Duke Acceptance Rate

June 27, 2020
By AdmissionSight

Duke Acceptance Rate: 6.0%

Shortcut to sections offered for Duke prospective students:

 Successful Applicant Profile

  • Demographics
  • Majors
  • SAT/ACT scores

Entry Requirements

  • Tuition
  • Scholarships
  • Checklist of Application Requirements
  • Application Deadlines

What Should You Expect

  • Student Life
  • Academics Offered
  • Athletics Offered
  • Notable Alumni

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is one of the most prestigious schools in the United States. Perhaps that is why Duke University has one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country. That’s also probably why starting salaries for Duke graduates are incredibly high. The university is famous for both its academics and its athletics, especially its iconic basketball team.

Acceptance Rate at Duke University—Class of 2026

The overall acceptance rate at Duke University for the Class of 2026 was around 6%. They received a record-breaking 49,555 applications in the previous cycle, but only 5.8% of them were accepted, the lowest rate in school history.

At Duke University, the current academic year’s acceptance rate is 6.00%, compared to an average acceptance rate for the previous ten years of 10.12%. Duke University maintains a fairly low acceptance rate, making it challenging for applicants to gain admission. The following table shows the changes in the acceptance rate of Duke University over the previous ten years (2012–2022).


In the 2021–2022 admission cycle, only 855 of the 4,015 Early Decision applicants were accepted. This results in an Early Decision acceptance rate of 21%, which is nearly four times the rate of the initial round. The acceptance percentage for the Class of 2025 the year before was 17%.

Aerial view of Duke University and admissions

In all, Duke University has educated a long list of impactful academics, businessmen and women, politicians, athletes, and entertainers. For that reason, and many other reasons, tens of thousands of high school students apply to Duke each year.

If it’s your dream school, you are going to need an expert admission consultant to help you take advantage of the fact that under 10 percent of applicants end up getting into Duke. Here at AdmissionSight, we have the required resources and tools to help make those who hope to get into Duke make those dreams a reality.

Duke University, while not an Ivy League school, is widely considered amongst the most prestigious schools in the country.

But it’s not just a place to get an incredible education. It is also an incredible place to become part of a proud and successful alumni network.

It can serve as an incredible foundation for all of your future goals and dreams. However, before that, you need actually get into Duke! There is no denying that it is quite hard to get into Duke. However, there is also no denying that the hard work it takes to achieve that goal is absolutely worth it when it comes to

At the moment, Duke’s acceptance rate is at 9.3 percent, which makes it an incredibly competitive and challenging school to get into.

To clarify, that means that forever 100 applications, less than 10 students will gain acceptance! Based on the analysis that we at AdmissionSight have done, there are some pretty good thresholds that you will want to meet to be confident in your ability to get in.

For students to have a great chance of being selected if you are in the top 10 percent of your class. This means you will have to have a GPA of about 3.94 on the 4.0 scale, that means nearly all A’s across the board!

As for standardized test scores like the ACT and SAT, you will want to get an SAT of a score within the range of 1450 to 1570 out of 1600 and an ACT score of 33 to 35 out of 36.

However, before we go into that, let’s break down that a successful applicant to Duke University will look like.

Successful Applicant Profile

Duke is an incredibly diverse institution and offers over 50 majors, 50 minors, and 23 certificates.

Consider the fact that the ability to create combinations of all three means that Duke students have a total of 437,989 unique academic combinations. The single Digit Duke doesn’t go a very long way in keeping high school applicants away from applying each and every year. Just last year, there were over 31,000 applicants, just over 3,000 students were accepted.

Duke University Aerial view of Campus

As is the case for the country’s top universities and colleges, the admissions process is based on a students’ grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities that they invest their time and energy outside of the classroom.

On top of that, college admissions officers will also take the difficulty of a student’s curriculum into account as well.  Duke annually is named within the top 25 of the most selective schools in the country. For that reason, you will need to highlight your achievements and get the right scores to gain a spot in this university.

When you do get accepted and start classes at Duke, this is what your graduating class is going to look like:

Duke University Demographics Breakdown

One of the fantastic things about Duke University is that the majority of its students are actually non-white, leading to an incredibly diverse learning experience that is a better representation of the real world. Overall the breakdown of Duke’s demographics is as follows:

  • White: 45.7 percent
  • Asian: 21.3 percent
  • Non-resident Alien: 10.4 percent
  • Black or African American: 9.7 percent
  • Hispanic/Latino: 8.2%

When it comes to the breakdown of male and female students, it is almost identical, with 50.2 percent Duke University students identifying as male and 49.8 percent identifying as female.

