Okay, hey everybody. So, I just got accepted to Princeton SCEA, and I had just had two questions regarding some of aspects of the social life. I know that some of this seems a little arbitrary, but I figured "why not?", given that I've already decided that I am going and it goes without saying that the one should go to a place like Princeton first and foremost for the academic experience. Anyway:
My first question is about how preppy Princeton is. I know that there are some posts from a few years back about this, but it always seems like the Princeton dynamic is constantly changing. I actually enjoy some of the preppy atmosphere, and kind of fit in with the whole "polo and top-sider" group, so I was just curious to what extent I would be "out of place" if I wore that kind of stuff at Princeton, given that obviously people will also be wearing just t-shirts and Princeton gear as well.
In addition, I was also curious as to how difficult it is to get into Ivy. While I can't say for certain, given my "studies", I get the impression that I would like Ivy the best of the eating clubs. So, in that sense, I was curious as to what types of things people can do that help "feed" them into Ivy, particularly given that the freshmen ban on frats may make it difficult for newcomers to make a place for themselves at places like St. A's, which I know is one of the typical feeders. I'm interested in joining the sailing club as well as doing crew, and things like Whig-Clio. Is this considered "ivy"-oriented.
Like I said, don't think this is what my Princeton experiences is revolving around. I just figured that most of the incredible academic opportunities of Princeton go without saying, so we might as well have fun talking about some of the more mundane or arbitrary aspects of the social life, so don't turn this into some "you don't deserve to go to Princeton because all you care about is yadda yadda yadda". Thanks in advance!
We have very similar trains of thought...I've had this question on my mind lately as well. By the way, I take it you're doing econ as well?
I'd normally be apprehensive about helping others get a leg up on the social game at Princeton, because after all, it is a tiger-eat-tiger world. From what I read, based on from what F.Scott Fitzgerald has written and what other students have said, Ivy Club is the embodiment of what it means to be "an Ivy man".
Have you read Great Gatsby? Ivy club, along with Yale's Skull and Bones and a certain finals club at harvard, are pulled straight out of East Egg. "Old money", yachts, and daddy working on wall street. Its a very privileged atmosphere, straight outta prep school.
Ivy students are the cream of the crop, of the cream of the crop. It doesnt just take brains to get into Ivy...like gettting into Princeton first, its truly a hollistic approach. You need the family history, the preppy look, the attitude, the brains, and the skills to party HARD.
Your style won't be out of place at all. Not everyone is the Polos and Sperrys type, but it's common enough that it doesn't stand out.
Ivy typically accepts between two thirds and three quarters of bickerees. And in contrast to acrylicsalmon's description, Ivy isn't as elitist as it's made out to be, and it's changed a lot since the Fitzgerald days (Ivy has women now). Some of its attributes give it that vibe (like the seating queue, the waiters at dinner, the unique bicker process that consists of ten interviews), but most people aren't the east coast old money type.
I'd advise against setting your sights on one specific club before you even get here, but if you're looking for organizations associated with Ivy, you have SAE, AEPi, and a couple of other fraternities (rush will be banned, but they'll be looking for freshmen), club sailing and ski team, varsity squash, Business Today, and several others I can't think of right now.
Yeah, I am thinking either economics or ORFE, but who knows. It's a big wide world out there.
Thanks for the pretty thorough response. I agree that it is a little early to be thinking so intensely, but I am just intrigued by them, so a lot of it is just curiosity. Also, you said rush will be banned, but they'll be looking for freshmen with regard to fraternities; does this just mean that some may try to simply recruit the freshmen without going through all of the overt pledge activities? I mean, it seems unlikely that next year will end with no freshmen having tried to join or having successfully joined a frat. What do you think?
Apparently a few years ago, some of the fraternities wanted to enter the annual Princeton dodgeball tournament, but they were kept out because the rules state that only student organizations recognized by the university could participate (Greek organizations are not recognized). So a couple of fraternities circumvented this rule by creating special-interest groups or service organizations (whose membership consists of only the members of that certain fraternity) that could get university recognition. I wouldn't be surprised if more of these groups (fraternities masquerading as non-fraternities) showed up and tried to identify and connect with the freshmen they want, essentially fast-tracking them to bids from those fraternities as sophomores.
Rush will still be held (for sophomores), and fraternities will still take sophomore pledge classes (probably smaller than usual) to keep membership up. The committee in charge of instituting the rush ban hasn't released the specifics yet, but the suspected penalty for breaking rush rules is supposed to be a year-long suspension. Fraternities probably won't want to mess with that.
While I won't question your motivations for wanting to join Ivy or why you are thinking about this before you have even set foot on campus, I would just advise you to open your mind up a bit, explore other things than what you think you already know. Trust me, you will be REALLY BORED if you don't let yourself try new things and instead go for what you think will get you into Ivy. Plus, all they will ask is if you have old money. I tell you from experience, its overrated.
also Ivy is NOT the cream of any crop. Neither are Princeton students in general... there are some really really smart, driven, passionate people here, but we mostly knew how to work the application/ extracurricular/ testing system... so don't give yourself too much credit. we are not that special.