Duke University Panel
Three of our Admissions Experts (and former / current Duke students) are here to give you insight into all things Duke.
2021-08-29 Duke University Panel
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s panel on Duke University. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Okay. I could get off. Uh, hi everyone. My name is Gagan Vaseer. I am Duke class of 2013, a double major in non-competitive studies and political science. Uh, I’ve been with, uh, Callie valley.com for over a year now and been in the consulting space called it. Cause it was basically four or five years. I’ll turn it over to Sarah.
Hi, I’m Sarah I’m class of 2019 at Duke. I majored in philosophy alone and I’ve been with CollegeAdvisor for a couple of years now, and I really enjoy working with students. I’ll pass it to Anya. [00:01:00] Awesome. Hi everybody. My name is Anya Ranganthan graduated from duke in 2017, studied econ neuroscience and politics, philosophy, and economics.
And I was actually one of CollegeAdvisor, first advisors. Um, and I came on in the summer of 2018
Splendid. Um, so we’ll start today with a quick background into, you know, what duke is and, uh, dive a little deeper into what it offers. So I’ll kick us off here with a quick background into the university itself. Uh, so for those of you who don’t know, duke is located in Durham, North Carolina, which is also my hometown.
It’s a great setting, is a private institution. Uh, it’s our medium size we’re on 15,000 or some, uh, students split mostly, um, mostly within the graduate space we have around 6,500 undergrads. That, that can then around 1600 or so per year. [00:02:00] Uh, and then the remaining 12,000 and some change are the graduate schools for which duke has around 10 schools for that.
Uh, the city is fairly suburban. Uh, so Durham is a thriving in my opinion metropolis, but a suburban city. Uh, the campus is on 8,600 acres. Most of that is duke forest. Uh, and a campus is split between three different core campuses. So there’s east campus for the freshmen, uh, and then west campus and central campus for upper classmen.
And they want the good thing about duke is the fact that it has a very small student to faculty ratio. So there’s eight students per faculty. So what that means in practice is that you get that really intimate. Uh, one-on-one. Engagement and partnership with faculty. So you can really engage with them in an effective manner and really dive deeper into the thing that you care about is I think one of the Duke’s biggest strengths is that you really get to meet professors on a one-on-one [00:03:00] basis and really engage with them, um, about topics and the research that you’re really passionate about.
Um, I will turn it over to Sarah to talk more about duke. Yes. I’m going to continue our basic overview of duke here. I’m just going to mention some notable alumni Melinda gate. Um, she’s a very, uh, notable alumni and actually Melinda gates is somebody who funds. Um, duke engage is a big part of duke service program or students can, um, do service learning, um, in a bunch of different places around the world.
We have David Rubinstein and grant hill, and here are some fun facts about duke. So duke has a leaver center and it has the largest collection of lemurs in the world after Madagascar. Um, and it’s home to 240 rare species. You can go tour the lemur center and get to see these lemurs in person, which I have.
It’s great. [00:04:00] Um, they have an iconic chapel that people camp out for in order to get married in. And it’s gorgeous when you drive up to the campus, it’s like the first thing you see and tobacco. Rivalry is one of the best in sports. I’m sure everybody, or maybe not knows that duke has a great rivalry with UNC and those basketball games can be so fun and really intense.
And people love to attend them at duke. I’ll pass it on to Anya for the next, um, overview of duke.
Awesome. So I’m going to give you a little bit of a snapshot on academics that do you know, cause after all, uh, college comprises so many attributes, but a big part of it is furthering your education. So do you a couple of different undergraduate academic college? The first is the Trinity college of arts and sciences.
I’m pretty much every [00:05:00] duke student takes classes and Trinity college, and it really serves as the center of Duke’s liberal arts core. Um, and the classes span from, you know, the arts to the humanities, to the natural sciences, social sciences, you know, even things like theater and music. And then on the other end of the spectrum also has the Pratt school of engineer.
And if you’re interested in studying engineering, you would be applying to the school directly and you’d be taking the vast majority of your classes at Pratt, but would still have the ability to take some classes in Trinity as well. And it’s pretty common for folks that study in Pratt to get a minor or sometimes even double major outside of the engineering school.
So it’s not as if, you know, if you end up in one school that you’re completely siloed. There’s lots of room to explore the resources, um, at the respective colleges, regardless of where you end up matriculating. Um, so now I’m going to pass on, um, the mic to Goggins who will talk a little bit more about some [00:06:00] other attributes of the school.
So, you know, I use explained that undergrad perspective. Uh, I’ll focus a little on the graduate division themselves. So duke has totality 10 different graduate schools here. We have a couple listed out, and you’re probably wondering, you know, all of your applying for undergrad, not grad programs, why we’re covering this aspect in today’s call.
Uh, one of the values of duke is the fact that you’re able to take courses, um, in the grad schools themselves. So for example, if you’re really interested in, let’s say public policy as an undergrad, you know, you can major in public policy, but in two you have the ability to take courses. Um, and that school as well as work, as well as work as faculty at that school as well.
And so the fact that, you know, duke has very robust, uh, grad programs, which are all, um, Yeah, which all of them enable undergraduates to really engage in, uh, is quite, I think, opportun, I think you do cause also very new [00:07:00] school in a sense that all the under all the grad schools are actually in the same campus as undergrad.
So there are a lot of other universities where the grad point are really separated. So, you know, even if you are an undergrad student and you want to let’s say work, the law school, it requires it for you to travel very far at duke is on one campus. So you really have access to all these wonderful resources that the faculty, the grad students themselves should really further your education.
