Duke University: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

Duke University Chapel at sunrise
Duke University Chapel. uschools / Getty Images

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is an elite private university with an acceptance rate of 7.8%. This makes it one of the most selective universities in the country. Considering applying to this highly selective school? Here are the Duke University admissions statistics you should know.

Why Duke University?

  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • Campus Features: The stunning stone architecture of Duke's main campus is just a small part of the university's 8,693 acres. The school has a 7,000+ acre forest, marine lab, golf course, and medical campus.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 8:1
  • Athletics: The Duke Blue Devils compete in the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
  • Highlights: Duke rivals the Ivies for selectivity. The school has an $8.5 billion endowment and is part of the "research triangle" with UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. The area has the highest concentration of PhDs and MDs in the world.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, Duke University had an acceptance rate of 7.8%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 7 students were admitted, making Duke's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants 41,651
Percent Admitted 7.8%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 54%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Duke University requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 53% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 710 770
Math 740 800
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of Duke's admitted students fall within the top 7% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Duke scored between 710 and 770, while 25% scored below 710 and 25% scored above 770. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 740 and 800, while 25% scored below 740 and 25% scored a perfect 800. Applicants with a composite SAT score 1570 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Duke.

Requirements

Duke does not require the optional SAT essay. SAT Subject Tests are not required, but Duke "strongly recommends" students submit scores from two Subject tests if they submit SAT scores. If you have taken the SAT more than once, Duke invites you to use the SAT scorechoice option and submit only your highest scores. Duke will superscore your exams using the highest score from each section.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Duke requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 72% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 32 35
Math 31 35
Composite 33 35

This admissions data tells us that most of Duke's admitted students fall within the top 2% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to Duke received a composite ACT score between 33 and 35, while 25% scored above 35 and 25% scored below 33.

Requirements

Duke University does not require the optional ACT writing exam. Students who take the ACT are also not required to submit SAT Subject test scores, but the university will consider those scores if you choose to submit them. Note that Duke superscores the ACT. If you took the exam more than once, the university will recalculate your score using your strongest scores from each section regardless of the test date.

GPA and Class Rank

Duke University does not publish GPA data for admitted students, but you can see from the graph below that the great majority of admitted students have grades in the "A" range. An unweighted average of 3.8 or higher is the norm. Class ranks are also high. 90% of Duke students were in the top 10% of their high school classes, and 97% were in the top 25%.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Duke University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Duke University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.  Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Duke University. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Most students who get into Duke have "A" grades and standardized test scores that are significantly above average. That said, realize that many students with a 4.0 GPA and extremely high standardized test scores still get rejected from Duke. For this reason, you should consider a highly selective school like Duke to be a reach school even if your grades and test scores are on target for admission.

At the same time, keep in mind that Duke has holistic admissions. Duke is looking for students who will bring more than good grades and standardized test scores to the campus. A strong Common Application essay and/or supplemental essays, glowing letters of recommendation, and a strong alumni interview can all strengthen your application, and of course the university will be looking for meaningful extracurricular activities.

Also, you can improve your admissions chances if you highlight true artistic talent in an artistic supplement, and by applying to the university early decision (do this only if you are 100% sure that Duke is your first-choice school).

All admissions data has been sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Duke University Office of Admissions.