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Why wasn't I accepted to Duke?

campster17campster17 0 replies1 threads New Member
I know this question sounds petty and stupid, but I'm genuinely curious why they didn't accept me. Let me explain:

I'm my high school class valedictorian with a GOA of about 4.65 and I have a 35 on the ACT, so there's essentially no way I could've done better in terms of academia. I also served as a Senate Page (an intern of sorts for the US senate) for half a year, and completed various community service activities throughout high school. On top of that, I'm an Eagle Scout. I though my resume gave me a good chance to get into Duke, but apprantly not, because they didn't accept me, not even waitlist. Does anyone have any clues on why? What was the "missing ingredient" from my resume?
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Replies to: Why wasn't I accepted to Duke?

  • katkatmousekatkatmouse 78 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Maybe your letters of rec or your personal statement?
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threads Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    They have too many applicants like you and too few slots for people like you.

    It's not personal.

    This is what I stated in another thread:
    "BTW, to any juniors reading: Even if you have stellar stats and ECs, unless you are hooked or are nationally/globally renown in something or the kid of someone rich/famous or insanely good at essays, expect to be denied/WL'ed from more Ivies/equivalents than you are admitted to.

    Those single-digit admit rates apply to you as well."
    edited March 2017
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  • HRSMomHRSMom 4605 replies50 threads Senior Member
    Are you from the Northeast and male? That's a tough admit no matter what you have to offer.

    You could not have done anything different. You just weren't what they "wanted".
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 threads Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    @HRSMom: I wouldn't even put it like that.

    The competition is so fierce now, with so many stellar applicants, it's more that the Ivies/equivalents literally can not take every kid that they want. I think all of them would be willing to accept twice as applicants if they had the space for them all and still be happy with the student body they ended up with.
    edited March 2017
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  • vonlostvonlost 18826 replies14694 threads Super Moderator
    If Northeast and male is tough, Northeast and female would be even tougher, with female college applicants now outnumbering males.
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  • ANormalSeniorGuyANormalSeniorGuy 307 replies28 threads Member
    its ok man. The same happened to me. Rejected All ivys no waitlist and rejected to every school I applied to 1-19 rank with a 34 ACT, 4.35 gpa (college grading high school, a girl from my school got into 3 ivys with that) and 10 years of classical double bass
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  • HRSMomHRSMom 4605 replies50 threads Senior Member
    ^that...
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33179 replies3901 threads Super Moderator
    You're asking why you weren't accepted to a school where the acceptance %age hovers around 10%?
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  • iam4uf1iam4uf1 7 replies2 threads New Member
    Your scores and ECs aren't enough to get in on their own. Trust me, I understand how prestigious a Senate Page internship is. I understand Eagle Scouts. I know how hard it can be to get a 35. Problem is, they dont WOW me enough to admit you off the bat. They are good, but not totally amazing. The problem was probably 1 of 2 things or both. Either A, you got really unlucky with the admissions committee and they denied just because they werent looking for someone like you. It happens, acceptances are an extremely volatile thing. Or, your essays and LORs were subpar. People underestimate how much they matter. They might have hurt your application.

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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3530 replies49 threads Senior Member
    Once the dust settles, have your guidance counsellor call Duke admissions and speak to your regional AO. The GC can often get some tangible information that otherwise wouldn't be shared directly with the student. Could be a single poor grade, cringe-worthy essay, concerning comment in a recc, etc.

    There are probably many reasons but you really won't get an honest answer if you directly ask the admissions people.
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  • SuburbMomSuburbMom 242 replies15 threads Junior Member
    I believe, if it really and truly is that important to you, you can request your admissions application under FOIA. I know people have done it for Stanford and the Ivies. Some schools have begun shredding files as a result, so no guarantees.
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  • vonlostvonlost 18826 replies14694 threads Super Moderator
    FOIA applies to the federal government. What is the rule regarding private schools?
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  • MedSciBudMedSciBud 898 replies63 threads Member
    FERPA, I guess. I believe matriculated students can ask for their records, but not others.
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3353 replies12 threads Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    Holistic admissions. If you were an black muslim ice dancer eagle scout they probably would have admitted you. It is pointless to ask. It has become ridiculous.
    edited March 2017
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  • SuburbMomSuburbMom 242 replies15 threads Junior Member
    It was FERPA. Sorry. And undergrads have used it to view their records, not just alumni. Not sure how it works if you aren't admitted. It would be interesting to see, for sure.
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  • bucketDadbucketDad 198 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Did you apply ED or RD only?

    My daughter is a legacy with stats similar to yours. Got in ED. She has classmates with similar stats, better ECs (and some legacy) who only applied RD and didn't get in. It shocked her. It shocked me.
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  • wstravwstrav 238 replies2 threads Junior Member
    @campster17 Your question is neither petty nor stupid. However, we can't answer: we simply have no idea what the Admissions Office was thinking. The RD admission rate was 7.3%, meaning 13 of every 14 applicants were not accepted. Duke just can't accept all of those who are qualified. This is not a failure on your part. Your accomplishments are in no way diminished by what 1 college decided. Good luck wherever you end up.
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  • sweatearlsweatearl 81 replies8 threads Junior Member
    I am actually at Duke right now. I had the chance to talk to my admissions officer, the guy who admitted me. He actually knew who I was and remembered stuff on my application. It was really cool. He told me something that I think a lot of future applicants need to know. He said if the letters of rec weren't top notch, you don't get in usually. He said rec lettersvare the number one deciding factor, cuz everyone had the grades test scores, and for the most part ppl can write well enough
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  • renaissancedadrenaissancedad 1472 replies8 threads Senior Member
    ^ I suspect there is a lot of truth to this.

    The main problem that top colleges have is the overwhelming number of applications, the vast majority from fairly qualified applicants. It's easy to pick out some with major hooks or achievements that clearly stand out, and to weed out those who clearly are a stretch; but that leaves the bulk of an admissions class to be filled from a very large pool of qualified unhooked applicants who aren't that easy to distinguish from one another. Add in things like superscoring, test prep, grade inflation, paid college counselors and "buffing" of applicants, and it can be very difficult to sort through the noise, even for experienced admissions officers. Letters of recommendation are probably one of the areas where it is easiest to tell applicants apart.
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