Princeton University: A Student Perspective

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach—they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Adam received his bachelor’s degree in religion and theater in 2011 from Princeton University. He is currently a Los Angeles tutor specializing in English tutoring, French tutoring, social studies tutoring, and much more. See what he had to say about his time at Princeton University:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Adam: The Princeton University college campus is very, very walkable. It is a large campus, but lots of students have bikes and there are plenty of bike racks around the dorms. The campus is also very safe. It is an open campus, but there is a Public Safety team that patrols the campus and there are emergency “Blue Light” phones if you ever feel unsafe. It is also an absolutely beautiful campus—like walking through a finely manicured garden at Hogwarts.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants at Princeton University?

Adam: All the teachers I had offered office hours. It is harder sometimes with the larger courses that have big lecture groups, but there are grad students and what we call “preceptors” who help with group discussions and assignments when there is difficulty.

How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Adam: I loved my dorm life. I was in the dorm that was most remote from central campus (Forbes College), which I think made all of us living there grow closer than most by necessity—because walking to the closest dorm from there takes about 10 minutes. There are dining options for all four years of school, and plenty of social events planned by the Residential College advisers.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?

Adam: I was a Religion major. It is a well-known program at Princeton and was particularly popular in my class. The most popular majors amongst my friends while I was there were engineering, economics, history, english and comparative literature. The university provides wonderful resources for research and support for all majors.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Adam: Greek life is certainly part of the social scene—but it is by no means the cornerstone. The social scene at Princeton is dominated by the Eating Clubs, which are essentially co-ed fraternities where you eat your meals, hang out, study, and have events, but you don’t live there like with Greek houses. The dorm life is particularly geared towards encouraging interactions amongst freshman, and those who live nearby. I had no trouble making friends freshman year as I was involved in several extracurricular activities. That was the best way for me to make friends because we had so much in common, and I am still very close with most of my college friends.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services at Princeton University?

Adam: The Career Center at Princeton is certainly available to all students. As far as I know, they can be very helpful. I had no personal experience with the Career Center as I knew I would be going into a profession that is not as traditional. Finance companies, in particular, recruit heavily at the university. There are career fairs, and also many opportunities to meet with recruiters and apply for internships throughout the year.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Adam: Almost all of the study areas at Princeton are just beautiful. Firestone Library is gorgeous and huge—there are several floors and many areas within it. There are also study areas and computer clusters in the dorms, Art Museum, Frist Campus Center, and Eating Clubs. There are so many places where one can study that I never had trouble finding a quiet place to work. Princeton students are also very studious and keep quiet in public work spaces.

Describe the surrounding town.

Adam: Princeton is a beautiful little college town in central New Jersey. There are some great affordable places to eat (Zorba’s Greek was always my favorite) and two famous ice creameries that are very popular with students and visitors alike—Thomas’ Sweets and The Bent Spoon. There are also some great upper-scale restaurants (to take your folks when they come visit!).

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes at Princeton University?

Adam: The student body is roughly 1,200 per class (at least it was when I was there). I was generally pleased with the class sizes. Seminars are a great option for concentrated study in a smaller environment. I once took an entire semester about Christian Eschatology that met once a week for three hours in a class size of roughly eight. It was probably my favorite class at Princeton. Focused study, wonderful attention from an expert and great readings—I loved it.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Adam: I did a lot of theater at Princeton. I had one teacher for two semesters who also directed me in several productions. He was incredibly helpful to me in growing as an actor, artist and person. He made himself available to all his students, and even supported us long after graduation. I had the chance to work professionally with him as well, and he was very supportive of all his former students after graduation. I will never forget how much the Arts faculty at Princeton puts into their work, and how available they make themselves to their students. I did a lot of work with the department of Theater and Dance, and all the teachers I had were passionate professionals with so much to share.

Check out Adam’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.