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Duke Parents Thread

KelownaKelowna 2654 replies175 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
edited January 2014 in Duke University
Hi All :)

I can't believe there is no active parent thread here ! Should my S matriculate at Duke I will be starting one ;)

In the meantime if you could tell me your opinions about life and academics at Duke, in general, I would be really grateful.
What are some of the "less obvious" pros of Duke education? What are the cons?
How is weather in North Carolina, how much rain do you get on average?
How easy/difficult it is to register for the classes you want? How are the dorms? How is the food? Where do you study? Does one need a printer there ? (I have heard something about the wonderful printing option there). How is laundry????????

Looking forward to a great conversation ....
edited January 2014
433 replies
Post edited by Kelowna on
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Replies to: Duke Parents Thread

  • NJ Mom of 2NJ Mom of 2 252 replies27 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I am a parent of class of '16. My S absolutely LOVES Duke. Classes seem to be rigorous but not impossible. He is learning to work and study harder than he ever had before, but there is plenty of time for him to do many other things as well. School spirit is incredible especially during BB season. Classes are a little difficult to get exactly what you want, depends on your registration time period, however I think this happens at any school and of course first years are on the bottom of the totem pole. His assortment of classes has worked out well however, three time now ( just finished registering for next semester). My S's dorm is just ok, however his social life revolves around all the kids he has met in his dorm. Some dorms are much nicer than others, his is one of the oldest but it's more than fine with him. I know he spends a lot of time in the common room of his dorm, which is where he met most of his friends. He doesn't have a printer and I don't think this is an issue at all. I never hear about the laundry so I am assuming that is fine also.

    My S obtained a great research job by emailing profs about one month after he started school. I think research opportunities abound for anyone that is looking. His job is so great I think he will stick with it for 4 years. He had no intention of joining the greek scene when he first attended Duke, however he is a now a brother in a frat. He LOVES that also - pledging took a large amount of his time for most of the semester, but it wasn't abusive at all. Several times during pledging he told them he could not participate because his work load was too much, which was completely understood.
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  • figismomfigismom 17 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    My son is a junior at Duke. He is quite happy there. I'll answer some of your questions. You do not need a printer. There are printers available and each student gets some amount of free printing each semester (or year, not sure which one). My son's two majors are in small departments, so he has not had difficulty getting the classes he wanted for his majors. However, he has been closed out of at least one nonmajor class. It was a seminar with limited enrollment. Registration windows change each semester as a means of making the process a little more fair. Dorms vary widely and freshman have no real choices. My son was in an air-conditioned dorm which was great but the room was tiny. After moving to West Campus as a sophomore, the room size improved. He lives on the main quad and it is very convenient. Food is good. Freshmen get tired of the Marketplace but there are lots of choices on West Campus. We live in NC (about 50 miles from Durham), so we know all about the weather. Spring and Fall are delightful. Summers are hot and muggy. We don't consider NC to be a "rainy" state; however, your son will need an umbrella and a rain jacket. Every dorm has laundry facilities--my son has never complained that he had to wait to get a machine. Students study wherever they are most comfortable--their rooms, study rooms in dorms, or in the library. It's hard to generalize.
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  • JonoWonoJonoWono 60 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm a current Junior at Duke. I'd say a less obvious pro to me is the student body. Everybody here is really friendly, everyone is bright, everyone here has a ton of school spirit and my personal favourite is that the student body isn't really competitive at all. Some cons for me are just the liberal arts requirements, i.e. I'm not an artsy person whatsoever and I need to take two arts literature or performance courses. It is good to get out of your comfort zone however.

    The weather is beautiful (least by my northern standards!) There are actual seasons but for this year I didn't have to wear a winter coat once. Registering for classes can be challenging if you get drawn last window in your first semester as a freshman but for the other seven semesters it's generally pretty easy to get the schedule you want. The dorms vary, some don't have AC which I guess is the 2nd biggest thing I wish Duke would change but they're really not bad and it's only really warm for a few weeks a school year (again I'm a Northerner, not used to the heat!). I usually study either in the library or in the common room, depending on my mood and how long I'm going to be studying for, there's tons of great options. Food is good but gets repetitive which is probably typical of everywhere. Absolutely no need for a printer, there's a great system to print from your computer to the school's printers. Laundry is easy, if you pick Sunday night it can be busy but other than that they're nearby and work well.

    Hope this helps!
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  • KelownaKelowna 2654 replies175 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks so much!
    And please, keep it coming...it is looking better and better :)
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  • amdmomamdmom 28 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @kelowna thanks for starting this thread.. my S starts Fall 2013 too.

    Can anyone tell me what are the other essential things one needs to buy for the dorm room?
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  • KelownaKelowna 2654 replies175 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Duke parents, lets communicate here. We can share/exchange information.
    I am excited for my kid to move across the country to attend Duke, but I know next to nothing about Duke, Durham and North Carolina :) Never been there !
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  • KelownaKelowna 2654 replies175 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks for merging threads....now Duke parents, lets unite...

