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Chance of Duke Admission?

neuro342neuro342 2 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited July 14 in Duke University
Hi there! Incoming high school senior who just visited Duke and fell in love! I’m from the Bay Area where schools are very competitive, but I’m looking to see what my chances of getting into Duke are. Here is my prospective app:

GPA: UW 3.93 (one B+) W 4.5
ACT: 31 — may retake next month
School doesn’t rank but top 9% of class
APs: 1 sophomore year, 2 plus an honors junior year, 3 senior year
LoR: should be good, two stem teachers and hopefully one from a researcher I interned for
Intended major: neuroscience and premed track
- 14+ years of Junior Olympic gymnastics, 22 hours/week
- gymnastics coach for compulsory levels (9 hours/week)
- VP of nonprofit dedicated to preventing gymnastics injuries
- National Charity League member and held board positions since 6th grade, philanthropy work
- Sophomore VP class council
- Guatemala Effect club for 2 years, raise micro loans for impoverished women
- Summer Med Academy at Rady Children’s Hospital in SD in summer
- UCLA intern at a Brain Injury lab in summer
- UCSF lab intern
- Peer tutor in STEM courses for ELD student immigrants

My essays should be fairly strong, writing about how my physical and mental challenges growing up in gymnastics pushed me to find interest in medicine.

I know Duke can really be a crapshoot for anyone that applies, I’m just trying to gage if I’m the right applicant. I plan to ED because I loved it so much but have other schools in mind as well.
edited July 14
8 replies
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Replies to: Chance of Duke Admission?

  • 2022soon2022soon 101 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @neuro342 Are you an under represented minority or 1st generation college student? Quest Bridge? Otherwise a 31 at one of the most selective colleges in the country, it will not be possible. Duke is just as difficult as an IVY. ED will not help with a 31 pre-med, again unless you are a hooked applicant. Have you tried the SAT? Essays need to be reflective, incredible essays. Definitely DO NOT write about mental challenges. Not something they are looking for in applicants. Gymnastics is a great EC, but then do not write about it in your main essay. Tell them something else about yourself! Something they cannot find on your EC list.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2291 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 15
    Duke had a 7.2% acceptance rate for class of 2023, lower than Dartmouth and Cornell. https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2019/04/duke-university-admission-rates-class-of-2023-how-do-dukes-record-breaking-application-numbers-compare-to-national-trends

    The Class of 2022 accepted students had 33-35 mid 50% ACT score, so your 31 will not make you a competitive candidate in the ED round, unless you are URM or legacy. https://admissions.duke.edu/images/uploads/process/Classof2022profileWEB.pdf
    If you are set on applying ED to Duke you will need to bring the ACT score up. With a 31, I would counsel you to use your one ED application at a more realistic choice.

    Also, you did not mention anything about money, so make sure Duke looks affordable by running the NPC...https://financialaid.duke.edu/net-price-calculator. Do this for all of the schools on your list, which should be comprised of a few reaches, 4-6 matches and at least one affordable safety that you would be delighted to attend. Good luck.

    edited July 15
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  • PublisherPublisher 8078 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Are you being recruited for gymnastics at any universities ? Do you plan on continuing with this sport during college ? I ask because you need an unusual strength in your application in order to consider Duke.
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  • tchit87tchit87 102 replies19 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Your ec's, in my opinion, rock. I think Duke admits applicants who dive deep into ec's unrelated to academics more than other top schools. However, you should try to get your ACT up to 34+ for the best chances, and your high school course-load seems very little compared to others (In my school, 16 AP's throughout highschool isn't uncommon). Atleast for Penn, when I went to the information session, they said if a student's school doesn't offer many challenging classes, they want to see someone taking online classes or classes at the local community college. Your science internships might do that, but success in classes is most important at these schools.
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  • neuro342neuro342 2 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you very much for this! It was extremely helpful. A lot of my courseload data has to do with doing 4 hours of gymnastics 5x a week, as my GPA would have tanked otherwise, but I understand that rigor is weighed within Duke admission.
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  • peach0v0peach0v0 89 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    You don't have to indicate your interest in the premed track on your application. It just asks you to pick interested majors. Your ACT is kind of low, but it's not a dealbreaker since you're not majoring in engineering (Retake if you can). Emphasize your ECs to make up for your weaknesses. I would recommend bringing out how all of your work ties together and how you have positively impacted your community in your application, especially the essays. If you're planning on writing about your mental challenges, make sure you end it on a positive note and don't make it cliche in any way. Since you have a limited space to present yourself, I recommend writing about something not evident in the rest of your application. You will have other opportunities to show yourself through the Duke Supplement essays. Good luck!
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  • TheNerdyOboistTheNerdyOboist 17 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Like others have already bluntly stated, that ACT score needs to come up a few points to be considered "competitive". At the same time, do not freak out about it just yet! Remember that there are several ACT sittings between now and application submission time. Yes, take every sitting very seriously and do your best but you still have a bit of time even if it may not seem like it. Something also to consider, if your ACT doesn't come up in time, regular decision isn't an absolute graveyard and Duke is one of the few schools to take the one ACT sitting right after the application is due (early 2020 sitting) as long as you get the score directly sent to them. Duke was one of the biggest reaches I applied to and I thought I was doomed with my 32 so I took it that last possible sitting and bumped it up to a 34. While I don't know if it was much of a factor, I did get accepted in RD and will be attending this fall! Essentially, if your application isn't ready by ED, in terms of testing, it could very possibly be better to wait until RD.

    In terms of class load, I would encourage you to do some independent studying! There are a plethora of public courses available to anyone and simply mentioning them in your application showcases how much you're willing to "go beyond your situation". The key to these applications for schools like Duke is to STAND OUT. This, quite frankly, is essential considering your admissions officer will be comparing your application to many of those in your region (one of the highest application yielding areas in the country).

    Overall, if you love Duke then you should most definitely try your best to get there! I will say, none of my peers "expected" to get in! You never know if you're one of the few they will happen to love! Best of luck! :)
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  • neuro342neuro342 2 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you so much!! This was incredibly helpful and I wish you the best of luck starting this fall!
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