University Talks: Princeton University


On Wednesday 25 May, 130 families from across Dulwich schools joined Princeton University's Senior Assistant Dean of Admission, Mr. Justin Parsons, for the third installation of the University Talks. Dulwich College Seoul's Director of University and Career Counselling Ms. Kaersten Deeds, facilitated the program which featured a presentation on the Princeton application process, a review of holistic admissions at highly selective US universities, and the academic and social experiences a student can expect at the university. The talk concluded with a Q&A session open to students and parents.

Key takeaways

Princeton is NOT looking for a “perfect” student

The best applicants pursue their passions and make decisions for themselves, even if sometimes that means they make mistakes. Mr. Parsons advised students and parents to "give themselves grace in this process". For example, a student should never feel like Princeton is not looking for a certain type of extra-curricular activity.

Each component of an application is considered equally important during the review process

This means that a student's defining strength in the application can come from any academic or co-curricular interests, all of which work in concert to give admissions officers the information they need to make a decision.

Do NOT pursue academic assessments outside of schools

The most important baseline of information in the review process is the high school transcript. This four-year record of assessment should reflect the school's curriculum. Mr. Parsons was clear in discouraging students from pursuing academic assessments outside of schools. For example, our A level and IB students should not study AP in an attempt to increase their chances of acceptance. 

SATs/ACTs are optional

Princeton is a true "test optional" university. There is no advantage given to students who submit SAT or ACT scores.


Final review

In the final review of an applicant, the Princeton team will ask three crucial questions:

► Will this student contribute to the university's academic community?

► Will this student participate in the greater Princeton experience by being active outside of the classroom?

► Will this student be a good roommate?

Dulwich College Suzhou Class of 2018 alumna, Cindy H., who just graduated from Princeton in May, had this to say about her time at the university: "I really loved my time at Princeton. I really valued the support to have interdisciplinary experiences. Princeton encouraged me to pursue my passion in Musical Theatre while studying Computer Science. The environment in the town of Princeton and on campus encouraged me to dig deeper and forced me to slow down and learn in more depth. All the socialising happened on campus and it meant that I could get to know everybody. What really struck me is the amount of school spirit and how enthusiastic the alumni are to return to campus and support us if we ever need anything."

The University Talks Series creates a space for students and families to interact with and learn about tertiary institutions first-hand, enabling you to make informed choices and to help our students meet their full potential.

The University Talks series will continue to provide families across Dulwich schools with access to meaningful information on a diverse range of universities by bringing admissions officers and our counsellors together in dialogue. 


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