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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.

"Thank you so much for all your time and work with N over these last few months. N found his experience at Boot Camp to be incredibly helpful and he very much enjoyed meeting you and working with all the Top Tier counselors as well as the other students. The process was educational for N in so many ways- thank you, thank you, thank you!"
–M.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"I want to thank you, again, for a fantastic Top Tier Boot Camp experience. As a second time Top Tier family, we drank your Kool Aid fully and completely, and it paid off! You know your stuff; you manage to thread the needle with a mix of tough love and compassion (for both the students and their parents - no small feat) and you run a super-efficient 4-day program."
–R.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"I got my acceptance letter over the weekend from Middlebury!! I’m officially a Panther!!! 🙂 Thank you for all of your help; I could not have made it through 1st quarter without ABC!!!"
-S.F., Application Boot Camp student
"Dear Michele, I just wanted to let you know that I just got accepted into Dartmouth for ED! I’m overjoyed and incredibly excited to continue my academic journey in New Hampshire. Thank you so much! You were always there to answer so many of my questions and were incredibly supportive of me; I couldn’t have done it without you and the Top Tier team!"
–B.S., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you! He could not have done it without you."
–P.W., Application Boot Camp parent
"Thank you so much!! He couldn’t have done it without your amazing team!"
–H.O., Application Boot Camp parent
"We just got the news! Northwestern Class of 2024! She’s over the moon. This would not have happened without the advice and guidance along the way from all of the folks at Top Tier Admissions! From the advice on how to structure her supplemental info, including how to position her interests and activities relative to her major, the advice to take a college course this summer, and the amazing work that was done during Boot Camp, Top Tier is the absolute best and I know we have you to thank for her acceptance!!! Happy Holidays and thank you from the bottom of my heart!"
–P.S., Application Boot Camp parent
"Michele and team - Just wanted to pass along the great news that J got admitted today to Pitzer, her first choice ED school. Thanks for all the amazing support you've provided H and J over the past few years. They both learned a lot from the process and, of course, benefited greatly. We now get to celebrate the holidays with a sigh of relief!"
–V.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"Happy Holidays to you and your families. J is so thrilled about attending Middlebury College next fall (and we are thrilled for her) and we appreciate all your assistance. It was so exciting for her to get the official acceptance last week. She loved her time at ABC and still keeps in touch with the group of friends she made. Boot Camp was tough, but she thoroughly loved it. She’s a grinder so the intensity and complete immersion didn’t bother her at all. She loved working with all of you and cherishes having another little group of friends that she bonded with in Boston. Don’t fire your caterer - she’s a big fan of the food at Boot Camp."
–W.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"B, you helped me with my application during Boot Camp this past summer and I wanted to let you know that I committed to UPenn last night! Thank you so much for helping to transform my supplements into something readable. Boot Camp DEFINITELY helped me get in and made the process a lot less stressful. Thank you so much for all of your help!"
–B.A., Application Boot Camp student
"We wanted to thank you for your guidance, counsel and support through T’s application process. Your advice has been instrumental to his success and, more importantly, you gave him the confidence boost he needed to apply early at Princeton. We will continue to recommend Top Tier services to our friends and will always be grateful for what you did. We hope we can stay in touch and wish you a wonderful holiday season."
–K.L.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"We are excited to report that B was accepted ED to Duke University and has committed to attend next fall. We’ll forward a picture once our first Duke swag order arrives. Duke was her clear first choice and we are all very happy! We are also very pleased with the assistance we received from all of you at Top Tier and are confident that the guidance we received over the last seventeen months helped B wind up with this great outcome. So, thank you!"
–E.R., Application Boot Camp parent
"I am ecstatic to report that I got into my ED school: University of Chicago! Thank you so much for all your help and willingness to work through draft after draft until I got it right."
–W.D., Application Boot Camp student
"I am happy to report that we found out this evening that L has been accepted to Boston College! We are SO excited! And for your records, he was also accepted at Villanova and invited to the honors program. Thank you all so much for your help and support! We would have been lost without you!"
–M.J., Application Boot Camp student
"I wanted to extend my personal thanks for all your help with my son's application process and essays. Your Bootcamp proved to be well worth the investment and per your advice I stayed away from the temptation of even reading my son's essays until he was accepted. The bottom line is that he was accepted into his top choice of UChicago and in his acceptance letter his essay was specifically mentioned. Furthermore, this was a reach school for him which made the acceptance even more sweet. Your methods and advice were instrumental in his success and I cannot thank you enough for making my son's aspirations real!!"
–L.T., Application Boot Camp parent
"I'm not sure if my daughter told you yet, but she was accepted ED to Dartmouth in December. So, two for two with the W sisters-- thanks Top Tier Admissions!"
–G.W., Application Boot Camp parent x2
"I wanted to let you know that I got into my first choice, Boston College, early decision. I'm so excited. Thank you all so much for everything, I'm so grateful!"
–L.K., Application Boot Camp student
"Thank you to Mimi who wrote my personalized report back in junior year, to the entire team, and definitely to E! My quick acceptance into Cornell owes much to your insights and guidance. Although I have been accepted to Cornell, the process with Top Tier has made me want to stay competitive in college — whether for internships, or for graduate schools later in life. I thank you for that!"
–P.O., Application Boot Camp student
"WE MADE IT!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I COULDN'T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!"
–L.J., Application Boot Camp student
“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

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