Princeton University Top Questions

Describe the students at your school.

Julie

We have our share of geniuses, jocks, eccentric cos majors, etc. Then there are the John Nash-wannabes. No one bites.

Julie

We have our share of geniuses, jocks, eccentric cos majors, etc. Then there are the John Nash-wannabes. No one bites.

Ariel

My classmates are smart, interesting people who are always willing to help or give their opinions.

Stefan

Princeton has a very large number of student groups that cater to all the different associations one has. They allow for as little or as much commitment as one is willing to give. The student body is so vast and diverse, studying with all the people around me a true pleasure.

Aparajita

Even though it is a small school, I think that if anyone tries hard enough they will fit in at Princeton, in however they want to fit in (this does not mean they confirm to Princeton's preppy stereotype or anything of the sort, what I mean is that they will very likely find a group that shares their interests)

Sarah

My classmates are driven, curious, smart, and for the most part pretty darn fun to be around.

April

Everyone is enthusiastic and eager to learn. There is never a lack of individuals who enjoy intellectual discussions.

Katrina

My classmates are inspirational and motivating for me--they make me push myself to be the best I can be.

Bonnie

Princetonians are smart, driven, and incredibly diverse with respect to interests, backgrounds, cultures, and just about everything else.

Flavia

They could not come from more diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Tara

Students are extremely motivated, generally quite confident, and focused intently upon their futures.

Henry

My classmates are exceedingly bright.

Eric

The most brilliant, interesting, talented, caring and compassionate people you can meet.

Mackenzie

What's the campus style like? Are there any clothing trends going on right now? Three Princeton upperclassmen tell us what's up with dressing "Princeton" right now.

kate

Princeton undergraduates are funny, ironic, smart, clever, gregarious, brilliant, loyal, straight, gay, preppy, hip, new money, old money, no money, Caucasian, Hispanic, Indian, African American, Asian, European students who are scientists, artists, actors, writers, economists, athletes and politicians that share one commonality: they are fierce, focused, and addicted to acapello singing groups.

Joseph

Almost everyone is hardworking, motivated, and highly intelligent. People are willing to put in plenty of hours to do well in class, because the classes are extremely hard. On the other hand, on the weekends many of those same students party hard to relieve stress, which there is a lot of!

Cecillia

My classmates are friendly, open-minded individuals who are willing to work with others to overcome obstacles.

Lauren

Intense.

Evan

They work extremely hard and always seem to work until they get to a legitimate answer to a problem.

Rafe

Renaissance Men and Women.

Ryan

See comments in stereotypes section...also I would add that it looks more diverse than it actually is, i.e. if you go beyond race and look at values, economic background, etc.

Emily

Just as in high school, the majority of students around me are those I wouldn't associate with. Many are interested in going into investment banking upon graduation; many are members of fraternities and sororities; many are athletes. That's not my scene. But whereas I think I once would have been ridiculously outcast at Princeton, I now have many communities to belong to. There's a small but very welcoming and visible LGBT community, for example, which to me has made all the difference. Most Princeton students come from wealthy American suburbs--I'm from a more modest suburb in California, and I've learned the names of the great Westchester County/Long Island/North Jersey/D.C. area schools that send so many kids here. Most are upper- or middle-class; while there's a wide range of who's on financial aid and who isn't, that's partly because your parents can make over $100,000 and you can still get a third of your tuition paid. I think low-income kids are genuinely underrepresented, and if I were in their number I would feel very isolated. There's a certain expectation that you have money to spend--especially on organic/name brand/etc food--that even I do find awkward at times. That said, though, I think there's a wide range of folks within the socioeconomic uniformity. Personally, Princeton kids are as different as can be--politically, socially, etc. If you were to poll the student body on basically any item of preference, you would probably find a majority swinging in one direction, but significant minorities choosing every other option.

JD

They are constantly surprising in their background, abilities and psychological issues.

Veronica

They are brilliant, caring, intelligent, hard-working, ambitious.

