Prefrosh, Curious About Academics? Start here!

April 26, 2021
Richard Ma

Hi guys! Today I wanted to answer some common academic questions that pre-frosh might have. If you’re a prospective member of the Class of 2025, welcome, congrats and I hope this is helpful for you!

How competitive/collaborative are students?

Every class I’ve been in has been enhanced tenfold by the people I’ve met. In classes with problem sets, everyone is super willing to help each other - homework sessions actually become sort of fun when you’re working with your friends and classmates, and they go so much quicker too! I’ve also had numerous writing workshop classes where we discuss each other’s work.I always look forward to integrating my peers’ insights in my revisions. The students here are what make Princeton great.

What are first-year classes like?

Many, if not most, of Princeton’s classes are quite small. Every first-year student takes a writing seminar during their fall or spring semester, which have around a dozen students. Introductory classes tend to be the largest offered on campus, and can have over a hundred students. However, these classes almost always have weekly precepts led by faculty and teaching staff, which have at most around 20 students each. Many other classes, whether they be seminars or departmentals, have around 30 students at most. 

 Is it easy to talk to your professors?

Professors are super accessible! I’ve grabbed meals with both a professor I’ve spoken face to face with in a small seminar each week, as well as a professor whose 100-person lectures I really enjoyed. It's quick and easy to just email or drop by office hours and get to know your professors, both as scholars and people. 

How much work is it?

I get this question all the time, especially how many hours I work each day. I struggle to answer this sometimes because each day at Princeton really is different. While sometimes class assignments can pile up and you just have to settle down for a grind session in Firestone Library, I think finding a good work-life balance is definitely doable. For example, I spend hours each day chilling in the dining hall with my friends, wandering around campus on my bike, and playing pickup games of basketball and soccer. And when I do settle down to work, well, I’m often working alongside some wonderful people that make the process easier.