Each year, Princeton University receives over 25,000 applications for its undergraduate class. Only 7% of them get a Princeton acceptance letter.
For example, in 2015, Princeton received 27,290 applications for the Class of 2019 and accepted 1,908 students. That's a tiny 6.99% admission rate.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of applicants get a rejection letter. “I'm sorry to inform you…”
I was one of the lucky few to apply to Princeton and receive an acceptance letter in the mail. Since Princeton was one of my top choice schools, I was ecstatic that they wanted me as part of their community. I dreamed about how my future would turn out if I attended Princeton.
Here’s my complete, official Princeton acceptance letter.
Want to learn what it takes to get a Princeton admit letter yourself?
Read my How to Get Into Harvard, Princeton and the Ivy League guide. I'll take you through the philosophy behind how to become the world-class student that schools like Princeton, Harvard, and Stanford are looking for. You'll learn what it means to develop an application Spike, why being well-rounded is the path to rejection, and how to craft a compelling application yourself. Read this guide now before it's too late.
Here's a scan of the original admissions letter sent to me by the Admission Office at Princeton University.
Personal Story: When deciding between my top choice schools (Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT), ultimately it came down to Princeton and Harvard. It was a tough choice - Harvard had broader opportunities and was in a city. But Princeton seemed to have a more spirited school culture, with its famous eating clubs, and it seemed to emphasize undergrad education more strongly. In the end I went with Harvard (and I made the right choice for myself), but it was tough.
After the letter, I'll give you tips on what it takes for you to get an acceptance letter like this for yourself.
PO Box 430
110 West College
Princeton, New Jersey 08544-0430
March 31, 2005
Congratulations! The committee has reviewed your application and we are happy to offer you admission to the Class of 2009. Princeton received a record applicant pool of over 16,500 applications this year and your academic accomplishments, extra-curricular achievements and personal qualities stood out among this strong pool. The committee was impressed with all you have done. Thank you for applying. We are delighted to be accepting you.
If you applied for financial aid, a letter from the Financial Aid Office is enclosed with this mailing. If you have any questions, a member of the financial aid staff would be pleased to speak with you or your parents. We understand that paying for a college education is a significant commitment, and we would like to help you through the process. Princeton’s policy of replacing the student loan with additional grant sets us apart from other schools and allows you to graduate without any expected debt.
You and your parents are invited to join us on April 14-16 for our April Hosting program to learn more about Princeton. An invitation is enclosed with this mailing. Our faculty members are interested in meeting you and we hope you can join us. Also included in this packet is the response card which you need to fill out and return to us with a May 1 postmark. Should you decide to attend Princeton, we will be sending you more materials later this spring with information about getting ready for your freshman year.
Once again, congratulations. We are thrilled to be sending you this splendid news. If you have any questions about the academic program, residential life, or a particular interest, please let us know and we will help you get the answers.
Janet Lavin Rapelye
Dean of Admission
OK....so now what?
You probably have a reason for reading this acceptance letter. Let me try to help you out.
If you just received a rejection letter from Princeton, I'm sorry. When admissions officers say it's a really tough choice to reject students, they're speaking the truth. Chances are you were very well qualified but were just edged out by other applicants.
The good news is that you're fully in command of your fate. There are Princeton alumni who end up aimless, and there are graduates from hundreds of other colleges (and people who never went to college) who achieve great things in this world. So if you're disappointed about a Princeton rejection, I hope you pick yourself up and focus on building your future from this point on. Here's a guide on how to get great grades in college, which is likely your next step.
If you're planning your college application and want to apply to Princeton, I hope this acceptance letter inspires you to want your own.
Make no mistake, it's not easy to get in. It took a lot of hard work to pass Princeton's tough admission requirements. Throughout high school, I had to strategize carefully and spend my time effectively so I could balance great grades, AP coursework, high test scores, and deep extracurricular activities.
To help you out, in the following guides, you'll learn everything I know about succeeding in high school and college admissions. If you want your own Princeton acceptance letter, these are must-read guides:
This is the most fundamental guide to help you understand what top colleges like Princeton are looking for. You'll learn my philosophy behind:
- what kinds of students are most attractive to Princeton and why
- why being well-rounded is the kiss of death in selective college admissions
- what a Spike is, and why an effective Spike will have all your top choice colleges fighting for you
- how you can develop your own compelling Spike based on your interests
Spoiler: it's not easy, and there's no magic wand that can instantly get you a Princeton acceptance. But in my experience with thousands of students applying to college, there are huge misconceptions about what Ivy League-level colleges are looking for.
In the process, most students waste far too much time on things that aren't important and do nothing to raise their admissions chances. Even worse, they feel stressed all day.
That's why I wrote this guide. Read it before it's too late - it might totally change your high school strategy.
To complement my "How to Get Into Harvard" guide, I share my entire college application, page by page, word for word. You'll see the exact application that the admissions committee at Princeton saw, including the Common Application, my personal essays, letters of recommendation, and transcript.
I also provide commentary on every piece of my application. You'll see what was REALLY important to get me into Princeton, and other things that weren't. You'll even see mistakes I made in my application.
I've never seen anyone else provide this level of analysis and detail.
Your coursework is critical to your college application. Not only do you need great grades, you need great grades in what Princeton says is "the most rigorous courses possible."
This can be very stressful and confusing. Do you ever feel like you're taking too many AP courses and struggling to even stay afloat?
Having worked with a lot of students, the biggest problems I see are in mindset, habits, and strategy. To help students out, I've written a complete guide on how to excel in high school coursework.
I take you through three levels of detail, from high to low:
- Mindset and Psychology: Do you have the confidence to know your growth potential? Are you prepared to work hard?
- Overall Planning and Habits: Do you get the best results from every hour you spend studying? Do you understand what teachers care about, and how to give them what they want? Do you know how to avoid procrastination?
- Individual Class Strategies: How do you excel in English classes? How is this different from math and science classes?
I learned a lot of these lessons the hard way from high school and college. This is the guide I wish I had before starting high school. I used these concepts to get a 4.0 GPA in high school and highest honors at Harvard.
Take the time to read it and you might get better grades while saving hundreds of hours of study time.
Besides, GPA, the other major number on your application is your SAT/ACT score. This score is so important because your scores compares yourself to high school students across the country.
Top schools like Princeton expect you to be in the top 1 percentile of the country. If you're not, you'll cast serious doubt on your ability to keep up with your Princeton classmates.
Also, check out my series on getting perfect scores in each of the sections on the SAT/ACT:
Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:
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As co-founder and head of product design at PrepScholar, Allen has guided thousands of students to success in SAT/ACT prep and college admissions. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT. You can also find Allen on his personal website, Shortform, or the Shortform blog.