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Duke University Admissions

duke university admissions

Get into Duke University

About Duke University

Duke is a private research university located in Durham, NC. More than just the home of the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team, Duke is consistently ranked among the top 10 national universities according to U.S. News and World Report. There are 6,994 undergraduates enrolled in Duke’s two undergraduate colleges and 2,220 students enrolled in Duke’s robust graduate programs. Duke’s West Campus, the heart of the university, was designed in the Gothic style and includes the Duke Chapel, one of the university’s landmarks. The East Campus, just over a mile away, houses all first-year students on 172 acres. This campus includes residence halls, research labs, tennis courts, a dining hall, café, convenience store, library, theater, and gym. In addition to this separate residential home, Duke offers a number of first-year programs to aid in the transition from high school to college. First-year students take a writing course and a seminar that build critical thinking and help form community.

Trinity College of Arts & Sciences  

Every Duke undergraduate student takes classes in Trinity College, the liberal arts core of the university where 80 percent of undergraduates are enrolled. Within Trinity College there are 38 departments and programs, 137 areas of study, and 671 faculty members. Students are encouraged to combine academic pathways and explore diverse disciplines through the flexible liberal arts curriculum. In addition to its 48 majors and 50 minors, Duke students can pursue one of 23 certificates in topics like “Civic Engagement & Societal Chance,” “Human Rights,” or “Innovation & Entrepreneurship.” Students can also design their own major through “Program II,” an individualized degree program. Incoming Trinity College students may apply to the Focus Program (FOCUS), an interdisciplinary learning experience centered on a common theme or topic within a cluster. First-semester students in each cluster live in the same residence hall and work closely with faculty. The unique Focus Program admits about 20-25% of the incoming first-year Duke class.

Duke students have many opportunities to engage in service-learning courses or study abroad during their four years, including 41 “Duke-In” programs on six continents. These programs are taught by Duke faculty and allow students to earn in-residence Duke credits while exploring a particular topic in depth off campus. For example, the “Duke in London” program focuses on drama and performance through coursework and live performances in central London. The “Duke in Sri Lanka” program examines health and health disparities in a global context.

Pratt School of Engineering

Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering was ranked #18 among U.S. Undergraduate Engineering Programs (U.S. News & World Report) and was listed in the Top 10 Best School for Engineering Majors by Salary Potential ($82,000 median pay with 0-5 years of work experience) by Payscale.com. Students can major in one of five engineering disciplines: Biomedical engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, electrical and computer engineering, or mechanical engineering. Throughout the program, students are exposed to hands-on design, data science, research, and entrepreneurship as they pursue their degree. Students may also pursue a 4+1 degree option to earn their Master of Engineering (MEng), Master of Science (MS), or Master of Engineering Management (MEM).

Applying to Duke

Prospective students can apply to Duke using either the Common Application or Coalition Application. Admitted first-year students are also eligible to apply to the Duke Gap Year Program, which offers students between $5,000 and $15,000 to facilitate their gap year, depending on their plans and financial need.

Both the Common Application and the Coalition Application include a one-page personal essay as well as short essay questions specific to Duke.

The following essay questions are mandatory:

  • If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you want to study engineering and why you would like to study at Duke. (250 words maximum)
  • If you are applying to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences as either a first-year or transfer applicant, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something particular about Duke that attracts you? (250 words maximum)

The following questions are optional for all applicants to Duke University:

  • Duke University seeks a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you’d like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had to help us understand you better—perhaps related to a community you belong to or your family or cultural background—we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying to Duke. (250 words maximum)
  • Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you would like to share with us more about either, and have not done so elsewhere in the application, we invite you to do so here.

Admissions Wrap Up for Duke

This year, 2,170 high school seniors were admitted to Duke’s class of 2024 out of 35,483 Regular Decision applicants and 766 deferred Early Decision applicants. These students join 887 others who were admitted ED in December 2019.  The overall admission rate, including Early Decision, was 7.7 percent, the same as last year, according to Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions. Out of those accepted, roughly 1,700 students are expected to enroll this fall. The admitted students come from 47 states and 67 countries, and roughly one-fifth of the student body consists of low-income and first-generation students.

For information on the Class of 2023 and recent admissions trends at Duke, see here.

“Once again, I am so impressed with your program. I am amazed at the sheer 
amount B. accomplished in four days! Equally as important, she feels
 really great about her essays. She loved working with each of you as well as 
A. (a great pairing for her!).  

