<p>The first option for the essay question is, "Tell us about a person who has influenced you in a significant way." If we choose this topic, how do we incorporate specifics about why Princeton is the school we want to attend? Do we need to talk about Princeton at all, or can we just talk about the person who has most influenced us?</p>
<p>I don't think any of the essay questions lead you directly to the "Why Princeton" question. One thing to beware of if you choose the "person who most influenced me" question is that you risk talking too much about THAT person instead of yourself. Be careful about that.</p>
<p>it's also a prompt at common app. so watch out.</p>
<p>The goal is not to directly talk about Princeton, and nor is it really to talk only about someone else (as princeton13mom points out). The point as far as I can see it is to talk about how your subject influenced you to develop certain qualities/characteristics or interests; and the implicit assumption is then that you think these qualities make you a good match for Princeton. The idea is that the Admissions Officer will figure out whether the qualities you talk about are ones that Princeton looks for in its student body in general or qualities they think a certain part of the Class should have (for the sake of diversity) next year in particular.
Naturally, the essay is also there to further prove that you can write eloquently (on the more pragmatic side of things). :)</p>
<p>JAupiais is absolutely correct. If you were to try to incorporate why you want to go to Princeton, you could risk ruining a good essay, or worse, coming across as a suck up to the admissions committee. Princeton admissions state that they do not in any way consider interest in Princeton as an admissions factor. They are looking to find a class that is unique, diverse, and shows great academic potential. Your best bet is to write about something you believe is unique to you; something nobody else in the world can say (it seems impossible, but everyone has one experience in their life that is really unique). Try to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. It could be a normal conversation or event in which you had an epiphany or found deeper meaning.</p>