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Princeton essay questions

Hey everyone! I'm getting started on my college applications, and I was wondering if anyone could give me some general advice or tips about the Princeton essay questions? I want to make sure I'm on the right track! Thanks in advance!

6 months ago

Hi there! Congrats on getting started on your college applications! CollegeVine's blog contains guidance on how to tackle the current Princeton supplemental essays: https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-write-the-princeton-university-essays. Their blog also contains some strong examples of Princeton essays written by real students, as well as analysis of what these essays did well and any areas for improvement: https://blog.collegevine.com/princeton-university-essay-examples.

However, be aware that these prompts can change from year to year - while you can read through these posts to get a general sense of what might be asked of you, you'll want to wait until August 1st before your senior year to actually start writing. That's when the prompts for the coming application cycle are officially released, and you don't want your hard work to go to waste if the prompts change.

I'd also be happy to give you some general tips to help you start brainstorming for your Princeton essays:

1. Understand the prompts: Read and reread the essay prompts provided by Princeton so you know exactly what they are asking for. Don't write a generic essay - rather, respond directly to the question Princeton's admissions officers in particular are asking you.

2. Show your genuine interest in the school: Show how your values align with Princeton's. Go beyond general qualities that are valued at any top-tier school, like intellect and altruism, to thing like the sense of civic duty Princeton is known for.

3. Reflect on your experiences: Dive deep into your own personal experiences and tie them to the themes of the prompts. Use anecdotes and examples to truly highlight your character, personality, and passions. Remember to talk about how your experiences have shaped you as a person and how they would contribute to the Princeton community.

4. Be authentic: Be true to yourself and don't just write what you think Princeton wants to hear. Admissions officers can see through insincerity, so make sure your essays reflect who you really are and what you care about.

5. Avoid clichés: Try to avoid generic or overused topics like winning a sports game or moving to a new school. Instead, focus on unique aspects of your life and experiences that will set you apart from other applicants. You can find a list of generic topics, and how to fix them, on CollegeVine's blog: https://blog.collegevine.com/cliche-college-essay-topics.

6. Write clearly and concisely: Ensure that your essays are well-structured and easy to understand. Be mindful of word limits and avoid using overly complex language. Keep paragraphs to 2-3 sentences and include line breaks between them for improved readability.

7. Proofread and revise: Always proofread your essays several times to catch any spelling or grammatical errors. It's also helpful to ask for feedback from teachers, friends, or family members, as they can help you identify areas for improvement. You can also utilize CollegeVine's Free Peer Essay Review Tool, or submit your essay for a paid review by an expert college admissions advisor through CollegeVine's marketplace, if you're looking to get a more objective set of eyes on your writing from someone who doesn't already know you.

8. Start early: Allocate enough time to brainstorm ideas, write drafts, and revise your essays. The more time you spend on your essays, the more polished and compelling they will be.

Good luck with your Princeton application! You've got this!

6 months ago

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CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.