If you have the opportunity to attend Princeton Preview, you will be matched with a current student. This student will be your host during your time on campus. They will eat a meal with you, let you stay in their dorm and show you what life is really like at Princeton.
When I came to Preview during my senior spring, I was nervous about what would happen. Would my host be nice? What if she was involved in activities that I just had no interest in? However, those fears were quickly suppressed once I met my host, Alex. Alex was a senior in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department (the department I was most interested at the time and am currently majoring in) and had recently finished her thesis about African penguins. Considering I am a huge animal lover, I was immediately excited to learn more about her Princeton experience. She told me she spent a summer doing research in South Africa, was involved in musical theater on campus, was an RCA (residential college advisor) and had many friends and wonderful experiences at the University. She took the time to answer all of my questions about the school and give me a sense of why she loves Princeton.
Alex quickly picked up on what I was most interested in—Jewish life and animals—and directed me towards the different places on campus that I should visit while I was here, namely the Center for Jewish Life and Guyot Hall (which have become my two favorite buildings since matriculating). Being able to see the school through the eyes of a current student was so helpful in making my decision to attend Princeton.
However, this story doesn’t end here. While many students have limited communication with their host after preview, Alex and I have been good friends ever since. After first meeting, we talked all summer, and she continued to help me prepare for my introduction to Princeton. When I was confused about how to apply for a freshman seminar, she walked me through the process and even proofread my essays for me. When I didn’t know where to buy sheets or other supplies for my room, she told me about the Bed Bath and Beyond college pick-ups where you can purchase the items anywhere and pick them up at the closest store to your school. She also offered to meet up with me when I got here so that I had a friendly face to see amongst thousands of new faces.
Today, Alex is still one of my good friends, and I owe my attendance at Preview to that. She’s truly been a mentor to me over the past four years. She connected me with the penguin place at which she did her thesis research, which is the reason I got to spend my first summer in college in South Africa working with penguins. She’s helped me with job searches, thesis advice, class suggestions and so many other things.
While I can’t say this type of host-pre-frosh friendship happens for everyone at Preview, I can say this is a classic example of the types of friendships you form with other students at Princeton. There is no age gap between friendships here, meaning you have friends older than you who can be mentors, and you have friends younger than you that you can mentor. The frienships you form at Princeton are incredible and special. I am so thankful I attended Preview, and I know that Alex and I will remain friends long after I graduate.