Positive, prosperous, priceless, — three words that perfectly describe the Princeton University Preparatory Program and their community of young, driven scholars.

In 2000, Miguel Centeno, Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, and Dr. John Webb, Director of the university’s Program in Teacher Preparation, partnered together in pursuit of creating a program geared toward low-income high achieving students. The ultimate vision for this program, helping underrepresented students prepare, apply, and get accepted into highly selective secondary institutions across the country. While 18 years ago this was ideal goal of the program, it has surpassed this objective and created new heights for students from the Mercer County area.

During the spring of each year, freshmen from Princeton High School, Nottingham High School, Lawrence High School, Ewing High School, and Trenton Central High School are nominated by their teachers and guidance counselors and encouraged to apply to the program. The application process is intensive, for over one-hundred applications are submitted and only 24 students are selected to comprise the newest cohort. Though a very competitive pool of applicants, each year, Trenton Central High School students manage to makeup about half of the entire cohort.

Since its official establishment in 2001, PUPP has been helping numerous students attend their dream schools. Some of the colleges and universities that PUPP students have been accepted to over the years include Dartmouth College, Princeton University, Barnard College, Colgate University, etc. However, the assistance does not stop there. During the academic school year, PUPP takes its students to multiple excursions to places such as the opera and theatres to watch plays in addition to holding weekly after school cultural enrichment sessions. In the summer, PUPP scholars take part in a rigorous six-week program at Princeton University. These six-weeks are used to prepare scholars for their upcoming school year by preparing for standardized tests such as the ACT, as well as equipping them for the college application process soon to follow. In the preparation of these events students take numerous courses including sociology, writing, math, and even, to practice stress relief, yoga. It is also during the summer that scholars are taken on multiple college tours and excursions to places such as El Museo del Barrio in New York.

One of the biggest perks of this program is that it is completely free. PUPP recognizes the economic barriers students and their families face. With this, they have made it their initiative to not allow a lack of finances stand in a student’s way from achieving success.

From a student’s first day of PUPP at the Princeton Blairstown Center, friendships are made and a forever family begins to form. It is with the help of PUPP that students are able to head off to college with a confidence that they will succeed no matter the challenges may face.

For more information on the Princeton University Preparatory Program and their mission, visit https://pupp.princeton.edu/.

About Author