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As admissions changes debated, Princeton admits students through QuestBridge

Nassau Hall, a large Renaissance-style building with ivy on the walls and a bell tower on top, surrounded by fall leaves.
Nassau Hall in fall.
Louisa Gheorghita / The Daily Princetonian

On Friday, Dec. 1, high schoolers across America who matched with universities through the QuestBridge National College Match received good news, including a new class of students admitted to Princeton.

Though neither the University nor QuestBridge have released data as to how many students were matched with Princeton this year, QuestBridge reported that, out of 20,800 applicants and 6,683 finalists, 2,242 students were matched with QuestBridge partner universities this year. In 2021, the University accepted 110 students through QuestBridge, about a twelfth of the total class. 

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These newest additions to Princeton’s student body have been accepted during a period of change for University admissions, as Princeton works to expand class sizes and adapts to the Supreme Court’s overturning of affirmative action in June. In succeeding months, University administrators and outside observers have brainstormed ways to increase the diversity of the class in the absence of affirmative action. Some students have pointed to socioeconomic diversity as a key factor which the University should lean into during the  admissions process. The partnership with QuestBridge is a key part of the University’s intentional efforts to increase socioeconomic diversity at a school where the median family income was estimated in 2015 to be $186,000.

The University has partnered as a “match” school with QuestBridge, a nonprofit organization that has connected first-generation and low-income students with partner schools, since 2006. Princeton’s website writes that “In the time that we have been a QuestBridge partner, we have ‘matched’ with hundreds of scholars,” but notes that the number of students accepted through QuestBridge varies from year to year. 

The Daily Princetonian spoke with some of Princeton’s QuestBridge matches for the class of 2028 to learn about their application and admission journeys.

Mannix Beall-O’Brien ’28, from Governors Island, N.Y., told the ‘Prince,’ “I’m so excited to come to Princeton. I think my first thoughts were ‘pinch me.’ Honestly, I’m just leaving [a state of] shock now.”

Faylinn Wong ’28 of Farmington, Mich. said in an interview with the ‘Prince,’ “I really wasn’t expecting to get matched at all, and I especially wasn’t expecting getting into the school I ranked first. So, when reality hit, I kind of just sat there shocked but at the same time thrilled knowing all my hard work paid off in the end.”  

Aina Marzia ’28, who lives in El Paso, Texas, described her QuestBridge application to the ‘Prince’ as “a long process that began during junior year when I was named a National College Prep Scholar. I began working on applications and looking into colleges since then. I was jittery all of November, in anticipation of the decision.”  

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All three of these accepted students noted their excitement for various academic aspects of Princeton. Beall-O’Brien cited his interest in the University’s “wonderful literature classes.” 

Marko Alimpijevic ’28 from Hightstown, N.J. said to the ‘Prince’ that he looks forward to “meeting new people on campus.” 

Marzia said that she “hopes to join campus hubs that encourage meaningful discussion and actionable work for the betterment of society.”

There are some worries amongst the newest members of the Princeton community, including about the adjustment to campus life and policies. Alimpijevic told the Prince, “I'm mostly worried about dorming, not just because I could be stuck with a roommate I don't exactly like, but because I don't want to leave my family when they need my help at home.”

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Marzia cited updates to the University’s regulations on Personal Electric Vehicles and said, “Earlier I saw the news of the electric scooters being banned, which is a bummer because I was genuinely looking forward to trying one for the first time on campus.”

While Princeton’s QuestBridge matches come from a diverse range of intellectual interests and geographic backgrounds, they all mentioned valuing a sense of community throughout their application and acceptance processes.  

Beall-O’Brien told the ‘Prince’ that he already feels like he’s started adjusting to Princeton thanks to “a wonderful super active group chat,” which is run by a member of the class who had previously taken a gap year and “has spent what must be hours answering everyone’s panicked questions.”

Alimpijevic told the ‘Prince’ that he was with his swim team at home when he received the news.

“I found out the news in the locker room right after I finished swim practice,” he said. “When I opened up my results and saw confetti, I started screaming and flipping out. The whole team crowded around me asking what happened. When I told them I got into Princeton, they all went insane and congratulated me. It seriously felt unreal and still does.”

Marzia told the ‘Prince’ about the importance of her family, with whom she emigrated from Pakistan. “The acceptance was an exhilarating experience. My parents and three sisters, who, like me, are immigrants, surrounded me, and it was a full-circle moment. Seeing their faces light up with joy as the confetti appeared on the screen made me realize that this was something that they had also worked for. Princeton was a shared dream,” she said.

Princeton will release single-choice Early Action decisions later this month — last year, these decisions were announced on Dec. 15. Regular decision applications are due Jan. 1.

Meghana Veldhuis is a News contributor for the 'Prince.'

Please send any corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

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