The CollegeVine Blog

Essay Breakdown: Duke University

  • How to Write the Duke University Application Essays 2017-2018

    Duke is a selective, private university located in Durham, “Bull City,” North Carolina. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892 and has since risen to consideration as one of the top academic institutions in the world. In 2016, Duke admitted 9% of applicants, and it currently sits at #8 in the U.S. News 2017 National University Rankings.

  • How to Write the Duke University Application Essays 2016-2017

    Featuring Gothic architecture on 8600 acres in the small town of Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is stunning visually as well as academically. The school was technically established in 1838 as Trinity College, and officially became Duke in 1924. This private research institution has consistently been ranked in the U.S. News and World Report’s top 10 national universities, currently sitting at the #8 spot. In the most recent application cycle, Duke received over 28,000 applications for its class of 2020 and admitted just over 10%.

    Duke’s undergraduate program is divided into two schools: the Pratt School of Engineering, which offers four majors (Mechanical, Biomedical, Civil & Environmental, and Electrical & Computer Engineering) and Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, which offers 46 majors.

    Students also have their choice of minors, certificate programs, and “Program II,” an opportunity for students to create their own interdisciplinary course of study. As Duke is known for its medical school and on-campus research hospital, it stands to reason that the most common Pratt major is Biomedical Engineering. The top three Trinity majors are Public Policy, Economics, and Biology.

    Duke also emphasizes the importance of research in education, and all students are required to participate in a minimum of two classes with a research component, though many more do extracurricular research projects as well. The university spent over one billion dollars on research in 2014 (the 7th most in the nation), and received $271 million in NIH funding.

    In terms of campus life, students tend to adhere strongly to the ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality. Duke is well-known and well-envied for its top-tier basketball program, and the Blue Devils’ home games at Cameron Indoor Stadium are reliably packed with cheering “Cameron Crazies,” as fans call themselves — students even camp out on the lawn to get tickets to the annual ‘big game’ against Duke’s main rival, UNC Chapel Hill.

    In addition, about 30% of undergraduate men and 40% of undergraduate women are involved in Greek life, with others involved in Selective Living Groups (SLGs), designated-theme residences reminiscent of eating clubs at other universities.

    Duke asks its applicants to answer one 250-word optional essay about themselves, and then separates Trinity and Pratt applicants by asking them to answer what attracted them to Duke and to their respective area of study in 150 words.

  • How to Write the Duke Application Essay 2015-2016

    Read our new post on the Duke Application Essay for 2016-2017. Although the institution is known for its world-class academics and research facilities, very few schools’ possess as much school spirit as Duke at sporting events. Indeed, students who attend Duke are able to receive the benefits of attending a prestigious university while simultaneously enjoying […]

  • How to Tackle the Duke Supplement Essay for 2014-15

    Note: this blog post has been updated for the 2015-2016 application cycle. To view the most recent version, click here. Duke University has only one supplemental essay; in this post, we’ll show you the correct approach to use in tackling it so that it benefits your application as much as possible. Duke University seeks a talented, […]