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FAQs

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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 2025, 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.

Duke’s Statement on COVID-19

As you know, colleges and universities across the country, Duke among them, are responding in various ways to the presence of COVID-19.

While this has created new challenges across the university, Duke remains committed to continuing our mission – the critical work of teaching, learning, discovery, and caring for the health of our students, faculty, and staff.

We recognize these actions will prevent you from visiting our campus in the many weeks to come. Our office remains committed to providing information about Duke through our website and virtual visit programs. We will continue to update our website and social media platforms with any information about the lifting of visit restrictions.

During this unprecedented moment in our university’s history, the Duke community continues to work together in support of our shared values of respect, trust, inclusion, discovery, and excellence.

With new information about COVID-19 developing at a brisk pace, Duke has created a task force that includes leadership from across the University and Duke Health continues to monitor activity in North Carolina and around the world. Their work and other updates can be found at coronavirus.duke.edu.

Should you have any questions, please contact our office by email at undergrad-admissions@duke.edu.

How do I visit Duke's campus?

Virtual Information Session

Join us for a 45-minute virtual information session led by a Duke Admissions Officer. You’ll learn about academic opportunities, student life, admissions + financial aid process, and you’ll have a chance to ask questions.

REGISTER A VIRTUAL INFORMATION SESSION

Live Virtual Campus Tour

Hosted each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, virtual tours offer an opportunity to visit campus from the comfort of your own home. Presented in real-time by a current student ambassador, our hour-long virtual visits guide you through popular spots on campus including both East and West Campuses.

SCHEDULE A LIVE VIRTUAL CAMPUS TOUR

Campus Tour

Led by a student tour guide, our outdoor walking tours last typically between 45-60 minutes. You’ll also have a chance to ask questions and hear why we love our vibrant community. In the event of severe weather or lightning, tours could be canceled or delayed. While on campus, visitors are expected to adhere to the UNIVERSITY VISITOR POLICIES.

SCHEDULE A CAMPUS TOUR

How is Duke addressing systemic racism on its campus and within its community?

Duke is fully committed to addressing systemic racism on our campus and setting an example for our nation and the world. The University recognizes that its efforts will need to be focused and sustained, with clear goals and transparency as we work toward them.  Visit anti-racism.duke.edu to visit the central repository of information about the University’s anti-racism work, including data regularly collected and publicized to monitor our progress, details of new and ongoing programs, research highlights, and educational and training materials for wider use across the Duke community.

What is Duke's stance on peaceful protests?

Duke has always valued active and responsible engagement in civic life among its students and applicants. We will always consider all applicants fully and individually, and ever part of the application, including disciplinary sanctions, in the unique context of the applicants themselves and the values of the institution we represent, which include civic and personal responsibility. An applicant’s participation in peaceful protests has never been a reason for us to deny or rescind an offer of admission.

Will Duke be test-optional for applicants in 2022 and beyond?

Duke University will be test-optional for both first-year and transfer applicants in the 2021-22 admissions cycle.

Students who apply without SAT or ACT scores this year will not be at a disadvantage in our consideration of their applications. Our decisions are based on a student’s comprehensive application materials, with or without test scores. We will continue to consider SAT and ACT scores as part of the application of students who choose to submit them and will accept self-reported scores for purposes of assessing an application. Scores sent from testing agencies will be required from those students only if they enroll at Duke.

We do not require SAT Subject Tests, but we will consider those scores, along with other scores like AP and IB, if you choose to report them. Please note if you choose to not have your scores considered, we will not suppress SAT Subject Test scores or AP scores if they are already on file with Duke.

Duke CEEB Code: 5156

HOW SHOULD I DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO HAVE MY SAT OR ACT CONSIDERED?

The decision of whether or not to have your SAT or ACT considered is entirely yours. Choosing not to have SAT or ACT scores considered will not impact your admissions decision. You may wish to consult our ADMISSIONS PROFILE for students admitted to Duke in previous years as a guide. If you’re still uncertain, you may wish to opt-out of having your scores considered when you apply because you will be able to opt-in later.

How do I let Duke know I plan to apply test optional? Can I change my mind?

You will indicate on your application whether or not you want your SAT or ACT scores considered.

If you elect to have your scores considered, you may report those scores on your application or later through your application portal, and/or you may have official scores sent by the testing agency. You will not be able to change from “Yes, consider my scores” to “No, do not consider my scores” once you have submitted your application. If you choose to have your scores considered but never report them, we will assess your application without scores.

