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Calling all future leaders!
Reach with the Stars
Academics at Princeton are serious business. Students must complete both a junior essay and a senior thesis, and the substantial core requirements include classes in writing, a foreign language, epistemology, ethics, history, English, math, and science (including two labs). Engineering students, meanwhile, choose majors from six academic departments and interdepartmental programs such as architecture and engineering, geological engineering, and robotics. Class sizes at Princeton range from small and cozy to huge and impersonal, depending on one’s major. The most popular majors, like politics, economics, and history, tend to attract larger enrollments. That said, even the biggest classes do not impede professor-student interaction, as all professors hold office hours and tend to be available outside of class. The relative scarcity of grad programs—unlike Harvard and Yale, Princeton lacks business, law, and medical schools—ensures that the lion’s share of faculty attention is aimed squarely at undergrads.
Food for Thought
Instead of a Greek system—which officially ended (or unofficially went underground) in 1855 when the university banned fraternities—Princeton has eating clubs. A uniquely culinary social tradition, eating clubs range from exclusive groups, which students must “bicker” to get into (bickering is equivalent to rushing), to more inclusive clubs that just require signing up. Students choose from one of six residential colleges (Butler, Forbes, Mathey, Rockefeller, Whitman, and Wilson), where they live either for their first two years only or for all four years. Ninety-eight percent of undergrads live in campus housing. Extracurriculars at Princeton are just as varied as you’d expect from an Ivy. One standout is the Princeton Triangle Club, the national’s oldest touring undergraduate musical comedy group, whose members write and perform original musicals and even take their show on the road. Sports have a healthy presence on campus: There are thirty-eight varsity teams and an equal number of club sports, not to mention plenty of Frisbee action on the quads.
Predominantly Gothic-styled architecture set amid green quads and towering oak trees gives Princeton’s pristine campus a decidedly Old World feel. A manmade lake borders the northern edge of campus and serves the Princeton crew team. The university has put lots of money into updating its fitness and campus centers, which are outfitted with all of the latest equipment. The city of Princeton is wealthy, cute, and a terrific place to do some upscale shopping, but it offers little by way of nightlife. Events such as Communiversity, a yearly street fair with games, food, music performers, and vendors, attempt to bridge the divide between town residents and students. When students have a hankering for city life, New York City and Philadelphia are just a short train ride away.