Instructions & Preparation
Track your application information
- View your application status
- Check our receipt of required documents and test scores
- Change your decision plan
- Change your college of interest
- Update your name, address, email and more
- Update your financial aid status
- View your admissions decision
Duke University Office of Undergraduate Admissions
2138 Campus Drive, Box 90586
Durham, NC 27708-0586
(919) 684-3214 (Phone)
A complete application consists of various documents, some of which have different deadlines. Please refer to the application timeline and application checklist and deadlines, which will let you know what documents are required and when they are due.
Where to Begin
To open an application file, we must receive the Common Application.
The Common Application allows students to apply online, but if you prefer to apply by filling out a paper application, you can print the application forms from their corresponding sites or pick up a paper copy from your school's guidance office.
We give no preference to online or paper applications, but we ask that you use only one source for your materials and that you be consistent. Please don’t submit part of the student portion of the application online and part on paper. It is acceptable if your school forms and/or teacher recommendations are submitted on paper, even if you have submitted your portion of the application online.
Once we receive either your Common Application Student Form or your Duke Supplement, we will send you an email with instructions for accessing a personalized Application Checklist where you can monitor the status of your application, check that we have received the required documents, make changes to your personal information, and view your admission decision.
The Duke Supplement
Duke also requires the Duke Supplement. You may submit the Duke Supplement before or with the Common Application. The Duke Supplement is also available at the Common Application website and can be submitted online.
You must send your $75 application fee or fee waiver request along with the Duke Supplement. Most applicants pay online by credit card through the Common Application. If you pay by check, please make the check payable to Duke University. Checks must be for payment in U.S. dollars and must be drawn on a U.S. bank. Students who require an application fee waiver should submit an official fee waiver form or a letter from the counselor explaining the need for the waiver. Our fax number is 919-668-1661. Please note that we do not accept credit card payment by telephone.
Defining an Academic Concentration
You must apply to either the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering. Please refer to the overview of Trinity and Pratt as well as their majors and minors if you have questions about the best program for your interests.
All candidates for admission must complete one of the following standardized testing options and arrange to have official test score reports sent to Duke:
The test of the ACT, including the writing exam
The College Board SAT, plus two SAT Subject Tests
For students who choose to submit the ACT with writing, Duke will consider the highest composite score and highest subscores on each section, regardless of test date, but will not recalculate the composite score. Students who take the ACT are not required to submit SAT or SAT Subject Test scores. Our school code for the ACT is 3088.
For students who choose to submit SAT scores, Duke will use the highest available Critical Reading, Writing and Math subscores, plus the two highest subject test subscores, regardless of the date those tests were taken. Students opting to use the College Board's Score Choice™ option when sending Duke their scores may do so. Our school code for the SAT is 5156.
Applicants to the Pratt School of Engineering who take the SAT must take one SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2). Applicants to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences who take the SAT may take any two SAT Subject Tests. For complete information about the use of SAT Subject Test scores in foreign language placement at Duke, please visit Languages at Duke.
Recommended date to take SAT and SAT Subject Tests
Recommended date to take SAT and SAT Subject Tests
We strongly recommended that at least one set of scores be submitted by the application deadline. Duke will consider additional testing taken after the application deadlines but before decisions are made. The latest date for additional testing for Early Decision is November 3 (SAT and Subject Tests). The latest date for additional testing for Regular Decision is January 26 (SAT and Subject Tests) and February 9 (ACT). You do not need to rush report your scores for these test dates, but when you sit for your examination, you should indicate that you would like for Duke to receive a score report.
Applying Early or Regular Decision
You must also apply either for Early Decision or Regular Decision, and we will process your application according to the plan you check on the Duke Supplement. To apply Early Decision, you, one of your parents and your secondary school counselor must sign the Early Decision Agreement confirming your commitment to enroll at Duke if you are admitted. You will receive your admissions decision in mid-December.
Please refer to the timeline for information about deadlines and interviews for both Early and Regular Decision candidates.
Students who have determined that Duke is their clear first choice of colleges may apply through our Early Decision program. This option is suited for students who are sure Duke is their first choice, who have established strong and consistent academic records throughout secondary school and who will have completed all the required standardized testing by early November.
In applying Early Decision, students commit to enroll at Duke if they are admitted in December. Students admitted through Early Decision agree to withdraw any applications that they have submitted to other schools through regular, rolling, or nonrestrictive early programs. About 8% of Duke applicants apply Early Decision.
