Princeton Nation

Published Wednesday, April 27, 2011 by Tarang

Lewis Science Library at Princeton University

The title of this posts derives from the informal motto of Princeton University: “Princeton in the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations.” Recently, I posted the SAT/ACT stats for Harvard and Yale. Rounding out the “Big Three,” is Princeton University. Princeton University often ties for first place with Harvard on many lists comparing universities in the United States. Surprisingly though, the term “Big Three” did not describe these universities because of their academics. Of course, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale (or endearingly termed HYP) have tough admissions requirements and rank as the oldest Ivy League Schools. However, their status as the Ivy League trinity actually comes from collegiate football. These three schools dominated football in the late 1800s, and they became known as the “Big Three.” This name stuck and started being applied to these schools for reasons other than sports.

Onto the scores:

SATs/ SAT II Subject Tests

Middle 50 percent of Verbal SAT, Mathematics SAT, and three highest SAT II Subject Tests. For example, 25 percent of the applicants had Verbal scores below 650; 50 percent had Verbal scores between 650 and 760; 25 percent had Verbal scores above 760.

Applicants Admits Enrollees

Critical Reasoning 640–750 690–800 680–800
Math 660–780 700–790 690–790
Writing 630–740 680–780 660–770
SAT II 670–770 710–790 690–780


Admission Rates, 5-year history

Academic year Applications Admitted %

2006–07 17,564 1,790 10.2
2005–06 16,529 1,826 11.0
2004–05 13,695 1,732 12.6
2003–04 15,726 1,601 10.2
2002–03 14,521 1,585 10.9

This data is directly from Princeton University’s website rather than independent surveys. It is from the Class of 2010 (as in 2006 enrollees). Just like the other schools, there is no consensus on GPA requirements. A high GPA helps your profile greatly, and it will play an important part in admissions. Specific undergraduate admissions questions should be addressed to the phone numbers at

Fun Facts: Princeton has been the Alma Mater for many famous presidents: James Madison, Class of 1771; Woodrow Wilson, Class of 1879. The official mascot is the tiger.

What it all means: Now that you have seen the stats of Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and the UC campuses, you might be wondering: what does it mean? In essence, these numbers can help you set goals for the type of scores you want to see if you wish to go to these schools. For example, most schools have averages close to 720 per subject. Realistically, you want to increase your chances by achieving or beating a 720 in each subject. Keep in mind, the universities listed here are the most competitive in the nation. UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Stanford are even more competitive when it comes to scholarship awards. Also remember that the initial glance at your application encompasses scores and GPA. However, a more detailed look at your application would include personal statements, letters of recommendation, extra-curriculars, and interviews. Personal statements are usually the most potent of all these because it should be a reflection of you. Seeing these scores helps measure where you stand in regards to the top institutions. Also, these stats hopefully let you see that people with all sorts of numbers get admitted, reaffirming the fact that the college application process is holistic.

A Big Three game: Princeton vs. Yale

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