Stress at Princeton

While Princeton no longer has grade deflation as a policy, it seems that it is considered to be objectively harder than its peer schools. Something I have heard repeatedly about Princeton students is how they could be getting higher grades at equally prestigious schools (say, Harvard) for less the work and stress. Is this a common “grass is greener” case at most schools or is it a problem unique to Princeton?

I am still deciding between Princeton and one other school and this is something I think I should consider. I am international from a non-rigorous school (no AP/IB/any sort of standarized curriculum) and while I will undoubtedly fall behind my peers anywhere I go, will this problem be specifically greater at Princeton? For instance, I did pretty well on the SAT, but very poorly on standarized exams that test on content. I self-studied for the SAT IIs and got a score of less than 700 on the Math 2 exam because I had to learn all of its content by myself since they were not things I had covered in class. Also I was miserable studying for those tests, and I am a bit worried about the transition to a school like Princeton.

Probably a bit of both, although the “problem” is hardly unique to Princeton.

Almost everyone will have a bit of adjustment. But if they admitted you, they knew you could do the work. It might be hard to get an A, but it’s even harder to flunk out.

What’s the other school you are thinking about?
I do think there are some schools that are objectively harder than others, and I think Princeton is about as hard as it gets. Regardless of grade inflation/deflation, the volume and content is intense. Some kids thrive with that, others don’t. I agree that if they accepted you they think you can do the work. But you need to answer whether you’d be happy with the intensity or whether you learn better in a different environment.

Do you intend to major in one of the core STEM subjects? Because under 700 in in Math SAT 2 would be tough for a core STEM major, whether it’s Princeton or Harvard. On the other hand, if Princeton accepted you, there are probably some majors for which Princeton thinks you could be successful (but it would not be a core STEM).

Hello, I recently found this post as I’m new to CC, however, and given that you were accepted at that caliber of institutions I believe you are completely prepared to make the most out of your college experience, so don’t belittle your efforts and accomplishments to this point by not trusting your capabilities. Embrace the challenge and enjoy your time there, that’s all that matters.
On another note, I’m in a similar position to you, I’m applying this upcoming admissions cycle to similar institutions, to the ones you applied, and I’m from an even (and trust me on this) weaker HS than yours given that I’m from ES, I also have no AP’s and no IB’s as they are unavailable in my HS, but I made the most out of the courses I could take; so, I’d genuinely appreciate if you could give me any advice on the admissions process from a Latin American Applicant perspective, it would come in very handy.