There is an advantage in the admissions process to applying Early Decision to Duke. In 2011-2012, we admitted 25% of students who applied Early Decision and 12% of students who applied Regular Decision.
There is no financial aid advantage or disadvantage in applying Early Decision. Duke commits to meeting full demonstrated financial need for every admitted student. If you are admitted and fill out the required forms by the appropriate deadlines, you will receive your need-based financial aid package at the same time you receive your admissions decision. In the rare instances when students ultimately cannot afford to attend Duke, they may be released from the Early Decision commitment after discussions among the family, the Financial Aid Office, and the Admissions Office. However, students who wish to compare different schools' financial aid packages or who will depend on merit scholarships to make college affordable should apply Regular Decision.
Early Decision applications should be submitted by November 4. Candidates will be notified of their admission decision by December 15 and should reply to our offer of admission and withdraw all other college applications by January 5. Students who submit their financial aid applications by November 15 will receive their need-based financial aid awards along with their acceptance letters.
A full list of Early Decision deadlines and application forms can be found here.
Students from more than 85 countries have found a home at Duke. Innovative, restless and driven: these are qualities not confined by geography.
There is no separate application for international students.
Standardized Testing Considerations for International Applicants
All applicants for the first-year class, whether educated in the United States or abroad, are required to complete the full testing requirements. The SAT and ACT tests are given throughout the year at testing centers around the world, although students outside the United States will generally find that the SAT is available in more places than the ACT. We understand that some students do not have access to a testing center in their home countries (e.g., mainland China). These students may be exempt, and if so, may not be disadvantaged in the evaluation process.
In Duke's application process, SAT and ACT scores are not viewed as the sole measure of a student's academic ability. We also recognize that test scores from bilingual students, or students outside of a United States high school system, may reflect a student's lack of familiarity and experience with this type of standardized test. This is taken into account when applications are considered.
Results of national examinations such as the GCSE cannot be substituted for the SAT or ACT.
Curriculum Considerations for International Applicants
Prior to the anticipated date of enrollment at Duke, students should have completed an academic program that would enable them to enroll at a university in their home countries. For example, students from British or British-based education systems should have completed their "A" levels before enrollment, and students from the French or German education systems should complete the Baccalaureate or Abitur. For most students, this means that they will begin the application process during their final year of study in a pre-university program.
To obtain an F-1 visa for study in the United States, a foreign citizen must furnish his or her home country's U.S. consulate with proof of ability to meet educational expenses, along with a certificate of eligibility for a visa application (the I-20 form). I-20 forms for incoming foreign students are issued only after a student has been admitted and returned a completed Certificate of Financial Responsibility. Visa services and advice on federal regulations concerning non-U.S. citizens are available through Duke Visa Services.
Homeschooled students are encouraged to apply for admission to Duke. The admissions application is the same for all students regardless of educational background.
The number of homeschooled students applying to Duke has steadily increased over the last several years and homeschooled students have been admitted at a rate equal to that of the entire applicant pool.
Homeschool transcripts are acceptable as long as they list the courses of study a student has followed for the four years of high school or the equivalent. Homeschooled students admitted to Duke have followed varied curricula: some follow packaged curricula with outside evaluators, some enroll exclusively in local college classes, some teach themselves independently, some rely on their parents' instruction—but most have pursued a combination of different approaches. We understand that the choice of curriculum is best decided by each individual family.
Homeschooled applicants must submit recommendations from three instructors, at least two of whom are not related to the applicant. Employers, religious leaders, sports coaches or other adults can write these recommendations if all academic instruction takes place in the home.
Applicants are not required to present a GED or proof of accreditation.
The standardized testing requirements are the same for all Duke applicants.
We encourage homeschooled students to submit their applications in time for us to arrange an alumni interview in the student's local area.
We welcome your interest in transferring to Duke. Every fall, approximately 35 students transfer into either the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering. Most will enroll as sophomores, although the selection committee will also admit a small number of juniors.
While transfer students are new to the Duke community, they bring with them the same characteristics of talent and engagement as the rest of their undergraduate peers. Transfer students add a tremendous amount to campus life – all while pursuing their unique, intellectual interests at one of America’s leading universities.
Should I apply as a first-year or transfer applicant?