For students at Duke University, both learning with other students, and from other professors who are non-white is a daily occurrence.

On top of that, the student body at Duke is represented by hundreds of international students. Some of the countries that have students in Duke’s student body includes China, India, South Korea, Ghana, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Peru, and Israel.

What are the most common programs?

Many of the most popular programs at Duke University include subjects that are included in the STEM program. These include Computer Science, Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, Public Policy Analysis, General Biology/Biological Sciences, and Psychology.

Duke also excels in many courses that are included in the Humanities as well.

Perhaps one of the best indicators that Duke has fantastic classes and resources offered for its students is that the school has a freshman retention rate of 98 percent. That means that all but 2 percent of students who decided to go to Duke stay there!

What is the average SAT/ACT score of admitted students?

There is simply no denying the fact that Duke University is one of the most difficult schools to get into in the United States. The vast majority of students who are admitted to Duke each year are in the top 10 percent of the high school class.

Two students lounging in the school grounds.

For that reason, getting great grades throughout your high school education will not be enough, you also have to earn fantastic standardized test scores considering Duke’s acceptance rate. That’s why learning how to prepare for whichever test you are planning on taking it of the utmost importance.

Even if you consider yourself to be a fantastic test taker, it is a good idea to consider enrolling in one of the many online or in-person tutoring services that are available to students because of the competitive Duke acceptance rates.

When it comes to the SAT, students who are admitted to Duke University score between 1390 and 1590.

When it comes to the ACT, students who are admitted to Duke score between a 31 and a 35.

Without a doubt, both of these ranges of scores are amongst the very best in the entire country. If Duke is your dream school, you would be wise to commit a lot of time and energy to make sure that you perform your best at either the SAT or ACT.

As previously mentioned, the average GPA of students who were admitted to Duke last year was 3.94. Not only that, but it is also highly recommended for students to enroll in weighted courses such as honors or AP classes in order to improve their chances of admission and because of the competitive Duke acceptance rates.

Entry Requirements

Duke is an elite private school with its campus in Durham, North Carolina. The private research university has a student body of 6,526 undergraduate students and 9,108 graduate and professional students. While admissions are incredibly competitive at Duke, but the stress and hard work are definitely worth it.

Whether or not you are admitted to Duke University does not just depend on your grades in high school and your standardized test scores, you are also going to have to stress your extracurricular activities, display your coursework difficultly, develop fantastic personal statements, and gather passionate and convincing letters of recommendation from your counselors and/or high school teachers considering the very competitive Duke acceptance rates.

While Duke University is certainly an expensive school to attend, there are a lot of financial aid options available to you.

How much will it cost to attend?

When it comes to the total cost of attendance to Duke, here is a breakdown:

  • Tuition and fees: $60,408
  • Room: $9,164
  • Board: $8320
  • Books, supplies, personal expenses: $3,410

In all, the estimated cost of attendance is $81,302. Undoubtedly, that is a heavy financial burden for any family to bear, so don’t worry if you think this price is too hefty for you and your family. The university offers multiple grants and student aid to ensure that college education is affordable to all.

What financial aid opportunities are available?

When it comes to Duke, the school is need-blind for United States citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented students. What this means is that the school itself vows to never consider a family’s ability to pay when making admission decisions and because of the competitive Duke acceptance rates.

Once a student is admitted to Duke, the school pledges to meet 100 percent of the student’s financial need. At Duke University, over half of the students do not pay the full cost of tuition as a part of financial aid. In all, Duke’s normal financial aid package for income freshmen is $53,950.

Overall, there are a number of important dates and deadlines related to financial aid at Duke. You can learn more about financial aid at Duke here.

What are the application requirements for Duke University?

Duke University accepts both the Coalition Application and Common Application. Here is what you will need in order to begin and complete your application to Duke:

  • A one-page personal essay and two short-essay questions specific to Duke. One of the questions is required, the other is optional but encouraged.
  • A secondary school report, which includes a school profile and a recommendation form from your high school counselor.
  • A high school transcript, preferably showing first-quarter senior grades or the equivalent.
  • Two teacher recommendations, from major academic courses such as math, social studies, English, science, or foreign language. If students are applying to the Pratt School of Engineering, students are encouraged to have at least one of their recommendations from a math or science teacher.
  • An official SAT or ACT score.
  • An option arts supplement.
  • If students are looking for financial aid, a CSS Profile and FAFSA.

