Princeton University

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#11, overall score 74.33/100

Fun Fact:

In 1947, Albert Einstein attended the first-ever Shabbat service at what is now Princeton Hillel.

Why should Jewish students attend Princeton? When students walk into the newly renovated Center for Jewish Life (CJL), the home to Princeton Hillel, they find a warm and welcoming community – rich with diversity and ripe with opportunities to connect to being Jewish in ways that are personally meaningful. Our kosher dining hall, run by the University, is constantly buzzing with Jewish and non-Jewish students of all backgrounds. The CJL’s award-winning trips deeply connect students with Jewish heritage and global peoplehood. With 23 student groups, inspiring learning programs, fun social activities and over 60 leadership opportunities, the CJL is “the place” for Jewish life at Princeton. - Robin Rudofker, Development Director, Center for Jewish Life

Being a Jew at Princeton means being part of the strongest, friendliest, and supportive community on campus. Members of the Jewish community and their friends immediately internalize a strong sense of belonging thanks to the variety of diverse opportunities for engagement with their faith alongside peers. From Chabad, to Hillel, to their children organizations such as Sinai Scholars, and to all the groups in between, the Jews of Princeton form a tight family that quickly becomes an inseparable part of the university experience. Whether it’s sharing magical Shabbat dinners with friends, coming together as a community to support others, learning more about our religion, or celebrating all kinds of events and holidays, Princeton University is the place to be for Jews of all backgrounds looking for a home away from home. - Rabbi Eitan Webb, Chabad House at Princeton


  • Location: Princeton, N.J.
  • Region: Mid-Atlantic
  • Campus type: College town
  • Public/Private: Private
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 5,400
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 500
  • Jewish population share: 9%
  • Student origin: 18% in-state / 82% out-of-state
  • Student newspaper: The Daily Princetonian
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Tigers
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Clockwork / Clockwork Orange

What Students Say:

“Princeton’s academics are incredible, and the speaker series and world leaders you can learn and hear from is amazing. The social life and quality of people is also very high, and Jewish life is strong and committed.”…“Social life can sometimes be stratified socioeconomically, just like every university.”…“The eating clubs are a big part of campus life, but none have strictly kosher options.”

COST & AID Score: 15/15

  • Score: 15/15
  • Tuition: $47,140
  • Room & board costs: $15,610
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $48,000
  • Average loan debt: $9,005
  • Starting median salary: $69,800
  • Scholarship for Jewish students: None

ACADEMICS Score: 20/20

  • Score: 20/20
  • Acceptance rate: 6%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 5:1
  • Median SAT range: 1430-1570
  • Jewish Studies program: Yes
  • Jewish Studies major: Minor
  • Hebrew major: No

ISRAEL Score: 11.33/20

  • Score: 11.33/20
  • Size of Birthright trip: 30
  • School-approved study abroad program in Israel: Yes
  • Israel Studies center: No
  • Israel-related clubs: Tigers For Israel, TAMID, J Street U
  • Jewish Agency for Israel fellow: Yes
  • BDS vote in last four years: Proposed, didn’t pass

SAFETY Score: 3/11

  • Score: 3/11
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2017: 5
  • Campus crime rate: 8.43/1,000 students (high)
  • City crime rate: 8.36/1,000 people (low)
  • LGBT center: yes

What Students Say:

“There could be a more pro-Israel environment at the Center for Jewish Life. There are some anti-Israeli government Jews at Princeton, and sometimes protests.”

JEWISH LIFE Score: 25/34

  • Score: 25/34
  • Hillel: Center for Jewish Life
  • Chabad: Chabad Of Princeton
  • OU-JLIC: Yes
  • Jewish a capella group: Koleinu
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Chicken soup hotline: Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 23
  • Hillel Friday night services: 5
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 175
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Chabad: 80
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 7 (1 Orthodox, 4 Conservative, 2 Reform)
  • Eruv: Yes
  • Most famous Jewish alum: Ethan Coen
  • Most unique/noteworthy club: Co-Create is a brand new CJL initiative that empowers Jewish Princeton students to bring their passions to the Princeton community.  Through a process of design thinking and 1-on- 1 coaching, students create projects and programs around five major focus areas: Community Service, Performing Arts, Politics and Debate, Community Building, and Health and Wellness.  The CJL provides student leaders with project funding up to $1000, mentorship, staff support, and a meaningful cohort experience.  There are 10 projects this semester, and examples include a new Jewish Theater Fellowship, a Collegiate Moot Beit Din (CMBD) weekend retreat, and a feminist pop-up space focusing on creative musical and dance expression on campus. The Co-Create platform is revitalizing the programming menu for students on campus and allowing our students to do the things that most inspire them.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? All over the country.
  • Kosher food details: A kosher dining hall operates as a regular campus dining hall, and also prepares special meals for Shabbat and holidays. Kosher food is available as part of students’ regular meal plan. On Shabbat and Holidays, a delicious three course meal is served at Chabad.

What Students Say:

“Other Jewish communities are very stratified by denomination. Possibly because ours is somewhat smaller, the people that want to be involved Jewishly can all be close and part of the community.”…“The CJL has a million ways to get involved, and the Orthodox community is particularly strong. Chabad couple Eitan and Gitty are the best Chabad couple anywhere. We have amazing Shabbat dinners in both CJL and Chabad with over 100 people in each. Holidays like Purim and Chanukah are well celebrated, and often with administrators in attendance.”…“There’s a pretty strong divide between the observant and unobservant community — it would be great if all Jews, regardless of denomination, felt comfortable with each other.”

Do you attend this school? Do you want to tell us more about what life there is like? Take our survey here, and your feedback could be featured in next year’s guide! And if you’re a student or campus professional, join our online community Jewish Campus Confidential, and apply to become a Forward Campus Ambassador.

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