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How can we help you?

Browse the topics below for more information and frequently asked questions about Duke’s admissions process.

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If you’re a new member of Duke’s Class of 2024, visit the admitted student page for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

For updates on Duke’s response to COVID-19, visit our announcements page.

How can I decide between Early Decision and Regular Decision?

Apply Early Decision if …

  • Duke is your first choice
  • You’re ready to apply by November 1
  • You’ve completed your initial standardized testing by November 1
  • Your family is comfortable with their anticipated financial commitment
  • You’re willing to commit to enroll if admitted

Apply Regular Decision if …

  • Another college is your top choice, or you haven’t yet determined a top choice
  • You want more time to finalize your application
  • You want to take additional standardized tests
  • You want to be able to compare different schools’ financial aid packages
  • You want to see what merit scholarships you might be awarded, at Duke and elsewhere

Other things to consider …

  • There is an advantage, at least statistically, in applying Early Decision
  • It is unlikely that one additional semester of grades will improve your chances of admission if you wait to apply Regular Decision
  • Your financial aid award will be the same regardless of whether you apply Early or Regular
  • In some cases we may release families from the Early Decision commitment for financial reasons

Can I apply to any other schools early if I apply to Duke in Early Decision?

Students can apply to any other colleges through regular, rolling or early programs as long as they comply with the requirements of both schools. Students cannot apply simultaneously to more than one binding program, and we ask our applicants to respect not only their binding agreement with us if admitted, but also to honor agreements with restrictive early action schools.

Is there an advantage to applying through the Early Decision program?

There is an advantage in the admissions process to applying Early Decision. In 2018-2019, we admitted 21% of students who applied Early Decision and 6% of students who applied Regular Decision. There is no financial aid advantage or disadvantage in applying Early Decision and we meet full demonstrated need, but students who wish to compare different schools’ financial aid packages should apply Regular Decision.

How do I commit to attend Duke without knowing if my family can afford it?

Duke commits to meeting full demonstrated financial need for every admitted student, and there is no financial aid advantage or disadvantage in applying Early Decision. You can learn a great deal about our financial aid practices and get an estimate of your financial aid award by using the Net Price Calculator on our Financial Support website. 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 binding Early Decision commitment after discussions among the family, the Financial Support Office, and the Admissions Office.

If I take both the SAT and ACT, do I need to send both scores to Duke? What about multiple scores?

We will always consider your highest score regardless of test type or test date, and you are welcome to send us SAT scores, ACT scores or both. Applicants may choose the Score Choice option for the SAT and choose to submit scores from specific ACT test dates. We do NOT require applicants to submit all of their test scores–just the ones necessary to fulfill the testing requirement.

If I take the ACT, can I also submit SAT Subject Tests?

Although we do not require or expect SAT Subject Test scores from candidates who take the ACT, we do accept them and will consider them as an additional demonstration of subject proficiency.

Will it hurt my candidacy to take standardized tests multiple times?

No. However, standardized testing should not become one of your extracurricular activities! We’d rather see you spend your time pursuing your curiosities and interests, and most students don’t see significant score improvements beyond their second or third sitting for a given test.

If I took the SAT or ACT before high school, can I use these scores in my application?

No. Only testing that is taken in high school will be considered in the admissions process.

If I have taken Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate examinations, what role do those scores play in the admissions process? Should I report those scores officially?

We value those scores when available as demonstrations of subject mastery to complement your academic transcripts. You should self-report these scores in your application. We will require an official score report from students who matriculate at Duke who wish to use those scores for credit or placement.

I had my test scores sent to Duke before I applied. Why don't I see them in my Duke Application Checklist?

If your test scores were released to Duke prior to submitting an application, and you only recently applied, please allow several business days for us to connect your scores to your application materials. If after that point your scores are not displayed on your checklist, and you have verification from the testing agency that they’ve been received, you may call our office or send us an email. We will investigate and then respond to your inquiry.

When I apply, do I have to select a specific program?

