Princeton University

49 Princeton Essay Samples

Updated for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle.

About Princeton

Founded in 1746, Princeton University is one of the oldest colleges in America, and it’s steeped in a rich history. Known for its wide range of interdisciplinary offerings, this New Jersey-based school has approximately 40 undergraduate concentrations. Princetonians benefit from smaller class sizes, specialized teacher attention, and an abundance of research possibilities. The school is known for its heavy focus on undergraduates. It’s thus no surprise that so many successful alumni have come out of Princeton, including three Supreme Court justices!

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Princeton, NJ

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Real Essays from Princeton Admits

Prompt: Princeton has a longstanding commitment to service and civic engagement. Tell us how your story intersects (or will intersect) with these ideals.

“Do you know how much that book costs?” [Name Redacted] asked. “No,” I said, leafing through the SAT prep book on his kitchen counter. “Thirty dollars,” he replied. “Yeah,” he went on, seeing my shock, “and my mom bought two by mistake.” This got me thinking: it was halfway through my junior year, soon I would take the last of my standardized tests, and I wouldn’t need my study guide anymore. How many tomes had my older brother left behind? How many of my classmates were sitting on a prep book gold mine of knowledge that others could use? A week later I hauled some big bins into school and Test Prep Relay was born. “Share the Pain, Share the Gain” was the tagline, and over several months, countless books were collected, refurbished, and passed on to the [Organization Redacted]. In January, we’ll start all over again.

I believe healthy societies both thrive upon and enable the free circulation of knowledge among their people. I am proud of this dynamic at work in my school, and as a student I have felt inspired not only to facilitate the flow of information but to augment it. From creating Test Prep Relay to tutoring refugees through my school’s Newcomer Club to conceiving of and establishing a peer tutoring program to better support classmates with learning differences, I love finding new ways to share knowledge. I will always seek to serve whatever community I live in this way. Honestly. . .it just makes me happy.

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Essay by Rydawg

Jazz Drummer, Electrical & Computer Engineer, Powerlifter.

Prompt: At Princeton, we value diverse perspectives and the ability to have respectful dialogue about difficult issues. Share a time when you had a conversation with a person or a group of people about a difficult topic. What insight did you gain, and how would you incorporate that knowledge into your thinking in the future?

In the short time I’ve been a youth leader, I’ve learned that my role is to make sure that each kid feels like they have a voice and that every lesson we teach allows kids of all identities to feel more welcome in our Church community. As a leader for my youth group, I review lectures sent to us by the youth ministry organization, LifeTeen, and my team makes sure that they are engaging enough for our kids to stay focused. Every so often, we’ll come across a more controversial topic, so we have to be careful about how we present it to the kids. On one particular day, we planned to discuss how the Church views the exploration of gender identity. However, our adult leaders did not have enough time to consult our team of youth leaders to review it and make it more relatable to the kids. As they taught the lesson, my team and I realized that what the lesson plans were stating about the transgender community could turn some of our members away from Christianity instead of bringing them closer to God. My main issue was that the lesson plan inaccurately depicted the transgender experience by assuming that they view gender and sex as “customizable” without allowing a transgender person to explain the issues that they face within our society. I crafted an email expressing our concerns and sent it to the leader of the LifeTeen organization. A few weeks later, they responded with no indication of them changing the original lesson plan to more accurately depict gender identity. Because of their inability to relay information to a modern audience, we stopped using their lesson plans to discuss social issues within our youth group. At our next meeting, I suggested that we have a more in-depth discussion about gender identity so the kids could express how they felt about the topic as well. I was proud that they also recognized that all humans, including transgender people, have a place within the Church and that they realized that God cares more about the content of our character.

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Essay by Sage Hanks

Hello! I am a prospective neuroscience major at Princeton, and I'm interested in the intersections between neuroscience, race, and gender!

Prompt: Briefly elaborate on an activity, organization work experience, or hobby that has been particularly meaningful to you.

Blinding lights illuminated the [Organization Redacted] National Officers while I gazed into the crowd of [Name Redacted] that trusted me to serve as their National [Name Redacted]. Little did I know that this team of officers would become my second family and would help me realize how rewarding it is to serve the organization’s diverse, intelligent membership.

At that moment, I pledged to work towards eradicating income inequality. It’s disheartening to hear about students withdrawing from the organization due to the financial burden. By acquiring sponsorships and developing programs to reduce conference costs, I hope to provide my peers with the opportunity to explore their interests in [Name Redacted].

Since my election, I have visited chapters and delivered keynote speeches at nationwide conferences. By serving the community and speaking to thousands, I managed to overcome my speech impediment and became inspired to seek federal office in the future.

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Essay by Boola Boola

Love watching Suits, going to the gym, and everything politics!

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