And also really assess, you know, if you’re already undergrad there, maybe you want to go to law school at duke as well, and you can kind of test it out early on in your academic career and see if that’s where you want to end up. Um, so again, you know, fully recognize you and today’s call is mostly about undergrad and undergrad degree, but also think about the value of having graduate programs.
They accessible to you, that she had to think about, you know, your broader career. I will turn it over now to Sarah. I’m going to be talking about the most popular majors at duke. Um, these are majors that are popular at a lot [00:08:00] of schools too. So keep that in mind. But, um, at duke, there are a lot of biology majors, people majoring in the social sciences, like biology, people, making engineering health professions, like pre-professional like pre-medicine, um, and computer science.
Um, but these are the two parts, a ton of different majors that was other than that. And, uh, you even have the option with duke to design your own major, where you can select different courses. Um, And combine them into your own major, you title it yourself. So none of the, um, wonderful majors, uh, strike your interest, you can make your own, um, and athletics are a really big part of duke life.
I think that’s one thing that maybe stands out when you go to the duke campus. A lot of people are in duke gear and people camp out to go to basketball team. Um, So there’s over 600 student athletes at duke, um, 27 [00:09:00] varsity teams and 35, um, sports and intermural sports teams. Um, so whatever sport would you like at duke, you can find it and play it, um, at different levels of competition and do keep in mind that, um, it, it will probably be a big part of your college experience if you go to duke, um, this athletic aspect, um, just because it really does permeate campus, um, students will camp out for weeks at a time to get tickets to UNC duke basketball games.
Um, not everyone, but a lot. Do I’ll pass it on to Anya. Oh, let me.
Awesome. So I’m going to add some notes to flush out more about the student life experience at duke is like, um, with regards to extracurriculars, there’s essentially no limitation to the sorts of things that you can do on campus. The school has. 400 recognized student organizations. And [00:10:00] also if there’s a club that you feel doesn’t, you know, if there’s not a club on campus that really captures an interest, it’s really easy, um, to work with the university to start it.
And I knew plenty of. Um, in undergrad that did that. Um, so, you know, essentially no limitations on how you can explore, um, your extracurricular interests. Um, Greek life is also a really big part of duke as well. Um, there are 38 fraternities and sororities on campus as well as 17. What are called selective living groups.
Um, and selective living groups are essentially not necessarily Greek letter organizations, but, um, are selective organizations that have their own recruiting processes and typically have their own housing sections on campus that students who are affiliated with them can choose to live in. If they’re interested in that, um, there are also over a hundred students arts organizations, and I think that this is something that’s really worth talking about because duke is investing a significant amount of funding towards flushing out arts [00:11:00] opportunities, which is really exemplified by when you Rubenstein arts center on campus, which is absolutely beautiful.
Dance studios, um, concert space, um, all sorts of venues that students can use to explore their interest in the arts. Um, with regards to, you know, the residential aspect of campus, 85% of undergrads live on campus, and all freshmen are required to live on campus. Um, as students get older, um, you get some juniors, um, what are able to live off campus if they essentially win a lottery.
And then by your senior year, you’re allowed to choose whether you’d like to stay on campus or not. And it’s typically fairly evenly split. About 50% of students tend to go off and 50% of students stay. Um, well, it’s also definitely important to know that duke offers army Navy and air force Razzi on campus.
Um, and the programs are really well integrated into student life as well as academic life. So it’s not as if I’m taking on these sorts of [00:12:00] responsibilities, make it challenging to engage with other aspects of campus. Um, with regards to kind of general events, traditions, and attractions. Um, as Sarah mentioned, um, Duke’s basketball culture is a really notable aspect of student life.
So, um, a lot of students will choose to camp out, um, for the duke UNC game, um, which happens on campus. Um, and they’ll camp out, um, in this field that’s in front of, um, our basketball stadium that we call cable. Um, and then. With all of the big home games. Um, if we win the duke UNC game, um, all of the dorms on campus at the beginning of the year, they build these big wooden benches that they paint, um, with their dorm and seniors.
If we win that duke UNC game, everybody drags their benches out to the center of campus and we burn them in a big bonfire. Um, promise you a hundred percent, it’s legal. We always have a fire permit [00:13:00] for it. Um, and it’s a really fun way for everybody to get together and kind of just celebrate a fun experience at duke.
Um, and then on top of that, um, as Sarah mentioned for a lot of these big basketball games, um, students will tent in cable for them. So you can make groups of students, um, pitch a tent and the duke student government actually regulates, um, The tempting rules are, and it’s this huge thing that, um, starts typically at the very beginning of the spring semester and goes until that duke UNC game happens, which can be as late as March.
Um, on top of that, um, there are also lots of, you know, cultural aspects of duke that don’t center on sports. So it is very diverse in the sense that, you know, if you’re not into sports, there are plenty of other things for you to participate in with regards to shared rights. Um, so the chapel is at the very center of campus, um, and it’s customary for seniors to go on chapel [00:14:00] tours and climb to the very top of it.
And there’s hundreds of steps to the top. And it’s really beautiful to kind of see, um, all of campus from the top spar. And that’s kind of a Rite of passage that everybody goes through, um, their senior year. Um, duke also has some of the best college dining options I would say in the country. Um, we just had a brand new, um, dining center.