When you apply to Duke, you must apply to either the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences or the Pratt School of Engineering. The application will also ask you to indicate your preliminary academic interests so we can get to know you intellectually. 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. It is not easier or harder to be admitted to one program or another; pick the school and academic fields that best match your interests.

Does Duke offer preprofessional majors?

Because of Duke’s core commitment to a liberal arts education, Duke does not offer premedicine, prebusiness, or prelaw majors, minors or certificates. Instead, we offer a number of robust preprofessional advising resources through the Office of Health Professions Advising, Prebusiness Advising, and Prelaw Advising. While offering superior preparation for preprofessional school and tremendous flexibility to pursue their studies, opportunities for our students are endless. Our medical school and law school acceptance rates are 85% and 98%, respectively, and many of our alumni go on to be leaders in medicine, business, and law.

The Duke University Career Center also provides students with counseling and networking opportunities that encourages personal, educational, and professional development.

Does Duke accept Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) credits?

Duke recognizes the Advanced Placement Program of the College Board and grants a limited amount of elective credit and placement into advanced courses for scores of 4 or 5 on most AP exams. AP exams may not be taken once students have enrolled at Duke.

Entering students who have completed internationally recognized college-level examinations with high scores will receive international placement credit in essentially the same way that credit is awarded for AP exams.

Learn more about pre-college credit

Does Duke have a "gap year" or deferred enrollment policy?

As you prepare for college, you may find yourself wanting to explore other interests such as personal and professional development, religious or mission work, travel, or required military service. Generally, Duke students do a one-year gap, but depending on the request we can approve up to two years. 

If a student chooses to defer enrollment, they must accept the following conditions:

  • They must agree not to apply for admission to any other college or university during the remainder of this year or during the coming year
  • Students may not enroll at another college or university during your gap year with the expectation of receiving Duke credit for those courses.
  • If you do take any college courses during your gap year, you cannot retake those courses at Duke.
  • You continue to abide by both the Conditions of Application and the conditions mentioned in the next to last paragraph of your letter of admission.

If you are interested in requesting a deferral, or “gap year,” the deadline to submit your request to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions is Friday, June 1, 2020.


What is the Duke Gap Year Program?

There are few opportunities in life to take a meaningful amount of time to reflect and explore. With this in mind, we launched the Duke Gap Year Program to provide financial support to admitted students who are interested in taking a year away before enrolling.

The Duke Gap Year Program is your opportunity to catch your breath for a year, gain some perspective, make a difference in a community near or far, grow as a person, and be better prepared for all that college has to offer, all with financial support from Duke.

Read more about the Duke Gap Year Program

Does Duke have campus police?

At Duke, we strive to provide a safe and secure campus that allows for as much individual freedom as possible. Our safety programs and security initiatives at Duke include an on-campus police force with round-the-clock patrol, a locking system for residence halls 24 hours a day and using Duke cards for entry, emergency notification systems, and hundreds of “help phones” located around campus. The Duke University Police Department provides round the clock security services to Duke’s campus and the medical center. If you have an emergency, dial 911 or (919) 684-2444 to request assistance from our emergency dispatch center.

Where can I find information about campus safety?

The Annual Clery Security Report for Duke includes specific policies concerning campus safety and security, as well as statistics for the previous three years. A copy of this report can be obtained by contacting the Duke Police Department at (919) 684-4602 or by accessing the report online. The pertinent statutory authority is at 34 CFR Part 668.41 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

The Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports include institutional policies concerning campus safety and security, and statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Duke University and adjacent public property, and fires that occurred in residence halls. A copy is available online or upon request to the Duke Police Department at 919-684-4602.


What is Duke's alcohol policy?

While drinking alcohol is not uncommon among American undergraduates nationwide, Duke has clear expectations and strict policies about breaking state laws and university rules. Breaking the rules has serious consequences.


As part of our commitment to the Healthy Duke initiative and to creating a healthy living and working environment, Duke is adopting a NEW POLICY to become smoke-free on all property and grounds owned and leased by Duke University beginning July 1, 2020.