If you elect NOT to have test scores considered, you will not need to report any scores. If you already have SAT or ACT scores on file with Duke those scores will be suppressed. If you change your mind and decide you would like your scores considered, you have until November 30 for Early Decision or January 25 for Regular Decision to change your preference and self-report scores on your application portal.

Early Decision candidates whose applications are deferred who originally chose not to have their scores considered may change their preference by January 25 and self-report scores on their application portal. We will then consider the scores in our Regular Decision review.

What happens if I already reported my scores to Duke when I took the SAT/ACT but don’t want them considered?

Duke’s application supplement will ask if you would like to have your scores considered or not. If you choose not to have your scores considered, they will be suppressed during the selection process.

IS DUKE TEST-OPTIONAL FOR EVERYONE?

In the 2021-22 cycle, we will be test-optional for Regular and Early Decision applicants, including international students and students who wish to be considered for our merit scholarships. We will also be test-optional for transfer applicants. Some exceptions may apply for ROTC scholarship applicants.

IF I CHOOSE NOT TO SUBMIT TEST SCORES, WILL I BE ELIGIBLE FOR MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS?

Students who choose not to submit testing will be eligible to receive Duke’s merit scholarships. 

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program is also test-optional for the 2021-2022 application cycle. Students may choose to report ACT and/or SAT scores as part of their application for the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program but are not required to do so.

For additional information, please contact Kay Brody, Robertson Director of Recruitment and Selection, at brody@robertsonscholars.org or 919-668-1438. 

I AM PLANNING TO APPLY FOR A ROTC SCHOLARSHIP, IS TESTING OPTIONAL?

To be considered for a National Air Force, Army, or Navy ROTC Scholarship, applicants are required to submit  ACT or SAT to those scholarship programs.

Please check with the specific Duke Detachment you are considering for more details. Contact information may be found here.

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. Students may self-report their scores on their applications.

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.

SHOULD I SUBMIT SAT SUBJECT TESTS?

SAT Subject Tests have been discontinued. Duke does not require students to submit Subject Tests, but if you choose to report them, we will consider them as one of many factors in our review of your application. Please note, if you choose to not have your scores considered, we will not suppress SAT Subject Test scores or AP scores if they are already on file with Duke.

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, you have elected to have your scores considered, 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.

We will suppress scores for students who elect NOT to have scores considered, so you will not see them on your checklist.

How will changes to my school’s instruction and grading in response to COVID-19 affect my application?

Duke uses a holistic process in evaluating applications and considers your school context and opportunities available to you in our assessment. In regards to courses and grades since the onset of COVID, including courses graded pass/fail, we understand that school policies are beyond a student’s control, though we expect you to make the choices that best suit your circumstances. If you are given the choice, we prefer you choose letter grades over pass/fail grades so that we have a better understanding of your comparative performance in a class. We also understand, however, that COVID and other circumstances affect students differently. You and/or your school counselor may explain those circumstances in your application to provide additional context for your academic performance.

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 pre-medicine, prebusiness, or prelaw majors, minors, or certificates. Instead, we offer a number of robust preprofessional advising resources through the Office of Health Professions Advising, Pre-business Advising, and Pre-law 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. Duke does not offer a 7-year medical, law, or MBA program.

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 Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate work and grants a limited amount of elective credit and placement into advanced courses.

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 and IB exams.

Duke’s current AP/IB credit policy for Trinity College of Arts and Sciences can be found HERE and for the Pratt School of Engineering can be found HERE. Given the changes in exams as a result of COVID-19, Duke academic officials are currently reviewing their policies and practices, and there may be some adjustments to how exams from 2020 are used for placement. Please know that our first priority is student success: Duke wants to ensure that students are well prepared for the rigor of the classes in which they will enroll.

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 2020-2021, we admitted 16.7% of students who applied Early Decision and 4.7% 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.

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.

To request a gap year/deferred enrollment:

  • Enroll at Duke University through your student portal (no deposit required).
  • You may request your gap year through your student portal or by SUBMITTING THIS FORM. Submit your request to us is May 31, 2021.

If you choose to defer enrollment, you must accept the following conditions:

  • You agree not to apply for admission to any other college or university during the remainder of this year or during the coming year.
  • You may not enroll at another college or university during your gap year with the expectation of receiving Duke credit for those courses. You may not enroll in a post-graduate program at a secondary school.
  • 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.