Um, that was built called the Broadhead center and it has over 20 restaurants and cafes in it. Um, most of which are local vendors in the Durham community that have come in and created, um, special dining options for campus. You know, everything from sushi to vegan options, to French pastries, to Indian food.
Um, if you want it, you can probably get it at the Broadhead center. Um, and then finally there are lots of different, you know, multicultural festivals and events on campus. Um, the duke university union is a student run organization that facilitates a lot of these guest speakers and events and concerts [00:15:00] on campus.
Um, and one of the biggest events of the year is what’s called our doc. Um, and that stands for the last day of classes. And it’s basically this amazing all day, um, concert and series of events, um, that folks participate in, um, as well as an event called old duke, which is a once a year concert. Where do you will invite.
I’m an old school performer, like smash mouth, um, onto campus, um, to kind of live up the kind of nostalgia of the moment. And it’s a really amazing event that everybody across campus. Um, so I’m gonna pass the mic onto guidance. We’ll talk a little bit more about, um, duke spanning into a pole. Yeah. So I guess, um, we’re going to launch a poll here, Hannah.
I think you’ve clicked on it. So please let us know if you have a plan, a plan to apply to duke. Hopefully everyone is now excited [00:16:00] and well, this poll a good guide. And if you want to talk about, uh, I know we have a quote from you about why you chose duke. Yeah. So I love duke ISI applied early decision is the one school I applied to.
I knew I wanted to go for a long time. I’m also. And so it’s all the close to my heart, but I ended up choosing duke for a million reasons, but at the three top ones where, you know, duke has a very, has a very disciplined approach to, uh, to teaching, you know, it’s, they really do a great job of bringing in the arts, the sciences, uh, in a way that makes logical sense.
I went to duke as a neuroscience major. Obviously that’s not what I ended up graduating with, but it was really through the pathway of, you know, taking courses that were in the midst of neuroscience and history. They realized that I had a passion more for history than neuroscience and by virtue of having those kinds of courses that really blended in, uh, you know, what seemed like random subjects, I think really helped get that more robust, um, academic experience.
Um, [00:17:00] secondly, you know, duke has a very strong focus on public service. So we have programs like duke engage, which allow you to do public service community service across the world. Doing. Uh, summer, summer a summer experience, but they also have a lot of opportunities to do public service and local community that’s during my time, you know, I’m spent a lot of time volunteering and local elementary schools, including the school that I went to when I was young.
Um, and kind of getting back to the giving back to the community itself, which was for me, was very important. And in third, you know, duke has a very strong element of work since I’ve graduated back in 2013, I’ve lived across five or six cities, uh, and across wherever I went, the first thing I was using and I find duke alumns, and you have, anytime I’ve been housing, anywhere is bits of duke network.
You know, if I’m looking for a new job, I go to the duke network, I think by the virtue of the fact that it is a big global university and we have alums everywhere in the world. You can always [00:18:00] find a duke club or a duke alum because one have lend a hand, you know, provide their perspective and kind of help you push forward in your personal career.
Yeah, I I’m always indebted to duke. I think it’s a great place and very satisfied that, you know, I went and here we are, what, almost 10 years later and still talk about it on a regular basis. Uh, let’s see what the poll ended up. Okay. So we have 75% say yes, they’re planning to apply. Awesome. 1% said, Nope.
Who knows? But there is 25% that said not sure. So I hope, I think you guys can swim. I do want to say Anya, you were talking about the food. And one of my best friends from high school went to duke and the food, she would send us photos. It was always ridiculous. I would be like, why didn’t I go to a school with the dining hall like that?
I think as Duke’s kind of the only school with the dining hall like that. Okay. So, oh no, go ahead and [00:19:00] say, and just say it’s not an exaggeration, how incredible it is. You will eat better at duke than you have your entire life. Um, I don’t think I’m ever going to eat as well as I did that. It was, it was truly an incredible thing.
So yes, we have one more poll, um, about where you are in the application process.
All right. It seems like a lot of people are researching schools that make sense here in the right place. Um, I handful haven’t started well by being here. You’ve already started. Congratulations. Um, all right. So it looks like the numbers are starting to, even out. We have 18% who haven’t started 41% who are researching schools, 23%, who are working on their essays, 16% who are getting their application materials together.
And 2% who are almost done. Good for you. Almost done pat yourselves on the back. Okay. [00:20:00] Okay. So I think I’ll take this one. Uh, so application process. So for those of you who are seniors, or, you know, who will be applying fairly soon, this is the time to listen. N so duke has really two options for when you applied.
There’s early decision, which is November 1st and his regular decision, which is January 4th of next year. I think to note, here is early decision is. So, what that means is if you apply to do a decision and you get in a barring really any, you know, dramatic circumstances, you are committing to attending duke.
And so you’ll be, be mindful that if you into that option, you are signaling to the school that if you get in it, you will a hundred percent come. Uh, as part of that process, you know, you will, of course do the common app application, all the fun thing that it requires. Uh, duke also has a separate essay.
It’s, you know, a medium length essay. Um, and you also have two optional [00:21:00] essays you can write about as well to share more perspective about who you are. You generally speaking, I would say that if something is optional on an application, you should take it as almost required. You want to able to share with the school, what, how, how great you are.
Um, and you know, will you take advantage of all their body moccasins? You have to explain that from an acceptance perspective. I believe he did last year is not. Uh, so last year, around 50,000 people who applied to duke of Windsor, actually this year’s numbers said this year’s numbers even even better. So currently as of, I guess the class of 20, 25, um, you know, there are 3000 people who applied to duke of which around 3,300 were accepted, um, of which, of course, you know, duke has a capacity of around 600, 700 students.
