Princeton, NJ: Princeton is a prestigious Ivy League college that many aspire to attend. It’s a university of tradition and history. It advertises well-qualified teachers, a beautiful campus (one I have visited) and “a vibrant community of scholarship and learning.”
As everyone knows, though, there’s more to a school than just what its website says, or what its tour was like. Having two parents (and a grandfather) who are alumni, I can give you a more personal, though secondhand, idea of what the college is really about, both academically and socially.
There are so many ways to be part of the community and meet new people. In fact, my parents met at Princeton while working in the dining hall. At this school you will find friends who share a motivation to do well in life, and you will find those who can help you along your path. My father remembers studying in the library with his group of friends, and at the same time having laughs. That’s the type of place Princeton is – there’s an emphasis on work and doing well, but still time for having fun.
Though Princeton is not a huge school (it has 5,000 undergraduates and 2,500 graduate students), sometimes it can be hard to stand out. To be successful at Princeton you have to be a genius – literally. My mother applied to Princeton planning to be a chemical engineer, and came out with a degree in English. Why? She was smart enough and a hard enough worker to get into Princeton, but she found she couldn’t keep up in the required math. Her fellow calculus classmates could examine a complex problem and simply see the answer. Even my father experienced similar challenges. He was interested in economics but never took more than a few classes because of the high level expected by professors. In short, although being a Princeton graduate can boost your job opportunities, it can close some doors too.
For some, Princeton may not nurture the exploration of new interests. For others, Princeton might be perfect. It’s all up to you.
Check out Princeton’s website at www.princeton.edu.