DURHAM, N.C. -- On Tuesday evening, 645 high school seniors received notice of their acceptance to Duke University as the first members of the Class of 2015.
This year, more than 2,200 students applied under Duke's Early Decision program, an 11 percent increase over last year's number, and 220 more than the previous record, set in 2009. 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, the university accepted 600 students through Early Decision. This year's acceptances represent a 9 percent increase in the number of students admitted. Students admitted Early Decision this year will represent 38 percent of next fall's incoming class, which is expected to include 1,705 students.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag said the growing interest in Early Decision made it a slightly more competitive process than in previous years. The percentage of Early Decision applicants who were accepted decreased from 30 percent in 2009 to 29 percent in 2010.
"My staff and I were particularly pleased and impressed with this year's Early Decision applicants, and we were fortunate to create the core of the Class of 2015 with such an appealing group of students," Guttentag said.
Guttentag said the increase in Early Decision applications is due in part to Duke's commitment to need-based financial aid.
"Again this year we've seen an increase in families requesting financial aid among the students applying Early Decision. They understand that our commitment to making Duke affordable is a priority for the university," Guttentag said.
Guttentag added that while the overwhelming majority of places in the Class of 2015 would continue to be filled by Regular Decision applicants, this year would likely be at least as selective as last year.
"Last year we received almost 25,000 Regular Decision applications. This year, those Regular Decision applicants will be vying for just 1,055 spaces in the class."
New York was the state most represented among students admitted Early Decision, with North Carolina, California, Florida and Texas rounding out the top five. Students of color also are well represented among students admitted Early Decision, comprising more than 30 percent, the highest number in Duke's history.
Again this year, most students received their decisions online by visiting a website. More than 200 students received their decisions in the first minute, and more than 600 received their decision in the first 10 minutes. Within 12 hours, almost half of the students admitted had responded online with their intent to enroll, and 92 percent of the Early Decision applicants had received their decisions online.
Of those who applied, 695 were deferred to the spring Regular Decision process.
The deadline for Regular Admission is Jan. 2, and final decisions will be made available to students on April 1.