Duke offers a unique funding opportunity for some students pursuing gap years. For more information go to OUR GAP YEAR WEBPAGE.

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, where students will join a cohort of other future Blue Devils. Members of the Duke Gap Year Program may also be eligible to receive financial assistance to support their gap year plans.

A gap year 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.

Students do not have to request funding to join the Gap Year Program, but do need to have well-defined gap year plans that emphasize growth and exploration.

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.

WHAT IS DUKE’S SMOKING POLICY?

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.

How do I get involved in athletics at Duke?

Our 27 Division 1 teams generate incredible school spirit. Students can attend all sporting events for free. If you have questions about the recruitment process for Division 1 teams, please visit goduke.com.

Sport Clubs provide the opportunity to participate in organized sport and competitive activities. Each Sport Club is composed of individuals who share a common interest in recreation sport and organize to collectively pursue their goals to either compete locally or at the national level. While previous experience in the sport you choose is helpful, it is not required. Our Sport Clubs are inclusive, which means there are no tryouts or cuts made.

Whether you’re a competitive sports enthusiast or looking for a source of exercise, Duke’s Intramural Sports Program provides a wide variety of activities. Compete with friends and colleagues or sign up as free agents. There are no additional fees to participate.

Does Duke consider demonstrated interest in making its decisions?

Like many things in the admissions process–it’s a little complicated.

“Demonstrated interest” as most people use the term is not a plus factor in our process.  Students don’t need to visit the campus, and we discourage students from contacting the Admissions Office in order to demonstrate their interest in us. There is no benefit to emailing or meeting your regional admissions officer. 

What we do recommend is that students take the time to explore what Duke has to offer them in light of their hopes and expectations for college, and to think carefully about why there may be a good match between them and us. That will allow them to write a thoughtful and detailed answer to our essay on this subject. Our experience is that students who have fully investigated Duke, whether virtually or in person, are better able to articulate why Duke is a good match for them. We do our best to make enough information about Duke available to everybody.

If you want a term to use what we look for, you could say that applicants should be able to communicate their “demonstrated knowledge” through their application rather than their “demonstrated interest” through the number of times they have visited, met, or contacted us. 

Our list below will give some suggestions for how students can learn about any college, not just Duke, including those that place weight on “Demonstrated Interest.”

How can I learn about a college, and then show a college that it’s a good match for me? How can I enhance my “demonstrated knowledge?”

Get on the college’s mailing list. 

  • Admissions offices still communicate primarily through email, and will let you know about application or scholarship deadlines, information about programs they’re hosting, and news about the college that way.

Consider creating an email account just for the college admissions process.

  • If you use email a lot, or don’t review your email very often, consider creating an email account just for this process. That will help you in not missing important information

Attend virtual events or information sessions sponsored by the colleges you’re interested in.

  • One positive result of the pandemic is the strong shift to virtual programs. No matter where you are, you can attend. Colleges do their best to make them informative and interesting.

Take a virtual tour of the campuses you’re interested in.

  • We know it’s hard, sometimes impossible, to manage campus visits these days. Many colleges offer virtual tours. While they’re not the same as being there, they can give you a sense of the place. And colleges are working to improve them to make them more authentic reflections of the place.

If a college offers a virtual admissions interview, either as part of the application or separately, you should sign up. 

  • It’s a great way for them to get to know you as an individual and for you to show how much thought you’ve given to that college.

Explore the college websites. 

  • There is so much information there, including a lot geared towards current students that will give you insight into the college. Give yourself some time to explore.

Many colleges ask you why you’re interested as part of their application. Be well prepared to answer this question in some detail and with thought. 

  • Make lists of everything that appeals to you in the colleges you’re considering. Dig into what you’re looking for in any college, and how that particular college meets your needs. Don’t just talk about what everyone knows about the college; think about the specific match between you and the college. This will help you both in the essay and if you interview.

Don’t worry about visiting the campus if you can’t afford it or if it’s too far away! 

  • Admissions offices understand that college visits take time and resources, both of which can be hard to come by. But if the campus is close, and you have the means to visit on a one-day trip, try to do that. You’ll learn a lot, including how accurately the college presents itself online.

If there is a link in an email that the college sent you, and it looks interesting to you, click on the link and see where it leads you. 

  • While recent developments will make it harder for colleges to see if you’ve opened or read their emails, they will still be able to tell if you’ve clicked on links. Colleges that closely track “demonstrated interest” will notice this.