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Princeton University

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Date: Jan 29 2005
Major: Unknown (This Major's Salary over time)
Princeton University offers a superlative college experience that goes far beyond pure academics. Yes, the university is known for its strong academic offerings, but the real education comes outside of the classroom.

The University takes great care to select students who are not simply strong academically, but also excel in other areas. Everyone does at least one extracurricular activity (some do dozens), and that helps to create a vibrant undergraduate community. Indeed, it was my experiences outside the classroom in which I think I learned and grew the most.

The people at Princeton are exceptionally bright, and it's almost guaranteed that you'll meet some of the most unique and talented people you've ever met. I learned a lot from my friends, and to this day, I consider my friends from Princeton the most cherished of all.

The other great thing about Princeton is that it is a welcoming community. People from all walks of life get along very well, and the snobbery is actually quite a bit less than what you'd find at a larger institution. I was a humble kid from a small Midwestern town, and I counted some of America's "royalty" as my close friends. There is very little pretense.

All in all, Princeton is an exceptional experience, and one that I would recommend to anyone!

Tips for H.S. Students interested in Princeton:

1) Be involved with school activities and in your community. Princeton will take a diverse and active individual with a 3.6 GPA and 1200 on the SAT over a straight A student with 1600 SAT who does nothing else but study. They expect you to contribute to the betterment of the campus community, not just the betterment of yourself.

2) Complete the optional essay on the application, and seek a regional alumni interview. They're extra and not required, but Princeton students always venture beyond what is required.

3) Apply early if you're serious about the place. It's binding if you get accepted, but early applications do have a better success rate.

4) If you're expecting a straight-laced, conservative, and "serious" environment, look elsewhere. People are very laid-back, and cutthroat competition doesn't fly. If you're not a team player, they'll eat you alive. The campus also has a very liberal bend to it (as do most places where intelligent people are encourage to think freely). The campus also has a very irreverent sense of humor, and most dinner conversations have overtones that would fly on The Daily Show or in The Onion. People are serious, but certainly don't take themselves seriously.

5) Princeton has always offered need-blind financial aid, but now the aid is rendered in the form of grants and not loans, so students graduate debt-free. This is made possible by the fact that close to 95% of all alumni donate generously within their means. It will still sting your family's wallet, but they will be willing to work with you to make it possible to attend. Note that no aid is offered on merit… it is all purely need-based.

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