When Princeton University in New Jersey, USA offered early admission to 785 students in December, Conor Wilson, one of our Year 14 students was amongst them.
Renowned as one of the best universities in the world, Princeton prides itself on educating students for a variety of careers and leadership roles, and serving as a nexus of discovery. It boasts Michelle Obama, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John F. Kennedy as alumni.
Commenting on his decision to study in the US, Conor stated '"I decided to study in the States because of the freedom the system offers me to explore all of my interests. Although I am planning to study biochemistry and go on to medical school, I don’t have to decide my course of study until my second year, and the curriculum leaves me space to take classes in unrelated areas, giving me a more well-rounded education than I would otherwise get."
Conor decided to apply to Princeton while in the US with the Sutton Trust US Programme in July of last year. "We visited the campuses of five colleges in the northeast – including Harvard, Princeton and Yale – but Princeton stood out for me. Located in central New Jersey, the campus is close enough to New York City for a visit, but far enough away to offer some peace and quiet. It helps that its academic programme for undergraduates is unparalleled, placing it first in the country".
Despite achieving 12 A* grades at GCSE and top scores in standardised college tests (SATs and ACT), Conor wasn't confident of securing a place at Princeton: "I didn’t expect much after applying. The
admissions process is infamously competitive for Ivy League colleges, and is often more to do with luck than talent given the number of applications these colleges receive – so my acceptance in December came as a huge and welcome shock. But I definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of my teachers, Ms Clancy, Mrs Doherty and Mrs Canavan, as well as the fantastic team at the Sutton Trust US Programme."
Assistant Principal in St. Patrick's and Conor's adviser throughout the application process, Michelle Clancy, was much more confident. She stated "Princeton is one of the top universities in the world because the admissions committee only accepts the best students. While typically, only 7% of applicants are accepted each year, Conor is an exceptional young man and that would have shone through in all areas of his application."