Skip over navigation
A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: April (IT'S FINALS! SEND HELP!)

Finals are the pits. Finals are the devil’s invention. Finals... More

A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: March

Happy March, Sparklefrosh! You know what March means—Pi Day, the... More

Never Been Kissed in Michigan: THE THRILLING CONCLUSION (Part 1)

Many, many moons ago I was one of SparkLife’s More

A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: January

Okay, show of hands—who’s currently wearing all the socks they... More

A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: December

Hey! Over here! Remember me? I’m your ever-present trusty guide,... More

What Your Breakfast Says About Your Study Habits

Your personality—the very essence of your being—is really just a... More

7 Great Cocurricular Opportunites for Meeting New People

Making new friends isn't easy. Wouldn't life be simpler if... More

A Month-by-Month Guide to Your Freshman Year of College: November

Since last we spoke, Sparkler freshmen, I trapped... More

Quiz: Is your college roommate trying to take over your life?

Whether you hand-picked each other or were randomly matched, living... More

Search colleges:

Princeton University

the basics
Location
Box 430
Princeton NJ 08542
Type
Private
Setting
Suburban
5 reasons it’s cool
  • It’s pretty darn cool to be a part of Princeton’s amazing community of smarties and overachievers.
  • The star-studded faculty roster includes household names like Toni Morrison and Cornell West.
  • Princeton, a beautiful town itself, is just an easy train ride away from the bright lights of Philadelphia and New York City.
  • Hungry for more than just knowledge? Join one of the famous eating clubs (social clubs that are part fraternity, part dining hall).
  • The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs accepts a select number of policy-loving undergrads.

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.

Faster, Higher, Stronger, Nakeder

All hail the naked athletes! The Nude Olympics was a Princeton tradition that proved to be rather short-lived. In 1970, at the first sign of snow, hundreds of Princeton sophomores frolicked about Holder Courtyard clad in nothing but thick boots, winter hats, and a modest amount of body paint. The tradition quickly caught on and became an annual event—until the university’s trustees put the kibosh on it in 1999, citing safety concerns. It’s all fun and games until someone slips on the ice and hurts his bum.

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.

Glorious Gothic

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.