Princeton’s “More About You” Questions: Examples + Tips
Princeton asks applicants to respond to three short-answer questions in a section titled “More About You.” These questions have a 50-word limit, which can be extremely daunting.
This post will go over the purpose of these questions, tips for writing strong responses, as well as real example responses and analysis.
Princeton “More About You” Questions
The three “More About You” questions in the 2022-2023 admissions cycle were:
- What is a new skill you would like to learn in college?
- What brings you joy?
- What song represents the soundtrack of your life at this moment?
These are questions that might come up in casual conversation, and the goal is to learn “more about you” in a down-to-earth way. This is an opportunity to humanize your application and show more of your “fun” side.
Tips for Princeton’s “More About You” Questions
These short-answer questions are really unlike other parts of your application. Here are our expert tips for writing an engaging response that will win over admissions officers.
1. Be more casual
These are casual questions, so you want your response to feel down-to-earth as well. There’s no need for academic writing here, or even complete sentences. You can even use slang!
Just make sure that your response is still well-written; it should feel like a response in a conversation to an acquaintance or stranger, not like something you’d text a friend.
2. Maximize the word count.
Do not repeat the question in your response. You only have 50 words, so make the most of them! Dive right into your answer.
3. Pay attention to presentation.
Grammatical and formatting mistakes will stand out even more in a short-answer question. Other than maybe using some stylistic fragments, make sure your grammar is correct. You should especially double-check spacing and punctuation/
4. Get an extra set of eyes on your responses.
While most students think to get their college essays edited, these short-answers may not feel like they need an extra set of eyes. Since these are still an important part of your application to Princeton, we recommend having someone else look over your responses. A friend is a great choice since these are more casual questions, and your friend can let you know if your personality shines through.
We also recommend using our free Peer Essay Review platform, where you can get feedback from another student. And, you can review other students’ essays to improve your own writing. If you prefer to have an admissions expert review your essay, you can do so as well on CollegeVine.
Princeton “More About You” Examples
Here are a couple strong responses to the “More About You” questions, as well as analysis on what the writers did well and what could be improved.
Example 1: Joy
Prompt: What brings you joy? (50 words)
The ancient, burlesque sounds of the violin. I love the feeling of completion, when I can finally play a piece I’ve been working at for months. The glide of a slur, the bounce of the spiccato, plentiful accents and tones; The diversity of music lights a fire in my heart.
What the Response Did Well
This answer feels authentic. The student’s use of unique descriptors like “burlesque” and “bounce” communicate to the reader that they have a unique relationship with the violin — one that brings them joy in a specific and special way.
At the same time, the idea of “the feeling of completion” bringing joy is extremely relatable. This student pulls off unique and relatable in the same short answer.
What Could Be Improved
Small mistakes make big impressions in short answers. For example, the word following a semicolon should not be capitalized. While this kind of grammar error could go unnoticed in a larger essay, it stands out when it is one of fifty words.
Example 2: Soundtrack
Prompt: What song represents the soundtrack of your life at the moment? (50 words)
As I sit lost in thought, an urge to stand and pace overwhelms me. The floorboards creaking echoes through the quiet–a familiar symphony accompanying my musings. New ideas take form, energizing, exciting me. In a way, floorboards are my muses fostering my creativity and inspiration, my growth and learning.
What the Response Did Well
This student’s answer is more memorable than traditional answers due to their unique interpretation of the word “soundtrack.” I’m sure this is the only creaking floorboards essay that was submitted to Princeton last year! Originality and setting yourself apart from others is of the utmost importance during the college admissions process.
What Could Be Improved
Admissions officers spend very little time reading short responses and don’t want to parse through your words to find your answer. Because of its roundabout structure, this response requires a second read for an aha moment (“Ohhh the creaking floorboards are the soundtrack!”).
Additionally, your response to a short answer question doesn’t have to be eloquent or figurative. It can be more like an answer to an interview question — to the point, memorable, and honest. This student might have been better off with a casual structure, writing something like:
The sound I hear most often is the creaking of my floorboards, so I’ll call that the soundtrack of my life. I pace when memorizing things, when trying to inspire creativity, when working through complex ideas. My floorboards are probably tired, but pacing is my method.
Finally, like with Example 6, the use of a double hyphen instead of an em dash (—) stands out in a short answer question. Ensure that your grammar is impeccable in your short answers.
More Princeton Essay Resources