Transfer Students

In 2018, Princeton University proudly relaunched its transfer program as an access and inclusion initiative. Each year we admit a cohort of academically promising students who have excelled at other institutions of higher learning. We seek out transfer students who can bring a variety of perspectives and experiences to campus, and especially encourage applications from first-generation, low-income students, community college students, and U.S. military veterans.

Our cohorts of transfer students come to New Jersey from all across America and overseas. We’re proud to include military-affiliated students from five branches of the US military among our ranks, some of whom participated in Service to School and the Warrior-Scholar Project. Our students hail from both community colleges and four-year institutions, and include recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship. They intend to major in everything from Computer Science to African American Studies and Philosophy to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. It’s a diverse, ambitious, engaged student community that looks forward to welcoming next year’s transfer class.


Students who will have completed one full-time academic year or more of post-secondary transferable credit by the time of their enrollment should apply through the transfer program. Students with less than a full-time academic year should apply as first-year students. The details of the application process for transfer students can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Admission. The application deadline is March 1. If you have questions about the transfer admission process, please contact us at [email protected].


Once enrolled at Princeton, transfer students benefit from the same curriculum as every Princeton undergraduate. You may pursue any concentration or seek any certificate, allowing you to explore an amazing range of intellectual and creative trajectories. To learn more about Princeton’s undergraduate curriculum, including the differences between our AB and BSE programs, please visit the Undergraduate Announcement website.

Academic Standing: Depending on your academic record prior to enrolling at Princeton, you might enroll as a first-year, a sophomore, or, in very rare cases, a junior. Transfer students may only enroll in the fall term. A committee of Princeton faculty and administrators will carefully review your file to ensure you enter our curriculum equipped to succeed. This review process determines your standing and what courses, if any, transfer to Princeton: first-year students enroll with up to three transferred courses, sophomores enter with up to eleven courses, and juniors enter with up to seventeen. We normally use transferred courses to help meet your general education requirement, meaning that you take most of the coursework in your concentration (Princeton’s term for a major) here. You take a customized Writing Seminar in the fall of your first term to meet the university writing requirement.

Eligible Courses for Transfer: To be eligible for transfer, a course must be of a topic and level of rigor such that it could be taught in a department at Princeton, even if there is no exact equivalent here. A course must be taught at an accredited institution of higher learning, and may be taken online so long as it meets Princeton’s minimum requirements for course credit. This means that most semester-long courses, taken at an accredited community college or four-year college or university, taken online or in-person, taken in a field represented by a Princeton department or program, are likely to be eligible. Some examples of eligible courses might be:

  • A general chemistry course with a lab taken at a community college.
  • An introduction to sociology course taken at a four-year state university.
  • An African-American history course taken at American Military University.

By contrast, the following courses would likely not be eligible for transfer:

  • A pharmacology course taken at nursing school, (because such courses are not offered by a Princeton academic department; note that Princeton does not have a medical, law, or business school).
  • A course in elementary algebra taken at a community college, (because it would be of a lower level of rigor than is taught in Princeton’s math department).
  • A SOI (School of Infantry) course taken as part of one’s Marine service, (both because no Princeton department teaches such a course, and because to be transferable a military course would need to come from an accredited institution, such as American Military University).

Department Requirements: Transfer students are not automatically given credit for department prerequisites or requirements through transferred courses. In consultation with the transfer program’s directors, you may petition an academic department to evaluate transferred courses for this purpose. You will be asked to show relevant documentation, in particular the course syllabus, graded written work, or graded exams, to help faculty make such decisions, so please hold on to all your course records! You’ll talk with the transfer program directors about this process early in the summer prior to enrollment to help plan your on-ramp into our curriculum.

