Questions for Current Duke College Students

<p>Hi guys!
I am thinking of applying to Duke RD. I know most of you guys will be biased on this one, but please answer a few questions for me...</p>

<p>1) Duke is an excellent school. I know that and have heard that from many people. What would you say is the best part?</p>

<p>2) What is the worst thing about Duke?</p>

<p>3) I am thinking of going into political science or economics. Are these popular majors at Duke? What are some majors at which Duke excels?</p>

<p>4) How is the community at Duke? Are students pretty friendly? Is it easy to make friends, or is impersonal? What is the academic and political atmosphere?</p>

<p>5) I visited Duke, and it was a gorgeous campus. The only problem I could name at the time was the weather--huge thunderstorms, piles of slosh, dripping trees, cold wet socks, and soaked advisors. Of course, this would not play a part in my applying to Duke, but just for the hell of it--hows the weather at Duke?</p>

<p>Hey, I'm a freshman here and I'll try to answer these as unbiased as I can.</p>

<p>1) Too many things to list. The friendliness, the great learning environment, the great relaxing environment, the campuses, the people Duke attracts to campus for random stuff (within two months I saw a speech by Maya Angelou, Lewis Black who was hilarious, and Allen Iverson in an NBA preseason game at Cameron Indoor Stadium), and of course basketball (and other sports) are amazing here.</p>

<p>2) There are some really rich and really snobby kids here who lost all sense of reality. Not that many though. Also, the bus system's kind of annoying as a freshman and I'm not thrilled about the freshman meal plan where we have to eat at the Marketplace most of ours means since they're prepaid. Guess this is just initiation since everybody went through it as a freshman. They're even reconsidering the meal plan supposedly.</p>

<p>3)These seem to be popular majors. I can't tell you much about which are the better ones, they all seem good. Public Policy is popular here. I'm going into chemistry. Pretty tough so far.</p>

<p>4) Yes the students are friendly and yes it is easy to make friends. All freshmen living on East is great cause we get to know each other in a more personal environment. Academics is as tough as you want it to be. I realized early on that it's just not worth stressing out over classes here. Everyone, no matter how smart, is going to have an overload on tough work once and a while. Overall it's bearable, though. Duke is more democratic than republican I'd say. A lot of people on campus were upset last week. We have an active political campus, but we don't let that get in the way of the more important things that college is about.</p>

<p>5) When I first visited Duke it rained a lot and it was kind of discouraging. The weather has been good for the past few months. Sunny days are beautiful here and there's nothing wrong with a little rain here and there. Weather definitely did play apart in me applying to colleges and coming from New York I'd say this place is the tropics. It reached the eighties around Halloween for a few days and I could just not comprehend that so late in the year.</p>

<p>Hope you end up at a great college, and I hope this helped. Applying to colleges is crazy, I remember. Just don't procrastinate on your applications.</p>

<p>What are relationships with professors like? Are they accessible? I've heard it's definitely an "it's what you make of it" kind of thing. ED here:)</p>

<p>I'm also a freshman but I have a bit different perspective.</p>

<p>1.) Yes there are really too many good things about Duke to list. I also agree that the campus is one of the nicest you will ever find. But I think that the atmosphere is not relaxed/relaxing (unless you're somehow taking classes that are easy for you or you just don't care...). Everyone is very self-motivated and driven and I wouldn't say that I have been relaxed during the school week at all. It's tough to do well and there's a lot of work.
I personally was drawn to Duke's mentality. Other schools I looked at (certain ancient schools in the northeast...) seemed to have the attitude "we're so great, we're just the best and there's no disputing it". Duke is different: it is never satisfied with the status quo. We're in a huge building phase right now. It doesn't affect student life, but we are building so many new state-of-the-art facilities, it's crazy (in a very good way). </p>

<p>2.) Yes there are some very rich kids/legacies that slack off and party all the time. I'm not sure what the worst thing is... if I could change one thing though I would put east campus right next to/within walking distance of west campus. The bus system can be a real pain. I like the whole east campus freshman thing, but I can't wait to move onto west next year.</p>

<p>3.) Political Science and economics are both popular, and public policy is extremely popular. On your visit, did you see Sanford Institute of Public Policy? It's a beautiful neo-contemporary-type-Gothic building and they're building another new building right next to it also for poly sci because the major is growing. If you're interested in that I would definitely say go for it.
Aside from those, popular majors are biology, chemistry, and religion. Duke25, you are brave for doing a chem major, that's one of the hardest ones. But all the natural sciences here are competitive and difficult because they're so popular. And we don't have grade inflation (I'm almost positive; if we have any it's minimal, esp. in sciences)</p>

<p>4.) Yes the student and faculty body at Duke is definitely slanted liberal. There is a conservative presence here though.
It's easy to make friends here, it's almost impossible not to in fact. But after the first couple weeks it becomes rather impersonal, which is bound to happen at a school of Duke's size. The academic atmosphere is mostly people working pretty hard. There's definitely time to do other stuff though, and most people do lots of other things besides academic studies. </p>

<p>5.) I'm from the northeast also like Duke25 and the weather is definitely better down here. When it rains it doesn't rain for long and all those hurricanes you maybe heard about swirling around NC this summer/early fall pretty much missed us.</p>

<p>The relationships with professors are "it's what you make of it" but I think that's true of any school. Of course, all professors have office hours, and if you can't make it to those hours they're more than happy to make an appointment with you at your convenience. I'm not going to lie to you and say my gen chem professor knows all 450 kids in the class by name or even by face, but if you make the effort to see them they will. I am in a writing class that only has 11 kids in it so of course we're quite close with our professor, in fact, we call him by his first name. My language class only has like 14 so again the relationship is pretty close. Bottom line, all professors are accessible if you have problems and probably 99.5% are more than happy to talk with you (there's always that 0.5% that is generally grumpy or having a bad week or something at any school).</p>

<p>Good luck ED</p>