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using CC
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  • phoenixmomphoenixmom 16 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I just visited for Blue Devil Days with my daughter. The campus is very beautiful and the students were very friendly and seemed really happy. Durham is mostly pleasant and seems to have been undergoing a revival. Many of the historic warehouses are being converted to restaurants and retail spaces. There are music, minor league baseball and performance venues close to campus. My kid is so excited!
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  • KelownaKelowna 2654 replies175 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hi phoenixmom!
    Has your daughter committed? If yes, judging from your name, our kids will be commuting from same part of the world (we are just a little bit north from you).
    I am jealous that you have seen the campus already, I must rely on pictures I find on the internet. I can't find any nicely made movies that describe Duke and campus...
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  • dadotwoboysdadotwoboys 722 replies0 threadsRegistered User Member
    Just thought I would check in. S'13 will be attending in the Fall. Was at BDD on the 18-19 and had a great time. Visited classes, wandered around campus, spent the night in a dorm on East Campus, had a loco-pop, etc. He's very happy with his decision.
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  • blueguillespieblueguillespie 4 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    My daughter is a member of this year's entering Robertson Scholar class at Duke. We're local, so keep me in mind if you need any emergency help with your Duke students. :-)
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  • GreekManaGreekMana 649 replies4 threadsRegistered User Member
    I'm a proud new Blue Devil parent for the class of 2017! DS is thrilled to be an A.B. Duke Scholar. One son committed to Duke, still hoping that second one might go there as well, but he is leaning towards a school closer to home. Both sons went to BDD and loved it. We visited two years ago and loved the campus. We have already reserved our hotel for move-in day and for Parent's Weekend.
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  • KelownaKelowna 2654 replies175 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Could someone explain the logistics of Focus to me? I am confused as to how many courses they take from a cluster and how many from regular curriculum ?

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using CC
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  • ladyofthehouseladyofthehouse 38 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Duke Alumni Parent Class of 2012
    Duke was my D's first choice and she has never regretted it! Here is some informational tidbits:

    -She never had problems with allergies until she got to Durham, so that took us by surprise. She was able to meds to get through it. She learned the key was to start the meds before the season started.
    -She found rain boots to be quite handy...short cutting through the garden on rainy days.
    -Students that have to fly home for the summer group together to rent storage lockers.
    -You can purchase items from Bed Bath & Beyond at your location and your child can pick them up at a Durham location.
    -During orientation week, the first year students are transported to Target to make supply purchases.
    -Each dorm room is allowed one microwave and one fridge, so coordinate with the roommate. The campus food choices are ample, so they will survive if they don't them.
    -My D's friends were very diverse: racially and socioeconomically.
    -She did go Greek, but academics always came first.
    -Basic first aid, sewing, and tool kits come in handy.
    -If you're in a position that will allow you to stay for Convocation, please do! If you can't, do watch the internet.
    -Encourage your child to study abroad. There are summer options if it doesn't fit during the fall/spring.
    -Last but not least, the four years will go by quickly!
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  • dadotwoboysdadotwoboys 722 replies0 threadsRegistered User Member
    Kelowna - I'm not sure I know all the logistics, but it appears you take 2 or more of the classes in the cluster. The classes can be used to meet the freshman seminar requirement and toward other requirements (areas of knowledge and modes of inquiry). And you are assigned to a common dorm with the other students in your cluster, making for more opportunities to discuss class assignments, research projects, etc. It also creates a social network based on an interest area (to go along with the other social groupings they will form next year).

    S'13 thought it looked interesting and signed up for one.
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  • phoenixmomphoenixmom 16 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Kelowna- That is my understanding as well for focus. They take 2 classes from the focus cluster and usually 2 other classes. My daughter has committed and is thrilled. It is a bit alarming to be sending her across the country, I have to admit! The Bed, Bath & B option is supposed to work well. You can order things in your store and I think the kids can sign up like a wedding registry if grandparents, etc. might want to give them a gift, and it's all waiting for you on the date you designate in Durham. Southwest lets you check 2 bags free so we will be bringing extra luggage and just cart it back empty.
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  • ladyofthehouseladyofthehouse 38 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I forgot to mention...
    Book your hotel early for major events: move-in, family weekend, and graduation. Sometimes those events at Duke overlap with the ones at the other area colleges.
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  • KelownaKelowna 2654 replies175 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks Ladyofthehouse!
    When are they finding out about dorms?
    And what are we suppose to buy for dorms? (besides microwave and fridge, of course ;) )
    Phoenix- We might be driving cross country if DD decides to take all his DJ equipment along...
    Are kids allowed to stay in dorms during fall and Thanksgiving breaks?

    Sent from my SGH-T999 using CC
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  • ladyofthehouseladyofthehouse 38 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think you find out room assignment late June or early July. You will need bedding (including mattress cover and pillows) in size twin-xl; towels; iron (we bypassed ironing board); laundry sack/hamper; desk lamp; grounded surge protector. My D got risers for bed to allow underbed storage. I would recommend waiting to see the actual room before buying too much else.

    Yes, the dorms and some of the campus eateries stay open during fall and Thanksgiving breaks. Usually, by Thanksgiving the kids will probably be friends with another student and get invited home with him/her. Or they know others that are remaining on campus so they're not alone.
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  • NJ Mom of 2NJ Mom of 2 252 replies27 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    There is so much shopping in Durham and the surrounding towns that you can find anything you need in stores that a familiar to you - all major chain stores are within a few miles of the campus. Move in day(s) are 2 days for the parents, so there is plenty of time to make many store runs.
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