Princeton University GPA, SAT, and ACT Data

Princeton Chapel, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Princeton Chapel, Princeton University. Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Princeton University is one of the most selective colleges in the country. Its admission rate is only 6.5 percent.

For the first-time students enrolling in the class of 2020, 94.5 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their secondary school graduating class. But grades aren't all that matters as only 9.4 percent of those with a GPA of 4.0 were accepted.

The middle 50 percent of test scores for the class of 2020 have these ranges:

  • SAT Critical Reasoning: 690 to 790
  • SAT Math: 710 to 800
  • SAT Writing: 700 to 790
  • ACT Composite Score: 32 to 35
  • ACT English: 33 to 35
  • ACT Math: 31 to 35

How do you measure up at Princeton University?  Calculate your chances of getting in with this free tool from Cappex. 

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Princeton GPA, SAT and ACT Graph

Princeton University GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission.
Princeton University GPA, SAT Scores and ACT Scores for Admission. Data Courtesy of Cappex

In the graph above, the blue and green dots representing accepted students are concentrated in the upper right corner. Most students who got into Princeton had GPAs close to a 4.0, SAT scores (RW+M) above 1250, and ACT composite scores above 25 (much higher than these lower numbers is far more common). Also, realize that a lot of red dots are hidden beneath the blue and green in the upper right corner of the graph. As you can see in the graph below, many students with a 4.0 GPA and extremely high standardized test scores get rejected from Princeton. For this reason, even strong students should consider Princeton a reach school.

At the same time, keep in mind that this Ivy League school has holistic admissions—the admissions folks are looking for students who will bring more than good grades and standardized test scores to their campus. Students who show some kind of remarkable talent or have a compelling story to tell will often get a close look even if grades and test scores aren't quite up to the ideal. Whether you use the Common Application or Universal College Application, Princeton will be looking for students who will contribute to the campus community in meaningful ways. Your application essay, supplemental essays, counselor recommendation, and teacher recommendations all play an important role in the admissions process. Many applicants will also do an alumni interview, and students in the arts will have additional application requirements.

You may wonder how a student with a "B" average and less-than-ideal SAT scores can get into Princeton when a straight "A" student is rejected. Again, the answer has to do with holistic admissions. Princeton wouldn't expect a student from a disadvantaged background to have a 1600 SAT score. Moreover, students who have English as a second language aren't likely to ace the verbal parts of the SAT, and many students are applying from country's that have very different grading standards than the United States. Finally, special talent can play a role. An applicant who is one of the most exceptional 18-year-old artists in the country or an All-American athlete might be an attractive applicant even if the academic measures aren't exceptional.

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Princeton Rejection and Waitlist Data

Rejection and Waitlist Data for Princeton University
Rejection and Waitlist Data for Princeton University. Data Courtesy of Cappex.

This graph of rejection and waitlist data reveals why you should never consider a painfully selective university like Princeton a match school. A 4.0 GPA and 1600 on the SAT is no guarantee of admission. Valedictorians get rejected from Princeton if they don't bring the full package of remarkable qualifications both inside and outside of the classroom. 

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