Please consult the following guidelines to determine your eligibility to transfer to Duke:
• If you have attended any college or university in the past four years and will have successfully completed at least one full year of transferrable college work by the August in which you hope to enroll, you qualify to apply to Duke as a transfer applicant
• All transferrable college work should be completed at an accredited degree-granting institution. College work completed at a vocational, technical, performance, or professional program will not be considered
• If you are a high school student in an “early college” or dual-enrollment program who will earn an associate degree while finishing high school you should apply as a first-year applicant
• If you have already completed an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree at a four-year college, you cannot be considered for transfer admission
Contact the Office of Continuing Studies if you are:
• A student with an undergraduate degree needing one or two more courses in order to enroll in a graduate program
• A transfer applicant who has not attended college in the last four years
Duke offers a multitude of opportunities to its undergraduates. We’re looking for students ready to respond to those opportunities intelligently, creatively and enthusiastically. We like ambition and curiosity, talent and persistence, energy and humanity.
When we read an application and then discuss an application in our Admissions Committee, we consider both the academic and the personal qualities of each student. We think about what a student has accomplished within the context of the opportunities and challenges he or she has faced. And we seek those students who will bring a variety of experiences, backgrounds, interests and opinions to the campus. We especially appreciate students who love thinking hard about things and who like to make a difference in the world. Our admissions process is guided by our assessment of six primary factors:
• The rigor of a candidate’s academic program
• Academic performance as measured by grades in academic courses
• Letters of recommendation
• Extracurricular activities
• The quality of thought and expression in the application essay
• Standardized test scores
Transfer admission to Duke is highly selective, with the admission rate ranging from 3% to 13% over the past five years (2008-2012). Transfer applicants are expected to have demonstrated a high level of academic talent, both at their current higher education institution and in high school. The most successful applicants will have a minimum college GPA of 3.7 in a challenging academic program. Of those admitted in 2012, the mid-50% had SAT I critical reading scores between 660-750, math scores between 720-790, writing scores between 660-760, and an ACT composite score between 31-33.
• Transfer student version of the Common Application
• Duke Supplement
• Final high school transcript
• College Official’s Report
• Transcripts from all colleges attended
• SAT I or ACT Plus Writing, sent officially from the testing agency
• Two academic letters of recommendation, with at least one being from a college professor
Transfer Application Timeline
March 18, 2013
Transfer application deadline (postmarked)
April 1, 2013
Financial aid materials due to the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid
Transfer decisions are released
May 31, 2013
Responses to offers of admission are due for admitted transfer students
Transfer of Credit
• Duke will grant credit for no more than two years of coursework completed elsewhere, regardless of the number of credits a student has previously earned. In order to earn a Duke degree, a transfer student must spend at least two years at Duke.
• We do not offer a preliminary credit evaluation to applicants prior to the release of admissions decisions. Instead, credit evaluations are completed upon matriculation by an academic dean. For more information on how transfer credits are evaluated, visit the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering websites .
• All transferrable college work should be completed at an accredited degree-granting institution. College work completed at a vocational, technical, performance, or professional program will not be considered.
• We do not accept credits for courses that have been taken online.
Duke University views its financial aid program as an investment in students and their futures. We seek a diverse student body and are committed to ensuring aided students can take full advantage of the Duke experience. To that end, Duke admits transfer applicants who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents without regard to financial circumstance or aid eligibility and meets 100 percent of each admitted student's demonstrated need throughout their undergraduate enrollment. Unfortunately, need-based financial aid is not available for international transfer students. In addition, Duke does not offer merit-based scholarships to transfer students.
The number of semesters of aid eligibility for students transferring to Duke is based on the policy of up to nine academic semesters less the number of semesters studied elsewhere. This also includes financial assistance for one summer term, if needed. For detailed instructions on how to apply for financial aid, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid website.
Transfer Student Housing
Duke believes that the residential experience is an important factor in the education process. The Board of Trustees mandates that all undergraduates live on campus for three years. As an extension of this practice, transfer students are required to live on campus for two years. Exceptions to the housing requirement include:
• Transfer students who enter as juniors may request to live on campus for only one year.
• Non-traditional transfer students (married students, military veterans, and those students older than most undergraduates) may request the housing requirement be waived entirely.
The housing application will be available in mid-May 2013 and is due on July 1, 2013. Visit the Housing, Dining, and Residence Life website for more information on student housing options.
Duke University is committed to the equality of educational opportunities for all qualified students. Students with disabilities (including learning disabilities, hearing or visual impairments, mobility impairments, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, psychiatric impairments or chronic health disabilities) who apply to Duke can choose whether or not to disclose their disability to us. Our office is prohibited by law from making inquiries about a student's disability in the admissions process. We will not require you at any point in the admissions process to disclose if you have a disability.
