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Guest Fraya_Tormenta

Princeton, NJ

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1.) yes, but i haven't been without a car for the last 10 years so i'm probably pretty biased. you could manage on foot if you lived in a good location close to campus.

2.) i think it's great, aside from roving tourists. realize this isn't a conventional "college town" in any sense, so being short a few thousand undergrads isn't even noticeable. i don't know what a soc program is like, but you don't get to just disappear for a summer.

3.) no idea, sorry.

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For those of you with a car I would advocate living off campus. If you go between eight and twelve miles south of Princeton into Trenton and it's suburbs of Lawrenceville and Hamilton you can get substantially lower rent. This is especially important given the temporary shortage in university owned housing stock that will happen over the next year or two. They are taking down one of the existing grad student housing structures and will be building new ones.

Parking is free on campus if you qualify, just bring a copy of your lease into the parking office.

THere is a massive divide between the grad students and the undergrads made I think more accute by the fact that there is relatively less teaching done by Princeton grad students. The likelyhood of the same undergrad having the same preceptor (TA) in more than one class is basically nil in most departments. Grad students tend to see them as privelaged and isolated (there are jokes about it), while they see us as mysterious creatures. Last september the opening issue of the Daily Princetonian advocated "talking to a grad student" as one of the not to be missed opportunities to the freshman.

The tourists I think is the most shocking thing, and they get much more pronounced over the summer. In the late 1960s a Japanese photographer took a well known series of pictures of Ivy League students and it apparently carries some sort of weird cache in Asia so there are often tour groups of 50 or a 100 wandering around the historic parts of campus. At first you try to avoid walking in their pictures and than you just give up because you do have to get places.

I wouldn't say the undergrads being missing in the summer is unnoticeable, but it's nothing like other college towns I have lived in. This is not a town that looses the majority of it's population in the summer and since most of the undergrads don't live off campus it really has very little effect on the town itself.

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Can anyone comment on the undergrad-grad dynamic?

I'm also considering Yale, which seems, from what I've read, to have an almost institutionally mandated schism between the two (grad students don't have access to undergrad colleges, organizations are distinct between the two, etc.)

Is it similar at Princeton, or is there a bit more interaction?

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Can anyone comment on the undergrad-grad dynamic?

I'm also considering Yale, which seems, from what I've read, to have an almost institutionally mandated schism between the two (grad students don't have access to undergrad colleges, organizations are distinct between the two, etc.)

Is it similar at Princeton, or is there a bit more interaction?

 

Be aware that at Yale, there are opportunities for graduate students to become "liaisons" of sorts with undergraduate colleges, which comes with the privilege of access to undergraduate colleges, facilities, and an opportunity to intermingle with them. I have a friend who has done this for two years in a row and has met some wonderful people. She also gets two free meals a week in the undergraduate dining halls (which are quite good, actually, as is the graduate hall in HGS). In return, she hosts one event per semester in the college around a quasi-academic (or just plain fun) theme... it isn't odious and it is meant to provide graduate students with an opportunity to mentor undergraduates, interact with them, etc. I am not aware that it is particularly competitive to get one of these positions either.

 

In any event, as a current Yale Ph.D. student, most of my classes have at least two junior or senior undergraduate students in them and they certainly don't behave differently and nor do the professors or other students interact with them differently. 

 

In short, I don't know what your field is, but in my field (history), the divide is as big as you want it to be, essentially.

 

Sorry about the brief Yale interlude -- back to all things Princeton. ;)

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Housing question: When I visited, the first year grad students told me it's normal for entering students in the program to live in the Butler apartments (one lives in Lawrence, although he himself admitted he lucked out). Only one of the first years lives in the graduate college, and that was because he actually wanted to. This sort of seems to contradict what was said earlier in the thread...the impression I got from the forum was that it's really hard NOT to live in the graduate college your first year. Could anyone clarify this? I'd really like to avoid being stuck in a dorm-style living situation (2 BR apt would be ideal, actually). For the record, I'd be entering as a PhD student (although I'm not sure that matters).

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Be aware that at Yale, there are opportunities for graduate students to become "liaisons" of sorts with undergraduate colleges, which comes with the privilege of access to undergraduate colleges, facilities, and an opportunity to intermingle with them. I have a friend who has done this for two years in a row and has met some wonderful people. She also gets two free meals a week in the undergraduate dining halls (which are quite good, actually, as is the graduate hall in HGS). In return, she hosts one event per semester in the college around a quasi-academic (or just plain fun) theme... it isn't odious and it is meant to provide graduate students with an opportunity to mentor undergraduates, interact with them, etc. I am not aware that it is particularly competitive to get one of these positions either.