Ryan

The two kinds of guys at Princeton are guys who wear loafers and guys who do not. For girls it's more complicated.

Ryan

I have kept a journal for years, and I recently saw an entry that I had written as a junior at Princeton. I wrote, "I've seen the statistics and this is a diverse school, on paper. The people here are smart and unique and everyone had to distinguish themselves just to be seriously considered for admission. So why do I feel stuck in a sea of sameness? Everyone wears the same clothes, cuts their hair the same way, goes to the same club every Thursday and Saturday. Today in precept, everyone but (the quiet girl) and me just kept going around in circles agreeing with one another." This might have been a bit harsh, but it was certainly how I felt at the time. I think there is a general sense at Princeton that it's important to fit in. Maybe it's a feeling that distinguishing oneself should be through accomplishments rather than, say, a force of personality or fashion. The truth is that, below the superficial, most students do have something unique and significant about them. But, just as they won't always feel the need to wear their erudition on their sleeves (though some will always try to prove they're smart enough to be in the room, as it were), most Princeton students don't flaunt their accomplishments. You have to get to know someone to find out that they took a year off to bicycle through the contiguous 48 states, or that they started a web business from their dorm room that's already profitable. In a way it's refreshing that pretty much everyone is approachable. But I still find it odd that a student accomplished enough to get into Princeton would call her parents crying because they won't let her spend more than $1000 on clothes this month and she just CAN'T live without all the things she circled in the latest preppy-clothes catalog. (Different person from the crying-about-clothes roommate I mentioned elsewhere.)

K.

My classmates are highly intelligent and highly motivated students, who all have something special about them--something beyond good grades--that got them into the school.

Amanda

They are very nice and friendly!

Hannah

A Princeton student explains who shouldn’t go to Princeton and who would feel out of place at this school.

Hannah

A Princeton student explains who shouldn’t go to Princeton and who would feel out of place at this school.

Hannah

A Princeton student explains who shouldn’t go to Princeton and who would feel out of place at this school.

Jim

Princeton is so ridiculously diverse that there's no reason to go into a big discussion about discrimination or anything else. There is a student group for literally every possible obscure minority group that you didn't even know existed. Princeton students are from every corner of the globe. No one would feel out of place here, ever.

Pete

Very cool people mostly. A lot of diversity, both ethnic and internationally. I know Joey Cheek! That's awesome.

Jody

The student body is diverse in many ways. however, groups often tend to self-segregate. For example, many athletes hang out together. There are plenty of very very rich people here (like billionaire level) but there are also plenty of poor kids too. Often you wouldn't know the difference.

Gene

If I were to divide into 4 categories: 1. The Athletes. I have, unfortunately, huge exposure into this world and many athletes are terrible. They cheat, they destroy the campus while partying, and they don't add anything to the student body. No one goes to the games anyways so it doesn't improve our school spirit. They are extremely arrogant. 2. The Nerds. You won't see them much, except in class and at outside lectures, etc. They keep to themselves, and work very hard. 3. Ethnic Groups. They clump together and have a very strong community, especially the Latino, African American, and Asian groups. 4. I guess everyone else goes here. Someone once told me there are three things you want at Princeton: sleep, a social life, and academics--pick two.

Andy

is pretty diverse. if there's a few tables in the dining hall, one will be losers, one will be kids that are kinda lame but are funny to be around sometimes, one will be chillin fools.

Devin

The student body is very diverse. I believe that it would be very difficult for anyone to really feel out of place here, seeing as there are so many niches and accepting groups thoroughout campus. Students come from all cultures, races, sexual orientations, financial backgrounds, etc. so all the bases are covered.

Toby

Diverse, friendly, down to earth, smart, driven. You name a characteristic and there is a segment of the student population that emobodies that. Students are in general, very well off, however, there is good economic diversity. Politically, the campus seems to lean liberal, though there are many conservative. Many students are driven to work on wall street, while alot go into service oriented jobs, others move on to attend graduate schools.