So that’s how many ended up enrolling. Well, that means the practices of those who applied early, um, around one in six, got accepted of those who applied and regular. [00:22:00] It was one in 20. So there is a competitive advantage to applying early to a university. If you are confident that that’s where you want to end up.
So you, so while the overall acceptance rate is around seven and a half percent or so, you’ll notice that a strong difference between early and regular to, as you’re really assessing, you know, where do you want to land? And if duke is a place that you’re thinking what you want to be in, and if you’re confident is number one, You may want to consider getting in that application done by applicant done by November 1st and getting that early pool as it will help maybe increase your chance of getting in as a pool tends to be smaller.
I will turn it over to Sarah. Yeah. So I’m going to talk a little bit more about the average, um, statistics. And when I say statistics, I mean like your GPA, your, your standardized testing scores, um, of admitted students to duke, um, and keep in mind, these are the average. So there’s going to be people who are accepted, um, with statistics below this [00:23:00] and above it.
Um, but the average unweighted GPA is around 3.9. Um, keep in mind that an unweighted GPA is not factoring in any extra. Bonus points you get, um, for taking like an IB class or an AP class, this is just the average of your, um, all your classes. Uh, so a, B, C, um, grades, and then the average act score. Um, this is the, like the lower end of this is the 25th percentile and the upper is the 75th percentile.
So that means that, um, 50% of students who are admitted or somewhere between this range. Um, so the lower 25th percentile is 33 and the upper 75th is 35. So 25% of students were all who were admitted fall outside of this range. And then for the sat, the lower end is 1500 of the 25th [00:24:00] percentile. And then the upper is 1560.
And again, keep in mind 25% of students fall outside of this range. Um, Duke is actually a need-blind school and that they, when I’m looking at your application, they do not take into consideration your application for need based financial aid. Um, and they commit to meeting all of the base financial aid.
So you will fill out if the, if you are applying for need-based financial aid, the FAFSA, the free application for federal student aid and the CSS profile from college board. These are very time-intensive documents that will take, um, a lot of effort from you and your parents and your family. Um, filling out like a lot of details about your financial situation.
Um, these, uh, documents will help duke calculate how much aid money you need and whatever amount is. Um, [00:25:00] by these documents is the amount that duke will give you. So, um, duke is committed to eating your demonstrated need, and this is something that’s really important for students to take into account. A lot of times I think, um, people applying to private colleges like duke, um, have the impression that it’s going to be massively expensive regardless of your income.
That is not the case. In fact, a lot of students, um, coming from a low income background can end up going to duke for essentially a little to no cost depending on your family’s financial situation. Um, so I really want to stress to everybody out there. Um, watching this presentation do not necessarily exclude yourself from possibility of duke for financial reasons I will recommend, um, and you can do this, but I want to do, um, financial aid, whether.
And you can enter in some basic numbers and get a sort of roundabout [00:26:00] number, um, of how much you would be expected to contribute yearly to attend duke university. Um, and you might be surprised by the number pass this onto Anya.
Awesome. I did want to just add a little caveat, um, on to the previous slide. Um, just as an anecdote, one of my really good friends, um, who went to duke with me is from NASA, Massachusetts, and there’s kind of this myth that state schools tend to be cheaper for in-state residents than private schools. Um, when she got her financial aid offers back, um, attending duke was actually significantly cheaper for her family then attending the university of Massachusetts.
So I think this is just really a Testament to the fact that, um, nobody should kind of make assumptions about how much aid a school will give them until they either look into the financial aid calculator or apply and see their financial aid on. I think that’s a very important point. Yeah. Um, so [00:27:00] we’re stepping into the section, um, where we’ll take Q and a from the audience.
Um, so, so folks, if you’re interested in learning more about juke, our experiences, um, do you feel free to submit a question and we’ll take them in the order that they come? Yeah. Okay. So this is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful, and remember, you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat.
So you can see and then read them out loud before our panelists give you an answer as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not the webinar landing page. Okay. Our first question is, is duke test optional this year?
I [00:28:00] can jump in and answer that
like many, like many academic institutions due to the impact of COVID. Um, duke is test optional, um, CollegeAdvisor’s recommendation is that, um, if you’re able to take a standardized test, um, submit it if it strengthens your overall profile. And what that means is that if your score falls above the 50th percentile, you have to submit it.
Um, in the event that it falls below the 50th percentile, um, you can kind of use your discretion as to whether it would strengthen your application or not.
Okay. We’ve had a few questions along these lines already. So, um, this is from two people saying. What are any dislikes you have about duke?
Um, I can answer one of them. Um, and this is a completely honest answer. I’m glad that [00:29:00] people are asking this because every college really does have pros and cons. For me, there was, um, the prominence of Greek life at duke was potentially, um, a dislike for me. I think that, um, the Greek life presence at duke is pretty strong in the selective living groups.
Um, and there is like for students maybe who are, aren’t interested in rushing a fraternity or sorority or selective living group, there’s the big momentum for that in the first year. And if that’s not what you want to do, you might feel a little bit, um, overwhelmed or pressured or something like that. Um, by the large presence on campus.
I was added that. So fundamentally if you have a very true, but broadly, I think in the first year it does feel like it’s a very large presence because all your, all your friends who will likely to be first-year students are [00:30:00] probably pledging or go through the process. But when it comes down to it, only one in four students at duke is actually in Greek life.
