Frequently Asked Questions
How many students attend FSI?
Total enrollment for the program will not exceed eighty students.
How and why was I invited to FSI?
Our selection process is both intensive and comprehensive. We read hundreds of admissions files, weighing each student’s experiences in high school against the specific demands of certain courses and majors (e.g., the strength of a high school’s calculus offerings versus the demands of a Princeton physics course) and also in light of the courses that we plan to offer in a given summer. We consider factors like the academic enrichment opportunities to which students have had access; whether a student’s high school has a history of sending graduates to Princeton; and whether a student has parents or siblings who have attended college. We don’t invite students because they belong to a particular demographic group; rather, a combination of factors generally leads our selection committee to conclude that a student might be interested in attending the program, gain something from it, and, most importantly, make a meaningful contribution to our community. In short, there is no simple formula for our process. The program director is happy to talk to you about whether and how the program might be a good fit; in the end, the decision to attend is yours to make.
I would like to attend FSI but I wasn't invited. Can I apply to the program?
Currently, FSI is an invitation-only program. We encourage students who were not invited to the program to discuss any concerns about their transition to college with their academic advisers, deans, or directors of studies.
How much does it cost to attend FSI?
- For students receiving any form or amount of Princeton grant aid, there is no charge to attend FSI. Your tuition, textbooks, room and board are provided to you free of charge. Note: the Internal Revenue Service considers the room and board portion of the subsidy taxable, and more information on what this means to you will be provided if you attend.
- If you are not receiving any Princeton grant aid, your tuition and textbooks will be free, but you will be billed for the cost of room and board (please check your invitation for more information about the cost this year).
How can I attend FSI and still meet my summer savings requirement?
Students who are recipients of Princeton grant aid and who are unable to meet their expected summer savings contribution will have their shortfall covered by special grant funds for the summer in which they attend FSI.
Is FSI all work and no play?
Without question, the primary focus of FSI is academic. But that doesn’t mean that Scholars don’t have fun. Our Resident Graduate Students and Residential College Advisers are experienced guides to all things Princeton (the University and the town), and will plan social activities throughout the week. One of the highlights of the program is our annual trip to New York City. In past years, Scholars have gone tubing on the Delaware, hosted dance parties and dodgeball tournaments, meandered through shopping malls and flea markets, attended minor league baseball games, and so on. Scholars report that the friends they make in FSI remain good friends throughout their years at Princeton, regardless of the majors they choose, the residential colleges in which they live, or the clubs and teams to which they belong. They tell us that being part of a tightly-knit but nevertheless diverse cohort by the end of the summer is a welcome relief from a worry that almost every new student faces.
Where will I live during the summer?
In 2014, FSI students will be housed in Butler College. Eight Princeton juniors and seniors will live in Butler with FSI students and will serve as residential college advisers (RCAs). Two Princeton graduate students will serve as resident graduate students (RGSs) and supervise the residential aspects of the Institute.
May I bring my car to campus?
How many meals do I receive?
Every FSI participant receives three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), seven days per week. These meals are served buffet-style in the college dining hall. In the evenings, free food is often provided during sponsored study breaks.
Do I get to choose the classes I will take? When will I learn about my schedule?
All students take "Ways of Knowing" and a second course in quantitative reasoning. Students are placed into a quantitative course according to their level of preparation and their disciplinary interests; at the beginning of the program, adjustments to this placement can be made. Schedules are distributed to students when they arrive on campus, but not before.
If I attend FSI, will I be able to take a reduced course load in future semesters?
By earning two credits over the summer, most FSI alumni give themselves the option of taking a reduced course load in two future terms, should this prove useful or necessary. Students in the B.S.E. program normally alternate four-course and five-course semesters over their four years at Princeton; students in the A.B. program take at least one five-course semester in their first two years. Students may apply their FSI credits to reduce their course load from five to four, or (in the case of A.B. students) from four courses to three during two separate semesters.
Can I return home on weekends?
Due to the compressed nature of FSI, even those students who live within driving distance of Princeton are strongly discouraged from going home during the weekends. We believe that weekends are crucial components of the academic and social design of the program.
May I practice with an athletic team while I am attending FSI?
It depends. Student-athletes may choose to participate in individual workouts, practices, and preseason games, but only to the extent that their athletic participation does not interfere in any way with their obligation to the Freshman Scholars community. Student-athletes are not permitted to travel home to play for local, club or national teams during the program. Please direct specific questions to your Princeton University coach or to Diane McKay, the Director of FSI.
Will I have a roommate? May I choose this roommate?
In most cases, students will share their rooms with at least one other student--but rest assured that the rooms in Butler are spacious and pleasant. Roommates are assigned by program staff; therefore, students cannot choose their own roommates.
Will I return home at the conclusion of FSI?
FSI ends one week before Freshman Orientation begins. You should plan to return home for the short break, or you may choose to participate in Outdoor Action (OA) or Community Action (CA). You are not allowed to remain on campus, however, during this week, unless you are a member of a fall varsity athletic team (student-athletes should check with their coaches to learn more about arrangements during the week between FSI and Orientation).