeton

You can get a good feel for all that Princeton has to offer through an on-campus Orange Key tour or online via our virtual tour.