Hello Everyone,

I was just accepted early decision into Duke University. I’m super excited to be a blue devil and am wanting to apply to the FOCUS program.

Does anyone have any info, pros, cons, tips, etc. they can offer? How competitive are the programs when you apply to them? Should I apply to more than one? What all do they consist of? Thank you!

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Maybe this is just because of the Covid situation, but, speaking as a current freshman, I would be a little cautious about going for FOCUS. On paper, the program seems great, but looks can be deceiving. I know a lot of people who really regret going for them; a lot of them are in FOCUSs not related to their major, so they basically have two classes taking up wasted space. A few of the programs are stupidly easy, and a few are stupidly hard. That said, I do know some people who really enjoy their FOCUS, and it does probably help with meeting people your first year.

As for competitiveness, it’s a mixed bag. I think they make you apply and write essays for three or four of them, and the FOCUS people do a pretty good job of trying to let as many people who want to take a FOCUS into a program. They’re rolling admission, so if you really want one, I’d apply right away when they come out.

There are several FOCUS topics, and I think most of them are interdepartmental and/or cover more than one topic, which is part of their charm. I would definitely, though, weigh up that path as opposed to taking 2 useful intro classes that you can use to get a head start on your major, or just taking 2 random classes that interest you more.

Hope this helps