I know how hard each of you worked this week; I hope you get to enjoy some
 well-deserved R&R!” –N.G., Application Boot Camp parent
"G is excited to go to her first choice, the University of Miami! She continues to say that Application Boot Camp was the best investment we ever made for her education." –R.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"I liked the process of having multiple people read my essays before finalizing a draft. This made me confident that my essays were clear and concise while also captivating to a diverse audience. Everyone was also patient and encouraging. Boot Camp took away so much stress coming into Senior Fall, allowing me to focus on my academics and earning my highest term average ever." –S.A., Application Boot Camp student
"I know first hand how you run your business.  Off the charts ethical! We look forward to continuing our relationship with Top Tier's Application Boot Camp."
-Parent of Application Boot Camp (Dartmouth) students
"Thank you so much for your help and guidance. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you and the Top Tier Admissions Team! I'm still in between UPenn and Georgetown, but I will make sure to visit both." –S.I., Application Boot Camp student
"Clearly, Application Bootcamp and Top Tier took a lot of anxiety out of the whole situation. Our children know a number of kids who did not get into their top choice ED school, only to be devastated and stressed as they are without a plan for ED II and regular decision and have not worked on a range of essays for other schools. So while F & J’s EA-only strategy is not for everyone but made sense for them since they did not have a clear lead school when they were applying, being prepared made all the difference. The help Bootcamp provided in honing their voice and words into essays that reflect their intent was fantastic.In the end, it is all about having choices they are happy with, and I am happy to say they both have those now!"–F.A., parent of Application Boot Camp students
"E., I just wanted to let you know that I got into Barnard Early Decision! Thank you for everything you have done!!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you did for me! Thank You!!" - H.L., Personal Boot Camp student
Barnard, Class of 2023
"I wanted to say thank you again for all your help! I got into UPenn, Cornell, Barnard, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Tufts, University of Michigan, and Wake Forest, and am waiting to hear from Georgetown; I think I'm leaning towards UPenn. Thank  you so much for all your guidance; I don't think I could have done it without your help!" --I.R., Application Boot Camp student
"We are thrilled! Duke is absolutely fantastic and is the exact right fit for K. Application Boot Camp definitely helped her get into Duke during their most selective year in history, a year in which they turned away well over 2,000 Valedictorians. Thank you!" -Y.R., parent of ABC student accepted to 9 top-tier colleges
Y.R.
"Boot Camp was the most incredible experience. It made me push myself into thinking about my future and prepared me to send in all my applications. I am so thankful that I got the help I needed at Boot Camp because it made my application process effortless once I had completed my essays. I think that the colleges were able to clearly see my goals and ambitions through the writing of my essays. I believe this helped me have a very successful application process." –P.K., Application Boot Camp student
Barnard Class of 2022
"I just wanted to say thank you for all the help that I received during Boot Camp! I was able to do so much work and gain so much knowledge about the procedure of applying to college. I am so blessed to have had you as my best resources. I will definitely keep you posted when I start hearing from schools and thank you very much for all your help and feedback once again.” – L.L, Application Boot Camp student
"If there is any reference or feedback you ever want for a prospective client for Boot Camp, please send them my way. You and everyone handled the students so well - firmly, maturely, but with care and patience knowing this is a time of great pressure and anxiety for them. Having them finish with smiles, prepared for the next steps, and better yet - excited for the next chapter of their lives - is wonderful. I would tell anyone considering the program that for our children, they felt it was valuable, and for us, it delivers on what it promises - getting children ready, well-positioned, and less anxious for their application process." – S.P., parent of Application Boot Camp student
"I just wanted to send you a note of personal and heartfelt thanks for supporting B in Boot Camp. My wife was touched and very appreciative of your approach ('M. is a good soul.') and B left feeling challenged, but also confident, whole and supported. You probably figured out that she’s quite different from her brother! She talks about you warmly - you definitely made a fan and friend! Anyway, thanks for your personal, caring touch. She’s excited about what lies ahead." – J.T., parent of Application Boot Camp student
"I really truly cannot thank you enough for going the extra mile on the follow up call. B was mentally done and you somehow got her back on board! This mother of 3 is personally 'done' too!!! THANK YOU!" – F.K., parent of Application Boot Camp student
"I just wanted to let you know that I was accepted ED to Tulane!!  J, I want to thank you for all the time and effort you put in to working with me both in Boston as well as over the last few months.  M., I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go to Boot Camp. It was incredibly valuable. In fact, the head of college counseling at my high school said my 'Why Tulane' essay was the best she has ever seen!" – C.T., Application Boot Camp student
Tulane Class of 2023
"We are so happy to report that R was just accepted ED to Williams College!! Thank you so much for everything that you did to help her over the past year! She is thrilled!!" –T.S. & F.S., parents of Application Boot Camp student
Williams Class of 2023
"I am emailing you to let you both know that I have been accepted to the University of Miami and will be attending there in the fall! It's been a dream of mine for a long time and I couldn't be happier about it. I wanted to thank you again so much for your help and guidance. I really don't think I could have done this without you guys and I will be forever grateful. Your program is truly amazing and I am lucky I attended. Thank you again." –P.T., Application Boot Camp student
University of Miami Class of 2023
"Haverford's comment on 'awesome application and ...EASY to advocate for you' is due in no small part to you and the Top Tier BOOT CAMP and consulting. Yes, P did the work, but you guided us in the activities that she should spend her time on, and eliminate non 'core' activities that added little value as she became an upperclassman.She has punched above her weight, and because of K. and Top Tier she is on a path for a wonderful academic career.After we recover from the shock and celebrate, get ready for our next child to be a part of the Top Tier family!" – Parent of Private Counseling/Application Boot Camp student

