Duke University Admission Essay Writing Guide


Duke University Statement Essays and Application Process for Students

Duke University is relatively small in comparison to the biggest USA schools, but being in top-ten schools and colleges among all the country is a great result for university with 6500 students only. But the small numbers of students aren’t just because of the campus capacity. The Duke university has crazy selectivity: 2020-2021 showed that only slightly less than 6 percent of the applicants made it through.

Duke University is home to over 6,500 undergraduate students pursuing degrees across its 10 schools and colleges. The college is one of the top schools in the country, consistently ranking in the top 10 national universities.

The university is pretty old, founded in 1924 by James Buchanan Duke, an heir of the astonishing fortune and a great philanthropist. The university has grown from a small school in North Carolina to Trinity College to the renowned place it has now, with academic, athletic, and artistic achievements known worldwide, international programs, and ever-expanding opportunities.

Despite being a sexually and racially segregated institution for a big part of its history, now Duke University is a place of freedom and diversity. Students of color, local and international, now represent more than half of all the campus population. The mission of the university is “to foster a lively relationship between knowledge and faith; to advance learning in all lines of truth; to defend scholarship against all false notions and ideals; to develop a love of freedom and truth; to promote a respectful spirit of dialogue and understanding; to discourage all partisan and sectarian strife, and to further the advancement of knowledge in service to society.”

No matter what race, sex, age, gender, or social class you are. The only things that matters are your academic grades and your alignment to the university values.

Types of Application Essays

The high entrance threshold makes the entrance process quite complicated. The Duke supplement essays are one of the most diverse and complicated among all the universities. After you finish your obligatory Duke Coalition or Duke Common App essays, you’ll have to proceed to the internal papers: the required “Why Duke” essay, an optional essay with prompts changing each year, and, possibly, the COVID-19 essay for transfer students. The transfer students will have to write down another Duke application essay about their previous study experience.

The general advice here is: be very serious about it and use the optional Duke essays to the full extent. Write in polished and formal English like you would write your CV cover letter. You may crack a joke or two, but remember that your audience is quite tired adult men and women from the academic environment.

Also, think about additional space and possibilities you get with the optional Duke University supplementary essays. Even if you don’t have particularly brilliant ideas to present to the admission committee, your decision to complete every challenge the university gives you, shows your determination and desire to get enrolled exactly in Duke University.

We have gathered dozens of Duke essays that worked of different kinds at our site. Feel free to use them as your inspiration. But remember that the prompts change from year to year, so you can’t use these papers as direct references. If you are struggling or simply feel too nervous to write your admission letter as perfectly as you want, you can always write to our professional essay writers. They have created dozens of accepted Duke essays, and their experience will crystallize into an incredible paper that will make your application shine.

The General Admission Essay for College Application Portals

The applicants have a broad choice of topics for writing Duke supplemental application texts via different portals. Those applying via the Common Application will choose from the seven essay prompts, the Coalition Application students-to-be will have five prompts to choose from. The word limit is between 250 and 600-650 words. The minimum limit of 250 words is mandatory, the admission form wouldn’t accept the shorter texts. But different admission services don’t recommend reaching the maximum limit: remember that the admission officers are people, too, and they have to reach dozens of papers daily.

Here are some tips to write the brilliant Duke essay

  • If you choose a personal topic, try to talk about a single but powerful experience that brought you to the decision to enter Duke University. Possibly, you don’t have the one exact event that happened to you. Then try to remember something that shaped your mindset in general, inclining you towards Science, Math, Sociology, or whatever else your future Major is.
  • You have very limited space, so try to focus on a single case, but describe it fully, explaining the premise, your motivation, and the fundamental changes that happened to you after it. It’s your perspective so feel free to express your vision. Describe the external conditions only if you need to explain some context.
  • Keep the balance between facts and artistic ways to express yourself. The dry and formal paper is not the best way to make a difference and stand out of a row of hundreds of admissions. But on the other hand, you still have to keep things official and the word limit under 600 words. So, a couple of jokes or witty metaphors are just fine but they should serve as accents, not the background.

