Chances at Duke

<p>My son's guidance counselor thinks he has a shot at Duke ed. His GPA is 3.6, (unweighted) SAT 1460, 780, 720, 690 SAT 2's, really good extracurriculars.
For some reason she thinks he should shoot for it. Anyone have any info to keep me from freaking out?</p>

<p>My D is in the same boat, with a higher GPA but lower test scores, and great EC's also. GC is no help advice-wise, but we discussed it among ourselves and decided why not? We visited Durham last April & of course D fell in love with everything about Duke--wife & I did not fall in love with the cost nor the prospects of merit-based aid.</p>

<p>The app is daunting, with about 6 parts to it. We realistically told D that sure, go ahead & apply (she'll do it RD) and if she happens to be one of the lucky ones picked (I believe at this level, with all Duke applicants being pretty qualified stat-wise, it's all about what the adcoms are looking for on a given day) then we'll cross that financial bridge at that time.</p>

<p>I also to NOT get her hopes up, and have a handful of Plan B colleges to apply to as well. Duke is one hot mama of a college these days...</p>

<p>jnm, you are right on the money about Duke. It is one tough school to get into these days. But there is no reason not to try with your kids' stats. It will be a reach school but everyone should a few of thoses. The problem is that some kids want to apply to only reaches, and that is where the dangers come. There should be a variety of selectivity levels in your kids' choices. Not a problem to have a school with a 10% admit rate. A big problem when none of the choices have a greater than half a chance to get in.</p>

<p>There are only two essays as far as I could tell. There are six questions on the big essay to chose from but my son used his common ap essay which they allowed. Yeah, my problem is that his sister goes to Cornell, and he has a much better shot at getting accepted there. In fact I'd say it's almost a safety if he applied there early. But he just fell in love with Duke (sigh) and I'm afraid he's blowing his shot at Cornell but using his ace card (ed) at Duke. ack. this is no easier the second time around!</p>

<p>Sure, he's got a shot. But it's a tough school to get into, even with higher stats. My son was waitlisted with a 1600 SAT, 720/720/710 SAT IIs, 4.18 weighted GPA and average ECs + 2 sports. I think I was more disappointed than he was when he didn't get in, though. He liked it "just okay" when we visited but attributed that more to the poor tour guide and info session that we had that day. Probably his lack of enthusiasm showed through in his application. If your son is excited about the prospect of attending, he should make it very clear to Duke in his essays and his application.</p>

<p>All of your kids sound like great candidates for any school!! It's good to hear more good things about Duke.</p>

<p>You just never know who will get in and who will not. My friend's son was gung ho Duke to the max. He too had top stats, and also went to the summer program there, got top grades and a great reference from a Duke prof who taught his summer course. He did not get in. Another young man from his graduating class with lower stats did get in--he had strong performing arts ECs. My friend's son did get into Michigan, UNC-Ch, Notre Dame, among other schools. That same year I know a young lady who got into Duke with stats more like the OP's son. It is really so unpredictable.</p>

<p>I think that the key to the OP's successs is to really show how his EC's make him unique. I think that Duke looks carefully at applicants who can help enrich the campus community through participation in something that they are passionate about. (Performing arts, athletics, music, etc.)</p>

<p>I just finished writing on the interviewer thread about Duke. I've been an interviewer for 10 years in 3 different states and have seen just about every type of candidate. I find no rhyme or reason to their acceptances - like a lot of top schools. The only generally consistent thing I see is a very high class rank and a feeder school mentality. We have a local private school that does very well with getting kids accepted. I must caution though, that I don't see scores or grades on any candidates so I might be off base. I know I've interviewed from my own kids' high school and have a better feel for where those students are relative to other candidates e.g rank in class, etc. I've interviewed valedictorians who didn't get in and quirky kids who did. The accepted kids usually have a hook: something that makes that kid unique and shows a strong sense of motivation and initiative. I think it also changes from year to year. What works one year might not work the next year.</p>

<p>I know this sounds very vague but I think that's how admissions to top colleges are. If there were a tried and true formula you could accurately predict. But as they say, you can't predict, but you can prepare! If it's what he wants, go for it. As long as he's realistic about his chances and has back-up plans (and you can afford it!), why not try?</p>