Updated Application Requirements
For the 2018-19 admission season, all students applying to Princeton University must submit a graded written paper that meets the following criteria:
• a paper or essay, approximately five pages or 1000 words;
• written by the student in English;
• submitted for a course, preferably English or history, that appears on the student’s official transcript from the last three years of secondary schooling (this may include your senior or final year);
• graded by the course instructor with comments written in English.
The graded written paper will help the admission office assess the student’s written expression in an academic setting. This will further the holistic understanding of the student’s application and help admission officers evaluate the student’s potential contributions to and ability to thrive in the University’s rigorous academic environment.
Princeton does not require the optional writing section of the SAT or ACT (the SAT Essay or ACT Writing Test). Applicants may choose to submit the optional writing section but it cannot be used in lieu of the required graded written paper. Applicants who do not take the writing section of the exam will not be disadvantaged in the admission review.
With this policy, Princeton aims to help alleviate financial hardship placed on applicants, including those who have the opportunity to take the required sections of the SAT or ACT during the school day at no charge. If submitting an official score report is a financial hardship, Princeton will continue to review applications with self-reported scores.
View our Frequently Asked Questions about the graded written paper.
To submit your graded written paper, choose one of the following options:
Option 1. Upload the graded written paper alongside your application materials when submitting the Common Application, the Universal College Application or the Coalition Application.
Option 2. Mail, email or upload the graded written paper to your applicant portal.
The grade and the teacher comments should appear on the paper. If a grading rubric was used, please include this information along with your paper. The admission office is more interested in the quality of the writing than the grade it received and encourages you to submit a graded written paper that shows your best efforts, regardless of the grade.
If your school does not offer grades for student work, please submit teacher comments and a rubric.
If you have already graduated and are taking a year off, you may contact your secondary school to obtain a graded written paper.
Please see additional information about the graded written paper on the pages that offer further details for: