Most interviews can be a bit overwhelming, especially ones by prestigious colleges like Princeton. Many students look forward to gaining acceptance at the institution with a competitive acceptance rate. To increase your chance of approval, it would help if you create positive first impressions and respond confidently.
So what does it take to pass Princeton interview questions and set yourself apart from others? Below is a sample of interview questions you will most likely encounter while interviewing for a slot at the institution.
1. How Would You Describe Yourself?
I have always committed my all when it comes to my studies. During group assignments, I always volunteer to lead and participate wholeheartedly. I work hard to deliver research before the deadline if a teacher wants research done. My motivation and self-discipline have helped me pass all my major exams. Generally, my performance has consistently been above average.
While in high school, I tried to participate in various extracurricular activities as I wasn’t sure where my passions lay. I helped organize school fundraisers, edited the school yearbook, and participated in community projects our school hosted.
I hope that once I join college, I’ll be able to find new activities from the wide variety available. I know I will be able to narrow down my interests and participate in activities that will shape my capabilities and career path.
2. Why Should We Consider Your Application?
I know this institution has high standards, and only disciplined and hardworking students can thrive here. Being the firstborn has helped me develop a deep sense of responsibility from a young age. I believe my life experiences will enable me to succeed as I am aware of the sacrifices one must make to achieve their objectives.
I have had to look after my siblings while my mother worked, learn how to cook and clean from a young age and multitask without neglecting my academics. In contrast, I managed to pass all my exams thanks to my hard work and commitment. Despite what lies ahead, I will never relent or give up on my dreams. I believe my belief system aligns with Princeton’s culture. Getting accepted here for me will be a dream come true.
3. Why Do You Want To Join Princeton?
Princeton is an institution that seeks to achieve the highest levels of distinction in discovering and transmitting knowledge and academics. When I first started looking for an appropriate college, I liked the school’s commitment to excellence and the fact that it accepts international students.
The institute’s reputation for excellence makes me want to be part of it. As a research student, I look forward to improving my academic intelligence.
4. Describe Some Activities You Participated In While In School?
During my time in high school, I joined the student government as I wanted to shape school policy and events. I vied for an elective seat in the student’s council, where I adequately represented my student interests by coordinating fun activities like dance, community outreach, and other sectors.
Once you accept me at Princeton, I hope to utilize the leadership skills I acquired in high school. Leading teams is something I am passionate about, and I believe I can make a positive contribution once I acquaint myself with Princeton’s culture.
5. How Would Your Friends And Teachers Describe You?
It was my English teacher who discovered my communication skills. Whenever we have a group discussion, my classmates will always select me to conduct the presentation on behalf of the team. People have always praised my ability to explain complex concepts in simple ways everywhere I go.
Last year, we developed an application that we believed would help kids better understand intricate mathematical formulae. I got the opportunity to explain our ideas at the annual science congress competition, and because of my simple explanation, my team won the award.
6. Why Have You Settled For This Major?
My fascination with gadgets started a long time ago. As a child, operating devices always intrigued me, and as I grew older, I didn’t know how to develop my passion into a career. I researched more about Princeton’s engineering department and knew that that was my ideal academic place.
I want to pursue electrical and computer engineering, and what better place to develop that career than at Princeton? I believe this is the best place as the institution ranks highly and attracts some of the best minds to teach and impart knowledge.
7. What Contribution Are You Bringing To The College Community?
I headed the science club in high school, a role that has shaped my leadership skills. I hope to volunteer in leadership roles and positively contribute to the college community. My performance in high school reflects my interests.
I have always been an above-average student with exemplary performance in mathematics and sciences. While I loved physics and biology, chemistry is my favorite subject as it goes beyond theoretical knowledge and includes carrying out experiments and drawing conclusions. I know a degree from Princeton will guide me to contribute to the world of innovation.
8. What Skills Do You Intend To Develop Through This Program?
While I have a passion for science, my research writing isn’t as polished as I’d like it to be. I would love to perfect my research skills and learn how to articulate my thoughts through presentation and writing. I believe that through this academic program, I can further develop this skill and improve my presentation capabilities.
9. Do You Intend To Further Your Education?
I am ambitious and foresee pursuing a master’s degree after my undergraduate program. However, at this point, I am not quite sure if I’ll enroll immediately or join the job market and do it at a later date. I believe I will have a clearer picture of how to go about it as I continue with my studies.
10. What Career Options Are You Passionate About?
Once I graduate, I would love to intern at a manufacturing firm to get hands-on experience handling equipment. The opportunity in a busy industry will offer me great exposure and experience.
I hope to be part of research where I can create new ideas. Working in a team involved in designing or developing new technologies in manufacturing and marketing is fantastic.
11. How Will You Pay For This Program?
While in high school, I won two scholarships that I believe will help me. I also intend to work part-time to cover my upkeep and other expenses. I also hope to apply for other qualifying grants.
12. What Plans Do You Have After Graduating?
I don’t have a clear picture, but I hope to enroll in a mentorship program and learn from seasoned professionals in this industry. I would also love to take a short break and travel up north to visit my parents, whom I haven’t seen in two years. I’ve been so busy with my academics that I barely had time to visit them. I think it will be a great reunion, and I’ll have time to relax and unwind after a hectic academic year.
13. Do You Intend To Participate In Any Extracurricular Activities?
I have researched the available clubs within the institution and the opportunities the school offers outside of class. I hope to join the sports club as I am a fitness enthusiast. I love maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise and a proper diet. I also hope to volunteer in my former primary school and offer coaching classes to the kids there.
