DURHAM, N.C. -- The number of high school seniors applying to Duke University through the Early Decision process has increased 14 percent from last year.
Those who apply via this process know they want to attend Duke and commit to enroll at the university if they receive an offer of admission in December.
"Last year, we received a little more than 2,000 Early Decision applications, which had been our highest total and was a 32 percent increase over the year before," said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag. "This year, we've recorded 2,282."Guttentag attributed the increase to a number of factors.
"I think more students are appreciating the value of a Duke education and the unique atmosphere we have here," he said. "I think it's also true that students and their families realize there is an advantage to applying under a binding early decision policy. We are interested in students who are willing to make that level of commitment and we respond to it."Last year, Duke admitted about 600 students -- around 30 percent -- who applied under Early Decision, compared to about 15 percent of the students who applied under Regular Decision. "Students realize that if Duke is their first choice, there is an advantage to being willing to make that early commitment," Guttentag noted.
Guttentag expects a similar number of Early Decision applicants will be accepted this year, but he and his staff have not yet had a chance to review the applications."I don't expect there will be a dramatic difference in the number of students over last year, but if the pool is not only larger but more compelling, we'll be comfortable admitting more students," he said. "Ultimately, the number of students we admit will be determined by the nature of the applicants."Guttentag said Duke has seen an increase in undergraduate applicants across all demographic groups, both at the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the Pratt School of Engineering. The number of African-American students who applied under Early Decision this year (203 applicants) is a 22 percent increase over last year and more than a 100 percent increase from two years ago. Similar increases have been seen among Latino and Native American applicants."I think students are increasingly realizing and appreciating the diversity of Duke's student body," Guttentag said. "I also I think the message about financial aid and the interest that Duke and other selective universities have in making college affordable is being received. Students seem to be paying more attention to what colleges are saying about access and affordability than they used to."Duke is one of a limited number of schools with a "need-blind" admissions policy, which means that all qualified U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are accepted regardless of their ability to pay for college. Duke guarantees it will meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need. In December 2007, Duke announced significant enhancements to its financial aid program to provide access to a Duke education for lower- and middle-income families. (See http://news.duke.edu/2007/12/financialaid.html/)Students who applied Early Decision should learn in mid-December whether they have been accepted. Duke's deadline for Regular Decision applications is Jan. 2.