Some students choose to include information about their disability in their admissions application because they feel it is an important element of their experiences as a student up to that point, or because they want to share with us how they have overcome an obstacle that not everyone has had to face. We always appreciate any significant information a student wishes to share with us and consider that information in understanding a student's achievements. We evaluate a student's accomplishments within the context of any opportunities or challenges presented to that student. We do not use information about a disability to deny admission to a student.
There is no separate admissions process at Duke for students with disabilities. All students who apply to Duke, including those who have a diagnosed impairment/disability, are evaluated using the same criteria.
If you have questions or require additional information, please contact the Admissions Office at (919) 684-3214 and ask for the admissions officer responsible for students with disabilities.
Accommodations at Duke
All students have the right to request reasonable accommodations at Duke. Students requesting consideration for reasonable accommodations must have an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and should contact the Student Disability Access Office.
We recognize that students with disabilities sometimes find the transition from secondary education to post-secondary education difficult due to the differences in the level of services and accommodations provided at post-secondary institutions. Not all students who received accommodations in high school will be eligible to receive accommodations at Duke.
In primary and secondary education, a student's parents and school staff often bear the responsibility of evaluating, supporting and providing accommodations to the student. At the post-secondary level, it is the student's responsibility to identify that he/she has a diagnosed impairment/disability and to follow the appropriate procedures to request consideration for reasonable accommodations.
Please be aware that Duke is not required to approve any accommodation that would change the fundamental nature of a course or a curriculum. Course substitutions and/or waivers will not be granted for requirements for a major or college curriculum; this includes the foreign language requirement of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences.
For additional information about accommodations and resources at Duke, we encourage you to contact the Student Disability Access Office.
You don't really feel the stress and nervous excitement of getting ready for college until close to the end of your high school career. But preparing for college is much more than the flurry of activity during those last few months.
We've compiled some tips that will assist you in preparing for the college selection process and for college itself:
- Enroll in the best available and most challenging courses. During high school, we recommend four years of English and at least three years of mathematics, natural sciences, foreign language, and social studies. We generally expect students to enroll in five academic courses per year, and if a student does not take four years in a particular subject area, it should be replaced with an academic course of equal rigor. We also encourage students to enroll in advanced-level work in as many of these areas as possible. For some students, this will include AP or IB courses, whereas for others it will include honors or accelerated courses.
- Investigate the standardized tests most colleges and universities require for admission. Buy a study guide and begin taking practice SAT and ACT tests. We recommend that a student take an official SAT or ACT in the springtime of the junior year.
- Get involved in the school or local community. Not only are extracurricular activities a great way for you to balance your academic life, but they are also a means by which you can identify your passions and interests. Understanding what is important to you can help give the Admissions Committee an idea of your potential impact on our campus.
- Attend local college fairs. This is a good way to collect information about several schools around the country in one evening rather than spending many hours writing to universities or attending numerous information sessions during the school day.
- Investigate the websites of your favorite schools. This is an easy and inexpensive way for you to get an overall sense of a school's community, setting, and academic programs.
- Develop a list of important college characteristics. Knowing what to look for when reading through college websites and brochures, or knowing what to ask when speaking with a college representative, will save time and result in a more thoughtful college choice. Is the school location important (rural vs. urban, East vs. West)? Is the school size important? Does the school offer a particular major or program?
- Get to know your guidance counselor. Guidance counselors are extremely important people during the application process, and most have guided hundreds of students in selecting the university that best suits their needs. They are invaluable resources.
College Board (SAT)
American College Testing Program (ACT)
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Peterson's Guide to College
The Princeton Review
FinAid (a resource for financial aid information)
Duke University's Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and Pratt School of Engineering award a limited amount of course credit and advanced placement on the basis of scores earned on Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and pre-matriculation college course work. However, course credit and advanced placement are not granted until the student has been admitted and until the official report of exam results is received and evaluated by our Registrar's Office. Since this process is handled outside the Admissions Office, a credit evaluation cannot be made until the student arrives on campus.
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences Policy
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences students may be granted up to two elective course credits toward the degree requirement of 34 course credits for any combination of AP, IB or pre-matriculation credit. For more information about receiving Trinity College course credit on the basis of AP and IB exam scores, click here; similarly, for details regarding credit on the basis of college coursework completed at another American college or university prior to enrollment at Duke, click here.
