DURHAM — On Thursday evening, 797 high school seniors will find out they are the first members of Duke University's Class of 2018.
This year, 3,180 students applied under Duke's Early Decision program, a 25 percent increase over last year and the largest number ever recorded. Those who apply via Early Decision have already selected Duke as their first-choice college, and commit to enroll at the university if they receive an offer of admission.
Students admitted through Early Decision this year will represent almost 47 percent of next fall's incoming class, which is expected to include 1,705 students. Of the 797 students offered admission, 643 will enroll in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the remaining 154 will enroll in the Pratt School of Engineering.
North Carolina, New York, California, Florida, New Jersey and Virginia are the states with the greatest representation among students admitted through Early Decision. Students of color comprise 37 percent of the students admitted, an increase of 8 percent over last year, and international students make up 8 percent of those admitted, an increase of 1 percent.
Last year, the university accepted 753 students through Early Decision. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag said the jump in the number of Early Decision applicants was partially responsible for the increase in offers of admission.
“It's gratifying to see this level of interest in Duke, and many of the students applying demonstrated exceptional academic and personal accomplishments,” Guttentag said. “We wanted to be as responsive as we could be to these young women and men who were willing to make a commitment to Duke.”
Even with the increase in the number of students admitted, the admit rate for Early Decision decreased 5 percent this year, to 25 percent, the most selective Early Decision process in Duke's history.
Starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, students will be able to receive their decisions online by visiting a website. Typically several hundred students view their decisions in the first several minutes, with most viewing their decisions within an hour.
Of those who applied via Early Decision this year, 691 were deferred to the spring Regular Decision process.
Guttentag said the majority of places in the Class of 2018 would continue to be filled by Regular Decision applicants. Last year, Duke received more than 29,000 Regular Decision applications, a record.
The deadline for Regular Admission applicants is Jan. 2, and final decisions will be made available to students on March 30.