For the second consecutive year, Duke has received a record number of applications from high-school seniors. This year's application total of 16,656 is 762 more applications than received last year (15,894). The previous record, set in 1987, was 15,120 applications.
Christoph Guttentag, Duke's director of undergraduate admissions, says one reason for the increase is that this is the second year Duke has offered need-based financial assistance to international students. In 2003, 1,364 international students applied for admission, an increase of 164 over last year's total of 1,200. The year before aid was available to international students, a total of 712 foreign students applied.
Guttentag says the increase also reflects Duke's "ability to be more active in our recruitment in the last several years. The administration has been very supportive of our efforts, and the admissions staff has worked incredibly hard to let students and their parents know how much Duke offers its undergraduates."
The quality of applicants to Duke, he notes, has also improved. "It's a real step up from last year, and last year's class had the strongest credentials we've seen."
Duke has received nearly double the number of applicants who scored a perfect 1,600 on their SATs--199 this year, 103 last year; 2,405 applicants had SAT scores above 1,500, compared to 2,015 last year and 1,867 the year before; and 4,300 had board scores above 1,450, compared to 3,900 in 2002 and 3,600 in 2001.
" While I'm naturally thrilled to have such a strong and large applicant pool from which to choose next year's class, I'm also very aware that there are thousands of exceedingly qualified students we won't have room for this year," Guttentag says. "Choosing the class will be a real challenge."
Duke expects its next incoming class to have 1,625 to 1,630 students. In December, 472 high-school seniors who applied early decision were notified that they were the first members of Duke's Class of 2007. The rest of the class will be established this spring, when regular-decision acceptance letters are mailed.
Records broken this year include:
- 13,933 applicants to the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences;
- 2,723 applicants to the Pratt School of Engineering;
- 1,572 African-American applicants;
- 3,251 Asian or Asian-American applicants.
In addition to an increase in international students, Guttentag says Duke experienced a surge in applications from California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, and New Jersey. The number of applicants from the Carolinas was slightly down from last year's record totals. "Last year, we had a 24 to 25 percent increase from both North and South Carolina, which I believe was in part a reaction to 9/11," he says. "Parents just wanted their children to go to college close to home, I think."
Guttentag says, "It's tempting sometimes to take these numbers for granted, especially since we've seen applications increase in six of the last seven years. But when you think of it, it's impressive that almost 17,000 high-school seniors across the country and around the world would consider Duke as one of the colleges they'd most like to attend."