And so, you know, it looks like there’s a lot in the first year because that’s the prime prime year when students actually rush. But in the grand scheme of the four year experience, only one in four students. Yeah. And I’d love to add a little bit, um, onto what Goggin and Sarah were saying, I was actually involved in Greek life.
I was actually the president of duke sorority council, my junior and senior year. So, um, I’d love talking about Greek life with students, because I think that it’s something that can really characterize a campus experience. Um, With regards to Duke’s Greek life. I think that, you know, since we’ve graduated, um, the university has really evaluated the impact of Greek life on Duke’s culture and is really actively working to create a more democratic campus.
So a lot of Greek organizations no longer have housing on campus anymore. There [00:31:00] have been numerous, um, sororities that have disaffiliated from the university. And so the amount of organizations is actually decreasing. Um, and many of the organizations are actually conducting internal reviews on how to have kind of more integrated relationships with the campus community, um, that are more democratic rather than exclusive.
So I think that’s something that’s very important, um, to know. So Anya and , uh, for the two of you are any dicks dislikes that you had about duke. I can chime in here. So I think this is no longer relevant, but when I was at duke eons ago, uh, the first year of freshmen campus didn’t have AC in there. And so if we get, you know, Durham is in the south, it gets very hot, uh, for a few months out of the year.
And so, you know, you’re essentially sweating bullets because the dorms were already, you know, the dorms are really nice, but they’re built in the air up free AC I will say while that was a con um, it was actually also a weird bonding experience, [00:32:00] but law students as well, because, you know, there were every student, essentially, if you wanted to have cool air, you have to go into shared spaces.
So the common rooms, the libraries, et cetera. And so while your room might be, you know, super hot, you could at least interact. And when you get to meet your peers and those more, um, integrated settings, I think since I’ve graduated at the end of the case, I believe all drones now have AC, but in my era, that was not the case then.
Um, definitely recall those very high. Yeah, it’s no long. I will jump in here and say as a more recent graduate, it is no longer the case. We’re all very fortunate to have air conditioning and it is hot, um, in the Durham area. And you will not up to assuming you, if you do attend duke, um, deal with that McGuinness in Durham, North Carolina, in your room,
I’m [00:33:00] happy to jump in and quickly touch on something as well. I think that this is not necessarily unique to duke, but a lot of, um, competitive universities, um, have a kind of culture, um, characterized by what, um, researchers called effortless, effortless perfection. Um, and it’s this idea that, you know, every single student has a fantastic academic life and a fantastic social life and is involved in 20 different clubs.
Um, And with all of that, you know, obligation, um, that, um, there’s this strong sense that you sort of have to put on a show to, um, make it seem like you’re able to handle all of this, um, and not experiencing any stress or anxiety. And I think that the university is very aware that, um, students. Are being held to standards in some cases that are challenging for folks to grapple with.
Um, and [00:34:00] there’s a really large proliferation of campus initiatives that are aimed at trying to kind of reduce the culture of upper lip, effortless perfection. Um, and one example, um, is a campus organization called me monologues. Um, and it’s this fantastic organization where, um, students all over campus are encouraged to submit, um, monologues about their experiences.
And they’re matched with student actors who put them on, um, and the performance happens twice a year. And it’s usually this incredible event where people gain a lot of insight on how different people are feeling in different segments of campus. So, um, I think the university is very aware of the fact that, um, schools like duke can sometimes be pressure cooker environments and are attempting to, um, find productive outlets for folks to share their, um, anxieties as well as, um, have kind of healthy.
All right. Our next question is, do any of, you know, how [00:35:00] student athletes interacted on campus?
So I guess as soon as athletes, um, you know, are integrated, I think accurately in the campus while, you know, they live in the same dorm that you use the same gym facilities, same dining facilities, uh, as you know, the same courses. So, you know, you’ll, you will, they are, they are getting their, you know, their students first.
So they will be in, you know, you want to give them heavily. I’ve had a lot of courses while I was there with the duke basketball team, for example, I mean, it really just comes down to, you know, what they’re studying with your setting. If it overlaps you’ll, you’ll have them in your class. So they are fully ingrained and they are students first.
Okay. Our next question is what did a typical day look like for you at duke? Great question.
so [00:36:00] I can start us off here. So again, I think it really depends on what year you are on campus. You know, I think the first year is very different than last year. Uh, when you’re a senior, I would say, you know, on a average out across four years, you know, during an average day you might have two or three classes.
If you’re, obviously, if you’re doing a stem degree, you might always have like more classes plus lab after some of the classes as well in between classes. You’re probably either you do research you’re, you might have, you might have a on-campus job during the day. Uh, you know, evenings are spent mostly, you know, either go to night club activities.
Duke has tons of great speeds. Uh, that you might be getting engaged or involved when and Baldwin, uh, you know, you might be having dinner with your peers, uh, whether it’s through a program called focus, if you’re a first year student or through, you know, there’s other mechanisms that exist. Uh, and then I would say your most evenings, at least a couple of hours will be spent doing homework or other actually academically at activities.
But I don’t think there’s like, [00:37:00] you know, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t think one can say that broadly a tip of experience because ultimately campus and call it what you make of it. But there are some students who really want to dedicate us all to the arts. So after class, you know, all they do as, you know, ArcLight activities, you know, I spent for them my senior year, mostly my senior was spent mostly just recruiting and you’re looking for a job, which is very different than, you know, for example, if you’re going to be applying to grad school where you might be spending most of your time, the application and interviews to that sword.
