Our son is attending Princeton this fall, BSE. Best advice I could give, based on our limited experience, is to see where you best fit university-wise and emphasize that information within your application. If you truly believe your fit is within Princeton and you have researched well, it will come out in your application.
As well, during the preview our son discovered a common thread among all the accepted applicants he met - every one of them is extraordinarily good at something besides academics. It might be robotics, athletics, writing, music, whatever...they all had something (as does he). On these threads I suppose they some of those qualities are called, "hooks". The question is, what sets you apart from the nearly 27 000 other applicants?
Obviously there is a minimum academic standard needed to be accepted - given the difficulty of the courses they offer, this is to ensure academic success. But having 800's across the board for test scores isn't necessary. They are looking for well rounded people who come from a variety of backgrounds and who display potential for leadership. Let your uniqueness shine!
blankk, my son just graduated. He's a very good writer. No contest in high school, nothing national or competitive, just very, very good essays, SAT verbal scores, and teacher recommendations.. The essays, by the way, he wrote the week before applications were due, in the car on a five hour car drive to his grandmother's house. Final note, f you are a good writer, don't let ANYONE edit your stuff but you.
Do you say this because it takes out voice in writing? My parents will be annoyed haha, but I'll heed your advice. (Similarly, my brother essentially downed one essay I wrote in ink, but I ignored all his changes. That paid off very well in the end ). I thank both of you for the help. Oh my gosh at your son writing essays a week before they were due on a road trip, Alumother. I could never see myself being able to do that haha. Also, one last question: I'll naturally aim to get one recommendation from an English teacher (my 10th grade one, unless 11th grade is seen as better), but for a second, should I get one from a math/science teacher to be rounded, or would a Spanish teacher's be equivalent? Thanks, definitely helps the process of applying here and (almost certainly) other schools less stressful.
Talking about last-minute essays ... my Common App essay I wrote about a month ahead of the deadline ... not too bad. My supplementary essay I wrote the week of the deadline, no edits, and that's the one that my admissions counselor (who I met at Preview) told me was excellent and part of the reason I got in.
I agree with alexcuad and Alumother, because I didn't let anyone read my supplement essay. However, I would ONLY advise this if you have a fairly strong background in writing. And I'm not knocking getting help; my dad was immensely helpful with proofreading my Common App essay. But I was confident in what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it for the Princeton supplement.
Blankk: As far as the subjects of the teachers you ask for recommendations, I don't think it makes a difference as long as 1. Both teach some branch of the "core" subjects--English, math, science, history/social studies, or foreign language, and 2. They both teach different subjects. Personally, I got my recommendations from my English and French teachers, and I was admitted. The important thing is to choose teachers who know you reasonably well, and who teach subjects you've expressed an interest/passion in.