Princeton University Top Questions

What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?


There are a lot of Princeton stereotypes, and I think they are all true to varying degrees. That being said, none of them have defined my experience or the general campus atmosphere. There is the WASPy, conservative, preppy, trust-fund brat stereotype that many people associate with Princeton. I have met a few people that might fit this stereotype on the surface, but they have all shown themselves to be just as passionate, intelligent, kind, and driven as any other student. The geeky stereotype is definitely more prevalent across campus since we are all geeks to some extent. But being nerdy doesn't mean we all spend the weekends studying. Princeton students definitely believe in both working hard and playing hard.


People think we're a breed of trust-fund babies, have some kind of 'ancestral legacy' to Princeton, and that we all feed into Wall Street eventually. I've been accused of the same, and I'm a regular old Biology major!


The most common stereotype of a typical Princeton student is the preppy kid who cares more about partying than his grades. The truth is, I see a lot more t-shirts and jeans than popped polo shirt collars. Most people got here the same way everyone got into college: hard work, diligence, and probably a little luck. There is still time for fun at Princeton, but no one breezes through.


Think twice before assuming that Princeton is stock full of elite snobs and super nerds. While it's true that there are rich kids and smart kids here, everyone is incredibly humble about their background and talents. I've found that students are highly diverse in both their academic interests and social lifestyles, and it doesn't take long to see that each person's unique perspective on life is what brought them here.


I think a common stereotype that Princeton receives is the false assumption that all the students are extremely elitist. This is highly false and only represents a very small part of the population. Princeton is such a vastly diverse student body with people from all different backgrounds, that it is upsetting to hear this wrong stereotype.


At first glance, it is easy to settle with the belief that all students here are exactly what people say they are... rich kids from the North East who always and only wear boat shoes, pastel coloured clothes and think they own the world. But that is only at the very first glance. The truth is that here students really do come in all shapes and sizes and from a variety of backgrounds. The boat shoes fact may still be true but the community here is quiet diverse and if you just spend a few minutes looking, you will be able to tick frat guys, athletes, geeks, and anything in between off your list.


Not really. People work hard and party hard.


Princeton is often cited as being the most conservative Ivy, full of privileged, rich, white students with attitude problems. This population does exist on campus, but it isn't the only social group. Unfortunately, elitism and competition are core parts of Princeton-- Ex: eating clubs and the bicker process. Not everyone engages with this aspect of the university, however, and due to our financial aid office, we are assuredly not all rich students. Competition underlies most social interactions on campus, so the climate is primarily one of stress with few people who stand outside this climate.


Stereotypes: Preppy elitists. Caucasian. Reality: From the very extremes to the very all aspects of life