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Emory Scholars vs. Duke

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Replies to: Emory Scholars vs. Duke

  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    Hi all,

    My allegiance is obvious. I won't bother to tell you about my choices, although I will frankly apologize for some of the unprofessional conduct of my fellow students on this board. I am glad, however, to see their ferocious pride in our institution. I think Duke has earned it.

    It's a touchy subject.

    It's my opinion that you should come here, and I think there are a few good reasons for that.

    The first thing is - that's right, I'll say it - the basketball. I came into Duke with an extremely-anti-sports attitude. It took me time to come around. What I began to notice over time was that this was one element our community could always have in common. Colleges these days are very divided places: Greeks vs. Independents, financial aids vs. legacies, underrepresented minorities vs. overrepresented minorities. Duke students, though, no matter where they are, can always sit down and bond instantly over Shelden Williams, Josh McRoberts, and the team we admire. Is this a decision-breaker? Absolutely not. But I've become a fan over the years, and I believe you'll look back at the end of your four years and appreciate this element the same way I do.

    Second, I will mention that Duke does a wonderful job of placing our students into top medical, law, business schools, careers, etc. This is not the key element of the decision, either, but if you are pre-professional, I will tell you that I would take our results over anybody else's. You can look at the pre-med forums on Duke's board to see why. In fact, you can look at the pre-med forums on the pre-med boards, and you'll discover that everybody uses Duke to disprove the notion that your undergraduate school doesn't matter. Whenever they need to prove that your school is important, somebody always goes over to Dean Singer's page and pulls up our numbers.

    * * * *

    I also want to preempt a few things.

    First, yes, Duke is in a city (Durham). So is Emory (Atlanta). So is Harvard (Boston/Cambridge). Anybody who tells you that it's ever okay to wander around a city late at night is simply naive or has financial ties to the local criminal element. You can't walk around off of Duke's campus late at night. You also can't walk around off of Emory's campus late at night. If 3 AM wanderings are important to you, go to Stanford or Dartmouth.

    Second, TAs: In my four years at Duke, I've never had a single class that was taught by a TA. I have occasionally heard that such things happen, but I've never actually seen it. My understanding is that sometimes, late in their graduate school careers, there is a subject that needs a teacher and it turns out that a grad student is the most qualified teacher for it.

    Finally, to the student that claims to have turned down Harvard, Yale, and Duke in favor of Emory: I can live with that. We're in good company.

    * * * *

    As to finances, I submit to you that you shouldn't make any decision until all the facts are in. Duke's financial aid package may be so much better than Emory's merit scholarship that the money isn't worth it; it may not be. Wait until your package comes back before making too huge a decision based on this.

    * * * *

    Now, to the important elements. With apologies, I'm going to cut and paste some of what I've written elsewhere.

    1.) Astonishingly wonderful advising systems. We have famous premedical/pre-law/career advisors. I've ranted about this a little bit on a thread relating to UCB in the Premed topics forum ([url]http://talk.collegeconfidential.com...ad.php?t=149508[/url]) but the bottom line is that advising is both key and really wonderful here. They've earned their reputation as being among the best in the country.

    85% of our premeds get into a medical school; this compares to a national number of around 50%, sometimes lower. (Yes, that does mean that half of all students who apply to medical school will be admitted nowhere whatsoever.) Most comparable schools boast rates that are noticeably lower than that. I can't guarantee this, but I believe people on these boards have been mentioning that Stanford's percentage is about 75%. Of course, Stanford also has to deal with the UC system, so the comparison isn't exact, but I frankly can't imagine anybody preparing us for the process better than Dean Kay Singer and her office.

    Second, if you look, you'll notice that the average GPA among our accepted premeds at a given medical school is lower than the national GPA among accepted premeds, and lower than the GPA at some "peer" institutions. This tells you that students from Duke who have WORSE grades are getting into the SAME medical schools as others. Why?

    This is reflected in our numbers.

    2.) World-class faculty in small classes. Duke's philosophy in hiring faculty is that we want absolutely brilliant faculty on the cutting edge of their fields, and we will put up with almost anything to get them. The one thing we will not put up with, however, is an unwillingness to make teaching their absolute top priority. That means that the faculty we have here love students and will go far out of their way to make sure we learn. This means partly that we learn better, which helps us once we actually get into med school, but it also means that we get better letters of recommendation, which are huge.