 

In any event, as a current Yale Ph.D. student, most of my classes have at least two junior or senior undergraduate students in them and they certainly don't behave differently and nor do the professors or other students interact with them differently. 

 

In short, I don't know what your field is, but in my field (history), the divide is as big as you want it to be, essentially.

 

Sorry about the brief Yale interlude -- back to all things Princeton. ;)

 

Cheers, that's helpful information.

I also read about that program (although, as I understand it, you only have access to the college at which you act as liaison).  

I would also agree about the divide being as big as you want it to be, but there is something to be said about the university placing unnecessary hurdles in the path of the two groups interacting.  

Princeton has the disadvantage of having a much smaller graduate population in comparison to Yale, so it isn't necessarily a clear-cut issue.

After my visits, I'll probably end up flipping a coin!

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Cheers, that's helpful information.

I also read about that program (although, as I understand it, you only have access to the college at which you act as liaison).  

I would also agree about the divide being as big as you want it to be, but there is something to be said about the university placing unnecessary hurdles in the path of the two groups interacting.  

Princeton has the disadvantage of having a much smaller graduate population in comparison to Yale, so it isn't necessarily a clear-cut issue.

After my visits, I'll probably end up flipping a coin!

 

To be perfectly honest, I don't think that you can lose either way. :) Relative to each other, I would say that Yale's advantage is that it has New Haven (a city with *tons* of stuff to do, much of it free to us as Yalies)... Princeton's advantage is that it is not in New Haven (a city in which the issues of American poverty are front-and-center, although more exaggerated in terms of the "danger" factor than the media would have one think)... I do think that you are right about only having access to a single college, but somehow one of the graduate students here has access to all of the residential colleges... and in terms of hanging out in wonderful garden spaces, there are a few times when I've just lurked around the entrance for a moment or two until a student goes in/comes out and then enjoy the gardens... there are also events that happen in the residential colleges (I belong to a weekly lunch colloquium) and we still have to wait for undergrads to let us in (and this lunch series typically involves around 20 faculty and another two dozen or so graduate students!!)... it hasn't been much of a barrier to my enjoyment of things here so far!

 

In any event, Princeton is darned amazing and is easily my favorite Ivy campus... Best of luck to you in choosing -- that is going to be a tough choice!

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Hey guys! I was admitted to one of the Princeton's PhD programs and I am wondering what is the best housing option for a incoming graduate student (I'm single). As far as I got from the website, you can choose between dorms in the Old (New) Graduate College and apartments in Lawrence, Butler and Stanworth. I don't need much space and I'm totally fine with living in a dorm as long as I have my personal room. Of course, I would like to spend on housing as less as possible, although quality of living (not money) is my major concern.

 

0. How common is to stay in colleges rather than apartments? 

 

1. What is the difference between graduate colleges? Is it true that you might need to share a room there? Is it mostly 1st year student who live there? Are the all mixed from different departments?

 

2. Is it obligatory in colleges to buy these meal plans? As for me, it looks ridiculously expensive, but I might be wrong. What do you think, does it make sense?

 

3. How is it likely to get studio in one of the complexes?

 

4. The website says that Butler and Stanworth will be closed next year and their residents will get a priority for the new Lakeside complex. What do you think about this new housing option? It looks cool, but I assume it'll be very expensive. 

 

5. How do Butler, Stanworth and Lawrence compare? 

 

Sorry for so many questions and thanks in advance!

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Hi, I'm a second year phd student.

Hey guys! I was admitted to one of the Princeton's PhD programs and I am wondering what is the best housing option for a incoming graduate student (I'm single). As far as I got from the website, you can choose between dorms in the Old (New) Graduate College and apartments in Lawrence, Butler and Stanworth. I don't need much space and I'm totally fine with living in a dorm as long as I have my personal room. Of course, I would like to spend on housing as less as possible, although quality of living (not money) is my major concern.

 

0. How common is to stay in colleges rather than apartments? 

Contrary to a post above, I think it is more common for first years to be in the GC (old & new), and if you don't know anyone else in Princeton, I would recommend that option. In the NGC, rooms are small and bathrooms are shared. I don't remember what the OGC was like.

 

1. What is the difference between graduate colleges? Is it true that you might need to share a room there? Is it mostly 1st year student who live there? Are the all mixed from different departments?

OGC was built a while ago and has more multi-person housing. The NGC is all single-person housing. I think most students in the GC are 1st or 2nd years. Mixed from all departments.

