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Duke Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Aerial view of Duke University.

Duke Supplemental Essays 2022-2023

Welcome, aspiring Blue Devils! You’re about to embark on a journey that could potentially shape the next four years of your life and beyond. Duke University is not just any institution; it’s a world-renowned hub for innovation, research, and academic excellence.

But before you can stroll through the Gothic wonderland of Duke’s campus, there’s a formidable hurdle to cross: the Duke supplemental essays 2022-2023. These essays are your golden ticket, your chance to speak directly to the admissions committee and make a compelling case for why you belong at Duke.

In this post, we will dive deep into how to write Duke supplemental essays for 2022-2023 and everything you need to remember as you write.

Why Are Duke’s Supplemental Essays So Crucial?

You might wonder, “Aren’t my grades, test scores, and extracurriculars enough?” Well, in a sea of applicants with stellar GPAs and a laundry list of achievements, your essays set you apart.

They’re the lens through which Duke’s admissions officers see you as a human being, not just a set of numbers. The Duke supplemental essays 2022-2023 are your platform to showcase your intellectual curiosity, your ambitions, and, most importantly, your personality.

They’re not just another box to check off; they’re a critical component of your application that can tip the scales in your favor. So, underestimate them at your peril.

The importance of supplemental essays in the admissions process

In the grand scheme of college admissions, supplemental essays are a pivotal factor that can make or break your application.

a student writing in her notes on a table with a white laptop

Think of them as the audition for the role of a lifetime. They’re your opportunity to show Duke—or any other university for that matter—what you bring to the table that no one else does.

While your academic credentials may open doors, your essays usher you. They provide context to your achievements, depth to your personality, and insight into your potential as a future leader. Essentially, they’re the narrative accompanying the bullet points on your resume.

How Duke’s essays differ from other elite institutions

You might be tempted to think that all elite schools ask for similar themes, but that’s where you’d be mistaken. Duke’s pieces are uniquely tailored to gauge your fit for their academic culture and community ethos.

Unlike some schools that offer broad, open-ended prompts, Duke’s questions are meticulously designed to elicit responses that reveal your alignment with their values—intellectual curiosity, social activism, or interdisciplinary learning.

This is not a one-size-fits-all situation; each essay prompt serves as a litmus test for different qualities Duke holds in high regard. So, when crafting your Duke supplemental essays for 2022-2023, remember: you’re not just writing to impress; you’re writing to belong.

Duke supplemental essays 2022-2023

The Duke supplemental essays 2022-2023 allow applicants a certain amount of freedom when choosing their supplemental essay topic. Duke requires that you answer one question for all applicants, and they also offer a series of additional prompts that are optional.

lady in mustard sweater checking her laptop inside a dim room

We will go through each prompt in detail to help you figure out how to craft your responses. The Duke supplemental essays for 2022-2023 are as follows:

  • The following question is required for all 2022-23 applicants to Duke University:
  • What is your sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you? If something particular about our offerings attracts you, feel free to share that as well. (250 word limit)
  • We want to emphasize that the following questions are optional for all 2022-23 applicants. Feel free to answer them if you believe doing so will add something meaningful not already shared elsewhere in your application. Four optional questions are available – a maximum of two can be selected. Please select 0 – 2 optional essay topics. (250 word limit for each)
  • We seek a diverse student body that embodies the wide range of human experience. In that context, we are interested in what you’d like to share about your lived experiences and how they’ve influenced how you think of yourself.
  • We believe there is benefit in sharing and sometimes questioning our beliefs or values; who do you agree with on the big important things, or who do you have your most exciting disagreements with? What are you agreeing or disagreeing about?
  • What has been your best academic experience in the last two years, and what made it so good?
  • Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you’d like to share more about your identity in this context, feel free to do so here.
  • The Common and Coalition Applications will also include a section for students to disclose if they were impacted by community disruptions such as natural disasters and COVID-19.

How do you answer Duke supplemental essays?

While you are required to answer the first prompt, the others are optional. We recommend choosing no more than two additional essays.

guy in plaid shirt contemplating with pen and notebook

So, let’s start with the first prompt and look at the best way to craft a response.

