Princeton Admissions Essays

Princeton Short Answers

Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences that was particularly meaningful to you. (About 150 words)

For the last three years, I have savored the intellectual stimulation and pressure-filled competition of Public Forum debate, but I have also grown tired of my favorite activity being dominated by boys. This year, as debate captain, I strengthened my high school team into a female-majority powerhouse ten times as large as last year. Easily spending more than 12 hours a week preparing for meetings and practices, I implemented a system of accountability by checking my teammates' cases for completion in a shared online folder and holding them responsible for organizing their own practice debates before competition. I also trained them in attitude, instructing the quieter girls to speak with confidence because they are more brilliant than they realize. Slowly, I watched my smattering of nervous freshman transform into an army of fearless champions who hugged me with pride every time they took home a top trophy.

Please tell us how you have spent the last two summers (or vacations between school years), including any jobs you have held. (About 150 words)

I pursued my enthusiasm for cryptography in two ways: traditionally, by taking advanced hacking classes at a national laboratory, and untraditionally, by learning to design ambigrams. In between, I wrote high school computer science curriculum for the government, read Tolstoy for the first time, and debated constitutional law on national television. I saw U2 perform the best rock concert of my life in Chicago, tutored middle school kids in geometry, and used a GoPro camera to make a music video of my family taking surf lessons. I spoke only Spanish for 5 weeks while traveling abroad, volunteered to test an ancient myth by locking myself in a castle morgue, and cheered hysterically for Team USA during the FIFA World Cup. I survived pre-season training with my varsity volleyball team and sat wide-eyed next to a Ukrainian engineer on a two-hour plane ride as he told me his life story and helped me reflect on the difference between majors and professions.

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How to cite this essay (MLA)

M, Samantha. "Princeton Short Answers" Study Notes, LLC., 26 Jun. 2016. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <>.