"We want to let you know that S was accepted into Brown. We are thrilled for him and grateful for all your help and support! He also got into UT Austin!" – W.L., parent of Application Boot Camp student

Brown Class of 2023

"K applied ED to Franklin & Marshall and was admitted thanks to your help. They told his high school dean that they were very impressed by the quality of his application. Thanks for your help and all you've done for our family. P continues to thrive at Haverford as a junior." – A.K., parent of Application Boot Camp student(s)

"I wanted to let you know that I have been accepted by my first-choice school — the College of William & Mary! Thank you for your guidance in this process. I couldn’t be happier!" – M.J., Application Boot Camp student

College of William & Mary, Class of 2023
"This is to let you know that H. was accepted at Cornell!!  Cornell was her early decision school, and we learned that she got in this week. Thanks again to M., M., K., M., and the amazing Top Tier team! We very much appreciate all your help and support." – Application Boot Camp parent
"I GOT IN ED to Dartmouth! I am so grateful for all your support and the amazing ABC you run. I hope that other ABC students got good news as well! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!! And a HUGE thanks all the TTA staff who helped guide me with my essays! I couldn't have done this without you guys! GO BIG GREEN!!!" - Application Boot Camp student
"R got accepted to Dartmouth! We are overjoyed. Thank you for all your guidance and prepping." – Application Boot Camp parent, Dartmouth
"P was accepted to Stanford (REA) last Friday! She attended ABC this summer as you know and couldn’t have done it without your team. Thank you so much for all your help. I have already referred my brother who has a 10th grader. Thanks again!" – Application Boot Camp parent, Stanford
"On behalf of S, I am pleased to share that she has been accepted to Dartmouth!  THANK YOU, for all you and your colleagues at Top Tier did to assist S with this accomplishment. Your guidance and counsel is truly invaluable. S is extremely happy and very excited about her future at Dartmouth College! She is both honored and humbled. Top Tier played a big part in her success!" – Application Boot Camp parent, Dartmouth
“We would like to personally thank you for your help in preparing P. and S. in the college admissions process. Boot Camp provided invaluable guidance. Those four days were a very productive and extremely worthwhile time. We are thrilled they are starting senior year stress-free in terms of the college application process. Finally, thank you a ton for helping them both from the very beginning and we feel extremely fortunate to have worked with you.” –A.R., Parents of two Application Boot Camp Students
“I am amazed at how much S. got done this week AND he was even smiling when we left!” –P.N., Parent of Application Boot Camp Student
“What a duo you are! Thanks again for your support, patience, and understanding this past week. C. is confident and rejuvenated but realistic. He will consider all that you have said when reaching his strategic decisions.” –T.A., Parent of Application Boot Camp Student
“My wife just texted me that R’s essays are fantastic! Thank you for all the great advice.” –A.F., parent of Application Boot Camp Student

Ready to Apply to Duke University? Try one these Top Tier options!

Personal Boot Camp

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College Private Counseling

Private college admissions consulting starting as early as 8th grade.

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Application Boot Camp

Helping students prepare the best possible applications for the last 15 years.

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Considering a Gap Year?Let Us Help with Gap Year Guidance!

With the fate of the fall 2020 semester hanging in the balance and potentially altering your freshman fall, we can understand why SO many current seniors are considering a gap year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ensure a meaningful and scholarly gap year worthy of an approval!

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