  • What is your sense of Duke as a university and a community, and why do you consider it a good match for you? If something particular about our offerings attracts you, feel free to share that as well. (250 word limit)

This prompt is asking you to reflect on your impression of Duke. Admissions officers know that students apply to several tools, but they also want to see that you have a good reason for applying to your chosen schools.

Responding to this prompt requires researching Duke and reflecting on why Duke made your list of schools. They also want to know why you think Duke is a good fit for you.

So, when crafting your response, you should avoid simply talking about how Duke is a prestigious school with a beautiful academic reputation.

Duke already knows this, but it’s not a good answer because many prestigious schools have excellent reputations. What is it about Duke that makes it stand out to you? The professors? The course offerings? The diverse student body? Make sure you provide details.

The prompt ends by asking if something specific to Duke’s offerings has attracted you. This could be a field of study that Duke is known for. Or it could be a particular professor.

It might even be the campus culture that has attracted you. But if there is something that you can point to specifically that excites you about attending Duke, let them know. Let’s now look at the optional essay prompts.

    • We want to emphasize that the following questions are optional for all 2022-23 applicants. Feel free to answer them if you believe doing so will add something meaningful not already shared elsewhere in your application. Four optional questions are available – a maximum of two can be selected. Please select 0 – 2 optional essay topics. (250 word limit for each)
    • We seek a diverse student body that embodies the wide range of human experience. In that context, we are interested in what you’d like to share about your lived experiences and how they’ve influenced how you think of yourself.

This section is optional and allows you to share aspects of yourself. The first prompt asks about your lived experiences and how these have shaped you as a person. When Duke says they seeks a diverse student body, it uses “diversity” in the broadest sense possible.

Your background may be ethnically different from many other applicants, and this is something Duke would like to hear about. Or you may come from culturally diverse experiences from many applicants.

The point is that there are numerous ways to tackle this prompt. Maybe you grew up in a Sudanese Muslim community in Minneapolis, or perhaps you grew up on a farm in rural Nebraska. Duke is looking for students who embody diversity in all of its forms.

  • We believe there is benefit in sharing and sometimes questioning our beliefs or values; who do you agree with on the big important things, or who do you have your most exciting disagreements with? What are you agreeing or disagreeing about?

This prompt addresses your intellectual character by asking about sharing and questioning beliefs. Duke is committed to having a student body that also possesses a diversity of thought, but they also want to know how you deal with this.

Ideally, you are the kind of student who can listen to the ideas of others, reflect on them, and then decide if you agree or disagree. With this prompt, Duke is trying to gauge whether you have an open mind regarding intellectual challenges.

  • What has been your best academic experience in the last two years, and what made it so good?

The third prompt asks you about your best academic experience, and this is a great place to talk about an aspect of your academic career that might not be reflected in the rest of your application.

Multiracial students talking while walking.

There are many possible responses to this prompt, so spend some time reflecting on academic experiences that have shaped you as a student and person.

  • Duke’s commitment to diversity and inclusion includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. If you’d like to share more about your identity in this context, feel free to do so here.

The fourth and final Duke supplemental essay 2022-2023 asks if you’d like to share your identity with the school as part of your application. Because Duke is committed to a diverse student body, they are curious about who you are. Of course, this question is entirely optional, and if you’d rather keep your identity to yourself, that’s fine.

If you feel like sharing more about yourself with Duke, you can explain how your identity has formed over your life.

You can also explain why you think your identity and the worldview that goes with it will be a valuable asset to the Duke community. As with all essay prompts, the most important thing is to let your authentic voice and personality shine through in your responses.

At AdmissionSight, we aim to help you with every step of the college admissions process. The Duke supplemental essays 2022 can initially seem daunting, but our experience and expertise will help you navigate the entire process confidently. Hopefully, this guide to the Duke supplemental essays 2022-2023 has been helpful, but if you want more information about how AdmissionSight can help you realize your dreams, set up your free consultation today.

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