Duke 2025 ED?

I have recently done a lot of research on Duke and I’m really interested in their economics department. Please be completely open and honest with me! I would prefer replies from those who have gotten in, or are parents/ close relatives of someone who has gotten in within the last five years; however, anyone is welcome to provide some insight. I am out of state and I am applying to Trinity Sciences and Arts.

As far as stats go, I have a 3.65 unweighted GPA and a 3.85 weighted GPA. I have taken no APs, but I will be taking 4 next year as a senior-AP Stats, AP Gov, AP Language and Comp, APES. (numerous APs are offered at my school, but it has taken me awhile to be eligible to take them because of a bad GPA freshman year.) Undoubtedly, this is the weakest part of my app. My ACT score is a 33 with a 9 on writing (34, 28, 34, 35). Since I have no AP scores to report would it be a good idea to take SAT subject tests?

ECS- Tried to take a mission trip to a 3rd world country, but it was cancelled. (will not list exactly where because I don’t want anyone to find out this is me). I have played lacrosse all four years (varsity as sophomore.) I volunteer at an organization that works with special needs adults and children. I am president (not founder) of a non-profit. I am a founder and president of a club. I am in the National Honors Society. Lastly, I am taking a class at a prestigious university (top 15 in the country) online; it would have been on campus, but it got moved because of corona.

Essays/ Rec Letters- I am a great writer and I think this is really where I will stand out. I have so many unique things to write about. I have had type one diabetes since I was nine years old which has been a burden, but has allowed me to grow immensely as a person through hardship. (If anyone would like to read this essay pm me!) My recommendation letters should be pretty solid, I have a lot of teachers and coaches that like me.

I will not be applying for any financial aid, my family is higher income and I don’t have any hooks.

I know my chances are quite slim, but this is my ED school. Remember, be brutally honest with me.

Bad news:

Your grades and class rigor are low for Duke and since grades are the best indicator for success in college, adcoms will notice this. 95% of Duke’s freshman class is top 10% for their high school rank. Are you within that range?

Since you are applying ED, they will only see 1st quarter senior year grades so waiting to take 4 APs senior year might not have been the best strategy.

Do you have four years of a foreign language, 4 years of a science, 4 years of english language/composition, and 4 years of math?

Duke would want to see AP Calc (either A/B or B/C). You are taking AP Stats instead?

I would try to get that 28 ACT subscore up into the low 30’s.

I don’t see any “wow” factor. How are you going to make Duke a better place and how are you going to contribute to the college. I think you need to show this.

Good news:

IMO, less students will be applying early decision to Duke this fall as families were not able to visit the campus this year and will be reluctant to apply to a binding admission especially with the uncertainty of CV-19.

Last year’s ED acceptance rate was 21%. I would not be surprised if this year it’s close to 30%. Still not great odds, especially when you factor in all of the “hooked” applicants but probably your best shot. They also historically defer 10% of the ED applicants who will get another shot at acceptance in regular decision.

In summary:

Just for comparison my D20 was accepted ED last fall and had 9 AP classes, 4.0 uGPA (4.6 wGPA), 34 ACT, elected position as student school district board rep, academic decathlon, V athlete, and top 5% high school, great LORs including one from teacher who was a Duke grad, and some social action advocacy in Washington D.C.

My D has befriended many Duke freshman already and they all seem to be very, very accomplished. These will be the students you are competing against.

With that said, give it your best shot and have a good mix of reach, match and safety colleges on your list. Good luck to you!

Thanks for the reply! I appreciate your feedback very much. My chances are so slim, I wouldn’t necessarily even call this a reach; moreover, an irrational dream school. I just need an ED school and Duke is my favorite. My school does not rank and, yes, by the end of my senior year I will have 4 years of each core subject you listed. Would you recommend taking sat II subject tests because of my lack of AP scores?

It can’t hurt to take SAT II subject tests as long as it doesn’t effect your other classes, essay writing, etc. With that said, my D20 took a couple of SAT II subject tests and didn’t get the scores she wanted and never submitted them. It’s really up to you but I don’t think it’s going to move the needle a whole lot unless you get some great scores on them. Maybe take some practice tests and see how you do?

@socaldad2002 Hey I just say this group chat and I was wondering if you could chance me. I want to apply ED to duke this fall because it is my DREAM school. I am an underrepresented minority and immigrant from Africa.

I want to apply to pratt school of engineering.
I have taken in a total of 5 AP classes and will be taking 3 my senior year. (So 8 at the end of high school)
I have a 4.1 GPA. I have also taken classes at my local community college. I will be taking dual enrollment classes at my state university in the fall. (I think I will be taking more math and engineering classes.). My high school is kinda below average. Half of the seniors go to community college, the others go to a state school, and others go to the army.
My SAT score is horrible. I am happy that duke is going test-optional because I need it lol. I plan on taking it again in August, but I doubt I will submit it. I was thinking of maybe focusing on the math 2 subject test because I know I can achieve at least a 700. I also speak french, so I will be taking the french subject test.
I have taken AP exams and earned the AP Scholar award.