So there’s no typical experience. Um, but it’s one that. I throw you enjoyed the, kind of, as a kind of reflect on, on my background, but definitely want to give, uh, Sarah and Anya space to share about their experiences. On a typical day,
I echo everything you’re saying. I don’t know if there’s really a typical day. Um, at duke, I think mine varied quite a lot. Um, I typically had classes on the freshmen campus because I was a philosophy major and [00:38:00] that’s where it was located. So I would find myself blessing there and spending some time in the library a lot of time, um, communally hanging with my friends in the library and getting meals together, um, and exploring Durham.
I will say I did that a lot, um, while I was there. Um, but every day was pretty different. Um, Anya, yeah, I can give you a little bit of a sense of what life was like as an upper class. Um, so my days typically started with heading over to west campus, which is where most ever classmen live. Um, as well as most of the classes are taught as well.
Um, I’d go to the Broadhead center, I’ll get a mango smoothie and a Western omelet. Really the food at duke is amazing. Um, I would typically have a morning class and then in between classes, would that lunch spend time with friends? Um, sometimes go over. Um, [00:39:00] to, um, different campus, um, centers, um, to chat with extracurricular advisors or administrators, depending on, um, what I had going on in the day, I was pretty involved, um, with, with clubs on campus.
So that was definitely a notable aspect of my upperclassmen experience. Um, I typically have a class in the afternoon that I’d go to, um, and then after class, I either be at club meetings or spending time with my friends off campus. Um, and then I think that’s something that’s worth noting is that typically by the time you’re a junior or senior, you probably will not have classes on Friday.
Um, it was in most cases. Um, so it’s really wonderful having that time at the end of the week to kind of regroup, um, and, you know, socialize with folks, um, and kind of carve out space for yourself outside of your academic and extracurricular obligations.[00:40:00]
Okay, this, we’ll see how this question goes over, but, uh, what is the grading policy at duke? Is it very strict? Any curve, easy to get an a or not
Um, and this maybe is not a very satisfying answer, but it completely and totally depends on the class and the department, every single class professor or department has a different policy on, on how they grade, um, like at most academic institutions, larger classes, big lecture classes are more likely to have some component of a curve.
Um, but I, I was an econ major and many of my, um, first classes that I was. Um, we’re not graded on a curve though. Others may have different experiences depending on what, depending on the professors that they had or what they studied. Um, and typically by the time you’re further, [00:41:00] along in your major, you’re taking smaller seminar style classes.
Um, they’re typically capped at 20 students, you know, by my senior year, I was taking lots of classes with 10 and under students, and those classes are never graded on a curve because there’s not enough folks in the room to easily create a distribution. Um, if other folks want it to jump in, um, feel free to,
I think you’ve got it.
Okay. So we’re going to take a quick break in the middle of the Q and a, and I want to let you know what you can do. If you want to work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers. You can sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and a live team member will get back to you to help [00:42:00] coordinate your free consultation with us.
All right. And back to the Q and a, I’ve seen a few questions along this lines. So I’m going to ask what kind of students does duke look for?
Yeah, I, again, I don’t think there’s any other typical duke student, but I would say schools like duke, you know, want students who are academically curious that you have to have an interest or a passion in something. And that really sh that’s just show up through what you’ve done, uh, in your high school career.
I think secondarily it was students that are broadly well-rounded right? Like you don’t, you don’t really do this. The coolest, like duke wants students who. No, don’t succeed in all aspects of their life. So, you know, you, obviously, you want people who are academically very smart, but people who also have an interest in the public gut, you know, are you someone who’s volunteering, for example, someone who employs, exemplifies strong leadership skills, are you [00:43:00] helping, helping build things or are you, are you following others in their path?
So I think, I think about the typical duke student, I don’t think there’s broadly like one persona of it, but I think there are certain qualities that we all tend to possess. I think the academic drive and the curiosity as well, that broad, um, well-roundedness really come top of mind, but Anya and Sarah, you were there more recently, so I’ve found them, maybe the profile has amended a bit.
I mean, I, I definitely agree with you there. Um, there really is no defined duke student. I think students tend to be very well-rounded. Um, in general, I would say duke students tend to be sociable and perhaps a little athletic, um, more so than maybe another campus or another school. Um, yeah, I think a well-rounded student is a great way to think of a duke student.[00:44:00]
Um, yeah, I’d love to, I’d love to add to that. I think building on what Goggin and Sarah were talking about. If I were to say one adjective to describe a typical duke student, you know, keeping in mind that there’s a significant amount of diversity on campus, I’d probably pick the word engaged. Um, and when I say engaged, I don’t mean engaged in any one particular thing.
I mean, deeply passionate about something. Um, and that’s something can be anything that can be public policy, environmental science. Um, local politics, um, and that engagement typically manifests in being really dedicated to something outside of the classroom. Um, and I think that duke really looks for that when they’re reviewing applications, they want to get a sense of who you are and what you care about, and they want to get a sense of who you’ll be when you step onto campus.[00:45:00]
Okay. Our next question is how has Duke’s works work placement on graduating? Yeah, so I I’ll chime in here. I think it’s, as you it’s, it’s very strong. Duke is a powerhouse when it comes to attracting really strong, uh, businesses, recruiters on campus. Um, I think since my sophomore year, you know, I’d kind of gone to the cycle of going to on-campus fairs, uh, you know, both recruiters that come on campus, but of course, as I mentioned earlier, do cut the restaurant alumni.