Janice

While some of the student body is conservative and misogynist , much of the student body is interesting, inviting and challenging.

Andy

Your average student is decked out in preppy gear, politically conservative, and is dying for that ibanking job after graduation. There are a good number of international students, but the social scene is really dominated by white american kids.

Andy

Princeton is undeniably preppy. However, it's more of an adopted identity than a universal precondition; that is, people tend to dress preppier after being here a year or two, regardless of their origins. The full racial, religious, sexual, and socioeconomic spectrum is represented at Princeton, although there is a large majority of middle-to-upper class white students. Because of the University's progressive and generous financial aid (which extends to break trips and summer programs), financial concerns are rarely if ever a barrier to doing something you might want to do.

Alex

most princeton students are from either the east or the west coast. students on campus are not very politically active and the campus is very conservative.

Virginia

Certain groups tend to self-segregate which is sad, but there is definitely the opportunity to be part of a mixed group.

Ron

Diverse.

Sean

The student body is very diverse and I met a ton of people from a ton of different religious, economic, geographic, and political background. I am a politics major so I run into a lot of people that politically aware and active. I find that most people are pretty right politically, but there are a lot of people left and center as well.

danny

i dont think any student should feel out of place. i have friends from every ethnic, socio-economic, religious, racial, sexual background you can imagine. most students wear jeans and sweatshirts. some dress up more, some less. pretty casual dress. different types of students interact but as in any situation those that are similar do interact more often. i dont think you could easily describe four tables in the dining hall. students are from everywhere. all different types of financial backgrounds but many students are well off. students are politically aware but not that active. i think there are a lot of political affiliations on campus. we talk about our futures and so talk about our options.

Brendan

I think that there is very little that is "typical" of the typical Princeton student. I like to think of my entryway freshman year as a microcosm of life at Princeton. There was my room: a gay engineer who was involved in the Hispanic engineering student group on campus, a conservative white fraternity boy, a Jewish physics major from the South who joined a campus dance group, and me. We might've seemed a pretty diverse bunch as it was but then you just went up or down the stairs and you could run into: a girl who grew up not far from Princeton who was engaged to her high school sweetheart, a girl on the varsity soccer team, a Southern good ol' boy who went to prep school in Europe and ended up being one of my best friends, a bio major who volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and regularly bombed tour groups walking under our entry with army men on parachutes, a guy from LA who partied almost every night but excelled in reading the classics every day, and there were many others. Despite being so different, we all started on our journey through college together. There's something that bonds people in that way. As a result, even as the year go under way and we branch out to other groups, we would always have a safety net if we needed it or just a group of friends to grab dinner in the dining hall with. It's easy to stereotype and make generalizations about types of students, but when it comes down to it, being open is the only thing required to fit in at Princeton. There are people who have had the same experience as you and people who have wildly different ones, but if you're open to making those connections, you'll absolutely find your niche... maybe not where you expect it but it's there.

Blake

White. If not white, upperclass minorities. There is no socioeconomic diversity, save the two or three full aid cases. Although aid is generous, most minorities are made somewhat uneasy about Princeton's veritable reputaiton for churning out conservative investment bankers and adulterous Govs. (Elliot Spitzer). Yes it is a meritocracy...for a reserved 100 undergraduate spots. All you really have to do is donate $120 million to create a new residental college (Meg Whitman CEO of EBay) to get your alcoholic, beligerantly drunk son into Princeton. Future leaders.

Michael

You can find whatever you really want. Sometimes its a bit thin on racial diversity, and/or international students.

Josh

Students are very politically aware, but not as active as I expected... probably because of the intense academics demands. Students wear everything from pajamas to button up shirts, blazers, and casual dresses to class. I can't really imagine a student who would feel out of place at Princeton. There is a life for everyone: partiers, studiers, sports, music, art, the religious, rich, poor, international. There are all types of people here.

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