Pratt School of Engineering Policy
The Pratt School of Engineering evaluates AP and IB credit as Trinity College does, but awards transfer credit to qualified students for college-level course work with a grade of at least C- prior to matriculation. Although the criteria for evaluating such work are the same as in Trinity College, the Pratt School requires official notification by letter from the high school principal or guidance counselor that the credit earned was not used to meet high school diploma requirements. For more information about receiving Pratt course credit on the basis of AP and IB exam scores, click here; similarly, for details regarding credit on the basis of college coursework completed at another American college or university prior to enrollment at Duke, click here.
International Placement Testing
Entering students who have completed internationally recognized college-level examinations (the British "A" levels, the French Baccalaureate, the German Abitur or Swiss Maturite Certificate) with superior scores will receive international placement credit in essentially the same way that credit is awarded for AP exams.
Placement in Foreign Language Courses
Students with previous experience in one of the foreign languages offered at Duke who wish to continue their studies at Duke should consult Languages at Duke for placement guidelines. Some languages, including Latin, French and German, use the SAT-II or AP exam scores, if available, for placement. The Spanish language program requires the SAT-II or AP exam scores for placement, and students must have their exam results sent to Duke before they enroll in late August.
Students who plan to begin a new language that they have not previously studied do not need to submit a placement score and may register for an introductory course.
Placement in Mathematics Courses
The Department of Mathematics offers several different approaches to the study of calculus. Students should consider their strengths and interests in determining how much math they need to take at Duke. For specific information about suitable math courses, refer to the Academic Advising Center.
Duke offers a number of academic enrichment programs for fourth - 12th graders.
Duke Youth Programs, part of Duke University Continuing Studies, have provided summer academic enrichment for academically motivated youth for more than 20 years. These programs include Duke Young Writers' Camp, Duke Action Science Camp for Young Women, Duke Expressions! Fine Arts Camp, Duke Creative Writers' Workshop, Constructing Your College Experience and Duke Drama Workshop.
Duke's Talent Identification Program (TIP) identifies gifted students and provides a variety of resources and summer programs to nurture their development.
Although we love for students to participate in programs beyond their high school curricula, the Duke Youth Programs and the TIP program are completely separate from Duke's Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The various offices do not share lists of participants.
Every year, thousands of the world's best students apply to Duke. They come from public, private and parochial schools, and from all points on the economic, political and geographic spectrum. Most have graduated in the top 10 percent of their secondary school class. These top students are attracted to Duke for its academic challenge, stimulating campus environment, and reputation for educating men and women of influence and achievement. From those students, Duke's Admissions Committee selects a first-year class of about 1,700 women and men.
We do not have a minimum required score for either the SAT or ACT, nor do we have a minimum required GPA or class rank.
We do not report average SAT or ACT scores, but you can view the middle 50 percent range for standardized test scores of last year's admitted students. Likewise, we do not quote an average grade point average. We ask for a student’s GPA and class rank, when available, but we also realize that many schools consider GPA on different scales and some schools do not consider GPA or class rank at all. We consider this information in the context of what guidance counselors tell us about their schools.
Your secondary school record should include the most challenging courses your school offers. We recommend four years of English and at least three years of mathematics, natural science, foreign language and social studies. We also encourage you to enroll in advanced-level work in as many of these areas as possible. We generally expect students to enroll in five academic courses per year. If a student does not take four years in a particular subject area, it should be replaced with an academic course of equal rigor. If you are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering, calculus is required before you enroll. We also strongly recommend, but do not require, that you have taken physics.
Successful Duke applicants typically have significant extracurricular commitments, all of which we value. Most students admitted to Duke have demonstrated real impact. In some venue they have made a difference. It might be in the classroom, in the community or on the athletic field. It could be doing one thing brilliantly, or several things exceedingly well.
We do not track the number of contacts or visits to campus an applicant has made. Although we are always glad when students visit campus, demonstrated interest is not an advantage in the admissions process. We prefer to focus on a student's strengths and accomplishments.
When you apply to Duke, there are two ways to express your interest further. The Duke Supplement offers you a chance to answer the question: "Why Duke?" For applicants to the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, this essay is optional--truly! However, it offers a great opportunity for you to articulate what excites you about Duke and why you might be a great match here. If Duke is your first choice, you can let us know by applying under our Early Decision program.