And so they really kind of help you navigate that, um, kind of broadly. So for me, all of my internships, plus all the corruption that came out of, uh, out of my, out of my senior year came through duke recruiting, uh, and on-campus fairs. And we, I think we have a couple of fairs in the fall, a few in the spring as well.
They’re split across, you know, either academic type or industry types. You might have like a finance there. You might have a tech [00:46:00] fair, a public impact, social sector fair. Uh, but due to the great job of really helping students, one figure out what they really care about and what they want to do. And it’s finding those pathways by which you can actually do that, whether it’s, you know, employment or helping you think through grad programs, I will turn it over to Sarah or Anya.
Okay. Yeah, happy to jump in. So I think that something that’s really fantastic about duke is that they have what’s called the duke career center where a lot of on-campus recruiting is siloed through the duke or your center is a wonderful resource aside for just when you’re going through the process of applying for internships and full-time opportunities you can drop in and have a meeting with the career center advisor that can chat with you about as practices for putting together a resume.
If you’re interested in a specific type of industry or applying [00:47:00] to a specific type of graduate program, um, best practices on how to write a cover letter. Um, what the timeline is, if you’re interested in pursuing say roles in the tech space. Um, and I think the career center is really fantastic at working with students from a really diverse set of backgrounds, um, and with a diverse set of career aspirations.
So it’s not as if the peer center is only helpful if you’re interested in working. Traditional fear industries. Um, another thing that I would note is that, um, something that’s great about on-campus recruiting at duke is that many of the industries that recruit on campus offer opportunities to get junior year internships that then convert into full-time job offers.
So I also went through a program like that, um, where I recruited for, um, positions in the financial services industry, um, the fall of my junior year. Um, I knew what internship that I’d be doing by October of my junior year after I completed my internship, [00:48:00] um, right before my senior year, um, I learned that I would receive a full-time job opportunity from the company that I interned with.
And so it was really fantastic being able to go into my senior year, knowing that I was employed in the, I did not have to worry about, um, recruiting intensively. So I think that that’s, um, definitely something that the university facilitates really. I’m going to jump in an answer from a different perspective, because I, um, did not apply to any jobs as an undergraduate.
I applied to graduate school. Um, and I think duke has a bunch of different advisors for different graduate schools and they work really, really, really well to help you hone in your applications and make sure that the best that they are. So I specifically worked with the pre-law advisor at duke who was absolutely wonderful.
He looked over all of my, um, applications, um, to help me apply to law school. And I think that, you know, the [00:49:00] duke reputation, the duke system, it really helps you, whether you’re going to be applying to a job or to go to graduate school.
Okay. Our next question is for the first couple years of high school, I didn’t do so well. However, in my last couple of years, I’ve picked it up and gotten straight A’s. My GPA is still below the median. So is there any hope and should I still apply?
Yeah, I think I’ll chime in here. You know, if, if you like the university and you go and you find that it works with whatever you’re looking for, definitely apply, you know, medians only present one part of the application. Uh they’re you know, they’re immediate, it’s not the entire range itself. You know, I think schools want to see upward growth as, as you, if you start it in a week or place, but since then have shown progression and [00:50:00] done well academically that that’s a great narrative narrative to have.
And again, academics are only one component of your broader application. You know, you do activities, you have letters, you have your essays and. The university will consider your entire package to see, you know, are you someone who can succeed here academically, uh, socially, et cetera. So I think even if you have an interest in the university, um, definitely apply and think about, you know, how much do you love duke?
And do you love duke enough that you may want to apply early? As I noted earlier, there is a competitive advantage to applying early, but never count yourself out. Um, you know, it’s always worth seeing application.
Our next question is what is your favorite spot on campus? Like that one? That’s great.
I can chime in here as well to kick us off. So I have a, I guess [00:51:00] I’m a unique case across our presenters. Uh, I spent my entire four years at duke on the freshmen campus. I was a resident assistant. So that means I lived, I lived with the first-year students and like oversaw their, um, dated festivities. Uh, so I really got a passionate love for the freshmen, um, library.
So it was called Lily library. It was like a dedicated chair that I, I recall, um, that I spent a lot of time on, uh, sitting in. So we, I think just like duke has a tons of libraries, I think has like 13 or so libraries. Uh, and for me that library, it has tons of movies. Uh, it’s, it’s a very historic building.
It’s stunning in the stunning, uh, in the inside. Um, you know, I recall spending many, many, many nights, uh, studying there, but most of us chit chatting with friends I’m going to, so the, that was actually one of the first places that came to my mind as well. Cause the philosophy department is on the freshmen campus.
I [00:52:00] wrote my entire senior thesis in the same chair and Lilly library and I love. But aside from that, um, there are two places that I spent a lot of time on west campus. There’s um, this place called Bondi gorgeous glass, um, building with incredible desserts and pastries and coffee. And I wrote a lot of papers there.
And I also spent a lot of time in the music building. Um, not because I was a music student, but because they have, um, 20 something practice rooms with grand pianos in them, and it’s, it’s private. You can close the door and I love to sing and play the piano. And I love that at duke, you’ve had a space to do that.
And it’s actually like, you would think that this is common on every campus, but it’s not the case. And it was so special. And I, I spent a lot of time there.
So jumping in, I definitely want to reiterate that one of my favorite [00:53:00] places on campus, um, is Vani. That’s what Sarah mentioned. I think that’s something that’s really special about Bondi is it’s really a Testament to the fact that the libraries at duke are just as much social spaces as they are seizes.
