Curve Breakers, Record Takers, and Money Makers


Curve Breakers, Record Takers, and Money Makers

Though they hadn’t yet fought TigerHub to enroll at 7 a.m. or frantically checked, the Class of 2026 embraced academics in high school and intend to continue during their time at Old Nassau. Below are the findings on the incoming class with the most valedictorians and Questbridge scholars since our frosh surveys began, as they predict what concentrations they’ll hold in four years and spill on what Ivy League institutions they left in the non-New Jersey dust.

Explore the Data


The Class of 2026 is overwhelmingly pleased to study at Old Nassau — some 71 percent of respondents indicated that Princeton was their “top choice school.” If Princeton was not one’s top choice, respondents overwhelmingly would have preferred to attend MIT, Stanford, or Harvard. A little under half (49.7 percent) of first-years were admitted to the University through regular decision, while a whopping 7.3 percent became Tigers by virtue of the Questbridge program. This contrasts starkly with the class of 2024, where only 0.8 percent of admits were Questbridge scholars.

Honor Code

Though such behavior would certainly violate the Honor Code at the University, cheating was a sizable part of the high school experience for the class of 2026. One-fifth (20.5 percent) cheated themselves, while over half (59.8 percent) had knowledge of a peer cheating in high school. Despite an apparently prevalent culture of academic dishonesty, only 4.8 percent ever chose to report a peer for cheating — an obligation extended to all students under the Honor Code at Princeton. Ahead of the cheating subsection, the ‘Prince’ reminded first-years that all responses to the Frosh Survey are fully anonymous.

Pre-College Studies

Nearly every eligible first-year won some variety of academic honor during their high school career — only 5.1 percent attended schools which granted awards but failed to win one themselves. One-fifth of incoming first-years graduated with their institution’s top academic honor, valedictorian, while another 6.3 percent earned the salutatory position. Before their final days of high school, first-years experienced a wide variety of at-home academic rigor — as homework time spaced relatively evenly from 0 hours a week (that’s an average of 0 hours a day) to over 35 hours a week (5 hours a day). AP classes form a similar distribution, as most students took between 5 and 12 AP classes.


In testing, perhaps no group stood out more than recruited athletes. Only half of recruited athletes (50.5 percent) submitted standardized test scores to Princeton — an option made possible by the University’s decision to remain test-optional through the 2022–23 admission cycle. Among those athletes who shared their SAT scores with the ‘Prince,’ 41.3 percent scored lower than 1390. This contrasts starkly with non-athletes, 81.3 percent of whom submitted test scores and 8.5 percent of whom scored below 1390.

Broadly, in line with official numbers released by the Office of Admission, most students scored in the mid 30s on the ACT and the upper 1500s on the SAT and 14.7 percent of respondents sat for both examinations.

Intended Studies

Engineering once again triumphed as the most popular field of study among the first-year class, attracting 32.3 percent of incoming students, nearly four times the paltry 8.2 percent who intend to concentrate in the humanities. Similarly keeping with previous years, Finance stood as the most popular potential certificate choice for 2026 — nearly one in five students intend to pursue the qualification. At 12 percent, “Undecided” was the most popular concentration followed closely by the ever-popular Computer Science (10.5 percent), Economics (8.7 percent), and School of Public and International Affairs (8.5 percent). Zero respondents indicated that they intend to concentrate in French and Italian, Religion, or Slavic Languages and Literatures.

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