What is Princeton University Known For? Is Princeton University a Good School?

One of the eight elite Ivy League schools, Princeton University is a world-renowned institution of higher education. 

According to the 2022 edition of the US News and World Report’s list of school rankings, Princeton is the single best university in the entire country. 

Established in 1746, Princeton is one of the oldest colleges in the country. The school is located in the small town of Princeton, New Jersey, with its historic campus spanning over 600 acres.

The iconic, ivied Princeton campus features nearly 200 buildings in various architectural styles, from gothic to neoclassical, contemporary, and more. 

In addition to the many visually striking buildings, the Princeton campus also features many public art pieces, stunning stone archways, and wrought iron gates.

As of the fall of 2020, Princeton has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,773 students. Admission to this top college is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of just 14.7%. 

There is no doubt that you have at least heard of Princeton University since the school’s reputation is international in its reach and arguably second-to-none in its renown. 

However, you may still find that you do not know much about just why Princeton is so highly esteemed.

For those interested in learning more about all that Princeton has to offer, we will discuss what this Ivy League college is best known for and more. 

Read on to discover some information about the academics, athletic programs, school traditions, and extracurricular activities that make Princeton the prestigious institution that it is.

What Majors & Academics Are Princeton Known For?

Princeton University
Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

One of the unique aspects of the undergraduate experience at Princeton University is the emphasis that the college places on independent work

At Princeton University, students have the option to enroll in either the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) program or the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E) program. 

Around 25% of students in each graduating class opt to pursue the B.S.E. program, while the other 75% choose to follow the A.B. degree program. 

All students in the A.B. program are required to complete a junior project, as well as a senior thesis. The junior project, also referred to as the JP, offers students the chance to complete a research project on their chosen topic under a faculty member’s supervision. 

The JP can be completed in a variety of different ways, including field research, laboratory research, or even while studying abroad. In addition to valuable practical skills, the JP also serves as a means of preparing students for the completion of the senior thesis.  

While students in the B.S.E. are not required to do the JP, the B.S.E. departments offer their students numerous opportunities to complete similar independent work throughout their degree programs. 

On top of that, there are many specific courses designed for the purpose of developing similar practical skills and knowledge.

The senior thesis, a required element of the A.B. program and most of the B.S.E. concentrations, is a capstone project that allows students to conceptualize, refine, and complete a legitimate piece of scholarly work. 

Together, these two projects constitute an intensive, student-led experience that will prove invaluable for any student’s future academic and professional pursuits.  

Is Princeton University a Good School?

There is no doubt that Princeton University is not only a good school, but one of the best colleges in the entire world. 

It has upheld its strong commitment to providing a high-quality undergraduate education to all its students throughout its centuries-long history in various ways.

Beyond its stellar reputation, we can find further evidence that Princeton is a top-tier university by looking at the academic profile of the average accepted students

For example, the median ACT score of students who are accepted to Princeton University is between 32 and 35. The average SAT scores of admitted Princeton students are between 740 and 800 for math, and between 710 and 770 for the evidence-based reading and writing portion of the test.

In addition, we can note that the median high school grade point average of students who are admitted to Princeton is a nearly perfect 3.9 on an unweighted, 4.0 scale. 

This means that to be a competitive applicant to the school, students will need to earn almost straight As in every high school class.

These statistics show that Princeton only accepts the creme de la creme, creating a highly rigorous academic environment chock full of students who are high achievers — inside and outside of the classroom. 

Princeton University Traditions

With almost three centuries worth of history under its belt, it is no surprise that Princeton University has come to establish a number of unique traditions.

For example, each year that the Princeton football team has the best record within a single season among the Big Three  — meaning Princeton, Yale, and Harvard, the schools that consistently dominate the top three spots in school rankings — Princeton students have a massive bonfire. The Bonfire is both a lively social event and a symbolic celebration of victory. 

Another Princeton tradition is the P-rade, a mile-long parade across Princeton’s campus that was established as far back as the 1860s. 

During the parade, members of each graduating class distinguish themselves from the other class years by donning the class jacket of the year.

Each class designs and produces its own class jacket, which students are meant to wear for the first time during Princeton’s Reunions weekend. 