So there are different floors or different places that you can go depending on what your mood is. Bonnie is definitively the place that you go. If you want to pretend you’re studying, but you’re not, but I love that about it. Um, and then I think my other favorite place on campus is the duke gardens. Um, it’s a beautiful, um, stretch of, um, landscaped gardens, um, in vitrine Eastern west campus.
And it’s, it’s really awesome because on pretty days, people go to the gardens, hang out, study there, and it’s a really great way. I feel like you’re getting out of the duke bubble without physically leaving the bounds of campus. And I thought that that was always a really wonderful place to go.[00:54:00]
Okay. Our next question is what are the study abroad programs offered and how extensive are the options?
So I did not just study abroad, unfortunately. I don’t know if my colleagues have. Um, I didn’t do study abroad, but I will say that the study abroad options are quite extensive. So you can study abroad for a semester at duke, but you can also study abroad during the summer, um, which kind of greatly extends your options.
There are programs to all sorts of different countries. Um, popular ones are to Spain. Um, I remember there was one program that I was particularly interested in as a philosophy major, too. Um, it was a summer program where you got to sail around, uh, Greece for awhile. Um, and that was incredible. So there are a ton of study abroad options all around the world.
Um, and I think that a lot of students take advantage. Yeah, I’d love to chime in. [00:55:00] I also didn’t study abroad. I think it’s funny that all three of us didn’t because so many people at duke study and the chances of refugees on a panel, not of which studied abroad is actually pretty statistically speaking low.
Um, but, um, duke has a study abroad center that helps facilitate opportunities for students. There are over 30 sponsored what are called duke in programs, so that those are opportunities that are actually organized by the university that are either during the year or during the summer, as Sarah mentioned, and even in the.
That you’re not interested in any of the duke in programs, the university will help pair you with partner institutions and help you through that application process. So there are a multitude of study abroad opportunities, um, pretty much anywhere in the world you want to go, uh, you could have the opportunity to go there.
I think that’s something that’s also really special about Duke’s culture is that, um, during, um, the fall of junior year, about half of the junior class will study [00:56:00] abroad. I mean, it’s a very sizeable population of students that decide junior fall that they’d like. Um, pursue their education elsewhere. And it creates this really fantastic campus climate where those that go, you know, have amazing experiences with their respective cohorts.
But those who stay, tend to get really, really close to each other because campus, you know, thins out by like a solid half. And then once everybody comes back to campus in junior spring, it’s just like fantastic homecoming and everybody really enjoys, you know, being together again. And there’s usually like a palpable sense of excitement on campus during the spring when all the juniors come back.
So, um, it’s definitely an awesome aspect of Duke’s culture that I recommend that we take advantage of if they ended up attending. I will say my friend who went to duke studied abroad every summer and all of her junior year. So, uh, she, I think she probably spent as many months at, through, through duke abroad as she did on campus.
So it’s very [00:57:00] possible. Okay. I think this is going to be our last question, but what’s the best practical step a junior can be taking right now.
I’ll answer first. Um, I think the best practical step is to do what you’re most passionate about besides, um, maintaining your grades and putting effort into your school. I say the best thing you can do is find something you really care about and cultivate that, um, through your extracurriculars, the time you spend outside of school, um, a misconception in applying to colleges is that it’s really important to just gather a bunch of things and to put on your resume, all of these different clubs, all of these different things to just make you look like a better applicant, but the best applicants are.
It’s where you can tell that they genuinely care and are genuinely passionate about the things they talk about [00:58:00] in their application. Um, so I would say don’t try to think as hard as you can about becoming the best applicant and padding your resume and really think about what it is. You care about the things that are most interesting to you and do those things and do them well.
On top of that, I also want to add, um, and touch on the importance of just introspecting. I think that the most strong college applications are self-aware and it’s never too early to start thinking about. What connects your past and present experiences, you know, what really motivates you and makes you tick and how that connects to what you want to pursue at the undergraduate level.
Um, and think really carefully about why it is you’re interested in or attracted to certain institutions and how you’d make an impact there. And I do think that the [00:59:00] strongest applications, you know, I’ve read like thousands of applications, um, and worked with dozens of students in the college application process and the best ones just have this really strong sense of who the student is, what their voices, um, and what they hope to do.
Um, once they’re on campus. So introspection is really important and I’ll just kind of close it out here. Um, I would say, do you also do a research. Yep. This is a perfect time. If you’re a junior year, it’s just, it’s just starting off, you know, do you have to be just around all the schools? Duke is a wonderful school, but it’s not a perfect for everybody.
So you really want to think about, you know, what do you want in a university? What do you value? What do you care about? And, you know, spend this next year, determining what schools exist out there, where you can feel comfortable being in not only for four years, but as you can think with a longer career Archway, it, think about the fact that, you know, we all love duke so much.
We’ve graduated years ago and are still coming back and talking about it. And so you want to end up in a school where, you know, in a decade from when, when you graduate, you’re still at [01:00:00] excited. Talk about it and recruit other students for it as you are on day one. And that requires, you know, spending ample time, really learning what that school, but also learning more about what you care about and what your narrative is going to be now.
All right. That seems like a perfect place to end. All right. Thank you everyone so much for coming out and thank you so much to our wonderful panelists for presenting. All right. This is the end of the webinar. We had a wonderful time telling you about duke university and here’s the rest of our August series.
So we have finding your school list tomorrow, and then it’ll roll over into September. Have a great night, everyone. Thanks everyone.