 

2. Is it obligatory in colleges to buy these meal plans? As for me, it looks ridiculously expensive, but I might be wrong. What do you think, does it make sense?

If you live in the GC, it is required. It is indeed ridiculous and they are screwing you over. Buy the cheapest meal plan. You can also live in the Annexes which are converted houses converted to dorm-style living. You live with ~12-15 others depending on the house, and there is a communal kitchen and sometimes a common room. You actually live closer to campus than if you lived in the GC. And you're not required to buy a meal plan. So if you like to cook, I'd say this is the best option. 

 

3. How is it likely to get studio in one of the complexes?

Don't know, but I think it's hard.

 

4. The website says that Butler and Stanworth will be closed next year and their residents will get a priority for the new Lakeside complex. What do you think about this new housing option? It looks cool, but I assume it'll be very expensive. 

Agreed. Looks cool and new and shiny, but will probably be pricey. But (I think) there will be 2br, 3br, and 4br options, and the rooms should cost less as you add people. With priority (and 3 friends to room with), that would be a pretty sweet deal.

 

5. How do Butler, Stanworth and Lawrence compare? 

Butler is like a trailer park. 2-br homes. Cozy, super cheap. Prices listed on the price sheet are for 2 bedrooms so cut it in half if you have a roommate. Far from town. Bike to campus or the town, or take the shuttle.

 

Stanworth is nicer, but I've only been there once. Used to be faculty/postdoc housing. A bit far from campus. Can walk to town, but most probably bike there. I think everyone bikes or takes the shuttle to campus.

 

I think Lawrence is comparable to Stanworth in quality. Big, tall apartment buildings. Feels new, lots of grad students around, nice common space and kitchen. Can walk to town, but most probably bike there. Can walk to campus but most probably bike or shuttle there.

Sorry for so many questions and thanks in advance!

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Housing question: When I visited, the first year grad students told me it's normal for entering students in the program to live in the Butler apartments (one lives in Lawrence, although he himself admitted he lucked out). Only one of the first years lives in the graduate college, and that was because he actually wanted to. This sort of seems to contradict what was said earlier in the thread...the impression I got from the forum was that it's really hard NOT to live in the graduate college your first year. Could anyone clarify this? I'd really like to avoid being stuck in a dorm-style living situation (2 BR apt would be ideal, actually). For the record, I'd be entering as a PhD student (although I'm not sure that matters).

 

I think it's actually more normal for entering students to live in the GC, but perhaps that's just people in my program (neuro). It's definitely convenient for entering students -- you don't have to buy furniture or cookware and you can opt for a 1-br and not risk living with someone you don't get along with. Most people move out of the GC after living there for a year though because it kind of sucks to live in... especially over the summer when it is just sweltering hot (no a/c built-in or allowed). You also get screwed over by the expensive meal plan and it's annoying to cook in the two communal kitchens.

 

If you don't want to be in dorm-style living and eating off of the meal plan for a year, I would definitely apply for an apartment. 

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My husband and I have two small children.  Which graduate student apartment complex would be most suitable for a family of four?  Proximity to the train station is important, since my husband will commute to NYC two days each week. Any advice is welcome!

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Bumping this for 2014. Given that housing is going through an overhaul with butler closing and the new apartments opening, can any current students speculate as to the chances of an incoming phd student getting a spot in a 2br apartment? Or will things stay the same with first years basically shut out of apartments and forced to live in the GC? Living in a dorm again sounds absolutely horrible. I'm overall super positive about my program and the university, but the graduate housing situation is a real turn-off.

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I'll put it bluntly: is it suffocating to live on campus? Or, in the town, for that matter - do you just bump into the same people, who are also from the university? I mean it's quite a few years I would have to spend there and I do not want to become a hermit (more than I am already, ha ha). 

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Hey all, I'm back from visit day. As a prospective student, I can't answer your questions firsthand, however I did gather some information conversing with current students. 

 

LKS: One of the students I've met during the visit was assigned to Old Lawrence as a first year, after requesting it. I have also heard of people transferring out of GC during or after their first semester. Apartment housing should be even easier to get this fall with Lakeside opening.

 

gentlechaos: Living in GC for the first year helps in meeting people outside of your department. It also seems easy and encouraged to take courses or attend colloquium and social events from other areas and departments. I haven't heard complaints about isolation from current  students -- they did mention the lack of social life off-campus, but it is compensated by graduate school-wide activities and the proximity to NYC and Philly. 