On top of that, students will have to pay an $85 application fee. Remember, it is crucially important that you double-check everything once you have filled out your application before finally hitting the submit and send button.

What are the important dates for the Duke application?

When it comes to applying to college in the United States, it is important for students to keep in mind that every school has its own policy and deadlines when it comes to high school applications.

If Duke is your dream school, here are some very important dates that you will want to keep in mind.

Early Decision dates:

  1. Mid-August: Common Application or Coalition Application is made available
  2. November 2: Application for Early Decision Students due
    • Early Decision agreement due
    • High school transcript due
    • Secondary school report with counselor recommendation due
    • Two teachers’ recommendations due
    • SAT and/or ACT scores due
  3. November 3: Optional art supplement due
  4. November 15: First quarter grades due
    • Financial aid forms due
  5. December 15: Decisions released
  6. January 5: Student reply date
  7. February 15: Midyear grade report due
  8. May-June: Final high school transcript due

Regular Decision dates:

  1. Mid-August: Common Application or Coalition Application is made available
  2. December 20: Application for Regular Decision with priority considering for alumni interview
  3. January 4: Application for Regular Decision
    • High school transcript due
    • Secondary school report with counselor recommendation due
    • Two teachers’ recommendations due
    • SAT and/or ACT scores due
  4. January 7: Optional art supplement due
  5. February 1: Financial Aid forms due
  6. February 15: Midyear grade report due
  7. April 1: Decisions released
  8. May 1: Student reply date
  9. May-June: Final high school transcript due

Now that you know about what dates you will have to submit your important application material, here is what you can expect as a student if you should decide to make Duke University your home for the next 4 years!

What to Expect

Duke University was first founded in 1838 in the town of Trinity, and it moved to its current home of Durham in 1892. Duke’s beautiful and expansive campus spans over 8,600 acres. The setting of the university is beautiful and inspiring, with students often referring to the campus as a “Gothic Wonderland” thanks to its many neo-Gothic buildings.

Students lounging in the tables in front of the building

In 2011, Travel+Leisure listed Duke among the country’s most beautiful campuses. But what do actual students say about the experience? We at AdmissionSight have put some quotes from real students at Duke. Their ringing endorsements come out loud clear.

“Choosing to go to Duke has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” one student said. “Its campus is BEAUTIFUL; we have lush gardens and there are so many birds here, from towhees to even the occasional hawk. The opportunities here to get involved are almost overwhelming. We have this program called where students go to all parts of the world to work with communities through research and volunteer work. I will actually be going to Costa Rica this summer to help in rainforest restoration and conservation through this program! But what I truly love most about this school is its students. The atmosphere here is not competitive but collaborative. I came to Duke feeling insecure about my qualifications compared to those of the other incoming freshman. But never once did I feel belittled or patronized. Students here want each other to succeed, we want to see each other grow and challenge ourselves to improve. Here at Duke, ‘Southern Hospitality’ is the real deal!”

“I love Duke University!” another said. “The school is focused on research and building skills to help you excel in your future. Whenever I have a problem they are always there to help. The professors are very friendly and helpful! I would recommend Duke to everyone!”

What about sports?

As long as you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few decades, you know that Duke has an incredibly proud legacy when it comes to sports. The Duke Blue Devils chair 27 sports and more than 650 student-athletes every year. All 27 varsity teams compete in Division I of the NCAA.

Of course, their men’s basketball team, which is amongst the most dominant in all of the sports, is the prime focus of pride.

Basketball players in the bleachers of Duke

Who are some famous Duke alumni?

There are numerous Duke alumni who have gone on to do great things. From the world of arts and entertainment to business, research, medicine, and of course athletics. Here are some of the biggest names who once walked through the Duke campus.

  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad, Olympic Bronze Medal Winner
  • Melinda Gates, Cofounder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Ge Wang, famed computer scientist
  • Ritta Sirleaf, comedian, and actress
  • Mo Brooks, former United States representative
  • Richard Nixon, former the United States President
  • Robert Richardson, Nobel Prize-winning scientists

If you would like to one day see your name added to that list, the very first step is getting into Duke. Despite the very competitive Duke acceptance rates, you can give yourself a great chance to gain acceptance.

A letter of recommendation and a strong essay can do wonders for your application. In addition, having a rigorous course schedule and participating in meaningful extracurricular activities can also improve your chances. AdmissionSight can help you bring forth your achievements and compelling stories in the best possible light so that your application gets more than cursory consideration

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