EC’s. (this is probably one of my strongest area)

  1. I am the founder and president of a program. I teach children basic engineering design like model robotic hand and balloon powered car. Started in 11th and still doing it.
  2. Debate. I have been in debate since freshman year. I am the manager of my team, and a varsity debater. I am really involve in this activity. (I am writing my common app essay about this).
  3. I am the ambassador of my school program. I recruit future students to join the program when coming into high school.
  4. Family Responsibilities. I take care of my siblings and my two grandmothers when my parents are at work.
  5. I volunteer at a hospital. I stopped because of COVID-19. But I will make sure patients have water in their rooms. I will also give clothes and blankets to the patients.
  6. At the moment, I volunteer two days a week at a center to help immigrants student with english and their homework. I love volunteering there.
  7. I also participated in a program at nyu for the summer.
  8. I was my class secretary for one year. I doubt I will put this on my application.
  9. I am part of NHS. This is a typical activity for everyone. We volunteer at homeless shelter and retirement homes.

I am close with some teachers, but I do not talk a lot to teachers. I am planning to scheduling meeting with teachers I would request recommendation letters from to talk to them and getting to know me. I am afraid of the counselor recommendation because I barely to my counselor. We have 1 counselor for at least 200 students.

Additional information:
I WILL be applying for financial aid. I am working on my essays at the moment. I am not a great writer, but I think it will be good. I want my supplementary to be amazing so I am doing A LOT of research on duke. I have a sister at UVA. My high school is not really competitive.

I am also an african american female. My awards are locals awards, and awards from volunteering.

First off and as mentioned above, I’m of the opinion that this admissions cycle is a really good time to apply to Duke ED especially as an URM female in engineering. Last year, there were 500 less ED applicants from the previous year and I think that trend will continue this year as many applicants were not able to visit Duke this year due to CV-19 and will be reluctant to engage in a binding commitment having never visited the college.

With that said, I think your course rigor and grades are pretty good. I agree with you that taking the SATII Math and scoring high would be helpful as an engineering applicant. Note that 28% of the test takers score a “perfect” 800 so you want to prep sufficiently and get a high score. Duke going test optional is going to help give you a chance this fall but I would not rely on it too heavily as there will be lots of high stat applicants that will have great scores achieved before the pandemic hit in March.

I would really get to know your teachers who are going to write their letters of recommendation and give them a “cheat sheet” of your ECs, passions, and commitment to your education and career.

Your essays will also be very important, and should really tell the story of how you will make Duke a better place by having you on their campus. I would really research Duke’s club “Society of Women Engineers (SWE)” and showcase your leadership and how you will thrive in this environment at Duke.

Will you be in the top 5 or 10% of your class? Do they rank? Being a high achiever at a “below average” high school might just work in your favor.

Financial “fit” is #1 so make sure you run the NPC before commiting ED!

My last point is that you want to “package” yourself in a nice, neat bow tying everything together so that the adcoms will fight for you in front of the admissions committee.

Good luck to you and let us know how it goes…

@socaldad2002 my school doesn’t rank. Do you think my extra curricular activities are competitivite enough for Duke?
Also, what other school would you recommend applying to from what I said previously?

Please chance me when you get a chance!

My average is a 92 which is a 3.95 for most universities (I am from Alberta so 85+ is an A/A+). I would be applying as an international student from Canada. I’m predicting a 1540-1590 on the SAT and an 800 on Math 2 subject test. I already took the SAT Biology and got an 800. I’ve got 5 letters of recommendation which I think are written very good (I can’t see them). Only problem is, I haven’t taken an AP class yet. I am taking 7 AP’s in senior year. My school offers 8 AP’s. I am not sure if doing all this in senior year will amount to anything. I took 3 grade 12 classes in grade 11.

  • I have been working at a daycare (children with special needs) for 5 years. I helped in expanding the program and have gotten employee of the month 7 times.
  • Digital Marketing Intern (2018) and I made a video for costumer mapping which the company still uses
  • Digital Marketing intern (2019) I made 3 videos (1 got advertised and hit 50k views) and I was the leader; I supervised 15 interns. I got an award for my success in geo fencing and helped enhance their website with the 3 videos, still used by the company to this day.
  • Health Professions Club Leader (a club for kids interested in med. we have medical student mentors and go to different medical schools). 3 years.
  • I learnt how to video edit on my own when I was 13 and created an online editing store so people could buy my project files and partner up with me. I made $15,000+.
  • Math tutor for 3 years with an organization (primarily tutored children with special needs).
  • Soccer 4 years (no awards) my team did win the city championship but no individual achievements.
  • Taekwondo 4 years. Won 3rd place at a provincial tournament.
  • Most likely going to volunteer at my local homeless shelter this fall (I HAVEN’T YET)
  • Most likely going to start a club this fall (I HAVEN’T YET).

I think my stats are strong but my AP’s are destroying me. Please be brutally honest.


@sophietsanang ” I WILL be applying for financial aid”. Since you will apply for financial aid, run Duke’s Net Calculator to make sure it’s affordable because it’s very accurate if you put in all your numbers right. My daughter was accepted to Duke and her financial aid was just off by less than $500. She decided to go somewhere else. Very difficult to appeal financial aid at Duke.

For Students interested in Merit Scholarships…The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program (a full tuition, room and board, fees and summer funding scholarship) application opened today, August 15th. The application is free and the link to apply is: https://robertsonscholars.embark.com/apply/hs2021

I’m also looking to apply to Duke ED this year. Applications are getting closer and closer, so I’m starting to freak out. I already have a chance me thread, but I realized there’s no point. I know I’m in the threshold to be accepted. It all just comes down to essays and luck now. Hopefully the financial aid is good because I’m even more scared to be accepted and not be able to afford it than to be rejected.

Did you run the NPC calculator to see if Duke is affordable? Note: you can always decline your acceptance if the financial aid is wildly different than your expected family contribution but that would be a real bummer to be accepted and not be able to attend…