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The Role of Prestige in Extracurriculars for Admission to Princeton University

vinay815vinay815 0 replies3 threads New Member
edited July 12 in Princeton University
Hi, I was just wondering how much the prestige of extracurricular activities goes into admissions decision at Princeton. I've done pretty well in physics competitions (USAPhO Gold) and qualified for the AIME. I'm a prospective mathematics and physics major and my extracurriculars show a small spike in physics, however, compared to some of the students that I've seen get in, I feel obsolete. Essentially, what is Princeton really looking for in your extracurricular activities?

Thank for the help :)
edited July 12
5 replies
Post edited by ccadminkris on
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Replies to: The Role of Prestige in Extracurriculars for Admission to Princeton University

  • sgopal2sgopal2 3928 replies52 threads Senior Member
    Hey there. I noticed you haven't gotten many replies. Probably because your question is overly broad, or would be difficult to answer. None of us here are on the admissions committee at Princeton, so we don't really know what they are looking for.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 8039 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Also, I don't think you mean "obsolete" AIME & USAPhO are current and meaningful.

    Go read this: https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/applying_sideways/
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6673 replies2 threads Senior Member
    I really don't think that there is a good answer to your question. You should participate in the ECs that you care about. If you do what you want to do, then you are likely to do them well.

    Princeton is a long shot for any student (assuming that you are not a URM child of a popular national leader or Nobel Prize winner). Do well in high school, do well on your ACT or SAT tests, participate in ECs that you care about, and apply. Focus on and apply to other schools where you are likely to get in. Pay attention to your budget.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35421 replies399 threads Senior Member
    "Prestige" ECs won't replace what's missing.
    Just focusing the question on math competitions hints you don't know yet what they do look for.
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 266 replies6 threads Junior Member
    The AOs value how the applicants articulate (in writing) on what they have learned from their ECs, rather than merely looking at the prestige factors as perceived by others. Judging from my son's college application process in the 2018-2019 cycle, I know that his writing skills were paramount in his successful application to Princeton, perhaps second to his test scores and GPA. His ECs did not involve any big names; he tutored his fellow students in Russian and math at middle school level, coached badminton at local community camps, and sorted through mud samples and washed glasswares for one summer in a soil science lab.
    Most who apply to Princeton and other top tier schools have fantastic GPAs, test scores and ECs; however, applicants can often distinguish themselves through their writings, which are direct reporters of their thought processes. Take your time to write well; be reflective; describe what you have learned from (even) mundane tasks. For example, my son talked about his first refusal to advice offered to him at the soil lab on the use of some tools, but relented upon realizing that he did not know how to sort through mud and dirt. His description on his joy when he thought of using hot and cold temperatures to convey successfully the concept of negative numbers to his tutee, demonstrated his appreciation for teaching and on how he had learned from teaching others.
    Answer all the writing questions, essays and short answers, thoughtfully. For example, when asked about your favorite website, don't just give the link, but describe succinctly why. Also choose carefully on which graded paper to submit.
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