I want to add to sewhappy's comment: "They will be lucky to be somewhat average in their context. That is a truly shocking experience for many kids and their parents."
In high school, my kids were straight 'A' students; they were both way above average. At H & Y, however, they are just average -- and there is nothing wrong with that! Both, at times, struggle just to tread water. They have had to adjust to a new reality, as they have met truly extraordinary students who have accomplished at 19-years old what adults sometimes try their entire life to do. Need examples? A writer, who at 17, had a Broadway play produced to rave reviews in the NY Times. In between going to classes, the student now writes scripts for HBO. Or, the 20 year old student who is CEO of his own company that is now on the Fortune 500 list. In between going to classes, the student manages his company. Anybody is average compared to some of the best and brightest in the world! Getting a 'B' next to these 'A' students is an awesome accomplishment in-and-of itself. And BTW: some of those multi-talented students are too busy with their "other life" that they are NOT the students who get the 'A'. Sometimes those kudos go to the truly gifted.
I'm having trouble buying that these are questions from a parent. What grown person asks about preppy dress? For that matter, I can't imagine these posts coming from a HS senior, thus my confusion. There's something very off about posts by the OP. That degree of scrutiny would warrant a restraining order IRL.
stemit, thank you very much for a very thoughtful and genuine post. Just to put one thing "to rest", however, although not confirmed 100%, it does appear that the pictures I saw of SO many with "preppy clothes" were of a specific event held, rather than pictures offering a "day to day" view, but since I had NOT known this at the time, hopefully you (and others) can understand why seeing dozens of students all dressed similarly at one college would be cause to inquire if that is how "all or most" of the students dressed most (or all?) of the time, and if so, to further inquire as to just what stores they might shop at since one who is "uninitiated" in "preppy clothes" might be uncertain of the best places to shop if that is the "uniform du jour". (Sorry for the extreme run-on sentence! :-)) Even if only for particular events, I still appreciate those who offered specific recommendations to purchase that type of clothing.
In terms of "bagged lunches", "A's", etc., those were NOT the main focus of my initial posts - merely interested "follow-up inquiries" to what others shared, and which peaked my interest. (And based on private messages received, and/or number of views, apparently others who are reticent to post publicly found my questions helpful as well).
Of course, one should not base their final decisions solely on clothes, or food, or ease (or difficulty) of earning A's, or residential housing, etc. But I DO believe that all of these "small factors" do add up to what defines the "culture" of a campus. I can easily find the courses a college offers, and no doubt any of the Ivy Leagues offer a stellar academic education, but there is much more to one's 4 years on campus than JUST the academics, and it's the "other stuff" that often determines whether one has a good "fit" or not. If you feel I am not asking the most appropriate questions to determine either "fit" or "culture", I more than welcome any other suggestions. However, what you have already suggested in your most recent post (regarding actually viewing a campus, etc.) makes perfectly good and logical sense. Thank you.
PS I wrote this prior to reading "lefthandofdog's" post. Hopefully, my comments geared towards stemit explain my original intent, particularly re: my clothing question, and puts your own concerns to rest.
CTScoutmom, while I appreciate your input, I need to clarify something. I never asked "why students are happy with a B" nor did I ever say that I would be unhappy if my own child came home with a B. I think you misinterpreted my questions that were directed to another poster who had commented about an assignment that he had put "a lot of genuine effort into" and based on his posts, I clearly believed him to be highly intelligent, and I was simply curious what it required to earn an "A" at a school like Princeton. I believe my questions were valid, and that the original poster answered them clearly and consisely, and I thanked him for his fascinating answer.
sewhappy, I didn't know the assignment was one involving "writing" as the original post did not indicate what the nature of the assignment was -- hence why I both asked, and if you review my post, you will note I also specifically asked if it was possibly an assignment involving "writing" as I wholeheartedly agree that grading a student's writing is often subjective.
For anyone else, I think a discussion specifically regarding grades, grade inflation, or grade deflation is digressing quite a bit from my original question. Or rather, the "intent" of my question. Yes, I understand this is a "hot button" for many, but I would prefer input on how "happy" students are in ways OTHER than the grading policies of Princeton.
Hsmom. If you have the time and inclination (and haven't done so), read the Daily Princetonian. The articles there pretty much capture the community and its diverse interests and happenings. Here's a link to a series the Prince is running. You can get to the entire paper from there.
HSMOM: Be extremely skeptical about what you see on college-made brochures or videos, what you see or are told on college tours, and the falsefront you see on admitted students’ weekends.
As someone posted, the Daily Princetonian is a better way to follow the school, as it is student-run and pretty much uncensored. However, it is a newspaper, and doesn’t run regular articles on clothing, the difficulty of physics classes, whether the girls are less happy than the boys, or about the parties over the weekend.
The only way to find out what a school is really like is for your child to stay overnight with a student (hopefully one that he or she knows and not one the school sets up as their mouthpiece), talk to other students, attend some classes and talk to some professors that he or she approaches in an unscheduled fashion. That means that a good part or all of the trip has to be without the parents (my second trip to Princeton and only trip to Dartmouth were both without my parents, and both were overnights). I can’t imagine making a $250,000 investment without doing this.
Regarding dress, and this goes back a ways, I wore jeans and t-shirts most of the time. None of my friends or members of my eating club dressed preppy – they would have been teased unmercifully for wearing something like a LaCoste alligator shirt. While I was in college, an Esquire article showed photos of exquisitely-dressed young gentlemen and ladies playing croquet at one of the preppy clubs during our annual house parties weekend. The photos were of the preppiest club members on the dressiest event of the year. The article made Princeton look like it was a step back to British high society of the 1900’s. We thought the article was a riot.
The different dress styles haven’t changed, from what I’ve seen when I go back. Kids dress in a wide variety of ways.
In other words, you’re going to find a lot of diversity at Princeton, and the same goes for other colleges.
AncientTiger, what a lovely and informative post! Thank you very much. I would ask, but if I read between the lines of your post, it sounds as though you were very happy with your time at Princeton. (Would that be a good assumption?)
hsmom: I think it's safe to say anyone taking time to read and post on CC's Princeton forum wants to contribute to others' knowledge about Pton. Unless they have a real axe to grind (and that'd be weird), you can pretty much assume that any alum contributor here had a good enuff experience to share with others who are exploring Pton themselves. The unhappy ones aren't on this forum.
It'd be like hiring a disgruntled student to be the tour guide -- wouldn't happen.
OP, you were posting for recommendations from CC'ers for college admission counselors earlier this month. Did you hire one yet? I would think that sort of expensive advisor would be well qualified to help you figure out whether or not your child would be happy at Princeton.
Let's flip this question and I'll give you another perspective.
Who WOULDN'T be happy at Princeton? And my answer is from anecdotal but observed information.
1. Kids who were pressured all their lives into high performance that they didn't desire in their hearts and become depressed when on their own and outside the former set up of clear expectations and predictable validating outcomes.
2. Kids who really, really want to be in a city.
3. Every kid in the world, now and again.
4. The kids who would be unhappy everywhere because mental or physical illness raises its head.
For everyone else, preppy, non-preppy, competitive, less-competitive, gay, straight, Democrat, Republican, Californian, Texan, New Yorker, Ethiopian, Korean, scientist, philosopher, poet, engineer, happiness is possible.