20 Fun Facts About Princeton University

University Life

20 Fun Facts About Princeton University

So, you're interested in applying to Princeton? As an alum, I can vouch that there are a series of amazing reasons why you should consider Princeton, and not all of those reasons are academic. The majority are actually centered around its fascinating history, interesting alumni, and role in shaping media, academia, and popular culture. Here are 20 fun facts everyone should know about Princeton:


Princeton, like many other Ivies, is always being mentioned in some television show or movie. Can you think of a television show that references Princeton? There are actually close to twenty television shows that have some connection to Princeton. I bet maybe one of your favorites is on here: The Big Bang Theory, Boardwalk Empire, Everwood, Gilmore Girls, The Cosby Show, 30 Rock, Mad Men, Desperate Housewives, The West Wing, The Simpsons, The Beverly Hillbillies, Family Ties, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, House, Weeds, Doogie Howser, M.D., and Numb3rs. Can you name at least one movie? I bet you can because there are also about twenty! Here are some that reference or were filmed on the Princeton Campus: A Beautiful Mind, Across The Universe, The Happening, I.Q., Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle, Admission, Toy Story 3, The Fugitive, Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, She Loves Me Not, Robot & Frank, Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Burn After Reading, Batman Begins, A Cinderella Story, Spanglish, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Risky Business. 


Actually, on November 19, 1969, Charles “Pete” Conrad, a member of the class of 1953, became the third person to walk on the moon. He was so proud of his alma mater that he even planted a Princeton flag there. 


This one is a bit personal. Eighteen is actually the number of trips I took to New York over the course of my matriculation. While Princeton is based in New Jersey, New York City is a mere 45 minute train ride from the Dinky station. The proximity of the city and the ease with which students can get to Penn Station, in the heart of Manhattan, make it an excellent destination for eventful days such as New Year's Eve and the Thanksgiving Day Parade, or whenever you just want to enjoy a Broadway show! If you come to Princeton (and aren't from New York), you may never want to go home. 


So, it's not really 17, but it does start with it! 1746 is the year Princeton was founded. At the time, it was named “The College of New Jersey." Princeton acquired a name change in the late 1880, which is also when the colors Orange and Black were formally adopted as Princeton’s colors and the Tiger as Princeton’s mascot. It stands as the 4th oldest school in the United States. The founders were religious reformers who decided to create the school after Harvard and Yale opposed the Great Awakening (an evangelical religious movement of the 18th and 19th centuries).


That's actually the current ranking of the Women’s Varsity basketball program: 16th!


This one isn't a very fun fact, but the average temperature outside during the snowy months winter in Princeton is actually 15 degrees Fahrenheit (that's -9.4 Celsius for those of you outside of the US). But fear not, you warm blooded homosapiens, because Princeton heats up immensely in the summer and, with the moisture in the air, the environment feels almost like sauna during the peak of Summer. It might sound uncomfortable if you don't enjoy a sauna, but it's actually quite nice, so enjoy! 


Are you a sports fan? Then this will be your favorite fact. Fourteen is number of VARSITY SPORTS for women and the number of varsity sports available to men. Princeton is a Division I one school, which, for those of you that aren't big sports enthusiasts, translates into a simple fact: it competes with the best collegiate sports teams in the nation. And, for those not as serious about team sports, there are alternative options as well, with 35 Club teams and about 300 teams in the intra-murals sports program. There's a little bit of everything for every level of competition. 


Is singing more your thing? Thirteen is the number of active acapella groups at Princeton University. And they have interesting names, too, including the Season 4 Sing Off competitors, The Footnotes and The Nasoons.


I bet you're seeing the pattern between the numbers and the facts. Well, to continue the trend, twelve is the number of outrageously loud orange and tiger striped paraphernalia that I have acquired over the years. Ironically, for an Ivy League school, the tackier the garb, the more school spirit it conveys. If you graduate from Princeton, you will get your class “beer jacket," which is an oversized, light weight jacket, custom designed by your class committee and equipped with about 5 pockets to allow you to hold up to 6 beers in it at one time (or cans of soda pop/bottled water, really, it's your preference).


That's the number of eating clubs where most of the upperclassman eat their meals and hang-out: Cannon, Cap & Gown, Tower, Ivy, Cottage, Cloister, Colonial, Terrance, Quad, Charter, Tiger Inn. 


You can follow Princeton on all the SOCIAL MEDIA platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube). And you should if you're a prospective applicant or student. Ten has nothing to do with the number of social media platforms or anything, but it is a fact you should know and use to learn even more about Princeton!


The number of arteries you will inevitably clog after visiting the famous and always delicious, hole in the wall establishment, HOAGIE HAVEN. If you're a prospective student, definitely check it out for some of the best fast food you'll ever have! It's very much a Princeton staple! 


Princeton actually has eight-person suites. In fact, I was fortunate enough to live in one my Freshman year. Yup, I lived with seven suitemates. While it can sound strange to have so many suitemates, it was a great way to make friends and get acclimated to college life. My freshman roommates are still some of my dearest friends.


That's the ACCEPTANCE PERCENTAGE listed by Princeton admissions. That's right, only 7 percent of applicants are successful in gaining admission to Princeton. This is why it is so important to identify and clearly communicate your personality and unique contribution to the student body when writing your application essays.


The ‘60’s is when Princeton began actively recruiting and admitting black students and women. Prior to this, Princeton was a male only institution. But, since then, things have changed drastically and the campus is much more diverse with all religions and races represented!


Princeton enjoys the best reunions! There's really not much to say here. Take it as an incentive! 


The number of years I avoided the FITZ RANDOLPH GATES. Let me explain: students avoid this main gate like the plague. Fable says that any student that walks out of those gates prior to graduation will melt instantly. I'm kidding. I wanted to make sure you were paying attention. But, it IS believed that if you walk through these gates, you won't graduate, so whether you believe it or not, just maybe don’t test it. Plus, it was special to walk out with all my graduating peers when the time came. 


There are three types of degrees you can receive from Princeton University, a Bachelors, a Masters or a PhD. But the actual programs are very diverse and endless! Do some research and you'll see that your options are immeasurable! 


This one is symbolic. If you didn't know, the highest positions of the university are held by women. Shirley Tilghman is the president and Amy Gutman serves as provost.


Number 1. That's the consistent RANKING of Princeton University by U.S. News. Oh, and if you're worried about finances or the cost of attending such an amazing school, don't worry: Princeton offers the best education AND still has the lowest tuition of all the Ivy League schools!