Duke University Admissions: Everything You Want to and Need to Know

Overview of Duke University

Situated in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is an elite private university with a 9% acceptance rate. That is what makes it one of the most selective universities in the country. The institution has a large selection of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for students to choose from. A robust6 backs students to 1 student/faculty ratio and professors take a personalized approach to the teaching and learning process. Outside of the classroom, students will find plenty of opportunities to engage with the campus community via the university’s many clubs and organizations.


  • Total Enrollment: 16,606 (6,682 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 50 percent male/50 percent female
  • 100 percent full-time

Cost of Attendance Information

  • Tuition and Fees: $58,198
  • Books: $1,434
  • Room and Board: $17,000
  • Other Expenses: $1,976
  • Total Cost: $78,608

Financial Aid Information

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 66 percent
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 52 percent
    • Loans: 25 percent
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $45,457
    • Loans: $4,796

Academic Programs Offered

  • Most Popular Majors: Computer Science; Econometrics and Quantitative Economics; Public Policy Analysis, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; and Psychology, General

Retention and Graduation

  • First-Year Student Retention (full-time students): 98 percent
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 87 percent
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 96 percent

NCAA Athletic Programs

  • Men’s Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Fencing, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Wrestling
  • Women’s Sports: Basketball, Crew-Rowing, Fencing, Field Hockey, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track and Field, Volleyball
  • The Duke Blue Devils play in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Overview of Duke University Admissions

Many of the students who get into Duke have “A” averages and test scores that are well over the mean. However, there are plenty of students with a 4.0 GPA and outstanding standardized test scores who get rejected from Duke. Consequently, consider a university like Duke to be a reach school even if your GPA and test scores are exemplary. Students whose SAT/ACT scores and GPA are within the institution’s requirements have a good chance of being admitted. Applicants must complete an online application,  and send test scores from either the SAT or ACT and high school transcripts. Glowing recommendation letters can bolster your application, along with being involved with student organizations and attempting a challenging course load. Interested students should check out the university’s website, which has helpful tips and contact information for the admissions offices.

Admissions Data

For students entering Duke in the 2018-19 academic year, the acceptance rate was 9%.  For every student admitted, nine students receive rejection letters.

SAT Requirements and Scores

The SAT scores needed for admission into Duke are comparable to the Ivy League. The majority of students rank among the top 7% of test-takers according to national SAT score data. The middle 50% of students scored between 710 and 770 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing exam. This reveals that 25% of admitted students scored a 710 or lower, and the upper quartile scored a 770 or higher. The math scores were even higher. The middle 50% scored between 740 and 800, and this reveals to us that 25% got a 740 or lower, and 25% earned either a 790 or perfect 800. The more competitive applicants will be in the top 25% and have a combined score of 1540 or higher.

ACT Requirements and Scores

You’ll find that Duke’s ACT scores are similar to the scores of other top private universities. When compared to national ACT means, the vast majority of Duke students rank amongst the top 5% of test-takers. The middle 50% of Duke students scored between 33 and 35. This reveals to us that the bottom 25% scored a 33 or lower, and the top 25% scored either a 35 or 36. The more competitive Duke applicants will be at the upper end of this range.

GPA and Class Rank

A vast majority of admitted students have grades in the “A” range. An unweighted mean of 4.17or higher is the norm. 90% of Duke students were in the top 10% of their high school classes, and 97% were in the top 25%.

Safety Net Schools: Easy to Gain Admission

If past admission data predicts that you would be a competitive candidate for Duke University, then it should be easy for you to gain admissions to the schools below. If Duke University is currently out of your reach, then you are sure to be a competitive candidate for the schools below.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York University, Boston University, Boston College, Villanova University, Binghamton University, University of Texas at Dallas

Same Tier: Just As Hard to Gain Admission

If you’re a competitive candidate for Duke University, then you should have an equal chance of gaining admissions at these schools.

University of Notre Dame, Cornell University, Tufts University, Georgetown University, Northeastern University, Emory University, University of Southern California

Reach Institutions: Gaining Admissions Will Be More of a Challenge

These schools are more challenging to gain admission into than Duke University. If you improve your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, then you’ll be a competitive candidate for these schools.

University of Chicago, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University, Columbia University, Harvard College, University of Pennsylvania

Applying to Duke University

Application Deadline: January 3

Undergraduate Admissions Website: https://admissions.duke.edu/

Undergraduate Application Link(s): https://admissions.duke.edu/apply/

Graduate Admissions Website: https://gradschool.duke.edu/

Graduate Application Link(s):


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