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8 takeaways from the 2023 senior survey

Weird Weather_Louisa Gheorghita.jpg
The usually lively Mathey courtyard was empty due to the heavy rainfall Saturday. 
Louisa Gheorghita / The Daily Princetonian

Last year, The Daily Princetonian launched the Senior Survey, asking a range of questions of the senior class and breaking it down in over 200 ways. Today, the ‘Prince’ released its second senior survey. Here are eight takeaways from the data collected about the Class of 2023. 

The average GPA of survey respondents was markedly higher than Princeton’s last report, in 2018. 


The average GPA of Princeton students was 3.49 in 2018, the last time the University reported the statistic. The survey found an average GPA of 3.70 among respondents. 

The University retired its policy of grade deflation in 2013, and since then, the average GPA has crept higher. Just over a fifth of students surveyed had received one A+ during their time at Princeton, while 48.6 percent had never received one. About 5 percent of students had received six or more A+s. 

Administrators are worried about a trend of grade inflation — Dean Jill Dolan raised the issue to the USG Senate in November 2021, and recently, University President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 has stressed the importance of “academic rigor.”

A significant share of students who look for mental health counseling do so off-campus. 

Only 35.4 percent of students report that they’ve never had mental health counseling, while over half of respondents stated that they’d been to counseling with CPS. Since September, CPS has made significant changes to its program, including implementing a 24/7 CPS Cares Line

However, a majority of students who said that they had therapy reported that they had been to therapy outside of CPS. While some of these students may be reporting therapy they have had either before Princeton or during COVID-19, this may also be related to complaints that CPS has long wait times or inadequate therapy


Students in eating clubs and co-ops are more likely to have strongly unfavorable views of the dining pilot than independent students. 

Over 30 percent of students in eating clubs said they had strongly unfavorable views of the University’s dining pilot, while 28.6 percent of co-op members said the same. By contrast, only 11.5 percent of independent students viewed the dining pilot strongly unfavorably. 

The dining pilot, if fully implemented, would vastly expand independent students’ options, which some students report are hindered by transport options and local expenses. Eating clubs and co-ops have pushed back against the dining pilot, but according to a recent investigation by the ‘Prince,’ most dining pilot swipes are used for late meal and at dining halls.

International students were more likely to take out small loans than their peers, but no overall difference in loans. 

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Though 87.5 percent of international and 88.4 percent of domestic students reported graduating without having taken out loans, international students were significantly more likely to take out loans that amounted to less than $5,000.

As highlighted in a guest contribution by Gil Joseph ’25 and Mutemwa Masheke ’23, some international students have previously reported taking out loans to cover a 14 percent tax that the Internal Revenue Service applies on international students’ scholarship amounts that exceed the cost of tuition.

Students on partial financial aid were significantly more likely to take out loans than students on full aid or no aid.  The University is substantially increasing its financial aid, starting next year.

For the second year in a row, Colonial Club had the highest expected income after graduation. Cannon Club had the lowest. 

Last year, Colonial swept away its eating club peers in expected income after graduation, with an average expected income of $172,100. This year, the club’s expected income is lower, but it is still the highest of all the eating clubs, at $157,200. Cannon had the lowest, at $60,900. 

The survey also shows that Colonial is the only club where a majority of members are pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree — a factor correlated to income after graduation.

The few students going into entrepreneurship, government, non-profit work, and the military felt confident that they were living up to Princeton’s informal motto.

In each of these fields, 100 percent of respondents said that they viewed their postgraduate plans as being “in the nation’s service and in the service of humanity.” Yet together, only 8.4 percent of seniors were going into these fields. 

Over a quarter of the total respondents had lower confidence in living up to the motto. This included students choosing more popular career fields: only 32.6 percent of prospective consultants (8.3 percent of respondents), 14.5 percent of those going into finance (9.9 percent of respondents), and 34.9 percent of software engineers (7.7 percent of respondents) felt the same. 

In a recent interview with the ‘Prince,’ Eisgruber said that students in all disciplines should be concerned about service, saying that “if you’re a software engineer, and you’re producing outstanding code, you should also be thinking about what that code means for the world. How is it affecting people?”

Despite overhauls to the Honor Code, it remains unpopular and unfollowed, and most students don’t believe it has improved. 

The Honor Code is deeply unpopular, with 61.9 percent of students viewing it strongly or somewhat unfavorably. Moreover, over a quarter of students surveyed reported violating the Honor Code during their time at Princeton.

Only 6 percent of respondents said that the Honor Code had been improved during their time at Princeton. Indeed, the last major changes to the Honor Code were implemented in February of 2019 (months before the Class of 2023 arrived on campus), when the University increased the range of penalties — including adding a reprimand for minor first offenses — and eliminated character witnesses from disciplinary hearings.

The last major reform related to the Honor Code came in November 2022, when Princeton Peer Representatives were made a resource to students facing accusations through the Committee on Discipline.

Conservatives on campus report feeling very uncomfortable sharing their political views.

64.3 percent of very conservative students and 55.2 percent of somewhat conservative students feel somewhat or very uncomfortable sharing their political views on campus, compared to 3.2 percent of leftists and socialists.

Prominent campus conservatives have expressed this same opinion in the pages of national media outlets, including the National Review and, recently, The New York Times

The survey also revealed that major campus issues were deeply politically polarized — while leftists and socialists overwhelmingly voted in favor of disassociating from Caterpillar in a 2021 referendum, the vote was about even among very liberal students, and not in favor for all other identifiers. Eisgruber was also significantly more popular among conservatives than liberals or leftists. 

Laura Robertson is a senior News writer and associate Audience editor for the ‘Prince.’

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