    This to me is the most important point: Yes, there are schools with similarly or perhaps even more qualified faculty as leaders in their fields. But at what other school do undergraduates have real, worthwhile access to those leaders on a routine basis? Where else will a health economist who is cited repeatedly in every textbook hold multiple review sessions, some of them on Sunday evenings, just to make sure we really learn the stuff? Where else will a world famous chemist respond to freshmen questions via e-mail during his Thanksgiving day? Some schools have wonderful faculty who will do this - but I don't think any of them will top us in the access we have to brilliance.

    3.) An encouragement to pursue co-curricular activites. And yes, I did just call them co-curriculars rather than extra-curriculars. Duke understands that we're training young men and women here, not just scholars, and so I've never heard of a student here who had anything short of astonishing extracurriculars. I'm a tour guide, and I make it a habit when I'm on my tours to mention the accomplishments of the various students I run into - I can afford to do this because Duke students are simply astonishing. Friends of mine have discovered new chemical structures, signed up for internships with the bioterrorism department of the government - it seems everybody has something incredible that they view as normal because that's what Duke students do.

    We have a department entirely for the purpose of helping students arrange interesting, educational, or service-oriented (but usually all three) summer projects.

    This is crucial - we need good qualifications, yes, but the people who will be trying to decide whether to offer us jobs in the future are also looking for people who are firmly grounded in reality and able to apply what they've learned. People who have shown themselves to be committed to helping others, who can dive into the intellectualism known as research, and who have proven that their abilities are more than just "hypothetical" are standout candidates.

    On top of that, it just helps keep us sane.

    4.) Warmth. Students here - knowing that we will all do well in the process - learn together. You won't hear of us stealing each other's notes or sabotaging projects. We study together. We encourage each other. Frankly speaking, we take care of each other. Duke students are warm, and we will support each other through rough times along the track. Is this a stereotype? Absolutely. Are there exceptions? Also absolutely. Has it proven true for me? Also absolutely.

    5.) A determination to continue improving. Duke's SAT averages rise every year. Our campus, already one of the most beautiful in the country, improves every year when we add new buildings and construction. Each class of students is more impressive than the last. Every department is constantly adding prestigious new faculty. I often joke to my parents that I got a sweet deal - admitted to US News's 9th university but graduating from the 5th. It's almost like a transfer to a better school. We are a school on what our President calls an "upward trajectory". We aren't afraid of change. We aren't attached to tradition. We will do what's best for our school, and no options are ruled out simply because they would rock the boat too much.

    Examples: the economics major - the largest major at Duke, with nearly a third of our students! - has been completely overhauled in the past four years, witnessing a great improvement in curriculum and faculty. Our housing system has improved dramatically. We've build a new $150M center for interdisciplinary science research, with a new science building on the way.

    * * * *

    To sum:

    1.) We have advising which will give you an incredible edge, no matter what your future plans may be.

    2.) We have astonishingly briliant faculty who are committed to teaching undergraduates. We have the most access to the most brilliant faculty of any school in the country.

    3.) Duke helps students grow into well-rounded people, something that is valuable for all levels of career as well as emotional sanity.

    4.) Warmth and community, including basketball.

    5.) Upward trajectory. We are great, but we're not content to stay merely great. We have outrageous ambitions, and we want you to be a part of those dreams.
  • priceless28priceless28 Registered User Posts: 500 Member
    Soooo.........anyone know what kind of stats Emory Scholars usually have in terms of GPA and SAT scores??
  • JapericanJaperican Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    SAT: above 1500 (old) GPA: usually 4.0 (uw) + great ec
  • OSUforMEOSUforME Registered User Posts: 563 Member
    durham is not a city. It is ugly, junky, and did I mention ugly. Duke is like a gold ring in the middle of a dumpster.
  • warblersrulewarblersrule Super Moderator Posts: 9,999 Super Moderator
    *winces*
    Not all of Durham is junky...there are some nice parts. I'll admit that Atlanta is a lot nicer, though. I can't wait for spring break- I plan to head down to Atlanta to check out that awesome new aquarium! (And the Carlos Museum)
  • Drummerboy5Drummerboy5 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    I recently visited Emory and the campus was just beautiful. People make you feel really welcomed there and I could really feel a great environment there when I visited. I knew Emory would be the top college of my choice when I took my first step on the campus. Hope I get accepted in the future. :)
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