Morrison Hall

Princeton updates requirements to make applying to University more accessible

July 10, 2018 2:20 p.m.

Princeton University will no longer require the writing section of the SAT or ACT beginning with students applying during the 2018-19 application season. The change is the latest among efforts to make applying to Princeton more accessible to all candidates, regardless of students’ financial backgrounds.

To help students who may find the cost of applying to college prohibitive, Princeton also offers application fee waivers; allows students to self-report their scores for SAT, ACT and Advanced Placement tests; and recommends but does not require SAT Subject tests. 

“All of this testing combined can add up in terms of cost for a family, and we do not want the fees associated with the application process to be reasons for students not to apply to Princeton,” Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said.

Other ways Princeton seeks to encourage applicants who are from low-income and first-generation backgrounds are by partnering with community-based organizations such as QuestBridge, supporting nonprofits such as Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA) and helping lead the American Talent Initiative.    

“We continue to think about ways to make Princeton more accessible to all candidates, regardless of their individual family’s financial situation,” Rapelye said. “We also know from both economic data and empirical evidence that by drawing from every sector of society, we contribute to the excellence of a Princeton education.”

Instead of the SAT or ACT writing section, Princeton will require all applicants to submit a graded writing sample, preferably in the subjects of English or history. The writing sample, among other application materials, will help the Office of Admission assess a student’s academic potential. Further information regarding how to submit a graded paper will be available on the Admission website later this summer.

A number of states and school districts now offer the SAT and ACT for free during the school day. This provides more opportunity to students to apply to college, although the free testing sometimes does not include writing sections. 

“In an effort to level the playing field a little more, we now ask students for a graded writing sample, ideally from an English or history class, instead of the standardized testing with writing,” Rapelye said.

Students who apply to Princeton may still choose to submit the SAT or ACT writing section, but it will be considered an optional component in the admissions review.  Students who do not take the writing section of the exam will not be disadvantaged in the application review process.

More information about application requirements is available on the Office of Admission website