The Required Entrance Essay

The short entrance paper should show your interest in Duke University. It is the classical “Why Duke” essay, but the university itself isn’t conventional. It won’t be enough just to say that this university is the best. You should do a bit of research, using different sources, asking different people, and gathering insider information if it’s possible. We have plenty of “Why Duke” essay examples at our site. This topic is constant and is used each year with slight adjustments, so you may use these papers as references and combine the information you’ll get from them.

Make this text highly specialized

Duke University deserves a custom essay that couldn’t be used for any other university. Read the mission, history, and main principles of Duke University and mention them in your text. You may use the Plug-In test to check if your paper is specific enough. Use the name of any other college instead to see if your Duke supplemental application fits it. If it does, you need to add some more specific details.

Show that you are truly determined to get enrolled

Do not limit yourself to the official information and a couple of sources. Try to contact the alumni, ask the current students, seek the lectures of the teachers. Personal attention is important for anyone: for bachelors, for professors, for master degree students. They’d be glad to share their experience with you. Bonus points, you, too, will learn what campus life looks like from the inside, and decide whether you want to join it.

Be subject-specific

There are a lot of universities that teach Maths or Biology or whatever. But what makes Duke the best? Maybe, it’s that particular teacher you want to learn from? Or the practice lessons, laboratories, and other facilities? Possibly, the interdisciplinary studies will allow you to connect different science areas to achieve your goals?

Add some personal touch

What is the most important for you except the learning process? We all are living, breathing people and want to see the community that fulfills our needs. Tell the admission committee more about the extracurricular activities you are interested in. How do you plan to contribute to them, what else do you want to see among them?

Share your plans for the future

Once become a part of the alumni family, your reputation will be the university’s reputation. So it’s fair to tell some words about your future way in life. Do you plan to become a scientist, work for a corporation, help people somewhere, or do something else, totally unique?

The Optional Motivation Essay

The two of the optional Duke essays are diversity essays. The prompts serve to help you describe your attitude to the community, your place in it, your culture, and your mindset. Despite it being optional we strongly recommend taking it seriously. The Duke is extremely proud of its approach to diversity and equality, so they want to be sure that all of the students share their beliefs and principles.

The most common style of this Duke University essay is sharing your cultural peculiarities. Tell more about your heritage, your culture, hometown, lifestyle, possibly, about some interesting customs and habits your family had. If you have something that could be incorporated to the campus life to enrich the diversity, it’s the perfect place to share it.

Don’t try to get the “right” answer though. If you feel that you don’t want to share something, or there are things that may bother you, you may tell about them, too. It is completely possible to respect other cultures, beliefs, and customs without the intention of learning more about them or participating in such activities. The freedom of thought, opinion and will are the main principles of Duke University, so you won’t be punished for the “wrong” answer. The admission committee wants to know more about your background and, possibly, do something to make you feel more comfortable, like finding roommates of your culture and country.

The Introduction Essays for Transferring Students

The transferring students have a different set of Duke University supplemental essays. They need to write a standard essay about their previous learning experience (something like a standard prompt for freshmen, but about the period of study), and a short response about COVID-19 affecting their learning process.

We don’t know why the COVID-19 essays became so popular for transferring students’ applications. Possibly, they can show both the ability to discuss acute social problems and also learn how did you manage to study during the pandemics, whether you are able to do tasks by yourself, unsupervised, and whether the pandemics became the main reason for your transfer.

Despite the COVID-19 Duke essays being a relatively new topic, we have a decent collection of them on our site. If you can write the “classic” essays easily, but feel unsure with this new and highly politicized topic, you may always use our Duke supplement essay examples as references and get inspired by them. Otherwise, you can ask our professional authors to use their rich experience and write superb Duke writing supplements that will definitely draw the attention of the admission officers.

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