Edited by gorki

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Can anyone comment on the best way to get to Princeton from Boston? I'm going to try to do both the Kennedy School and Woodrow Wilson visit days, and just trying to figure out the best way to travel in between. 

 

I could take the train from Boston to New York Penn (about 4 hours) and then transfer at Penn Station for the NJ Transit train to Princeton Junction (about 1 hour), probably about six hours total travel once you factor everything in.  I'd probably take a taxi from Princeton Junction rather than take the Dinky. 

 

Or I could fly from Boston to Newark and get to Princeton from there (probably also by train, but potentially by car).  The flight is only 1 hour, but I have to factor in getting to the airport early, security, etc; and then the 40 mile trip from Newark to Princeton.  I might save one or two hours, but it seems like more hassle for not that much time savings.  

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LKS:  The GC is definitely the best option if you put any premium on social life. Whatever social scene there is in your first year will typically revolve around the GC/dbar.  Yes carrying a shower-caddy around a dorm feels foolish for someone in their mid-late twenties, but you get used to it.

 

gov2school: your first plan is the typical route--boston to nypenn, Njtransit to Princeton JCT, then dinky.  There's also a megabus from penn station to nassau st., which can be cheaper, but I've never taken it.

 

gentle chaos: here's my 2 cents on princeton social life:

 

yes, it's very suffocating.  If you don't like spending most of your time with the same people, you'll want to escape to NYC or philly.  Everyone walking around campus/nassau st. during the week will look familiar.  That being said, I think it's generally easier to meet other grad students here than it is at other universities, partly because many live in the same place (GC) for the first year and partly because, being a small town, people get to know each other a little easier.

 

Now, that being said, your core group of friends will most likely be the people in your own program, which means (if it's anything like my program) the topic of conversation will typically be work-related.  Also, if you manage make some acquaintances outside your program, the grad school population isn't everyone's cup of tea--academic types are often very introverted and, let's face it, weird (although definitely not snobby, which is the vibe many get from the undergrads).  The exception is the WWS, the only real professional school, which seems to be full of normal, friendly, fun people.  

 

As for dating, as a single guy I can say it's very difficult, at least in any math or science field.  Some of the fields with more women (humanities, architecture, and, again, the WWS) find people to date, but almost always people within their own program.  

 

Long story short: Princeton can be pretty isolating and you might find your life revolves around your department.  If you are outgoing you can meet people in other departments (perhaps more easily than at other schools), but those used to a more dispersed group of friends might find it suffocating, especially if you're a single man.

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Since acceptances for F15 are rolling out I thought I'd resurrect this thread with a question: I have a small dog that I intend to bring with me. Are there pet friendly options on campus and am I likely to get one, or should I be looking for something off campus? I'm not averse to signing a lease that starts over the summer if necessary.

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I am also interested in this thread.. Does anyone have info on the Old graduate college, or the new apartments that are to replace Butler?

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hey doomination,

Grats on the accept :) 

Lakeside should open over the summer, you can request it in the housing draw but returning students have priority over first year outside of the graduate college.

You can't request "old" specifically, you only say "single GC", "double GC", ... where "single" means a room without roommates in either new or old graduate college. Most likely outcome is that you will be placed in a single NGC room. It is however easy to get moved to OGC or a 2-room single in NGC if you ask them around a month after the move-in date.

You can PM me if you have more questions about housing or Princeton in general.

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Since acceptances for F15 are rolling out I thought I'd resurrect this thread with a question: I have a small dog that I intend to bring with me. Are there pet friendly options on campus and am I likely to get one, or should I be looking for something off campus? I'm not averse to signing a lease that starts over the summer if necessary.

Hi rjparson,

The housing website lists only Lakeside as pet friendly (butler will have closed by the start of next year).

I thought Lawrence apartments were pet friendly, but they don't seem listed as such on the housing website, you might have to email them about that. It will probably be significantly harder to get placed into Lakeside than into Lawrence next year. 

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Hi rjparson,

The housing website lists only Lakeside as pet friendly (butler will have closed by the start of next year).

I thought Lawrence apartments were pet friendly, but they don't seem listed as such on the housing website, you might have to email them about that. It will probably be significantly harder to get placed into Lakeside than into Lawrence next year. 

 

What's off campus housing like then, and do many/any first year grad students live off campus?

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Most first year students live in GC, but some are in apartment-style housing or off campus. You will probably need a car if you go with off campus.

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How difficult is it for an incoming student to get apartment style housing on campus? I live in an apartment right now and already own furniture; I'd like to keep as much as I can

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