First-Year Reversion Option: Our first principle in determining academic standing and course transfer is to place students in the position to succeed. That’s why we take such care in reviewing student transcripts and deciding on placement. However, we also recognize that for any number of reasons a student who is admitted with sophomore or higher standing may prefer instead to take the full four years to complete their degree. For that reason, Princeton’s transfer program allows its students to voluntarily forego sophomore or higher standing and instead begin as a first-year student. Transfers will still benefit from their full financial aid package for the duration of their time at Princeton, and receive all the other benefits of enrolling as a transfer student.

Transfer students in their writing seminar
Princeton's transfer students discuss academic argument, the 2018 midterms, and rubber chickens in WRI 207, "Governing Humans."

Financial Aid

Princeton is committed to meeting 100% of students’ demonstrated need for the full period of their enrollment. You’ll have the opportunity to speak with a financial aid officer shortly after admission. As noted above, Princeton participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and does not limit the number of students eligible for the program. Princeton's need-based financial aid program can supplement or even replace the use of veterans benefits toward the total cost of attendance. Starting in 2023-24, Princeton is enhancing its already excellent financial aid program to eliminate its student contribution and provide more generous support to students and their families.

Housing and Dining

Princeton is committed to securing housing for all students through the full term of their enrollment, and every effort will be made to find appropriate housing for students with families. Transfer students and military veterans are not bound by Princeton’s residency requirement, which requires traditional undergraduates to live and dine within the residential college system for their first two years of enrollment. This allows transfers and veterans who wish to commute from off-campus to do so from their first term. However, the overwhelming majority of transfers and veterans continue to live on campus for their full undergraduate career.

In many cases, transfer students are housed through the same procedure as other undergraduates in one of our seven Residential Colleges. If you have a spouse, children, or dependents, you are eligible for a family housing assignment, typically though not always a graduate apartment, which is priced differently from a standard single student accommodation (see below). The exact assignments are determined by Undergraduate Housing on a case-by-case basis during the summer before your enrollment. Final decisions are influenced by a variety of factors, including the demand for particular types of accommodations in the context of a limited housing stock.

Pricing Policies for Non-Traditional Students and Families

**Please note that the following charges are for the 2023-2024 academic year only.**

  • Family Housing and Dining
    • The base room charge for students living in family housing is 1.35x the standard undergraduate room charge. The estimated standard undergraduate room charge for 2023-2024 is $11,400, and therefore the base family housing charge is $15,390. This rate applies to married students living in undergraduate (Spelman) or graduate (Lawrence or Lakeside) housing.
    • Students with children or legal dependents will be assigned to graduate housing (such as Lawrence or Lakeside), and the room charge scales with the size of the accommodation. The cost of these accommodations for the 2023-2024 academic year are:
      • 1BR: $15,390 (1.35x undergraduate room charge, available for students with children under 2)
      • 2BR: $18.890 (1 BR Rate + $3,500)
      • 3BR: $23,390 (2 BR Rate + $4,500; the additional price reflects the increase in square footage in the 3br accommodations)
      • 4BR: $28,890 (3 BR Rate + $5,500; the additional price reflects the increase in square footage in the 4br accommodations)
    • These prices are for nine-month contracts. Students living in these units are automatically eligible for 12-month contracts at a prorated monthly cost, up until their graduation. Students in family housing are not permitted to remain in their senior year assignment the summer following graduation. Undergraduate students are not charged for utilities, and so the room charge is inclusive of heat, water, electricity, internet, etc.
    • Further details regarding Undergraduate Housing can be found on the University Housing and Real-Estate website.
    • Princeton makes a variety of dining plans available to students with families, making it possible for family members to eat on campus. Children/dependents under the age of 8 can eat for free in the dining halls, when accompanying a student or spouse/cohabitating partner enrolled in the meal plan. If students have a food allergy, or require a special diet, Campus Dining's registered dietician can provide them with the information they need to make healthy food choices and review potential allergens. 
    • Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must register with the Office of Disability Services (241 Frist Campus Center, 609-258-8840 or [email protected]).