14. Apart From Academics, Have You Participated In Any Other Activities?
I have always had a liking for animals and have always wanted to contribute to their well-being. To better equip myself, I spend my free time learning how to care for pets. Just recently, I started an organization that seeks to champion animal rights. I hope to educate my peers and, with time, offer mentorship programs.
15. Have You Experienced Any Challenges In Your Academic Journey? How Did You Handle It?
Several years ago, I developed chest pains and was hospitalized for a prolonged duration, making me miss an entire semester. Thankfully, my condition improved, and I could recuperate from home.
I had a lot of catching up and had to work extra to be on the same level as my classmates. Our final exam was coming up in a few weeks, and though my teachers wanted me to defer, I was determined to sit for that exam.
With my doctor’s approval, I enrolled for private coaching to familiarize myself with what I’d missed. My determination and hard work paid off as I sat for that exam and passed. Though I did not emerge among the best, I was happy that I did not fail and performed averagely.
16. Share Your Best Achievements That Have Made You Feel Proud?
My passion for animals led me to join the wildlife club, where I’ve been part of numerous activities that the club organizes. Recently, my classmates and I organized a visit to Africa’s exotic wildlife habitats. We wanted to visit wild animals we’ve only seen in documentaries. While the idea excited us, it was a very costly affair.
But, that did not discourage us as we came up with a strategy of how we would raise funds. We were in no hurry to make the trip and gave ourselves two years to not feel overwhelmed by the financial commitment.
Each month, we ensured to raise funds for that mission by selling artifacts we were making ourselves. We also applied for babysitting jobs and other income-generating projects to help meet our target.
Our hard work helped us pay for our two-week educational exchange program to Africa. Seeing wildlife in their natural habitat was a fantastic experience I would gladly take if I get another chance.
17. What Challenges Have You Had While Leading A Team?
As a class prefect, I’ve always been responsible for maintaining order in the classroom. One time there was a misunderstanding between students and teachers which led to a breakdown in communication. Within a short time, students had organized a strike and wanted to disrupt the school calendar.
As a leader, I had to choose between being labeled a snitch or upholding my vow to maintain peace and order. It was a hard time for me, and I did not know how to handle it. After sharing my concerns with my mentor, she advised me to take my time, brainstorm, and come up with an appropriate solution.
Just days before the set strike, I had an idea. I gathered my classmates and organized a brainstorming session. From that session, I gathered insightful concerns that I shared with management, who were more than willing to make the necessary adjustments. I was so happy that I could cool tempers and avert the destruction of property.
18. What Is Your Most Memorable School Experience?
As a high school student, I always wanted to exercise my leadership skills. As a supplementary activity, I got a chance to teach several lessons at a nearby kindergarten. I was so excited and took the time to prepare my lessons.
When I entered that class, I knew I was making my first career steps as I desired to impart knowledge. Though overwhelming, I immensely enjoyed the experience and took it upon myself to volunteer every weekend to teach Sunday school kids at my local church. I knew I was taking my first steps toward becoming a university lecturer.
19. Where Do You See Yourself After Graduation?
My current desire is to join Princeton, as I know it’s a reputable institution that will adequately prepare me for the job market. As soon as I graduate, I will clearly understand which career path to take. As I continue my studies, I will have acquired good insights into the specialty that most fits my personality and preferences.
I picture myself growing academically and accessing internship opportunities in any of the leading industries. I hope to be part of a company that will offer me opportunities to grow and contribute positively.
20. How Do You Handle Failure?
While I’ve always excelled academically and thrived in mathematics and sciences, I’ve always struggled in my history class. Having to remember what happened in the past has always baffled me. To perform better, I shared my concerns with my history teacher, who offered me, extra coaching classes.
Three times a week, he helped me improve my research and writing skills, enabling me to assess the value and validity of information sources. Thanks to his patience and selfless commitment, I can comprehensively present my findings on any historical topic, including the World War, the lives of past and present presidents, and the declaration of independence by different states.
21. What Are You Currently Reading?
Currently, I am reading an old classic, “The Alchemist,” which is an excellent book about an inspirational passage towards self-discovery. The book outlines a young shepherd’s journey towards discovering self, recognizing unique abilities, and pursuing one’s passion.
22. What Do You Do To Relax After A Long Day?
I enjoy reading inspirational books whenever I have the time. Reading helps me relax and motivates me to achieve more. Through reading, I can now articulate my thoughts and have seen an improvement in my writing capabilities. Each week, I commit to reading at least three books.
23. Who Inspires You And Why?
One of my greatest motivators is my science teacher, Mr. McKenzie. Despite his numerous commitments, he always takes time to mentor students. I credit part of my success and career choice to him. During my final year in high school, he spent plenty of time with me, helping me make appropriate career selections.
24. What Do You Intend To Learn From Your College Experience?
By the time I complete my degree, I hope to be able to grasp scientific concepts that lead to a positive contribution to innovation. I want my academic experience to prepare me for the market where I can offer practical solutions to the many challenges.
25. How Do You Plan To Spend Your School Breaks?
As soon as the semester goes on break, I intend to volunteer at the local hospice center, caring for terminally ill patients. I have the burden of developing advanced medication to manage cancer. I know the pain patients experience, especially those in advanced stages, and I desire better management of the disease.
Getting an interview invitation at an institution of higher learning can elicit excitement and nervousness. Though you may be thrilled that a university is considering your application, you can’t help but feel panicky.
The best way to manage is to prepare in advance. While each university has its style of interviewing, there are similarities, irrespective of the institution or courses that interest you. An interviewer gauges the applicant’s thoughtfulness and preparedness when responding to questions. Never stop asking them to repeat or clarify a point if you’ve not understood.