Chance me Duke (ED)

US citizen
State/Location of residency: North Carolina
Type of high school : public high school
Gender/Race/Ethnicity : White
Intended Major(s): Environmental Science/Studies, Economics?

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
Unweighted HS GPA: 3.96
Weighted HS GPA : 4.5412
Rank: 6/282

ACT/SAT Scores: 1440 SAT 740/700 32 ACT 35/31/31/31


I have completed a number of honors classes as well as AP Environmental Science (4), AP Psychology (5), and 8 dual enrolment classes. I am currently taking AP Physics, Calculus, and AP Lit. This spring I have BC calc and AP Euro.

Junior Marshall (Top 10% of Class) - School
Eagle Scout
Athlete of the Week - School
State Runner Up 3200m (Track)


  1. Track (3 years) - I am the fastest member of the team, and have placed second in the 3200m at state (all-state), and won the regional 1600 meter (all regional). I’ve made drastic progress since joining sophomore year, and our entire team has a fairly good shot at State.
  2. Boy Scouts (4 years) - 150+ hours community service, Eagle Scout: built walkway to increase accessibility
  3. Interact Club (2 years) - Just a member. I participate in service and attend the meetings
  4. Youth group (6 years) - I attend a morning seminary class and weekly youth activities. I’ve held several leadership positions relating to the planning of these activities.

Essays/LORs/Other: I’ve started to write my personal essay, and feel that it has strong potential. I have a number of teachers who could write me strong recommendations, and even know a current professor very well if that’s a good option for the non-teacher recommendation.


Yale (legacy)
NC State

Additional Info: My dad is an assistant professor at Duke. Also, I’m just fast enough to walk onto the track team, but not good enough to get help in admissions. Not sure if I can work any of these factors to my advantage.

I’d love any input you have on improving my application, as well as my general chance of acceptance. Thanks!

Your scores are quite low for Duke; I have some follow up questions:
is 740 the math and 700 ERBW? What subject is the 35 sub score for the Act? How many times did you take each?

I see your rank is great! How is your rigor compared to the other kids in the top 10% ? Specifically, are there hard AP courses you have avoided that they might have taken (maybe APUSH? APChem?) Also, is your Physics “C” or 1 or 2, and is it the highest level of AP Physics offered?

Are any of your recommenders likely to think you are the best student or top 2-4 in your year?

I’ll chance after that info is provided.

740 is ERBW, 35 is the English subscore. I am currently taking physics 1 which is the highest level my school offers. Contrary to my standardized test scores I’m fairly talented at math and would definitely say that my math teacher recognizes me as one of the top few kids in my class. I’ll probably sign up to take the SAT a second time before the signup deadline tonight and hopefully get a score more reflective of my math ability. Thanks!

I’ve taken the SAT once, and the ACT twice. My ACT went up one point due to the increased English score (30-35). I would say that my course rigor is up to par with almost anyone else in my grade, with the exception of a student or two that are taking ochem and calc 3 through special programs.

Thank you for the details. In that case, your verbal/English scores are in the Duke 25-75th range and that helps. Definitely take the SAT again if you can and study very hard for the math , with lots of practice tests! A better math score could really help and should not be too hard to get >= 750 if you are the top student in your AP calc class.
Write compelling essays that really express who YOU are.

Without the professor parent, it is a long shot, 10% if you go ED, just an estimate.
With the connection, if it helps (it may not): 20-24%. I believe Duke’s ED acceptance rate was sub-20 last year; basically I think your connection raises your odds slightly above the average ED admit rate.

On what basis do you think you can predict with such precision? Do you have specific experience or knowledge about Duke’s admissions process or are you purely speculating with specificity?

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Thanks for the opinion. Do you feel it would be harmful to apply test optional?

You need to talk with your school about that. They will have more specific knowledge of your HS and can advise correctly. Good luck!

I have no idea what your chances are, but regarding TO, Duke is one of the schools that accepted TO applicants at an equal percentage to those who applied. 40%.

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Based on recent applicants I know and an understanding of how top universities manage admissions data, I predict you will be waitlisted at Duke and then very possibly offered admission based on your interest at that point. The waitlist this past year allowed for additional information to be submitted to keep them updated.

Your chance of getting in is tough to nail down after a few years of wonky data. Close to 50,000 applicants for the class of 2025 and 4.3% admissions for RD.
With your stats on the lower part of their averages but also knowing some who apply are not as qualified you have less than a 10% chance in the RD cycle. But I think a solid chance of getting waitlisted and then you will have to see what your options are.

Side note - I noticed you are an Eagle Scout. There are scholarships you qualify for that you should consider.

Duke will adjust need based aid if you bring in outside funds, but some of your state schools you are applying to will stack need based aid and scholarship money.

And some colleges will ask you if you are an Eagle Scout in the common app optional questions or scholarship questions, too.