Student Health Plan

Students are eligible to enroll in the Student Health Plan, as are legally married spouses. The individual annual rate for 2022-2023 is $3,000 for students and $2,200 for spouses. Dependent children under the age of 26 can be enrolled in the student health plan. The rate for 2022-2023 was $1,100/year. Enrolled aid students and their dependents, though not spouses, are eligible for additional aid to cover their costs if they do not have comparable coverage through another source. Students should visit the student health plan website for full eligibility requirements.

Residential College Participation for Partners and Dependents

Spouses, children, and dependents may participate in select events and activities in the residential colleges, as appropriate and  for free, with the approval of the college head, dean, or assistant dean.

Advising Resources

As a transfer student, you’ll benefit from the same robust advising structure as your peer undergraduates. That means you’ll work with the Dean and Assistant Deans in your Residential College, and will be assigned a faculty adviser to help with all course selection and curricular planning matters. In addition, you’ll benefit from the mentorship of our transfer program directors, and you’ll be invited to participate in the Scholars Institute Fellows Program and other opportunities in the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access & Opportunity, where you may join a vibrant community of engaged scholars participating in year-round academic, co-curricular, and professional development opportunities.

Bridge Programming

All transfer students are cordially invited, though not required, to participate in Princeton’s summer bridge programming. Normally, you will be invited to FSI Online, though in some circumstances you might be invited to the FSI Residential program instead. Participation will allow you to earn Princeton course credit, meet fellow incoming transfers, and get an early start on making a successful transition to Princeton.


Transfer students are cordially required to attend the one-week Pre-orientation program in August before regular orientation begins. The program allows you to move in early, get yourself and any family members settled, meet advisers and mentors on campus, and benefit from academic and co-curricular workshops customized for the transfer experience. Most importantly, students get to know members of the Princeton transfer community! The move-in date for 2023 will be Sunday, August 20.

After Pre-orientation, transfer students then participate in Princeton’s full Orientation Program prior to course selection and the beginning of the fall term.

Academic Year Programming for Transfers

Our programming doesn’t stop at Pre-orientation. Throughout the fall term, students will be invited to transfer-specific workshops on managing the Princeton academic workload, study abroad, career development, among other topics.

Writing Seminar

You will enroll in a customized, 200-level Writing Seminar in the fall of your first term to meet the university writing requirement. This course equips you with the tools you’ll need to tackle research writing and prepare you for independent work in the junior and senior year. Your Writing Sem will also be the one course you take exclusively with fellow transfers, allowing you to get to know your incoming cohort and crowdsource success strategies for negotiating the transition to Princeton.

Student Veterans

We work closely with our student veterans to support their academic and co-curricular ambitions. In recent years, we have sponsored and mentored Princeton Student Veterans, our undergraduate group for military-affiliated students, funded trips to student veteran conferences and professional development opportunities, and were proud to host the Ivy League Veterans Council conference in September 2018.

Our student veterans also benefit from mentorship and generous support from Princeton’s active veteran alumni group, PVETS.

Princeton partners with Service to School, a non-profit dedicated to preparing transitioning military veterans to apply, enroll, and succeed at leading colleges and universities. We also participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, and do not limit the number of students eligible for the program. Our need-based financial aid can supplement or even replace the use of veterans’ benefits toward the cost of attendance.

Princeton has hosted the Warrior-Scholar Project on campus since 2017, expanding to incorporate its additional STEM curriculum in 2018. In July 2023, we look forward to hosting WSP’s second national alumni conference.

Student Veterans attend the Ivy League Veterans Council at Princeton in 2018.
Princeton hosts student veterans from across the country at the Ivy League Veterans Council in September 2018.

Still Have Questions?

Please contact Dr. Keith Shaw, Director of Transfer and Outreach at [email protected] and Dr. Jordan Reed, Associate Director for Transfer Programs at [email protected].


Princeton's first transfer cohort tours Princeton.
We have landed! Princeton's transfer cohort outside the Frist Campus Center shortly after arrival.