DURHAM, N.C. -- More than 29,500 high school seniors have submitted applications for admission to Duke University this year, eclipsing last year's record by 10 percent, or more than 2,700 applications.
This marks the fourth year in a row in which the number of applications has set a record. Last year, the school received 26,770 applications for admission, which at the time was a 12 percent increase over the previous record. The number of applicants to Duke has increased by 54 percent -- more than 9,000 applications -- in the last three years alone.
"We're gratified by the interest we're seeing nationwide and worldwide in Duke," Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag said. "We're also humbled; these are exceptional young women and men, and our challenge will be to understand which ones, individually and as a group, will represent the best match for Duke.
"We're also pleased that in spite of the economy, families are responding to our commitment to make Duke affordable. More than 60 percent of our applicants indicate that they will be applying for need-based financial aid."
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 recent years, Duke has significantly enhanced its financial aid program to assist lower- and middle-income families by reducing expected family contributions and loans. (For more information about Duke's financial aid program, see http://dukefinancialaid.duke.edu/.)
The current number of high school seniors applying to be part of Duke's Class of 2015 is 29,526. Of that number, 24,307 have applied to the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences (a 10.8 percent increase over last year), while 5,219 have applied to the Pratt School of Engineering (a 7.7 percent increase). The final number of applicants is expected to increase slightly as applications submitted by mail are received.
California again provided the largest number of applicants, with New York second and North Carolina a close third. The greatest growth among applicants in recent years has been among students from the West Coast and from overseas.
The applicant pool is fairly evenly divided between males and females. Among students of color, the greatest increases were among Latino students and students of Asian descent. Admissions decisions will be made available to applicants online in early April.
In November, more than 2,200 students -- a 14 percent increase from the previous year -- applied to Duke through the Early Decision process and 645 students were admitted, both of which were also record numbers. The increased number of Early Decision acceptances means there will be fewer spots available for Regular Decision applicants -- those applying will be vying for about 1,060 spaces in the Class of 2014.
Guttentag expects the incoming class to have about 1,700 students.
"We already know this is going to be an exceptional class," Guttentag said. "Among the Early Decisions students who have committed Duke are a student who has run the Sunrise to Sunset trail marathon in Mongolia, the principal cellist of the National Youth Orchestra of Peru, a page in the U.S. House of Representatives, a decorated United States Marine who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the owner of a sheep-shearing business and co-founders of a social network group communications platform.
"We know that the students we enroll from our Regular Decision pool will be equally as talented and interesting."