Throughout the parader, some alumni are selected to be “Marshals,” designated individuals responsible for maintaining orderly conduct and identified by the orange hats and blue blazers they wear. 

The end of the P-rade comes when the current senior class takes the Poe Field, clusters around the reviewing stand, and waits to be formally welcomed into the school’s alumni association. 

Prominent Clubs & Extracurricular Activities at Princeton University

Princeton University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

At Princeton University, participation in many different extracurricular activities is notoriously competitive, as there is never a shortage of students vying for membership in these exclusive groups. There is even an application process involved in joining most extracurriculars at the school.

Princeton offers over 500 different clubs and student organizations, so students at the school have a vast array of options to choose from. 

With so many different vibrant, active student organizations, it is hard to say which are the most popular. 

One prominent student activity at Princeton is the school’s newspaper, which is formally named the Daily Princetonian but is more commonly referred to by its nickname, The Prince. 

Students in the organization are entirely responsible for producing a highly professional weekly newspaper chock full of quality writing covering campus news. 

There are many theater, performance, and dance groups at the school. One of the most prominent is the Princeton Triangle, a performing arts club. 

Students in Triangle can take part in writing, producing, and performing original musicals under the direction and guidance of professional choreographers. Triangle regularly hosts a number of events on campus, including theatrical performances that are held in the McCarter Theatre. 

What Sports Are Princeton Known For?

Princeton is home to 37 varsity sports teams, which compete in the NCAA’s Division I. Over 18% of Princeton students participate in at least one varsity sport. 

These facts place the elite college’s athletic programs among the largest and most successful in both the Ivy League group and in the NCAA Division I in general. 

Additionally, the Princeton Tigers have won a total of 208 national championships. From 1972 to 2014, the college enjoyed an astonishing 43-year-long streak during which at least one of their sports teams, or individual athletes, earned a national championship title. 

Thus, it is safe to say that all of Princeton’s athletic teams are very highly regarded. Still, the school’s football team stands out as one of the best in the NCAA Division I. 

The Princeton Tigers’ 115-player football team is ranked eighth among all 117 colleges in the NCAA Division I.

Additionally, both the men’s and women’s water polo teams at Princeton are well-known for consistently being strong competitors. The men’s team is currently ranked eleventh, with the women’s team occupying the #7 spot among all schools in the division that offer this sport. 

Princeton is also known for its lacrosse teams. The men’s lacrosse team is presently ranked #24 out of the 64 schools in its division. In terms of rankings, the women’s lacrosse team is even more well-known yet, occupying the #22 spot out of the 100 other teams in their division. 

Princeton is home to 37 varsity sports teams, which compete in the NCAA’s Division I. Over 18% of Princeton students participate in at least one varsity sport. 

These facts place the elite college’s athletic programs among the largest and most successful in the Ivy League group and in the NCAA Division I.

Why Princeton University?

There is no shortage of reasons to choose Princeton University for your undergraduate education. Its world-class academic programs, highly-esteemed teaching faculty, and its well-earned prestige firmly ground the school’s reputation as a world leader among institutions for undergraduate education.

One reason to choose Princeton is that it offers students small class sizes and all associated benefits, such as receiving ample, one-on-one attention from professors inside and outside the classroom. 

With a student-to-faculty ratio of only 5:1, Princeton students are sure to receive individualized support and develop strong academic relationships with both faculty and fellow students. 

Another reason to choose Princeton is that the relevant statistics suggest that Princeton students are extremely happy at the school. 

The college’s first-year retention rate, a widely accepted barometer for student satisfaction, is 98%, meaning nearly every Princeton student opts to remain at the school for a second year.  

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all guide to determining the best undergraduate school for an individual student. Each student has their own professional aspirations, personal preferences, and many other things to consider when deciding what college to attend. 

Still, there is no denying that earning a degree from Princeton will open a great number of doors for you down the line, mainly when you apply to jobs or graduate schools. 

In short, choosing Princeton, the most highly-ranked college in the country, almost guarantees that you will be successful.

Previous articleWhat is Rice University Known For? Is Rice University a Good School?
Next articleWhat is Carnegie Mellon Known For? Is Carnegie Mellon University a Good School?